Linlai E 6sn7 tubes

I just placed an order for a pair of these for my Aric Audio Motherlode II.  I’ve been chatting with a fellow that runs the E 6sn7 in his Don Sachs pre. He loves them, He says they make his NOS tubes sound thin and lifeless.  
    It will be a couple weeks until I receive them,and I was curious if anyone out in Agon land has tried these,and what are your impressions?   
Thanks in advance,



@khloebo yes I have 2 Canary amps that play in my main system and a preamp that also uses the 6SN7 tubes but am afraid to use these arcing/buzzing tubes, feel I might of got away with something so far so have decided to abandon the Shugs all together. The headphone amp is fine and has shown no issues with any NOS or new issues that I have run in it for the 3,000 to 3,500 hours since purchasing the amp new. I will go back and read the post from the beginning looking for the Brent Jessen fix. @invalid I have used several of the suppliers from China and have had great results also have used Viva tubes as well. Thanks all

@tooblue   there is a post in this thread closer to the beginning where the person had a buzzy tube on startup.  The advice relayed was from Brent Jessen who has a procedure to try to resolve a similar problem. Orient a certain way, tap the tube gently on a hard surface 3 times, try in amp again.  Food for thought...

I sourced my Linlai elete 6SL7 tubes from a Chinese seller and have had no problems for over 13,000 hours now.

The arcing is definitely concerning.  Do you have another amp to verify that problem so you can say it is the amp or the tube?  Regardless, I would contact Dennis Had (or however you purchased) for advice.   Assuming it has a soft start feature, the current behaviour seems contrary to intended design.  I hope you can get this resolved easilly!


Thank you for your impressions on the two suppliers.  With a complete lack of stated selection parameters it is difficult to decide what/if there are differences.  Even if there are differences, we have no credible research data that those differences correlate to sound quality, reliability, length of time in which sound quality is comparable to the 100 hr mark, and so on.  Tubes are gonna fail when they want to, NOS included.  I had 1 fail at @150 hours, Viva Tubes had a matched replacement at my door in 4 days, cross country.  Dealing with out of country can be more complicated and expensive.  I don't think there is anything wrong with deciding what kind of buying experience we want to have.  Recently I bought a oem replacement light for my car from Latvia as those things are tough.  Tubes are fragile, for me Im fine paying for Stateside screening and rapid replacement.  YMMV!


I have a full set of 6 Linlai HiFi black plates on my Cary SLP-05. Enjoying them a lot, but will do impressions and comparison later when I buy a full 6 of the E-6SN7s.

Just received a pair of the Linlai E-6SN7 tubes and have had them installed in a Dennis Had Inspire headphone amp playing a cd on repeat for 10 hours, settled in and listened to 5 albums. These are really good already and am looking forward to getting them burnt in. These are replacing Shuguang WE 6SN7 replicas that I had 2 pairs of, here's where this gets interesting, 1 pair sourced through Grant fidelity and 1 pair sourced from a Chinese seller on e bay that I have delt with before to purchase Psvane and Shuguang tubes and I could not tell the difference after both pair were played in, WTS both pair showed fault around 350 hours as they would arc around the base and really buzz for about 8 to 10 seconds when turned on (1 tube from each pair) after the initial 10 seconds buzz went away they sound fine, just afraid to use them any more. Also the Grant Fidelity tube is a few MM taller.

@tksteingraber Thanks! I’ve been trying to avoid going down the rabbit hole of discovering a NOS tube that’s older than I am (I’m 42) and falling in love with it only to never be able to buy more down the line, especially with an amp that needs at least a matched pair at a time. As such, I’ve been trying to stick to new production stuff.


@eddnog be patient with the Linlai E-6SN7’s.  I had a pair and they went through a lot of changes during the first 75-125 hours.  Bass and brightness was a moving target in my experience.  Once they settled in they were a very nice new stock tube.  I just preferred my NOS tubes for a warmer more engaging sound on my system.  They would be my go to tube if my favorite NOS  dry up or if prices rocket up.

I never could figure out why they are called cv181 when the nos cv181 tubes have a different heater current than a 6sn7 tube.

I have been running quad matched Psvane CV181-T MkII tubes in my Freya+ for a couple of months now, but having heard great things about the Linlai E-6SN7 tubes ordered a quad matched set of them as well to roll and compare. Well they came in yesterday and as soon as I got them up and running, I immediately noticed the difference. Although they’re still brand new with just a short burn-in so far, I am enjoying the punchier upper bass and the more natural vocal presentation. For those reasons alone I’m already preferring the Linlais over the Psvanes. Hoping to provide more feedback as these burn in some more, including a better comparison of air and imaging.


Great customer service too, tubes arrived yesterday in less than a week. Helen reached out to me today via email after she saw the package was delivered, to make sure everything arrived safely; and let me know to contact her if anything does not work well. Most US suppliers do not provide that kind of follow up

@vthokie83 ​​​​​@invalid 

Helen is a righteous seller. She exchanged a defective tube no questions asked.

