6922 / e88cc

Diapason

Wammer
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Jan 6, 2012
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Simon
I'm getting a serious pain in my balls searching around for valves at the moment! Does anyone know a magical source of good E88CC or E188CC or 6922 or whatever flavour of equivalent you prefer, for anything approaching sensible money? I feel like I'm not getting the best out of my Graaf pre, so looking for options to make it sing without needing to take out another mortgage. Problem is I need 6 of the buggers.

 

Griffi

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 8, 2010
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John
Checkout Puresound website and select items for sale and then small signal valves. £12.50 or £23.00.

 

sonrock

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Sep 24, 2010
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Thanh
Dear Sir

I am using a pre which most of tubes are e88cc/e188cc/e288cc and cca. After trying so many nos tubes I see telefunken e188cc and 288cc is the best for the inputs of my pre, following by telefunken e88cc, mullard e188cc, cv2492 and siemens cca - even this pair is rare old and really expensive but a bit disappoint me. The output/gain stage of my pre is using 8 mullard cv2493 and 1 telefunken 802s.

if you really want to get the best from your pre then you have no choice to invest in great nos tubes with gold pins - for longer life if am not wrong - Sir. You should try a pair of mullard cv2492/2493 first if they work for you, then move up to the telefunken range with better sounding. This is my cery own experience with those tubes Sir, so you have to try yourself to judge, but I believe you'll be happy with them Sir :)

 

June

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Oct 6, 2008
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Transylancashire
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Morris Karloff
Hi, I've also looked high and low for reasonably priced sources but understandably the market demands higher prices for good NOS tubes (especially over the last decade or so with the advent of eBay and internet shopping; sellers raise prices as demand increases whilst supplies of the good stuff simultaneously dwindle).

Having said that, I wouldn't pay silly money just for the sake of rarity (which isn't going to translate into a better sound; fair enough if you are a tube collector though).

Best I've heard in my pre is NOS (15mA+) 1950's Siemens CCa goldpins but the big buck$ they cost is only worth spending if getting the tone exactly right matters to you (violins, raw vocals etc...) When I'm playing noisy, distorted or electronic stuff then a £20 pair of 1990's produced Sovtek 6922 are as pleasing as any of the expensive tubes I've heard...2p of course.

Have you tried Billington Export in Billingshurst, Sussex? Tel: 01403 784961 - they're not always the quickest to respond but they've helped me in the past and prices worked out cheaper than buying from the US (no duty taxes etc...)

Upscale Audio (in the US) have reasonably priced NOS stuff (not necessarily cheap but not hideously expensive either; plus they will select closely matched pairs or quads for very small premium ).

Brent Jesse has some VERY nice stock. Not cheap though.

 

mongeddavid

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Sep 22, 2009
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Herts, ,
AKA
David
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I did a lot of tube rolling on my Pre from Tesla , phillips , Electro Harmonix , Mullard , Bugle boys to name but a few. The best of the lot were the siemens at around £80 a pair. I only had to have 2 so it may not be economic for a set of 6. These were to my ears by far the most musical with good tone and a nice balanced presentation.

 

Jazid

Wammer
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Oct 13, 2009
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James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I'm getting a serious pain in my balls searching around for valves at the moment! Does anyone know a magical source of good E88CC or E188CC or 6922 or whatever flavour of equivalent you prefer, for anything approaching sensible money? I feel like I'm not getting the best out of my Graaf pre, so looking for options to make it sing without needing to take out another mortgage. Problem is I need 6 of the buggers.
I know a few that will magic your hard-earned into their own pockets, but no source of bargains. I'd say, if dipping your toes in, that six 1970s or 80s 6N23P or better still 6N23P-EV 10k hour variant (SQ equivalent) would be a good place to start. Plentiful supply, worth buying a dozen allegedly matched ones, and then selecting out the most microphonic or just using the quietest in the first stages anyway. These are built like the proverbial, stocks are good so genuine matching is achievable rather than just being lip-service to the buyer. I don't know how they 'sound' TBH, but I'd guarantee a quiet Voshkod tube will sound better than an exhausted/microphonic E88CC or some random CCa with or without a posh label on it, or a thrown together Chinese equivalent. These tubes are properly made and will hold their value rather better than modern Chinese of Russian stock as well.

There are 1980s mil spec US tubes around for affordable money as well - JAN Philips for example.

 

rabski

Everything in moderation
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Dec 2, 2006
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Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Been said a thousand times, but worth repeating that every amplifier behaves differently to tubes and what works in one may well not do so well in another. Generally speaking, NOS Telefunkens are almost always superb, however, prices are now verging on insane and there are millions of fakes out there, together with millions of originals which are poor spec or excessively microphonic.

