In the past couple of weeks, I rolled a lot of tubes from the 6as7 family. That was quite a lot of fun, although I have to admit that rolling power tubes is not as much fun as rolling preamp tubes – the darn things are hot as hell (at least some of them).
All the reviews of the tubes have been posted on this site and here is the summary (since the number of choices is limited, I can actually do the summary – try doing the same with 12ax7 🙂 )
- Tung-Sol 5998 – very relaxed, very deeeeeep. very smooth. The reference tube – great for instrumental and vocals.
- Cetron 7236 – very close to 5998 at a fraction of the cost (~$20). It’s not as relaxed, but at the same time more dynamic – the bass is very tight – great for rock.
Sylvania Gold Brand 6080 – very liquid tube, you just want to continue listening. The price is unbelievable – $9 a tube!
- Bendix 6080 – very dynamic, very detailed – superb performance during complex passages, separates instruments like no other. The best overall tube and would work everywhere.
- Svetlana 6H13C – great mid-bass and very dynamic and detailed. Bass extension is OK. Would work great for pop.
- Raytheon 6080 – very dry, very tight. Good overall balance, but doesn’t shine in any one area.
So here you go, based on the music you listen to the most, you can choose the best tube, but you can also get all of them and switch 🙂