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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:25 am
Posts: 2
Location: Norco, CA, US
Russian Golden Lions. Are they any good? The Ruskies have been making tubes for years. Have they improved?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Portland, OR, US
Gold Lion, not Golden Lion. Of the ones I have tried the large signal tubes are excellent, KT77, KT88 and KT66, highly recommended. The U77 is, IMHO, inferior to vintage 5AR4s, but still a fine tube. The 12AX7 and 12AU7 I don’t care much for, particularly when vintage examples of these tubes are not very expensive.

They have all been reliable, save for a run of the KT88s early on that were subject to failures. Dramatic failures at that.

The rest I have not tried, but would not hesitate to if I needed them. I am intrigued by the 300B so I hope that someone chimes in with their impression of this tube.

Good luck with the hunt.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:27 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Land O Lakes, FL, US
I have 2 quads of their KT88's in my Cary 120S mkII. They replaced the stock Electro Harmonix tubes the amp came with. A definite improvement. Not quite "as good" as say GE6550A's but excellent for the price. You'd probably have spend quite a bit more money to get better sounding KT88's, like NOS Gold Lions and good luck with that! They also appear to be built like tanks. I agree the 12AX7's aren't great, but I'm comparing them to NOS Mullard and Brimars which are awesome. If they made them, I would definitely try a 6SN7 from them without hesitation.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:39 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:55 am
Posts: 6
Location: Castle Pines, CO, US
Hi,

I'd like to add that Genalex Gold Lions have also been a marked improvement for me too. I've tried the 6922 / E88CC and found them to have a round, clear, and full sound to them with excellent mid-range on a Cary SLI-80 integrated. I was previously using the Electro Harmonix 6922 tubes and found the Genalex to have a warmer and perhaps laid back / gentle top end sound to them in comparison. On the other hand, the EH had better defined mid-bass to my ears/room/system. It is strange that Genalex remade the 6922 because I don't think they originally made a 6922 in the first place but I'm very glad they do as they are a great tube.

Gold Lions are probably the best current production choice available in many offerings, imho.

Best regards,
Jason


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Portland, OR, US
I recently tried the JJ 803S which is a 12AX7 type. It has a very long plate. I prefer it to the Gold Lion 12AX7 as it is creamier and has a more tubey sound without losing drive or definition. A very natural sounding tube.

There are a couple of negatives though. The long plate may make it more susceptible to microphonics and that may put it out for use in phono stages though I have not tried it and find it dead quiet in the line stage. It has marginally higher gain than a standard 12AX7 and many tube preamps already have excess gain so that is not a help. Though, again, I do not have this problem. The tube is also marginally taller than a standard 12AX7.

The good news is that they are inexpensive and certainly worth a try. I find them competitive with many of my vintage tubes. YMMV.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:22 pm
Posts: 12
Location: los altos hills, CA, US
I had done a power tube shootout about a year ago and the Gold Lion KT-88’s pretty much crushed the other 3 quads in an Inspire Fire-Bottle amp by Dennis Had (results were 1-Gold Lion KT-88’s , 2-Psvane KT-88 T-ll, 3-Winged C 6550’s and 4-Shugang Black Bottle KT-88’s). I really liked the tone of the Gold Lions and was pleased it seemed to carry over to the input tubes. I’m running a test between the Gold Lion 12ax7 and the grant fidelity (Shugang) black treasures in an Aesthetix IO signature- which is really tough on tubes. I think I can easily say I like the 5751’s (significantly lower gain- GE and Sylvania) than the gold lions but the race between the gold lions and the black treasures is much closer.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 89
Location: Everett, WA, US
I have been using the Gold Lion tubes for a number of years now, specifically the KT88 tubes. I have a pair of large tubed monoblocks that use four (4) KT88 tubes per side. I have tried other brands (JJ - reliability issues, EH - nice but not as good all the way around as the Gold Lion) and I always come back to the Gold Lion tubes. In my equipment and to my ears, they are superior to anything else out there save for the perhaps the original Gold Lion tubes but I certainly cannot afford those plus I cannot find enough of them, same goes for the GE6550A or TungSol 6550 tubes. Jim McShane, a man who I trust when it comes to tubes, states that he believes that the current Gold Lion tubes (at least the KT88) are pretty much spot on to the original. I cannot say as I have not heard the originals but he has been around tubes for many years so if he says so, I would bank on it.
Another member said they prefer NOS small signal tubes over the Gold Lion re-issues and I would agree for the most part but here is what I have found in my own equipment: I have been running tubed preamps of various manufacturers over the past 25 years. I have used 12AT7, 12AU7, 12AX7, 6922 tubes , and 6SN7 for the vast majority of these preamps. Where the 6SN7 tubes are concerned I find many NOS tubes that work and sound marvelous [i]but[i] where the other small signal tubes frustrate me is that I get a lot of tube rush, tube hiss and/or they fail me early on. I have literally 100's of small signal tubes that I have bought and/or collected from many sources and by the time I cull the lot I am not left with many that are quiet. Enter the re-issue Gold Lions. Not cheap compared to some NOS tubes, but I have not had a failure, and the ones I have are dead quiet. And again, to me, they sound pretty darn good. Now I have used only the 12AX7. the 12AU7 and 6922 but I like them and I certainly like that when I listen to music late at night, I am not concerned about spending more time getting into the gear to change out a noisy NOS tube than listening to music.