Frankly, as you need six my suggestion would be the only decent modern tubes I've come across: the JJ gold-pin ones. Puresound have them for £23 a go. Not cheap for six, but sufferable.

 

GJO

Wammer
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Sep 1, 2006
3,533
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Kent, ,
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Graham
I use these in preference to many already mentioned,cheap as chips,although haven't purchased from this seller,but his feedback looks OK.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/A-Pair-of-6N23P-NOS-Valves-Tubes-Voshkod-ECC88-E88CC-6922-/330922343611?pt=UK_Sound_Vision_Valves_Vacuum_Tubes&hash=item4d0c823cbb

I know a few that will magic your hard-earned into their own pockets, but no source of bargains. I'd say, if dipping your toes in, that six 1970s or 80s 6N23P or better still 6N23P-EV 10k hour variant (SQ equivalent) would be a good place to start. Plentiful supply, worth buying a dozen allegedly matched ones, and then selecting out the most microphonic or just using the quietest in the first stages anyway. These are built like the proverbial, stocks are good so genuine matching is achievable rather than just being lip-service to the buyer. I don't know how they 'sound' TBH, but I'd guarantee a quiet Voshkod tube will sound better than an exhausted/microphonic E88CC or some random CCa with or without a posh label on it, or a thrown together Chinese equivalent. These tubes are properly made and will hold their value rather better than modern Chinese of Russian stock as well. There are 1980s mil spec US tubes around for affordable money as well - JAN Philips for example.
 

Diapason

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 6, 2012
408
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Dublin
AKA
Simon
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the advice.

Funny you should mention the 6n23p James and Graham, cos when I got the amp and was slightly unsure of its performance, I replaced the Brimars that were in there with Voskhod 6n23p (from 1979) sporting the CCCP logo. Perhaps they take a while to come on song, but they're certainly not living up to billing at the moment. Glassy, slightly harsh, congested midrange and very thin bass would describe initial tests there, although I definitely think they sound more "linear" than the Brimars, so if they manage to go from ugly duckling to swan they might be more to my taste. Is the net-wisdom of "needing 100 hours to sound right" in any way real? Can I expect a massive transformation?

The Brimars sound impressive in some ways, and in some systems and to some tastes they might be great, but the overblown and over-projected midrange that they seem to feature here is exactly what I'm not looking for. I wonder how they compare to other NOS valves in this regard?

Part of the problem is that I'm shooting around in the dark, and I'm reluctant to keep throwing money at the problem since, as rabski says, it's not always obvious what's going to sound best in any given circuit. That said, if I continue to buy "cheap" valves that disappoint, that all starts to add up too. The JJs seem like the next stop before NOS silliness, so I might give them a go. I also have 4 Gold Lion 6922 which impressed me in my power amps, so even though I don't have 6 I may be able to get a flavour of them in the pre, although that's going to mean putting something else in the powers which will change everything anyway.

The prices for Telefunken, Cca, etc just seem batshit crazy to me, I'd really struggle to justify €100 or €150 a valve. And if I read Joe's Tube Lore one more time I might go bananas.

 

sonrock

Wammer
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Sep 24, 2010
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Thanh
I know in many cases it sounds crazy for the price, and as Richard Sir pointed out, tubes behave differently in different pre, so you are the only one who can judge which is the best in your system according to your ears Sir. By far, "the real Telefunken" nos with gold pins and diamond on the base, same barcodes etc sound best with me, while "the best nos siemens cca from 1950s" as many people declared not my cub of tea. Some says Siemens cca tubes are best for phono while am using cdp only, so might be great in the future then :">

good luck Sir for your search and decision, you might consider Philips E188CC or Valvo cca tubes as well. I've not tried them yet as I have more than enough tubes for my pre, but they are always in the consideration of the buying list.

for easier to digest with the price, you should give Mullard CV2493 or E188CC a try Sir. I used to struggle myself about the NOS tubes price, but when I decided to try, I do recognise the significant improvement in sound Sir. So all the best :)

 

rabski

Everything in moderation
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Dec 2, 2006
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Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I agree with Thanh, that in terms of ultimate performance proper NOS Telefunken is probably as good as it gets. The problem is that 'proper' gold pin Telefunkens are going to be about £600 there, and that's frankly not worth it for the overall value of the amp. A lot of the new 'wonder tubes' are IME average at best, and sometimes utterly dire.

Common sense needed. £600 worth of tubes will not increase the value of your pre by anywhere near that amount, and won't sound £600 better either.

 

Diapason

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 6, 2012
408
10
0
Dublin
AKA
Simon
Honestly, at the moment I'm thinking I might sell the pre and go back to direct connection from the CDP. I was happy then, dammit!

