Okay, I know people reccomend changing the tube on the xDuoo TA-10. While I may not be able to do so anytime soon, par-say, but doesn’t mean I can’t do my research.
Now then, boring stupid shit out of the way, is there anything you would reccomend keeping in mind or prioritizing when looking at tubes? Beyond the obvious make sure you’re getting one that fits in the damn socket.
I know Z liked the GE tube on the TA-10, but if there are any reccomendations for tubes, it would be apprechiated.
Oh, before I forget, where are good places to buy tubes from? I only know about Tube Depot offhand.
Finally, are paying the couple bucks more for the “Balanced Triodes”, “Low Noise and Microphonics” or “High Gain” options worth it?
So, I went into the whole tube thing pretty blindly. I started with a hybrid tube amp, upgraded to a tube I saw someone else recommend, and I was hooked from there. I really don’t know a lot about the TA-10, but for something in that price range as well as something like the Dark Voice, I wouldn’t go crazy deep into pocket for some rare NOS tubes. I spent a lot more money than I needed to just like every other aspect of this hobby, but it’s like buying a $500 cable for your 4xx. Great, and probably an improvement, but definitely not necessary.
I see the TA-10 uses 1x 12AU7 and 2x 6C19. The 12AU7 is fairly common, and a quick google search shows them from $10 to $300. I haven’t used 6C19s, but the 6AK5W are compatible and I have used those.
Here would be my recommendation. Use the stock tubes at first and don’t change them for a good week or so unless you really hate something about the way they sound. Any hum/noise should subside by then if it’s going to and you should have a good assessment of what the stock sound is. Once you have a reference, maybe try swapping in a $10-$20 12AU7 and see how you like it. Again, allowing for the tube to burn in if you bought it new.
Starting today, I’d start reading other forums to see what other people recommend and have had luck with with this specific amp. I happened to find a combo someone else had posted for my La Figaro that’s perfect for me, so I’m more or less done with buying tubes. You may find a similar combo for the Xduoo on your own from experimenting, or you may like the idea of changing the sound on the fly and amassing a ton of tubes so you can do that whenever you like. I buy tubes from whoever has the best price-amazon, ebay, tubedepot, etc. If I was going for an endgame tube pairing that I knew I wanted, I’d probably use ebay and only in that case would I drop the extra money on all the upgraded options
My 2c on tube rolling, can be worth it, generally you’ll find yourself second guessing.
My experience is I swap tubes listen, go wow that sounds “better”, listen for a week or 2 swap the original tube back in and have the same experience all over again.
The big warning is if you start reading enough impressions of tubes, you’ll hear everything from warm and smooth to harsh and jarring applied to the same tubes by different people. A lot of that is just that tubes can behave differently in different amps depending on voltages and the Bias current involved.
If the supplied tubes aren’t good then a swap can help but not all amps are picky about the tubes.
I’d just find a recommendation for the particular amp, try it and stick with it for a while.
I currently own the TA-01B and own another stereo tube amp, so I have dabbled a little bit. I ended up with a Raytheon NOS on my TA-01B.
I do want to also say to not write off Current Production tubes. NOS gets all of the hype and it can get pricey, but I have heard some pretty darn good current production tubes.
biggest tube noob move I made was paying extra for matched 5998s when I had independent volume controls and could have fixed any channel imbalance easily.
But yeah, I agree with what everyone is saying. Just because you can go nuts and spend a lot on different tubes, it doesn’t mean you should or that’s the norm. It’s not a never ending chase like it is for headphones. For me, anyway. Once I found the right combo for me and the headphones I was concerned with, I was done looking
for the ta10 i used 12at7 and really liked it, like id consider it a bright tube due to how forward the highs were after, lots of detail. no distortion issues, so you may consider one for your model from xduoo.