I have tried several sets of tubes in the Cherries.
Re-issued Gold Lion 12ax7 & 12at7
Re-issued Tung Sol 12ax7 & 12at7
Pavane T series 12ax7 & 12at7
NOS Mullard CV4004 & CV4024
ALL the tubes were very good. The GL's were an all around nice sounding tube. I’ve read scores of folks who believe them to be the-cats-meow, but they come in 2nd place for me. For the price, the TS's were good and sounded as if they had the highest gain, but were a little bright; they took 3rd place. The P's took the cake. The sound from top to mid-bass is outstanding (bass in my system is run by a Sunfire CG Signature); they take 1st place. The NOS M's are a bit of a speciality tube for me. It's midrange is is is mmmmm maaagical. The top end is a little on the softer side, which I’m ok with. What made/makes the M’s difficult for me to grade is that they are like a novelty item or sound, it's great for a while, but then...
The output tubes are KT 120’s. I tried the stock tubes that come with the Cherries, but when I cranked up the volume the stock tubes looked so distressed…blue and orange flames violently pulsating to the demands of the current hungry mid/tweet towers of my Infinity Beta IRS’s. The KT 120’s handle the “cranking” so much better.
I will occasionally look to acquire other tube sets to roll, but for now the Pavanes will run in my Cherry 180's.
It’s interesting that the NOS sound Better to a lot of folks. It would seem that the new or re-issued tubes would out perform the old tubes. My thinking is this…the older tuber were designed for everything electronic. The new tubes of today are designed specifically with audio in mind.
This is my first go ‘round in the tube world, so be understanding of any naivete I may have shown with this post.
Two Signature Cinema Grand Series II amplifiers (both are used in bi-amping my Infinity IRS Beta speakers)
Cherry 180's (use them off & on to power the mids/highs tower of IRS Beta speakers)
Sunfire Signature 600~Two amplifier (used on Thiel CS5i)
Carver TX-12 tuner
Own & working, but not in use right now - Sunfire Series II amplifier + two Carver M500t MKII amplifiers + Sunfire Classic Vacuum Tube Preamplifier preamp w/ phono & remote.