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Willsenton R8 Owners Thread


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12 hours ago, Zed Zed said:

 

Swapping KT88 to EL34 was, for me, a significant difference with the KT88 sounding more 'hifi' and the EL34 sounding more 'music'. Bear in mind my musical tastes. KT88 had more (and maybe 'better') bass and a more forward midrange than the EL34. EL34 has a smoother midrange and a top end which I personally find more pleasing to my ears.

 

Swapping the Willsenton 6SL7 for the Melz NOS 6SL7 was as significant as swapping the power tubes, maybe more significant. The differences I hear between the KT88 and the EL34 are more a matter of preference, personal taste or dependent on the kind of content one likes. IOW, they are (significantly) 'different' but it would be hard to argue that one is 'better' than the other. However, with the change from the stock 6SL7 to the Melz, I would characterise the difference as both 'different AND better'. Pretty much every important metric is handled better by the Melz than the stock 6SL7 tubes - bass, soundstage, imaging, air, sparkle, smooth midrange and so on are all, IMO, markedly superior.

 

The change from EH 6CA7 Fat Boy to the modern Tung Sol 34B was less significant to my ears than the changes described above. In some ways, the EH 6CA7 Fat Boy was 'between' the characteristics of the KT88 and those of the EL34. Again, I would say that both are good and the change is more of preference than anything else. It just depends on the kind of music, the sound you like, the rest of the system and so on.

 

I could live happily with the TS EL34B, the Melz NOS 6SL7, the Tung Sol 6C8G, the EH 6CA7 Fat Boy -- they are all different but all pleasing in their own ways. HST, I could not live with the stick Willsenston 6SL7 as the sound was just not pleasing and not balanced.

 

The fun, of course, as you of all people know, is in the way that using different tubes allows us to fine tune the sound the amp produces. To me, a diehard SS guy for decades, this is almost magical.

 

I am very much looking forward to receiving my vintage Svetlana Winged C tubes and seeing how they compare with the modern Tung Sol EL34Bs. Please don't take my comments in earlier posts as indicating that I believe the power tubes do not significantly add to the character of the sound, because I didn't say that and I don't believe it. What I said was that, IMO, the preamp tubes are the more important to roll first because the power tubes can only work with what is delivered to them. Both preamp tubes and power tubes are important. The source is always the single most significant component to change IMO, whether it be a preamp tube, a cartridge or a DAC. But that's just my view, based on my experiences over the years - others may well disagree :) 

"change from the stock 6SL7 to the Melz, I would characterise the difference as both 'different AND better'. Pretty much every important metric is handled better by the Melz than the stock 6SL7 tubes - bass, soundstage, imaging, air, sparkle, smooth midrange and so on are all, IMO, markedly superior"

 

I agree with what you have said here. Being mil spec I think a close matched pair and the quality binning for them I think makes the difference. When I swapped back in the ones the R8 came with I noticed it felt a little flat and uneven. I am not sure the factory ones are a close match but do the job. They still sound great but you get a significant bump that brings a smile when you put in the Melz as you mentioned above. I have a set of vintage RCA 6SN7 GTB on their way to see if that makes a difference. If not that's ok as they are a very close matched pair. For my tastes I will look into either 6550 or golden lion KT88s down the road. At the moment for my music tastes I am happy with stock KT88. I like a little extra tube bass. :) 

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I am not an expert on tube amp like many on this forum however writing this blog to help those who are thinking of buying Willsenton R8 or those who owns it and want to know bit more about it. I am no

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It came!!     ??????   Ordered November 22nd.  Arrived January 26th, by ocean.  (I was too cheap to pay the airfreight)    Off we go!  

14 hours ago, Zed Zed said:

 

I may print that out and stick it to my R8 ;) 

 

But you know . . . 300B tubes . . . you read about them? Hmm . . . 

 

Seriously, I love this R8. It has been a real eye-opener and game-changer for me. And to all the guys in this thread who have helped me and tolerated my endless questions - thank you!!

