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  • Western Electric Rectifers - The Holy Grail

    I have tried many rectifier tube variants in my phono stage...the Allnic H5000 DHT. It is amazing that changing this pair of tubes really influences the performance of the component. I have tried literally all of them from 5U4G (3 amp filament current) to the 5R4Gy's (2 amp filament current) GZ 32, 34, 37 by the likes of Mullard, Phillips and RCA. Both consumer and military JAN spec. I have always been curious about the very expensive Western Electric 422A (3 amp) and the 274B (2 amp).

    IME with this phono stage, I found the higher filament current tubes produce a more extended, dynamic presentation. Many of these tubes do certain things better than others. Some do bass better at the expense of rolled highs, other do the highs well but suffer in bloom and decay times (unnatural/truncated). Bass can range from bloated and soft to well controlled and tight. I have finally found a tube that is far and a way above the rest. The WE 422A. There are two types...Pre 1960 Grey Plates with a much larger bottom getter and the 1960 going forward Black plate. My first NOS pair is the 1960. It does everything well....natural sounding bloom and decay and a relatively flat, but fully extended throughout the range from low to high. The bass is rock solid, the mids are luscious and the highs sparkle. Just when I didn't think it could get any better, I ran into a pair of NOS 1954 422A's with the grey plates and bigger bottom getter. I received them yesterday and heard them for the first time last night. Even though they are not broken in, they seem to elevate the fidelity of the 1960 422A's I have been using for about 6 months. They are expensive. I paid $900 for the 1960 set and $1,250.00 for the 1954 set. They are worth it for a phono stage at this level. I implore all Allnic phono users to consider trying the WE 422A. The next best tube that probably gets you there 90% are the JAN RCA 1945 or earlier 5Y4GY with double bottom getters. They are much more affordable. For the best though, WE is it. Here are some pics comparing the two. The older 1954 tube are on the left, 1960 on the right.

    Note to Allnic H5000 DHT owners...early production used a resistor in the PS that would only allow 2 amp filament current. Using the 422A would blow the resistor. later builds used a more heavy duty resistor that allows the use of 3 amp filament current tubes like 5U4G and the 422A. For those that have the weaker resistor, the WE 274B would be your choice. The 274B is a more traditional looking tube and has a plate structure very similar to the 5R4GY RCA WW2 era double bottom getter tubes. The 422A is a completely unique plate structure design and looks nothing like the 5U4G's where it is a substitute for.
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/694525/dubs...rolling-thread
    Last edited by rockitman; 04-21-2016, 02:53 PM.
    Christian
    System Gear

  • #2
    Yes, you get what you paid for.

    Congrats.
    Hugh Nguyen
    ACA

    Comment


    • #3
      damn, and I thought my smooth plate telefunken 12ax7's NOS dual triodes were pricey.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
        damn, and I thought my smooth plate telefunken 12ax7's NOS dual triodes were pricey.
        Not by a long shot Sir.

        Any WE is expensive.
        Try the 211 or 845.
        Hugh Nguyen
        ACA

        Comment


        • #5
          interesting, isn't it? how a small change, plates and getters, in the power supply rectifier, can make such a big difference in the tube audio circuits. That's tube rollin' for ya.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rockitman View Post
            I have tried many rectifier tube variants in my phono stage...the Allnic H5000 DHT. It is amazing that changing this pair of tubes really influences the performance of the component. I have tried literally all of them from 5U4G (3 amp filament current) to the 5R4Gy's (2 amp filament current) GZ 32, 34, 37 by the likes of Mullard, Phillips and RCA. Both consumer and military JAN spec. I have always been curious about the very expensive Western Electric 422A (3 amp) and the 274B (2 amp).

            IME with this phono stage, I found the higher filament current tubes produce a more extended, dynamic presentation. Many of these tubes do certain things better than others. Some do bass better at the expense of rolled highs, other do the highs well but suffer in bloom and decay times (unnatural/truncated). Bass can range from bloated and soft to well controlled and tight. I have finally found a tube that is far and a way above the rest. The WE 422A. There are two types...Pre 1960 Grey Plates with a much larger bottom getter and the 1960 going forward Black plate. My first NOS pair is the 1960. It does everything well....natural sounding bloom and decay and a relatively flat, but fully extended throughout the range from low to high. The bass is rock solid, the mids are luscious and the highs sparkle. Just when I didn't think it could get any better, I ran into a pair of NOS 1954 422A's with the grey plates and bigger bottom getter. I received them yesterday and heard them for the first time last night. Even though they are not broken in, they seem to elevate the fidelity of the 1960 422A's I have been using for about 6 months. They are expensive. I paid $900 for the 1960 set and $1,250.00 for the 1954 set. They are worth it for a phono stage at this level. I implore all Allnic phono users to consider trying the WE 422A. The next best tube that probably gets you there 90% are the JAN RCA 1945 or earlier 5Y4GY with double bottom getters. They are much more affordable. For the best though, WE is it. Here are some pics comparing the two. The older 1954 tube are on the left, 1960 on the right.

