What is your favorite tube type?


Active member
With so many tubes that do different things and have different sound profiles, what is your favorite? EL34s wonderful PRaT, KT88/6550s smooth and dimensional sound, lush mids of a 300B, detail of a 2A3 or the huge soundstage of an 845? I am curious which is your favorite. What do you like about it?


My exposure to tube amps is almost all EL34's.

However, I have heard other tubes such as the KT88 and one 300b.

In short, the EL34's personality fits between the two.

KT88's being powerful, 300b's being nunanced.

A more important aspect might be how long of a warm up time is required to get the best out of them. Thermal dynamics must be respected when living with tube amps.

I say this not so much as a tube owner, but as a guy that bought a phono cartriage that takes a whole LP being played to start making sweet sound.

It sucks having to play a warm up LP, but it gives the amps time to warm up too while I do the dishes in another room or something.


Active member
I have been surprised in the difference in warmup time between the PS Audio BHK and my Art Audio Conductor. There was no noticeable warmup time for the BHK, it takes a good 10-15 minutes with the Art Audio. Once warmer I like the Art Audio better but it is an interesting contrast.


I had to look those two preamps up, nice stuff.

Shows how out of the loop I am, as I still thought of PS Audio as a power line conditioner company. Honestly had no clue they got into tubes.

Yep, the smaller tubes of preamps warm up pretty quickly.

I do not leave my equipment on, as it makes the wife nervous. Plus she complains about the power bill. I do not listen because when I come home she has every TV in the house on full blast and every light too. She claims that she is doing work in the basement, kitchen and upstairs bedroom all at the same time.



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My wife likes to leave the lights on in the bedroom so she can see better on the stairs. Ignoring the fact that the stairs have their own circuit and light switch. Today, I came home to both sliding doors open and the air conditioning turned up because she said it was warm in the house. I wish she would complain about the electric bill. Of course, that is probably one of those, "be careful what you wish for, you might get it" things though.

PS Audio is adding speakers. At AXPONA, they were demoing Arnie Nudell's last speaker design. They were all the rage.


I did not know Arnie passed away, a great loss to the hobby.

I read this article, still enjoying the 1970 download in it.

From 2018 the last speakers (I think).

Back on topic: what I have been saying for the past 25 years or so is that tubes get the middle part of a note in full, while solid state gets the begining and end in full.

The best of tubes and solid state get the balance of begining, middle and end right. To some this sounds like tubes are blooming in the middle.


New member
I like 6L6 a lot, cleanest and most proper of all the pentodes.

Extensively listened to and owned amps that take tubes below:

Pentodes: 6F6/6V6/6L6/kt66/kt88/kt150 (And have tried many different brands and sub type variables for most)
Input tubes: 6922/2c51/12au7/12at7/6sn7/6sl7 (and many sub type variables for each)
DHT: 2a3/300b (never heard 45 tho)
Rectifiers: 5y3/274b/gz34(5ar4)/5u4 (and many sub type variables for each)

There's no really way I can pick what my favorite output tube is, between a pentode and DHT types, they are all so unique, and lend themselves to different strengths and weaknesses. I can say tho, I see why people traditionally love 2a3 tubes, it's an extremely even, FR extended, clean presentation.
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