Oh yeah those 300B's do sing seductively...just think of it as another tube roll...awaiting discovery! :) 

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9 hours ago, Detroiter in the South said:

Wow, changed all the fronts with vintage tubes and amazing.  $4k amp sent to me by mistake, I do believe....

 

Good to hear. Care to share details of the vintage tubes you used?

 

Agree with your comment about the value for money with this amp. It makes me wonder exactly what you do get if you actually pay 4 grand for a tube amp? The tubes themselves don't really count because we can change those for anything we like. So what else makes up the additional cost and also has an impact on the sound?  The transformers are a vital component I guess, but it seems that those in the R8 are pretty good, so what would one get that is better and costs thousands of dollars more? Same with capacitors -- some say they have a major impact on the sound, but would they add up to all those extra dollars? As for things that cost money but don't affect the sound, for example, the quality of the case, packaging, warranty etc -- how much better are the 4 grand amps?  I am asking, not suggesting, because I don't know. What I do know is that I can't really believe that I go so much amp for under a grand (including taxes and shipping).

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23 minutes ago, muon* said:

Well, you will only know what the difference high quality transformers and capacitors....or resistors or anything else make by experiencing them, you have likely read what other say, or can read them all over the internet..

 

Yes, I have read that people say they can make a big difference. The question wasn't about the difference they make -- it was about the cost of providing the difference. Would the transformers in a $4,000 amplifier cost the additional $3,000 compared with the R8?  I don't know what transformers cost so the answer may be that they cost thousands, and this would then explain the difference. But if the transformers in the 4 grand amp only cost an additional 500 dollars, then it wouldn't explain the difference.

 

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Then there is implementation and design and execution.

 

Implementation costs will vary widely depending on place of manufacture, but the wage paid to the implementer isn't likely to affect the sound quality of the end product, unless it is badly made. The R8 isn't badly made so we can probably rule that one out. I am not sure how to quantify the design element. Execution is again dependent on who and where the product is made. Also, labour costs don't increase in proportion (or at all in fact) with the raw component cost, so can be disregarded: it costs no more to solder in a $1 resistor than it costs to solder in a $10 resistor.

 

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Warranty can be very valuable if something goes wrong.

 

Yes, this is true, but the provision of warranty shouldn't be a massive cost to the manufacturer unless they make a poor quality product. In most cases the warranty costs per unit will be zero since most products won't require any warranty work. I have to say I am none the nearer to understanding where the extra 3 grand is going. 

 

EDIT:

 

I would speculate that labour costs are a significant part of the total cost of making a tube amp (just based on looking inside them). So any amp made in the West will automatically cost more than one made in China. But there is no significant evidence I have seen that concludes that products made well in the West exceed the quality of those made well in the East, so the biggest chunk of the difference in end-user price just goes into the pockets of the Western workers, and has no impact on the sound the amp makes. If we compare like with like (let's say made-in-China only) then something still has to explain the difference in price between a £1,000 product and one costing four times as much.

 

Of course, in economic theory, the end price of any product is "what the market will bear" and has no relevance to the cost of manufacturing. For example, if I am so useless that it costs me 20 bucks to make a pencil, I can't sell the pencil for 22 bucks. A pencil costs the user 25c and that's what the market will bear. The way around it is generally 'brand' (which is why Apple can sell a product that costs less than 50 bucks to make (iPhone) for 800 bucks). There are other reasons as well, but brand value is the biggie. So maybe the R8 costs a grand because WIllsenton has no brand value and maybe the Prima Luna costs several times as much because it does? Unless someone can point to the additional cost of components that directly affect the sound and say "hey, these parts cost x thousand bucks".

 

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Hello again everyone, so here's the latest update regarding the R8 I ordered and paid for on June 4th. Initially I was told the amplifier would take 5-10 days to ship out because I requested an all black version. Yesterday (18th June) I e-mailed Yong Lee asking for the latest news etc....I received an e-mail overnight from Yong "We sent the package to my shipping agent yesterday.

Today, it arrived my shipping agent.
But it is weekend these 2 days, the shipping agent don't work at the weekend.
The package will go to you on Monday, thanks for waiting".
 
