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Amperex

2x Amperex/Philips SQ 7316 ECC186 Foil D-getter - Heerlen, NL 1959 Ct1 -Near NOS

2x Amperex/Philips SQ 7316 ECC186 Foil D-getter - Heerlen, NL 1959 Ct1 -Near NOS

Regular price $690.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $690.00 USD
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Sound Sample:

Product Summary

The "textbook Heerlen sound" has been referenced in several Soundlumia listings of Amperex Holland 7316/ECC186 tubes, and many tube enthusiasts asked what that all means. So this is the answer: the late 1950s and very early 1960s tone, the beginning of over a decade's excellence in sound, the classic tonal template for all the great (and greater) Amperex/Philips/Valvo/Miniwatt tubes to be made in the years to come, the timeless Philips radio tone that many of us grew up listening to. 

But there's also a "secret" version of the textbook Heerlen sound that very few have heard: ECC186 (aka 7316 or 12AUWA) tubes made in Holland (and ONLY in Holland.) As an improved version of 7316/ECC186 designed for computers, ECC186 has a a special cathode that allows the tube to be operated without anode current for long periods of time without damage. Remember the last time you heard people talking about the elusive "circuit tubes?" You are looking right at them! It would be fascinating to understand the technicality as to how this special design had made the the Heerlen sound so amazing, but our audiophile ears perhaps only care to know this is Amperex Holland's official answer to Telefunken's ECC802S and Mullard's 10M Series. In other words, these tubes compete and ONLY compete in the Holy Grail league of the 7316/ECC186 family.

BTW there's one more thing: "original boxes" don't seem that rare these days any more so we wanted to introduce something called "original matched pair." How do you tell? Check the matching serial numbers on the original tube box and on the tubes (picture #2). 

Sound Qualities 

The most distinctive sound feature of the Amperex Holland ECC186's is the transparent, natural and expansive midrange presentation, with a slight touch of warmth that illuminates your music. Every piece of music you play through these tubes sounds like from a vinyl record, whether your sound source is phono or not. The sound stage is spacious, deep,  structured and holographical. Bass is incredibly deep but well controlled and feels as accurate as on the high end German ECC82's (Siemens, Telefunken, Valvo Hamburg etc.) The stellar performance of ECC186 plus the d-getter take all these wonderful sound qualities to a whole new level: instrument separation is super clean, detail retrieval is surreal, and it goes without saying that the extremely low noise on these tubes is to the vanishing point.

Professional Sound Evaluation

The pair worked wonderfully and sounded terrific in our professional studio setup for monitoring. 

 - Input: Cambridge Audio CXC V2 dedicated CD transport + Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 Multibit DAC
 - Amplification: Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies (3rd gen) Balanced Headphone Amplifier
 - Output: Focal Clear MG Pro open-back headphones

Our full tube sound review was written 100% based on the actual listening experience while this pair of tubes were running in the system described above.

Professional Tube Testing 

NO shorts or grid leakage. NO noise or microphonics.

Both tubes tested Strong NOS (110%+ mutual conductance value for NEW) and balanced on a reliable and recently calibrated Mercury 2000 tube tester with the following result (mutual conductance both in uMhos and in percentage of NEW):

Tube 1: 2,800/2,600 (127%/118%)
Tube 2: 2,400/2,000 (109%/90%)

Good tubes start at 1,500 and new tubes (incl. NOS/NIB) 2,200, and the Mercury 2000's rated mutual conductance (nominal) for new ECC186/7316 tubes is 2,200. Test result can also be seen in the pictures. In case you wonder what all these numbers mean to your sound experience, it's actually quite straightforward: mutual conductance directly translates to a tube's ability to amplify sound, so the higher the numbers the stronger. 

Appearance & cosmetic condition

Both tubes are in near pristine cosmetic condition - nearly 100% of the paint is still intact, and the identical etched Heerlen date code is perfectly visible: 

Ct1 ⊿9B (Ct3 = ECC186/7316 Production Gen #1, = Heerlen, Holland, 9 = 1959, B = February)
Ct1 ⊿9(Ct3 = ECC186/7316 Production Gen #1, = Heerlen, Holland, 9 = 1959, F = June)

Packaging

This pair of tubes will be packaged in NEW reproduction Amperex tube boxes.
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