            Note to Allnic H5000 DHT owners...early production used a resistor in the PS that would only allow 2 amp filament current. Using the 422A would blow the resistor. later builds used a more heavy duty resistor that allows the use of 3 amp filament current tubes like 5U4G and the 422A. For those that have the weaker resistor, the WE 274B would be your choice. The 274B is a more traditional looking tube and has a plate structure very similar to the 5R4GY RCA WW2 era double bottom getter tubes. The 422A is a completely unique plate structure design and looks nothing like the 5U4G's where it is a substitute for.
            http://www.head-fi.org/t/694525/dubs...rolling-thread
            Are you using WE tubes in the audio path also?
            Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

            Comment


            • #7
              You still paid less than singles of those tubes fetch these days, Christian.
              PS: that rectifier comparison you attached by DubStep Girl is pretty good, eh?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post

                Are you using WE tubes in the audio path also?
                No. Voltage regulation in the PS is handled by Takatsuki 300B's. Gain is handled by 1932 Marconi HL2K tunes for the first gain step, then two Kron 242 for the second and third gain stage for each channel. These tubes are a direct replacement for Telefunken R242 which are incredibly rare and difficult to find. There is no tube rolling for the gain stage unless you find a matched quad of the teles.
                Christian
                System Gear

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
                  You still paid less than singles of those tubes fetch these days, Christian.
                  PS: that rectifier comparison you attached by DubStep Girl is pretty good, eh?
                  Yes...that rectifier review was very helpful and seems to mirror my findings albeit on completely different equipment.
                  Christian
                  System Gear

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                    interesting, isn't it? how a small change, plates and getters, in the power supply rectifier, can make such a big difference in the tube audio circuits. That's tube rollin' for ya.
                    That's because the rectifier tube controls the "stiffness" of the power supply.

                    My buddy Charlie King/Stellavox wrote this a couple of years ago:

                    Yes there are a number of rectifiers like the 5R4, 5U4 and the 5AR4 that can be used interchangeably - kind of. However if you look at their specifications, you'll see that (when warmed up) they all have different VOLTAGE DROPS drops, which means that they have different effective internal resistances. I used this to my advantage when I designed the power supply for my Stereo 70; 6B4G "conversion" project a number of years back. The 6B4's can't withstand nearly the same B+ as an EL34, so I substituted a 5R4 instead of the stock rectifier (5AR4?) For the same output tube current draw, the 5R4 dropped 60 volts more than the 5AR4 and 20 volts more than a 5U4 (I guess you could say by comparison that a 5U4 would drop 40 volts more than a 5AR4.

                    Now the tube manufacturers didn't try to design a rectifier for a certain voltage drop but higher efficiency and greater voltage / current handling capability, so the more modern rectifiers did have a lower voltage drop, which if you think about it means that they can run "cooler" for the same current passing through it (extra voltage drop has to be dissipated as heat) - which would undoubtedly lead to much longer life. Also, the 5AR4 can pass a lot more current - overall a much more "robust" tube.

                    The less the voltage drop, the lower the internal resistance and the "stiffer" the power supply will be. I think this is why people may hear differences between rectifier tubes (nomenclatures).

                    Now the above doesn't deal with sonic attributes between DIFFERENT manufacturers of the SAME tube type. I never thought to try this - at the time I was too busy comparing 6B4's and (the) 6922 drivers. Gut feel is that any differences would be subtle - nowhere near the differences between manufacturers of the same nomenclature amplifying tubes.

                    Just did some on-line searching of tube characteristics and found that while the voltage withstand and current carrying capability of the 3 tubes are similar, the plate resistance of the 37 and AR4 is 75 ohms while the resistance for the U4 is close to 200 ohms and my lowly 5R4 is almost 300 ohms (these characteristics are either directly given or can be calculated by using Ohm's law and dividing the given voltage drop by the given current that produces that drop). Now the "stiffness" of the power supply is determined by the sum of the transformer secondary and the rectifier resistance, with the lower total the better. To get an idea of transformer resistances, I just measured a few small power transformer secondary resistances and got 100 to 200 ohms (I'll bet that a larger transformer resistance could be down to 50 to 75 ohms). SO you can see how the rectifier resistance could play a big part in the "stiffness" and perceived sound. Of course the stiffness is also determined by the amount of filter capacitance in the "smoothing" circuit.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi EVO phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rockitman View Post
                      I have tried many rectifier tube variants in my phono stage...the Allnic H5000 DHT. It is amazing that changing this pair of tubes really influences the performance of the component. I have tried literally all of them from 5U4G (3 amp filament current) to the 5R4Gy's (2 amp filament current) GZ 32, 34, 37 by the likes of Mullard, Phillips and RCA. Both consumer and military JAN spec. I have always been curious about the very expensive Western Electric 422A (3 amp) and the 274B (2 amp).