He also attached two photographs of the box, one showing my correct address attached to the box and showing 230v UK version. The other picture I have copied/pasted below. So far so good. I'll put up another post when the amplifier arrives at my front door with a timescale of how long it took to arrive from China via Air Mail.
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12 minutes ago, muon* said:

You can easily pay from 1k to 3k+ for a pair of output transformers.

 

That's the sort of info I am after - thanks!  So these amps that cost 4 times the price of the R8 will have transformers approaching those cost levels I assume. In that case, that would explain it. But it leaves me wondering why they don't big that up a lot more in their marketing, or at least when briefing their reviewers. I'd go for that - "hey, just the transformers in this amp cost 3 thousand dollars buddy - that's why the amp sounds so amazing!"  Of course, I am also assuming that a 4 grand transformer sounds so much more amazing than a 1 grand transformer, but that's a whole different debate :) 

 

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Can't expect the level of Hashimoto or Tango in something like an R8 or any other amp priced similar. Look an Audio Note, in their higher end transformers they are wound using pure silver wire! cha-ching!

 

Yes that would certainly cost a lot more! But then it would cost a lot more if I gold-plated the chassis ;)  Not sure if it would sound all that much better :) But I bet I could persuade somebody it did LOL. (Just kidding).

 

 

Quote

 

As for being worth it, well I find high end capacitors and resistors worthwhile, but I had to settle for Duelund Alaxander Copper caps for coupling in my amp as that was as much as I could afford at the time.

I have paid near 20 bucks a piece for some resistors and don't regret it.


Fair enough. That is what I was asking about. And you can readily hear an uptick in SQ each time you change to one of these high-end components? For example, if I crept into your house in the night and switched your 20 bucks resistors out for 1 buck resistors, in the morning you'd fire up the amp and notice the difference in SQ? If so, then that is amazing, and warrants the extra price.

 

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8 minutes ago, limey said:

Hello again everyone, so here's the latest update regarding the R8 I ordered and paid for on June 4th. Initially I was told the amplifier would take 5-10 days to ship out because I requested an all black version. Yesterday (18th June) I e-mailed Yong Lee asking for the latest news etc....I received an e-mail overnight from Yong "We sent the package to my shipping agent yesterday.

Today, it arrived my shipping agent.
But it is weekend these 2 days, the shipping agent don't work at the weekend.
The package will go to you on Monday, thanks for waiting".
 
He also attached two photographs of the box, one showing my correct address attached to the box and showing 230v UK version. The other picture I have copied/pasted below. So far so good. I'll put up another post when the amplifier arrives at my front door with a timescale of how long it took to arrive from China via Air Mail.
Image preview

 

 

Sounding good so far!  The image didn't show up here BTW. 

 

Mine took about 6 weeks from order to receipt - ordered late December, received early February. The really, really good news is that I never got a bill for duty/taxes! I often find that stuff slips through -- fingers crossed this happens for you too.  MIne arrived during a lot of Brexit confusion etc at the beginning of the year, so maybe that explains it. Usually if the box is big and heavy, they notice it ;) 

 

When it arrives, be careful when you remove it from the box. I gripped mine at the halfway points and lifted it, ignoring, or forgetting, that all the weight is at the back where the transformers are. When it cleared the box, it almost got away from me as it rotated towards the back. Fortunately I am fairly strong and managed to get hold of it before it fell onto the hard floor where I was unboxing it. Imagine waiting 6 weeks and then dropping the ****** onto a tiled floor!

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1 hour ago, muon* said:

It's also not a matter of bunging in expensive parts either, you need to know what sounds like what and what a certain combination sounds like, when aiming for what you want as a result.

 

Yes that is definitely true - the 'synergy' thing. But isn't that the amp designer's job? I'm not really talking about people like you and Kirk, who have the capability to design and make your own stuff, more about off-the-shelf amps that anyone can go out and buy. I am 100% behind the idea that combinations of parts make up a whole that exceeds the sum of the individual parts. But that knowledge doesn't have a direct bearing on the cost of making the amp.

