LIVE YOUNG DIRECTLY HEATED TRIODES
Another Tale of Dr. Tubenstein...
I have just come back from two days in Stamford General Hospital.....I was recuperating from nervous and physical exhaustion....every 30 minutes I was changing combinations of tubes...changing voltage and current, changing tube combinations...and then changing and listening, and then changing and listening...my ears started to twitch, my eyes started to twitch...every time I changed combinations of tubes for my tweeter amps and woofer amps I would adjust the relative levels on the Marchand tube crossover and then I started to change coupling caps, and then I started to change the power supplies......Did I fine the Tonal Wholey Grail?
I finally had to call 911 to be taken away, because the African masks on my wall were jiving me so bad I started to cry....
I made a New Years resolution...I will not change tubes more than ten times a day...thats my limit...and it is not easy.
Many of you young men may not understand this thermionic mania, so let me give you a more mundane example.....
In your living room lined up are the worlds most beautiful supermodels...and they are ready, willing and able to do anything you want in any combination...and your sexual energy is unlimited. Would you go to work? Would you watch the NFL game of the week on television? Would you go bass fishing, or work on your hot rod?
There...can you see them lined up in my living room...the best of KR: 300BXL (2 versions), 2A3, and the totally amazing PX25... AVVT: 300BSL and mesh filament 2A3 and the mind blowing mesh filament AV8, Western Electric 300Bs, the new Sovtek 2A3s, the JJ Tesla, Sovtek, Svetlana 300Bs....and my eye twitch is coming back...and remember my new "amplifier system" lets me use any of these tubes in any position because I can adjust filament voltage for 5, 4, or 2.5 volts...am I in danger of becoming just like Howard Hughes...a tube recluse?
DR. TUBENSTEIN: THE CREATOR OF MONSTER TUBES
In his castles operating room the mad Dr. Tubenstein is taking the arms and legs of one tube, the torso of another, the head of another and grafting them together...and creating new forms of tube life....
That is what it feels like, and nothing feels better than being a mad tube scientist, and as far as I can detect none of the tubemeisters have fallen into this abyss yet, but they are pushing us towards the edge...this is the thermionic imperative...and it makes a great deal of sense, because it takes the issues of tube aesthetics to a much higher, and more insanely ecstasy level.
A big ball of green phlegm in the eye to those who debate the lower level issues of 300B versus 2A3. The real question is what combination of types and brands should I combine to create exactly the harmonic/space/time continuum of tonal whole-osity that puts me into my ultimate state of musical ecstasy.
Stop whining and complain about the limitation of any one tube...it is a fact of life and thermionics that no one or tube is perfect...thank God...but that is not a limitation...it is the beginning of the most creative process in the audio arts....and not everyone has the skills or talent to play this game.
GIZMOLOGICAL JOGULATION #: 3,456
Everything has a price...as you know, and when you use higher powered DHTs you loose the midrange and higher frequency magic that is created my smaller, simpler tubes. I suggest that when tubes become higher powered they become more massive mechanically because they have to dissipate for energy, and must be stronger. The good news is that these higher powered tubes are a major thrill from 1 kilohertz down...and no low powered tube can equality the expansive and dynamic character of these tubes. The bad news is that you pay the piper in terms of refinement.
How much power do you need above 1 kilohertz? Even in a "normal" dysfunctional low efficiency speaker it is not more than a few watts....so you are beginning to get the message....BUT DO NOT STRAY FAR FROM THE PATH....no solid state push/pull amplifiers are on the woofers with SET DHTs on the woofer....forget about it...I wouldnt even suggest "normal" push/pull tube amplifiers on your woofers....go the full SET route...even if you are not using a tube crossover, and are just doing the bi-wire trip.
THE CLASH OF THE TITANS OF THERMIONIC BEAUTY
I dont know and I dont care about the details about the feud that caused Riccardo Kron and Alesa Vaic to split, but I think The Great Music Spirit was Involved...and it was the best thing that ever happened...for us...and I dont know, based on the tubes they create, how they ever worked together.
These two masters have a completely different view of beauty, and we are benefiting from this divergence. I can imagine how this caused conflict. You cant have two directors working on one film, especially when their views about art are so different.