                      IME with this phono stage, I found the higher filament current tubes produce a more extended, dynamic presentation. Many of these tubes do certain things better than others. Some do bass better at the expense of rolled highs, other do the highs well but suffer in bloom and decay times (unnatural/truncated). Bass can range from bloated and soft to well controlled and tight. I have finally found a tube that is far and a way above the rest. The WE 422A. There are two types...Pre 1960 Grey Plates with a much larger bottom getter and the 1960 going forward Black plate. My first NOS pair is the 1960. It does everything well....natural sounding bloom and decay and a relatively flat, but fully extended throughout the range from low to high. The bass is rock solid, the mids are luscious and the highs sparkle. Just when I didn't think it could get any better, I ran into a pair of NOS 1954 422A's with the grey plates and bigger bottom getter. I received them yesterday and heard them for the first time last night. Even though they are not broken in, they seem to elevate the fidelity of the 1960 422A's I have been using for about 6 months. They are expensive. I paid $900 for the 1960 set and $1,250.00 for the 1954 set. They are worth it for a phono stage at this level. I implore all Allnic phono users to consider trying the WE 422A. The next best tube that probably gets you there 90% are the JAN RCA 1945 or earlier 5Y4GY with double bottom getters. They are much more affordable. For the best though, WE is it. Here are some pics comparing the two. The older 1954 tube are on the left, 1960 on the right.

                      Note to Allnic H5000 DHT owners...early production used a resistor in the PS that would only allow 2 amp filament current. Using the 422A would blow the resistor. later builds used a more heavy duty resistor that allows the use of 3 amp filament current tubes like 5U4G and the 422A. For those that have the weaker resistor, the WE 274B would be your choice. The 274B is a more traditional looking tube and has a plate structure very similar to the 5R4GY RCA WW2 era double bottom getter tubes. The 422A is a completely unique plate structure design and looks nothing like the 5U4G's where it is a substitute for.
                      http://www.head-fi.org/t/694525/dubs...rolling-thread
                      Thanks for the info and link Christian! I think Albert has liked and used some variant of #2 in his Allnic phonostage.

                      I thought it curious that the author liked tube #18 very much but rated it so low? It would seem #18 would be a good choice for those not wanting to hunt and plunk down the money for the WE or U52s.

                      Of course the evaluation was done listening with headphones; using an audio system looks at a somewhat different set of criteria. Did you find any different say in soundstaging or other things that weren't mentioned in the article?
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi EVO phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree the RCA CRC 5R4GY with twin "D" bottom getters at 45 degree angles to each other, only made in 1944 & 1945 is a best buy.
                        I believe the WE 422A is actually a fancy GZ-34 and not a 5U4-G direct substitute.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dr.Ears View Post
                          I agree the RCA CRC 5R4GY with twin "D" bottom getters at 45 degree angles to each other, only made in 1944 & 1945 is a best buy.
                          I believe the WE 422A is actually a fancy GZ-34 and not a 5U4-G direct substitute.
                          Not sure...they are up there BUT the double mica with ceramic spacer Certron/Haltron/Zaerix/Fivre/Brimar/CIE/ 54rGY is a killer and the non Fivre/Brimar labels are dirt cheap, less than $30 on EBay.

                          Comment


                          • Dr.Ears
                            Dr.Ears commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I like the above tube better than the WE 274B, the WE 422A is very forward & dynamic , but at the price of quicker listening fatigue, the sweet warmth of the Holland made, metal based GZ-34 allows long listening periods, which I prefer, except during critical listening sessions.

                        • #14
                          I have boxes of recto tubes all
                          ylu have and many more. For me the 422 is not good or closes the staging
                          the 274B is better for me.
                          You can try s tube but needs an adaptor it's us Air Force 596
                          its not great in my lampi but in woo Amps it's fantastic
                          tak makes them and there new I have them too. I also have them in pre 1960 and 1960
                          of the letters are yellow it's newer
                          also try Kron 5u4g and 274b. As for recti they are hands down the most quit tubes I have. Both recti and power
                          they have a very low vacuum sopposedly.
                          I own them all.
                          Now let me suggest something a cheap solid state recti
                          they are only 30 each many brands they sound the same to me.
                          What it sounds like for one Myles I think nailed it recti voltage sag cures blooming bass and non linarities too.
                          A solid state recti will yield the best detailed bass and impactful not over powering.
                          Its tone is not warm Nor fuzzy but is not tubby meaning it's sharper but very detailed but not as lush. Perhaps it's right but we like the colors.
                          Good luck in your search oh if you live in the states woo audio sells tak tubes. In stock.
                          Lampizator or NORMAN can help you find a Kron tubes.
                          The tak 300 B is not a fav for me. I cannot nail it but there is something odd in the upper mids. Some love them some hate them. I hope my ramblings help and please don't take my comments as rude it's just honesty and I do own all of those tubes and have taken the time to test them. The airforce is cheap about 80 but needs an 30 adaptor.
                          Recti do effect two things besides the sound
                          one is staging how high or wide
                          the second is where you sit for the performance it moves you forward or back. Imagine as you go back the staging opens up past the speakers
                          enjoy the hunt for the illusive sound you seek.
                          analog stuff.
                          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                          Dacs lampi various

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I agree the RCA CRC 5R4GY with twin "D" bottom getters at 45 degree angles to each other, only made in 1944 & 1945 is a best buy.
                            I believe the WE 422A is actually a fancy GZ-34 and not a 5U4-G direct substitute.

                            Comment

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