 

Quote

 

I used Shinkoh resistors in some places in my amp, would I have picked naked vishay's that cost $25 each or so instead? no...they can't handle the power and they are not what I needed for the result I was aiming for. For some other places I used Allan Bradley resistors and they cost me about 1 or 2 bucks each, and I chose them for their sound, just as I did for the more expensive Shinkoh's.

 

I respect and admire your knowledge of these things but I'm not sure we are discussing the same topic. If you, or someone, could point to the cost of the components inside the R8 and then compare them to the cost of similar components in a 4 grand amp, then I would see why one amp costs 4 times the other. 

 

I looked at the Prima Luna EVO 300 for example. Upscale Audio sells this for a dollar under 4 grand. That automatically means it is a 2 grand amp with a 2 grand markup, so I am not sure we shouldn't be looking at one of Upscale Audio's 8 grand amps for this purpose, but set that aside for now. BTW, I am not suggesting that Upscale Audio are somehow being unfair with their markup -- they have big overheads to feed and offer a service that costs real money. I am just saying we aren't really comparing apples and apples here since the R8 is bought more or less direct from its maker (with all the potential problems that entails).

 

This is Upscale Audio's product page for the EVO 300:

 

 https://upscaleaudio.com/collections/primaluna/products/primaluna-evo-300-tube-integrated-amp

 

There's nothing there I can see that helps me out. It is all pure marketing-speak (disclosure: All my life I have worked in advertising, so I know a good pitch when I see it). Kevin is a supreme sales guy and could, I am sure, sell sand to Arabs. The page purports to explain why their transformers are better than others, but in reality, the link wanders off right into a pure marketing pitch and tells me nothing that helps me. A big part of the pitch is that they make their own transformers not buying them in from elsewhere, as though this is somehow a guarantee of quality. In truth, it's just marketing BS, as we all here know. They say:

 

"Transformers are the most expensive components in an amplifier, so manufacturers save money by using ‘off the shelf’ units

available on the market. PrimaLuna output transformers are custom-designed, wound in-house, and massive.

One reason why no other brand sounds like a PrimaLuna."

 

There are so many things wrong about that statement that it's hard to know where to begin. For one thing, manufacturers might actually pay more by buying-in components -- it's just an unsupported assumption that they are paying less. It also links price directly with quality, which is nonsense. Then they go on to somehow link in-house winding with superiority. Well, that depends on how good your in-house department is. It's not a stretch to believe that specialist transformer companies, which do nothing but make transformers, might actually do it better than an in-house generalist. And finally, they make a lovely non-sequitur conclusion that what they just said 'explains' why Prima Luna amps sound better. C'mon guys - I did this for a living for decades and we all know it's BS.

 

Here's a side-by-side picture of the R8 and the EVO 300. The EVO 300 has more 'bits' inside it for sure, but I am not knowledgeable enough to know how important all the extra bits are. or not. The R8 seems to work just fine with fewer parts and I have always believed that the fewer components in the audio chain, the better (from a sonic perspective). It may be that a lot of the extra components are 'features' that don't directly impact the SQ, but here I am just talking about SQ. I don't care if the EVO has an LED that tells me something about the tube life, for example or that the remote is made from some sort of special alloy.

 

2021-06-19_14-44-49.thumb.png.08032bba12eb17b7f01b79a60cec86b1.png

 

I know this may be an impossible ask, but using your considerable knowledge and experience of tube amps, is there anything you see in the EVO pic that would make you believe it costs three thousand dollars more than the R8? That is a lot of dollars! Remember, I am just interested in how the amp sounds, not in whether it will last for 30 years compared with the R8's 15 years (or whatever, if that is even true).

 

What I'd like to see is some measurements of both amps, but I can't find any that give me the info I need. Upscale Audio say that the EVO 300's toroidal power transformer "reduces noise". Well, OK -- noise is measurable, so let's see how much noise is reduced and whether the noise was audible to begin with. They say their circuitry "reduces distortion by 50%". That is a huge claim -- well, again, distortion is easily measurable, but Upscale provides no measurements, just their claim. What I need to see is a comparison of that distortion, showing whether it is going to audibly impact the sound (I am not interested in reducing inaudible distortion, obviously) and set that against the distortion figures for an amp like the R8. If they can show superiority where it counts, I am in.