 

sonrock

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 24, 2010
742
9
0
Leeds
AKA
Thanh
the mullard nos tubes gold pins are around £150 per pair Sir, some more expensive and some less if you are lucky on auctions. they are really really good with the warm, fullbodied and musical presentation. the price of the tubes imo should reflect correctly with the value of the pre Sir, otherwise you are wasting money on the tubes but not getting the best from everything :)

- - - Updated - - -

Honestly, at the moment I'm thinking I might sell the pre and go back to direct connection from the CDP. I was happy then, dammit!
I used to be like you with the nicely direct connection Sir, but when the valve pre in between, it seems night and day, oh dear you wont go back this route Sir :D

 

Diapason

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 6, 2012
408
10
0
Dublin
AKA
Simon
Thanks Thanh. I've read (somewhere?) that Mullard and Brimar valves often sound similar, and since I didn't like the Brimar presentation I've been wondering about Mullards. Have you ever tried Brimar yourself?

 

sonrock

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 24, 2010
742
9
0
Leeds
AKA
Thanh
no Sir, am sorry. But I do hear the differences between the Mullard themselves, cv2492 vs cv2493 vs e188cc. And Mullard tubes sound very different from Telefunken and Siemen tubes, they all have their own "characteristics" which I believe unnecessarily discussed here unless you are going to this route.

on the other hand, IMHO I dont think the Mullard and Brimar tubes sound similarly Sir, probably its true in some cases with someone, but in general with different equipment and system matching, room etc, they wont sound the same.

give it a try Sir, you are losing nothing. If you dont try, you wont never know :) , and in this case, it is not big money and I believe you will be very happy with the results, hihi

 

Jazid

Wammer
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Oct 13, 2009
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James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the advice.Funny you should mention the 6n23p James and Graham, cos when I got the amp and was slightly unsure of its performance, I replaced the Brimars that were in there with Voskhod 6n23p (from 1979) sporting the CCCP logo. Perhaps they take a while to come on song, but they're certainly not living up to billing at the moment. Glassy, slightly harsh, congested midrange and very thin bass would describe initial tests there, although I definitely think they sound more "linear" than the Brimars, so if they manage to go from ugly duckling to swan they might be more to my taste. Is the net-wisdom of "needing 100 hours to sound right" in any way real? Can I expect a massive transformation?

The Brimars sound impressive in some ways, and in some systems and to some tastes they might be great, but the overblown and over-projected midrange that they seem to feature here is exactly what I'm not looking for. I wonder how they compare to other NOS valves in this regard?

Part of the problem is that I'm shooting around in the dark, and I'm reluctant to keep throwing money at the problem since, as rabski says, it's not always obvious what's going to sound best in any given circuit. That said, if I continue to buy "cheap" valves that disappoint, that all starts to add up too. The JJs seem like the next stop before NOS silliness, so I might give them a go. I also have 4 Gold Lion 6922 which impressed me in my power amps, so even though I don't have 6 I may be able to get a flavour of them in the pre, although that's going to mean putting something else in the powers which will change everything anyway.

The prices for Telefunken, Cca, etc just seem batshit crazy to me, I'd really struggle to justify €100 or €150 a valve. And if I read Joe's Tube Lore one more time I might go bananas.
Well I'd give 'em 50 hours but if they're no better by then they are unlikely to suddenly flourish I'm afraid.

I have no experience of this tube in an amp so can't speak for differences, what I can say is that Telefunken and to a lesser extent Mullard tubes pretty much always measure balanced and stable, even if they are not so strong. I would suggest they are generally better made than Brimars which often measure all over the place and can behave less predictably. How this affects sound I am not qualified to say. Since NOS Mullards aren't mega-bucks yet can anyone here give an opinion about their SQ and how it might differ from Brimars?

I have some JJ tubes that seem competent by new production standards, I wonder what their usable life expectancy is though, and as before, resale values of new tubes plummets the second they go in the amp whereas NNOS hold their value well so new stuff might prove a false economy.

Depending on circuit topology you should be able to put your GLs into the first stage of the pre, and stick the Russkies into the driver stage of it, and the power amp. See what that does. Costs owt and maybe those Russian tubes will flourish in the power section!

 

Jazid

Wammer
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Oct 13, 2009
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James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
£36 or a pair of JAN Philips tubes doesn't seem overly excessive if they can be got as six and matched for £110 odd. Given the opinions on the rock-grotto site (given by theadmans above) I wonder if your tubes are weak?

 

Diapason

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 6, 2012
408
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0
Dublin
AKA
Simon
Yep. Price of Jan is fine, but I've just read very mixed reports about them...

I'm going to do as James suggested and stick the GLs in the first stage of the pre and the Voskhods everywhere else. That's when I get my power amps sorted out, they need new power valves and have been making funny noises for a while, culminating in a blinding flash of...something. As I said, I've a bit of a pain in my balls with valves at the moment!

 

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