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bwright
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Joined: Aug 2 2006 - 8:54pm
Best tube upgrades for the Cayin A-88T?

Hi all,

I have a new Cayin A-88T integrated amp. It is my first tube amp, and really sounds magnificent... so of course, I was wondering what tubes you might suggest to make it sound even better.

I prefer a balanced sound - clean and detailed, with equal measures of musicality and warmth. I listen to a wide range of music (electronica, acoustic, rock, classical), and assume some tubes might be better suited for my needs than others.

It uses:

(4) KT-88 / 6550
(2) 6SL7
(2) 6SN7

Many thanks,

Bill

Elk
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Re: Best tube upgrades for the Cayin A-88T?

I suggest that you first get to really know your amp; tube rolling can get frustrating if you don't have a reference firmly in mind.

Additionally, the KT-88 tube is a great all around tube - nice midrange with good extension and pop on both ends. As you listen to a fun variety of music that requires that your amp be able to everything this is a good output tube choice.

I don't know the amp specifically but have only heard great things about it.

There are some good tube people here so they will probably have some more to say.

Enjoy your amp!

Music
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Re: Best tube upgrades for the Cayin A-88T?

Hello Bill,
Are the power tubes Chinese KT88-98, or Russian EH KT88? If they're the KT88-98 from China, I think you already have the best all around tube for what you want. They seem pretty hard to beat and are very reliable. It's just my opinion, but if it was me, I'd replace the 6SN7 tubes with 6N8P tubes from China. They are built to a much higher standard compared to the 6SN7's these were used in their military. What speakers are you enjoying this amp with?
Later,
Bob

bwright
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Re: Best tube upgrades for the Cayin A-88T?

Many thanks for the responses!

Per your question, I have Dali Helicon 400 speakers (and a Marantz DV9500 universal player).

I had originally leaned toward the Triangle Celius ES, but the Helicon seemed more well rounded - I figured I'd need to add a sub with the Triangles (but I hear that is remedied with the new ESW model).

Music
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Re: Best tube upgrades for the Cayin A-88T?

Hi Bill,
From everything I've read, those seem like outstanding speakers. I hope I get a chance to hear that line sometime.
I was using Quad 21L, Wharfedale CR-30 and Monitor Audio RS1 speakers, they all sounded pretty good, but yesterday I hooked up a pair of Athena AS-F2's and WOW! Speakers and tube amps are always a crap shoot for me, but this roll was a winner. With the KT88 tube falling off a little in the highs, and the Athena having a rise in that area, it works out just fine. The bottom end is very strong and yet balanced. With this tube, in this room, it seems like a great combination for these ears.
I saw your amp on line and I see it comes with the Russian EH KT88, I think if you switch to the KT88-98 from China, you'll see a difference for better, or worse. It's a switch that should cost you less than a $100, so it's well worth a try.
Later,
Bob

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