 

I am always suspicious when sellers make unsubstantiated claims about things which can be easily measured. If noise really is significantly reduced, then to know that, you must have measured it, so let's see the measurements. Heck, they have to already exist, so why keep them a secret when the result is a major reason to pay the extra bucks?

 

You know what -- when anyone makes claims like this, having had to measure to know, and then they won't show you the results of the measurements, my BS Detector Circuits go right into overdrive :) 

 

Any light you can shed is greatly appreciated.

 

 

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Oh, BTW, I am not suggesting that the EVO 300 isn't a really good amp. I don't know if it is or isn't. I am just trying to find out why it costs 4 times the R8.

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3 minutes ago, muon* said:

Let it go zed, you are happy with the R8, you don't need to compare it to other amps on the internet to be happy with it.

 

That is absolutely true Ian. I am happy with it -- very happy with it. But I am uncontrollably curious also. Either there are good reasons why some amps cost multiples of others, or it's all just marketing. Knowing which is which can be really valuable. Problem is, sorting the wheat from the chaff requires knowledge I don't have. I am trying to acquire that knowledge but I started late and will never catch up with, for example, you or Kirk. So what I do is pick your brains :) I apologise for that -- you have no obligation to educate me, or even listen to me, but just know that when you do, it is mightily appreciated.

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I can say that my PL Dialogue Premium (an EVO 200 equivalent) sits on the floor while the R8 rocks away.  It was thoroughly stomped and moved out of the way the moment the Willsenton warmed up.   It also crushed a custom Aric Audio Transcend.

 

Vintage Sylvanias in front, Gold Lion KT88s in back.  Magic.  CDs sound like vinyl, vinyl sounds like musicians in the room.  Just a little more bass and I will be done here. 

 

Loki before sub, cheapest way to find out.  

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37 minutes ago, Detroiter in the South said:

Just a little more bass and I will be done here. 

 

Bias your GL KT88's up and you'll get the bass. Also, please share some close up photos. of the front end of the R8. Sylvania made dozens and dozens of different types of 6SL7 and 6SN7 octals.

 

Edit: I can see exactly where the R8 out performs the PrimaLuna and Aric Audio in circuit design topology. Number one: the octal front end is extremely robust in feeding the power tube section. Number two: the inclusion of manual bias to dial in the right plate currents. Everything else looks identical in design topology with all 3 brands mass produced in the same country of manufacture.

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@Zed Zed Please share a video of one of your favourite tracks here so we can have a listen of what your system sounds like.

 

Edit: Here is one of my setups in action in August 2017:

 

Watch "Sheffield Lab Drum Record" on YouTube
https://youtu.be/fLiABHa2iX8

Edited by xlr8or
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4 hours ago, Zed Zed said:

 

 

 

Sounding good so far!  The image didn't show up here BTW. 

 

Mine took about 6 weeks from order to receipt - ordered late December, received early February. The really, really good news is that I never got a bill for duty/taxes! I often find that stuff slips through -- fingers crossed this happens for you too.  MIne arrived during a lot of Brexit confusion etc at the beginning of the year, so maybe that explains it. Usually if the box is big and heavy, they notice it ;) 

 

When it arrives, be careful when you remove it from the box. I gripped mine at the halfway points and lifted it, ignoring, or forgetting, that all the weight is at the back where the transformers are. When it cleared the box, it almost got away from me as it rotated towards the back. Fortunately I am fairly strong and managed to get hold of it before it fell onto the hard floor where I was unboxing it. Imagine waiting 6 weeks and then dropping the ****** onto a tiled floor!

 

R8.jpg

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26 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

Bias your GL KT88's up and you'll get the bass. Also, please share some close up photos. of the front end of the R8. Sylvania made dozens and dozens of different types of 6SL7 and 6SN7 octals.