Thanks for the patience while reading my tome...


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 89
Location: Everett, WA, US
Quick note:
I see that a member stated that he has been using a JJ 803S tube that he likes. I had a pair that I bought new and installed them in my EAR 534 amp. Within two weeks one tube failed and shortly thereafter the other failed. A pair of Gold Lion tubes were installed to replace the JJ tubes and problem solved and no further issues with the amp. You might want to see what others in the world of high end have to say about the reliability of the JJ tubes but I have been advised that many tube dealers are no longer selling JJ tubes because of their QC issues.
You might have very good luck but then again you might spend more money replacing tubes or even repairing equipment where the use of the JJ is concerned. I cannot think of any one brand of tube I have purchased in the last 25 years that has caused me fits like the JJ.
Just saying be aware.....(and no, I get no monetary recompense from Gold Lion / New Sensor for my comments on the Gold Lion)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Portland, OR, US
It’s interesting, I have read of issues with the JJ power tubes but not the small signal tubes. I own three quads of the E34L blue glass tubes, bought in different decades with no problems. A pair of 2A3-40 also problem free. Ditto for two quads of Tesla E34L. None of the JJ small signal tubes I have had have had problems either, though the jury is out on the 803S as they have less than a couple of hundred hours on them.

In stark contrast, one of my Gold Lion KT88s died in a hail of sparks. Not that it bothers me, I just ordered another one when it happened. They are very good sounding tubes. And I am but a sample of one.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 89
Location: Everett, WA, US
We seem to be living in contrasting lives. A pair of JJ EL34 tubes fried a few resistors in my EAR amp and then it was a JJ803 that made the right channel sound as if the whole amp on was on the verge of death. Then again another 803 started wreaking havoc with the left channel. I have had Gold Lion tubes that have lasted for as long as eight years before they finally started to show signs of going thermonuclear. And so far(knock on wood) no issues with the small signal tubes from Gold Lion. It could be that because I buy from Jim McShane and he tests the dickens out of all the tubes he sells that I have had such good luck. I have heard that New Sensor does sell seconds to some suppliers so if one is not careful one could be buying rejects that others do not want. That said, the fact remains that the JJ tubes have caused me several issues and many dollars in repairs. I simply cannot trust them anymore. It is too bad as I like the sound of some of their tubes, specifically the KT77 and 6CA7 tubes but for me to trust their reliability would be the definition of insanity per Einstein.. :?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Portland, OR, US
No, not contrasting lives, but things do go haywire when one crosses the border from Oregon into Washington.

I think that’s just the way that things work when the sample size is 2, which is why I pointed out, in my previous post, that I am but a sample of one, so that no one thought that I was making pronouncements on the reliability of tubes. And others have certainly reported reliability issues with the JJ tubes. We do tend to project our personal experience onto the broader scope of things however.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 89
Location: Everett, WA, US
"No, not contrasting lives, but things do go haywire when one crosses the border from Oregon into Washington."

I am assuming from that you mean going south from Washington into Oregon is when things go haywire? :wink:

Hey, I am not projecting anything. I simply have had poor luck with JJ tubes. The tech who repaired my EAR amp stated that he would not use JJ tubes except that they are inexpensive and as a result JJ tubes are often OEM items. I found it odd that he did not like JJ tubes but used them for repairs. I asked about that and again his reply was based simply on economics and the JJ tubes were cheap. As one of a few techs in the USA who can repair EAR equipment he is one of the people who reported to me the issue with JJ reliability. Jim McShane is another who has had issue with JJ's QC. So again, no projections on my part. I am just reporting what happened to me, and what I have been told. People are free to use the JJ tubes to their heart's content, and the best of luck to those folks. For me, the Gold Lion tubes are worth the extra money as I see them as a value; less money spent over the long haul as opposed to the JJ tubes which have cost me a fair penny in the original purchase of the tube(s) and repairs, shipping etc.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Portland, OR, US
Touché on the geography. Well put.

I was referring to my own projections, and human nature in general. A careful reading of my post will show that I clearly acknowledged the issues that others have had with JJ output tubes. But if you feel the necessity to restate your position, please go ahead. As I clearly said, “I am but a sample of one.”


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