Those of you who want to know whose tubes I prefer will have to stay after class and write ten thousand times on the head of a pin.....GOD DECREED THAT MAN SHOULD BE POLYGAMOUS.
Let me remind you once again that with my amplifier system I can change tube combinations in the same amount of time it takes you to change your CD, and by now I know exactly what combo makes each of my vinyl and CD the juiciest. I have finally arrived back at the time twenty years ago when I did the same thing with phono cartridges.
But you are my bro and let me give you this insight....
The AVVT tubes are the clearest most precise tubes I have ever experienced. They are so clear I can hear the cottage cheese stuck in between Mistla Rostopovichs teeth when he smiles as he plays Bach. The nuances of musical shadows are revealed in such a way that the overtones and spatial characteristic of every note is revealed, and these tubes show no mercy...you had better have your audio shit together...or you will start blaming these tubes for faults in your system.
In the arts this is the best example of the angelic spirit...the ethereal...the yearling fro the most subtle clarity. Only a extremely precise mind could create such devices, and Alesa Vaic must be an extremely demanding man. The voice I heard with his directly heated triodes may be the voice that announces that it time for me to pack up my soldering iron for my ascension to Triode Heaven.
As it always the case...as the power goes down the power of mystery goes up...ASCEND TO MICROPOWER still rules. Even though the AV 8 are designed as output tubes....they are capable of a pristine quality that is an artistic imperative for an important class of music....harpsichord and guitar.
Want a revolutionary new view of rock and roll? The combination of AV2A3 on the tweeters and 300BSL on woofers will definitely hurtle you into the Nth Dimension of Music HyperSpace.
KR 2A3, PX 25
The KR PX 25 is almost completely unknown in America, but it is a femme fatale in Japan and Europe because the original PX 25 was Europes 300B. Beside being physically one of the most beautiful directly heated triodes, this tube has one of the most charismatic personalities if used properly.
All of the KR tubes have a big rich warm vibrant sound. Riccardo loves power, and no tubes beat his tubes in bass response including the 2A3...except the PX 25. This is a tube that comes alive at 40ma at 275-300 volts at 1 kilohertz and above, and is the perfect lover for either the KR 2A3 or 300BXL on woofer. This tube requires 4 volt filament and 2.5 amps
of filament current. While this tube could not be more opposite the AV 2A3 in tonal character...they are the key to realize the ultimate upper harmonic beauty that is so essential in music. The PX 25 is more forgiving than the AV 2A3 or AV 8.
And yes...when used rig the KR 2A3 has all of the magic you expect from this genre of tube, and again I think it is related to how simple the mechanical construction of this tube is...compared to all other KR tubes.
In my previous article....Dr. Kron Throws Gizmo a Birthday Party...I express my feelings about the rich, warm sensuality of these tubes, and I havent changed my mind....these are perfect tubes for music hedonists who dont want to worry about the annoying sound of mediocre CD recordings.
Can you imagine Riccardo and Alesa doing the tango? That probably wont happen in this life time, but it is happening in my living room when I ever demand a command performance...like right now as I am writing this passage. The real fun is that you can mix your AVVT and KR tubes and join the Dr. Frankenstein Tango Dance Club...and yes it works if you do it right, and my previous articles describes how to do that...and I love the combination of PX25/AV 300BSL, AV 2A3/KR 300BXL....the rest is up to your imagination....just let your imagination go wild.
WESTERN ELECTRIC 300BS
Listening to four SET amplifiers all with Western Electric 300Bs is a thrill. I stand up salute the flag, and feel it is great to be an American. Yes, the Western Electric sound is completely unique...it is open, airy, delicate, and has just the right amount of softness to make these tubes enjoyable with digital audio. The fact that this sound potential existed in 1938 is positively mind bending...."What happened to audio progress for sixty years?"
And yes, why not Western Electric 300Bs with all of the other tubes I mentioned...on the woofers.
Using these tube is the same thrill of driving around in a perfectly restored 1948 Woody Station Wagon, or a perfectly restore 1956 Harley-Davidson Electro-Glide...it is completely unique....but it is not the path of ultimate tonal whole-osity.
On the other hand there is a reason that this tube started the modern tube revolution, and the best and only way to know its magic is using it the way I use it...speakers without crossovers that much up its classic beauty.