Sounds like a neat trick.  How far up the meter can you take them?  Will shorten their lives?

 

My front tubes came from the vintage tube guy on Youtube. 

 

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Hopefully the picture of the box has uploaded now (for any prospective purchasers that might be interested).

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36 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

Bias your GL KT88's up and you'll get the bass. Also, please share some close up photos. of the front end of the R8. Sylvania made dozens and dozens of different types of 6SL7 and 6SN7 octals.

 

Edit: I can see exactly where the R8 out performs the PrimaLuna and Aric Audio in circuit design topology. Number one: the octal front end is extremely robust in feeding the power tube section. Number two: the inclusion of manual bias to dial in the right plate currents. Everything else looks identical in design topology with all 3 brands mass produced in the same country of manufacture.

 

Well, not having the authority which comes from superior knowledge, I didn't want to draw any conclusions from my earlier questions. But now we have the word from someone who owns both a PL and an R8, and we have your knowledge which provides such valuable insights. And the conclusion seems to be that the extra $$$s spent do not necessarily bring sonic superiority, which is what I thought might be the case.  If the R8 had the same marketing and distribution, I'd expect it would actually be the 4 grand amp that kicked off this discussion.

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13 minutes ago, Detroiter in the South said:

Sounds like a neat trick.  How far up the meter can you take them?  Will shorten their lives?

 

My front tubes came from the vintage tube guy on Youtube. 

 

 

Yep - the KT88 is under biased. If you read back here you'll see how you can do it.

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38 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

@Zed Zed Please share a video of one of your favourite tracks here so we can have a listen of what your system sounds like.

 

Edit: Here is one of my setups in action in August 2017:

 

Watch "Sheffield Lab Drum Record" on YouTube
https://youtu.be/fLiABHa2iX8

 

I could do that Kirk, but TBH I can never see the point. Nobody would be hearing my system in the least since, first, they are listening in a different room (the single most influential component in the system) and second, through entirely different speakers. I never quite see why the YouTubers do this - I just skip past it because hearing their system played through my system tells me nothing about their system at all AFAICS.  Case in point, I just played your Sheffield Lab Drum record (great tool BTW) through my desktop PC speakers and, guess what? Yep - it sounded like crap. My crappy system made your terrific system sound like crap - no bass at all!!  I have no doubt at all that your setup sounds fabulous there - but not on this setup here it doesn't ;)  It's like making a video showing how amazing my calibrated TV picture is for someone to view on their crappy TV in 'torch' mode.

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3 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

Yep - the KT88 is under biased. If you read back here you'll see how you can do it.

 

And the R8 meters also under-read, compounding the issue. I noticed a bit more 'oomph' from my EL34s when I dialled the bias into the recommended setting instead of centring it on the R8's meter. Those meter gizmos I bought off eBay were a big help in this.

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26 minutes ago, Zed Zed said:

 

Well, not having the authority which comes from superior knowledge, I didn't want to draw any conclusions from my earlier questions. But now we have the word from someone who owns both a PL and an R8, and we have your knowledge which provides such valuable insights. And the conclusion seems to be that the extra $$$s spent do not necessarily bring sonic superiority, which is what I thought might be the case.  If the R8 had the same marketing and distribution, I'd expect it would actually be the 4 grand amp that kicked off this discussion.

 

Not quite right. They likely cost more because of overdoing it in certain areas. Minimalist design in tube amps works wonders. In particular, when you can roll tubes, caps, resistors etc. to your heart's content. However, there is one significant caveat and that is under design and the few critical things that have been missed. You will never get designers and manufacturers agreeing on which is a better design. They'll always think their design philosophy is better than the others.

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3 minutes ago, Zed Zed said:

 

I could do that Kirk, but TBH I can never see the point. Nobody would be hearing my system in the least since, first, they are listening in a different room (the single most influential component in the system) and second, through entirely different speakers. I never quite see why the YouTubers do this - I just skip past it because hearing their system played through my system tells me nothing about their system at all AFAICS.  Case in point, I just played your Sheffield Lab Drum record (great tool BTW) through my desktop PC speakers and, guess what? Yep - it sounded like crap. My crappy system made your terrific system sound like crap - no bass at all!!  I have no doubt at all that your setup sounds fabulous there - but not on this setup here it doesn't ;)  It's like making a video showing how amazing my calibrated TV picture is for someone to view on their crappy TV in 'torch' mode.

