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 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!

Alexberger and Mmcgill829,

Thanks for the updates, I'm feeling a bit more confident in the Linlai E-6SN7s....but most reviews are really positive.

I was torn between the Ken Rad VT-231 Black glass and the CBS-Hytron 5692, and they virtually the same price.....but excited to hear they compete with the Ken Rads.....that's exciting

The only bummer for me is that the Super 2a3 amp from aric has the 6SL7 and 6SN7 tubes too close together to accommodate these larger tubes. I'd love to experiment with using the linlai tubes in the amp as well. I could get away with replacing just one, though, so I may get 2 matched pairs when I order more and keep two for the amp - one for use and one for backup. Worst comes to worst and it doesn't work as well in my amp, I'll just have an extra set for my pre-amp and be set for the forseeable future. Never hurts to have extra tubes around.

I'll be getting some KR 2A3s in the near future and am interested in seeing how they compare to the EMLs.