@vthokie83  I bought my Linlai elite 6sl7 tubes from the same seller as you. I've had mine a few years, powered on 24/7 most of that time and no problems at all.

Sorry if this is a dead thread, but thought it was pertinent as the current situation is the same as it was 6 months ago. There are some really good reputable Chinese suppliers of good Chinese products (at really attractive prices)......just takes a bit of time and patience to find them

Not sure of the differences between the Chinese market E-6SN7 or the Global E-6SN7, except for a huge price difference; and the Linlai's own reported differences discussed above.

I purchased mine from JJY Audio, which is where several of my audiophile friends buy their tubes from (several Agon members as well); $156 per matched pair instead of $305 from Grant Fidelity. I also purchased a quad each EL34-UK and EL34-PH from Helen (owner of JJY Audio), and they are exactly the same as my friend's tubes purchased from Viva Tubes.....except 40% less in cost. All in cost difference was: $492 + $80 shipping and Paypal fees and $0 tax, versus $777 + $74 tax + $24 savings of $300

I can certainly appreciate the advantage of using a domestic supplier, but I've found some very good Chinese direct providers for tubes, fuses, bulk and finished cables, connectors, and cases for DIY power projects.

I purchased a pair of Linlai tubes (from Grant Fidelity).  I had my preamp serviced recently and discovered the tubes test low.  The technician stated they tested lower than any other 12 or 6SN7 that he’s tested.  And this was coming from a tube audio manufacture that utilizes a David Berning design.  The tester reached out to Grant Fidelity to determine why this was the case given the tubes were purchased in Sept. 2022 and it’s October 2023 (13 months).  He didn’t receive feedback to date. Caveat Emptor.  I contacted the company and this is the received response:  For within warranty period, please read below for our position of 3rd party measurement. Tube factory maintains its own product quality control and credibility to its own measurement procedure.

Product test measurements: We do NOT accept any customer or 3rd party’s test measurement, on any brands of test equipment as the basis of warranty claim. If you do not agree with our test methods or test measurements, please do NOT place an order with us. By placing an order on our website, you have expressed explicit agreement to our product test methods and test measurements. This term cannot be re-negotiated AFTER an order is placed.



[Linlai™ Global] 


@300bdude I think I you will be very pleased. Mine are broken in now in my T+A S10 and the amplifier sounds spectacular. It is a different beast than my T+A HV reference series amplification but neither are overall better than the other across the board. The tube upgrade in the S10 brought the performance and presence up a level. 

@rocray I’ll definitely report back. I’ve had a lot of experience with 6SN7 and owned a number of Ken Rad Black Glass VT-231 and while they had wonderful tone, I always found them to be a bit rolled off on the extremes which I could never live with. I tend to gravitate more to the Sylvania VT-231, which have better slam, linearity and detail, and those are what these Linlai are replacing. If the Linlai can bring the tone of the Ken Rad with the tightness and detail of the Sylvania VT-231, I’m going to have a sure winner. 

I highly recommend giving these tubes plenty of saddle time.  I found they really shine with at least 100 or so hours. I’m looking forward to hearing your impressions with some hours on them.

I just received my Linlai E-6SN7 tubes and installed them into my T+A S10 Amplifier. As many have shared, it is a very full-sounding tube with good definition, but it is a bit dark to start. I’m on hour three and will be running these nonstop for the next few days. I think this combo on this amp, paired to Vivid Audio Kaya 90 speakers will be quite special.

I’ve had a lot of experience with Psvane ACME and some Linlai Elite and they have never disappointed. FWIW, I received confirmation from Austin at Viva Tubes that the Linlai E-6SN7 is the same exact tube as the Linlai Global Elite 6SN7. They only differences are that the E-6SN7 is manufactured for the Eastern markets, and Global Elite are exports for the Western markets. Viva Tubes buys direct from the Chinese factory, so they have the Eastern tubes in stock. Of course, purchasing from Grant Fidelity guarantees more stringent tolerances, but I haven’t really had any issues with Viva Tubes. If I ever have issues, they have always been able to replace a tube with no hassle.

@jtcf , very interesting, thanks. Aric made me a Transcend PP a couple months ago and I love it. Right now I’m running Sylvania GTBs from the mid-1950s with KT150s. Excellent combo but I’ve been curious about the Linlais. I have those Psvanes in another amp. I’ll just by a single Linlai and check it out

After trying several combinations of the three 6SN97s in my AricAudio Transcend PP amp,the combo that sounds the best to me is the Linlai HiFi black plate in the input along with a Psvane CV181 T MKll  on each side. Best of both worlds:-) with the clarity of the Linlai and the touch of warmth from the Psvane.Done with tube rolling for a long time.


When I first goy my SLP-05 I asked Cary if 1,2 and 4,5 need to be a matched quad. The answer was no, but they do need to be the same tube.

Meaning 1,2 need to be a matched pair and 4,5 also need to be a matched pair of the same tube brand and spec, just not a fully matched quad.

Does the global elite model sound any better than the global?  