 

You like writing a lot I can see that but sometimes sharing the artefact in a different way helps also relive your listening experience with others. For me words don't do it as you can always turn a negative experience into a positive one and vice versa. I can understand if it's a reservation thing, which is totally fine. You can always turn off the video. 😁

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12 minutes ago, Detroiter in the South said:

oh my, any idea what page range?

 

You need those tube bias sockets to see the actually plate currents. @Zed Zed has all of this gear and can share approximately on the scale where the increase would need to be set. I will leave it up to him to show others where the KT88 should be set using the specific settings in the image below.

 

Edit: Hey Jim if your reading my post here please upload this on your next video clip.

 

Screenshot_20210612-084003_FTBC Lite.jpg

Edited by xlr8or
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9 hours ago, Slowestrider said:

Wow, pristine. My box went through war. 

IMG_2460.JPG

The picture of the pristine box was sent to me by Yong Lee, it's a picture of the box BEFORE shipping. He just wanted to prove to me that it's actually being sent. I'll post another picture on this forum when the box arrives here in the UK and I'll add further comments for any would-be buyers on the voltage setting, any hum, condition of tubes, sound quality, tube rolling etc etc

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17 hours ago, xlr8or said:

 

You like writing a lot I can see that but sometimes sharing the artefact in a different way helps also relive your listening experience with others. For me words don't do it as you can always turn a negative experience into a positive one and vice versa. I can understand if it's a reservation thing, which is totally fine. You can always turn off the video. 😁

 

:)  It's not the video that concerns me - it's the audio. Aside from the issues I mentioned before, all I have to record anything is a smartphone with a mic inside that costs, I guess, about 50 cents. I can do it if you really want it, but I just can't see what it is meant to show -- the sound coming from my speakers heard through your speakers, recorded on a really crappy mic -- what is the point of that?

 

So many YouTubers post this sort of content that I sometimes wonder if I am missing something. I just skip past it because I just can't see the point of listening to their system through my system. I am open to learning more . . . 

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17 hours ago, xlr8or said:

 

You need those tube bias sockets to see the actually plate currents. @Zed Zed has all of this gear and can share approximately on the scale where the increase would need to be set. I will leave it up to him to show others where the KT88 should be set using the specific settings in the image below.

 

Edit: Hey Jim if your reading my post here please upload this on your next video clip.

 

Screenshot_20210612-084003_FTBC Lite.jpg

 

@Detroiter in the South

 

Here are the pages where I first discussed the bias meters I am using here -- the first link.

 

The second link discusses the difference in settings between the meters and the inbuilt R8 bias meter.

 

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/322734-partial-tear-down-of-willsenton-r8/page/31/

 

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/322734-partial-tear-down-of-willsenton-r8/page/33/

 

For the EL34s I was looking for a bias setting of 35mA - if you uses the centre of the R8 meter, as advised, the actual bias current is 30mA. To achieve a real 35mA, I had to set the R8 bias meter to the right hand end of its centre segment (this is clear when you look at the photos in the links), so the R8 bias meter is under-reading a little.

 

As you are looking for 60mA, I have no idea where you should set the R8 bias meter - adjusting the KT88/EL34 switch on the back of the amp means the needle should be in the centre of the scale for the KT88, so presumably the indicated centre would be 60mA. Given that the R8 meter under-reads, you'd need to bump the R8 meter up a bit to get an accurate 60mA, but by how much I have no idea.

 

The meters are cheap enough and arrived quickly from China (link in the earlier pages) so I'd recommend investing in them, or something similar. SInce buying the meters, I realised that I could just attach my digital multimeter to the flying socket leads, so all you really need (if you have a DMM) is the socket parts, which saves you some money.

