Aric Audio Super 2A3 owners - favorite tubes?

Hello all,

I've been enjoying my new set of Aric Audio amps (the Super 6SN7 linestage + Super 2A3 amp) and have been playing around with different tubes. I am curious what tubes anyone who owns either of these prefers.

I swapped from the stock 5U4GB to some NOS RCA 5U4Gs, but not sure if there's anything better out there that owners may prefer rectifier-wise. Asking Aric, he said GB or G works fine, but beyond that didn't offer any other alternatives as far as compatible tube options.

For my 2A3 tubes, I have a set of NOS Svetlana SV-2A3 (2C4C) and EML 2a3-S Meshplates and prefer the EMLs. The Svetlanas sound nice - they are a little more 'warm' sounding to me - but they lack the detail and wide holographic soundstage that the EMLs produce.

For the 6SN7 tubes on both the pre-amp and the amplifier (3 total), I've tried Sylvania JAN 6SN7GT VT-231 2 Hole Bad Boy, Black Plates an d NOS RCA JAN 5692 6SN7 (red base) tubes and prefer the Sylvania's by a mile. Swapping from the Sylvanias to the RCAs, bass thinned out quite a bit. Detail was great, and mid/highs were nice, but the Sylvanias are overall much nicer.

What have you tried and liked / tried and kept?



I'm all out of superlatives for my latest purchases: CODA S5.5, Aric Audio Transcend "Push Pull", and Aric Audio Motherlode XL....I won't even try anymore, as I feel more like a fanboy that a reviewer. As Michael Jordan says "Just do it" if someone is considering CODA or Aric Audio equipment, they are ridiculously good.

Tube rolling is going to have to wait a month or so, so not much I can say other than the stock tubes for the Aric Audio stuff is really good.....but Brent Jessee always has a passion for NOS tubes, so I'm sure there is more to be gained there.

I did a LOT of research on the Chinese tubes, and I agree that there was a past issue with PSVane (and several brands of Chinese tubes), and it's been weird with the incestuous relationship between Shuguang, PSVane, and Linlai.

Most recent reviews for the PSVane El34s have been positive, especially the EL34-PH and EL34-UK tubes, but the 6SN7/CV181 lines appeared to have had quality issues. By all accounts the Linlai E-6SN7 is stellar, and happy to see your experience is the same. We'll see.

I found a reputable (by reviews) Chinese supplier who seems to take testing and matching seriously, but that's a leap of faith and only based on other's experience.

@vthokie83 haha! I totally get what you mean. Huge amount of value from Aric's gear.

Interesting notes re: chinese tubes. I know that Shuguang is basically gone since they had a plant fire or something, and Linlai folks left PSVane due to a dispute and they have a...not great relationship. Lot of drama in the tube world haha.

Have fun tube rolling! It's an expensive endeavor for a while until things get settled, for sure. I'm still not done trying things out myself, and have spent almost as much as an amp in tubes alone 🤪

Huge fanboy of Aric’s electronics here.... I own his "near" Motherlode preamp for a few years now (works great with SS amps!), and now also have his 300B PSET amp since Sept. After being in this insane hobby for over 30 years, this is the heart of my "end game" system.... and I have heard / owned a ton of great gear! Anyways my point here - surprised nobody brought up Svetlana Winged-C 5U4Gs from the mid to late ’60s (aka 5C3S). They are cheap too. I have them on my Aric gear (1 on the preamp, 2 on the amp), and they beat all the 40s, 50s NOS 5 v rectifiers that I have used. I did order a Linlai 5U4G to play with since I use the Linlai Elite WE300Bs and love them, but don’t over look those Svets!

I had many different vt231 from 40x. (Ken-Rad black glass, transparent glass, Sylvaniya, RCA)

I don't have Tung-Sol and Sylvania 6sn7W, because they were crazy expensive, even 18 year ego when I bought most of my tubes.

Ken-Rad VT-231 black glass was my favorite for many years. I think  Ken-Rad VT-231 black glass is one of the best 6sn7 ever produced.

I also preferred old tubes because new tubes I tried always lose to vintage.

But I found Linlai 6sn7 sounds even better than Ken-Rad VT-231 black glass.

I also like Linlai 12ax7. I compared it to my favorite Telefunken smooth plates and Sylvania 7025. And Linlai competes very well against these great tubes.

@1markr Will keep my eyes out for any of the Svetlanas. I've been waiting for the Linlai 5U4G to come back in stock with Grant Fidelity. Hopefully sometime soon. They're nicely priced. I have the opportunity to get some KR 5U4G tubes, but they are SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive.

@alexberger The Linlai E-6SN7 was a bit of a shock - and still is - since in my experience NOS was pretty much always better. But here recently, I've been especially impressed with these Linlais and the EML mesh plate 2a3s I got. I am glad that there are some contemporary producers making high quality tubes that sound fantastic. NOS will run out eventually (and continue to shoot up in price until they do), so can't rely on them forever!