I have an SLP-05 too, currently using Sylvania 50's GTA.  


As far as longevity goes, my second pair has at least 700 hrs on them. My original pair has around 300 hrs, as far as I can recall. I haven’t swapped tubes in months.
I’m still very pleased with these. I’m listening to Shpongle/ Tales of the Inexpressible via Qobuz as I type this. Great detail,huge soundstage, and the toes are tapping! 


@borisj always slow on the emails, these venders. G/F has them for $152.00 per tube. Like I posted, they went up 8% in a year. I'll probably pull the trigger later today on another 4. Love what these Tube do!

@danmar123 I bought them from vendor on aliexpress.Very good ratings lots of people buyed from them and now im waiting for them for 5 days to solve this.I think I'll go for refund despite I paid 80e customs😏.

@borisj try switching the tubes to the other channel just to make sure it's the tubes and not just a connection problem. It's possible that the tubes are bad, even if they are matched, tube testers don't test the tubes at the same parameters that your audio equipment will be using them at.

I got matched quad and one chanel is playing 100% and the other is on 30%.Did I get two faulty tubes?Has anybody had same issue??

@alexberger they have that big tone and bass like the ken rads, but with more detail. Now if they can last as long as the ken rads, is yet to be determined.

Can anybody explain in detail how do sound Linlai Global Elite E-6SN7 compared to Ken-Rad VT231 black glass? Do KR sound warmer and lusher?

That's good to hear, where did you get them?  From reading this thread I was under the impression that the Global Elite from Linlai and Grant had a different base, the ones in the pictures on their sites.

I think that tells me that the only difference between the cheaper versions straight from China and the ones from Linlai is that you might get a better version that's been screened.......but who knows.

After a year of discussions about Linlai and owning two pairs of the E-6SN7, I have a theory. The Chinese market and the tubes for the West are the same. Here it is, the glass blowing creates a standard shape, the assembly line builds and inserts the internals into the tube. A vacuum is created and the getter receives a jolt causing it to flash. The bottle is sealed and doesn't need the base yet and the loose wires are ready to be soldered into the pins once a base is mounted. Two different bases can be used depending on the destination, the same goes for different branding on the bottle.

Does this sound crazy or very simple to accomplish?


Been leaving my preamp on for the past few days as these are pretty dark at first as everyone has said. Looking forward to them burning in a bit. 

Same here. Added two to my Cary preamp and just the two for the balanced output and noticed an immediate change. Nice airy highs and separation. 

ordered a quad that will arrive Monday and will have all 6 tubes be the Linlai. Excited. 

All I can say is I put a pair of Linlai 6SN7-E tubes in my Audio Mirror Reflection monos a couple of days ago and WOW. What great tubes, period. Not even begun to break-in. I immediately ordered a back-up pair. Every thing said here about them is correct, at least in my system. 

@pinwa had great luck mixing them up, I was surprised. But yeah those stock tubes are horrible. I think people sell them with the stock tubes because they never used them. 

@blkwrxwgn I bought my SLP-05 used and it came with the stock EH tubes.  Maybe they were worn out but I really disliked them.  Actually thought about selling the SLP-05 until I changed them out.

It has never been clear to me if you need to have a matched quad in 1,2,4,5 or if you can have one type in 1,4 and another type in 2,5.  It sounds like you had good results mixing them?

@pinwa good to hear.  I've only had the stock EH tubes, which were way to bright for me.  Then tried some JJ's, not bad actually but not great, then Sylvania VT231, which I have liked quite a bit.  Tried a combo of JJ in 1, 4, and Sylvania 7N7 in 2,3,5,6 and have liked this so far.

Just bought a quad of the E-6SN7 from China and will see how those do in 1,2,4,5, if I like them I'll buy them for 3 and 6 since I do use my dac with XLR but it also has RCA so I can still test it without getting all 6 tubes at once.

@blkwrxwgn I liked the LinLai E-6SN7's in my SLP-05 better than the Sylvania, Raytheon VT-231, Foton 1960's, or new production TungSol 6SN7's that I tried.  The LinLai's don't color the music the way some of the other tubes do but still somehow make it sound better.  But everybody has different tastes and it wouldn't surprise me to find a sophisticated listener with a different preference.  I also liked the LinLai E-6SN7's best in my Aric Audio Super 300B SET amp.  

Thank you @pinwa I was thinking of getting a quad for my SLP-05, I think I'll go ahead and do it.

I have purchased 8 LinLai E-6SN7 tubes from various vendors on Aliexpress.  Most recently I took advantage of a special and got a matched quad for $250.  Other than the labeling I am convinced that these are identical to the Grant Fidelity tubes.  Perhaps there is additional testing but it is ridiculous to think they are making a different tube for the Western market.  BTW, the E-6SN7's have performed admirably in every amp I have put them in and currently they are driving my Cary SLP-05 preamp.  I like them better than any of the NOS tubes I have tried.

@borisj the store name is Hi-end Tubeaudio Store.  They have periodic sales.  The quad currently is $298.