 

Setting the bias for my EL34s higher (ie, to an accurate 35mA instead of the R8's 30mA) did give me a noticeable improvement. More oomph and slightly better bass, so I considered the meters to be a worthwhile purchase.

 

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12 minutes ago, Zed Zed said:

 

:)  It's not the video that concerns me - it's the audio. Aside from the issues I mentioned before, all I have to record anything is a smartphone with a mic inside that costs, I guess, about 50 cents. I can do it if you really want it, but I just can't see what it is meant to show -- the sound coming from my speakers heard through your speakers -- what is the point of that?

 

Don't worry about it. There may be some others here willing to share some samples to help others pinpoint what they are looking for in tonal character.

 

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2 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

Don't worry about it. There may be some others here willing to share some samples to help others pinpoint what they are looking for in tonal character.

 

 

I am not unwilling. I don't understand how the tonal character of my setup can be evaluated using the tonal character of your setup. How does that work?

 

For example, if my setup has a LF cutoff that is ridiculously high - let's say 60 Hz for argument's sake, and you send me a video of your system which is flat to 20Hz, my comment on hearing the clip is likely to be "nice, but shame there isn't much bass".  Similarly, if I have the smoothest HF in the known world, and someone plays back my clip on a pair of Yamaha NS10 speakers, their comment is likely to be "wow - that is one ear-searing top end". What's the point?

 

On a different but related issue,  videos of other people's setups can be very useful in evaluating their room. In the video you uploaded, I disregarded the audio entirely (because I played it back om my PC's desktop speakers) but I did notice something I meant to comment on and forgot. In the video, you show your speakers on a cabinet of some sort, and the speakers are pushed back towards the rear of that cabinet.  If you still have that setup, you are getting a really nasty, unwanted first reflection from the cabinet in front of the speakers, and this will have a very negative effect on imaging. If you pull the speakers forward so that the front faces of the speakers are in line with the edge of the cabinet, you will hear a noticeable improvement in imaging, which is likely to be greater than any imaging improvement you would expect from changing electronics (in which I include the valves). Additionally, when using standmount speakers on a hollow stand (cabinet) I would recommend four sorbathane feet, one under each corner, to give some physical isolation from the cabinet. This will, again, improve imaging, but not by as much as moving the speakers forward. (As you can probably guess, I know a bucketload more about room acoustics than I do about electronics ;) ).

 

Now, as my mentor sometimes says, back to the R8 :) 👍

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Can I please request the services of R8 owners with tube bias adapters to help out here and show what the KT88's are set to in mA value for the R8 when biased in the centre line of the front panel meters? This is critical information missing from the thread for users wanting to use 6550 and KT88 tubes in the R8.

 

Edit: TIA!

Edited by xlr8or
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2 hours ago, xlr8or said:

Can I  please request the services of R8 owners with tube bias adapters to help out here and show what the KT88's are set to in mA value for the R8 when biased in the centre line of the front panel meters? This is critical information missing from this thread for users wanting to use 6550 and KT88 tubes in the R8.

 

I can do this -- the board is going to be down for the best part of a day, so I will try to get it done on Monday, other commitments permitting, and post the results as soon as possible afterwards.

 

I will bias the KT88s to 60mA, using my off-board meters, unless I hear otherwise from anyone. I'll post a photo showing where the R8 needle lies for that specified bias current. I'll also show the external meter reading bias for when the R8 is showing the needle on the centre line.

 

Edited by Zed Zed
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New video about the Willsenton R8001 including some comparison (brief) with R8. For anyone looking for an upgrade to the R8, Willsenton seem to have pulled it off once again. Just under $2,000 US, excluding carriage and taxes, so quite a lot more money than the R8. Incidentally, the R8 is currently marked as "NOT AVAILABLE" on the China HiFi site. Not "out of stock" but "not available". IDK if this is of any significance.

 

 

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Geesh, just as my R8 opens up and crushes my other audio experiences.  Maybe Willsenton will cut production of the R8 and our units will jump in value on the used market and can all upgrade to this.  I will say, it was a true SE that I once owned that had ANYthing over the R8.  

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