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Philips

Philips SQ E188CC 7308 Preamp Tubes Matched Pair - Miniwatt - Holland 1965 - NOS

Philips SQ E188CC 7308 Preamp Tubes Matched Pair - Miniwatt - Holland 1965 - NOS

Regular price $342.50 USD
Regular price Sale price $342.50 USD
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Sound Sample:

Perfect matched pair of vintage Philips Miniwatt SQ E188CC audio tubes - Made in Holland - 1965 - Practically identical date code - Extremely Rare

Tube Summary

The beauty, the legend, the classic, the Special Quality(SQ) - this is the super tube from Heerlen's high echelon that doesn't break your bank. Known for their superb musicality and ultra low noise, thanks to Philips' proprietary SQ design, these tubes remain among audiophiles' top choices for serious listening. 

Sound Characteristics

Immediately appealing is the super smooth highs offered by these tubes with lots of open air. The overall tonality of SQ is warm, musical and euphonic. The midrange displays some secondary octave nuances, which is very unique and can hardly be found even among the top-end German tubes. Similar to the Telefunken tubes, the SQ's can create infinite levels of harmonic depth and a liquid sonic texture without altering the musicality of the sound. The bass on these is the clear winner of the Heerlen tubes family: articulate, accurate, deep, textured, full-bodied and powerful. The sound stage is wide and structured - it feels the dimensions of the sound shape are clearly defined no matter how it moves.  

Vocal representation on these is close to Mitcham and Blackburn Mullard tubes in terms of warmth, sweetness and texture, making them great alternatives to Mullard's as the best vocals tube. But what truly shines on SQ E188CC tubes, especially the early '60s version like this pair, is their magic in portraying piano music: creamy smooth, richly colored, realistic and intimate. For many audiophiles (incl. myself), they're the go-to tube for piano sound. Listening to Claudio Arrau's Beethoven Complete Piano Sonatas on these tubes should be on your bucket list if you are into classical piano music. 

The ultra low noise on SQ's also sets them apart from most of the high-end tubes. They don't just compete with Telefunken tubes in low noise; they're known for being a long-term leader in low noise. As a result, you get superb detail and clarity from these tubes as well. 

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: Liquid Platinum Tube Amplifier by Alex Cavalli 
 - 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

Both tubes tested Strong NOS (110%+ nominal mutual conductance) on a Mercury 2000 tube tester with the following result (mutual conductance both in uMhos and in percentage of nominal):

Tube 1: 15,000/15,000 (120%/120%)
Tube 2: 14,300/14,500 (114%/116%)

Good tubes start at 7000 and new tubes (incl. NOS/NIB) 12,500 - 13,000, and the Mercury 2000's rated mutual conductance (nominal) for new tubes is 12,500. 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 tube's ability to amplify sound, so the higher the numbers the stronger. 

Appearance & cosmetic condition

We treasure this pair also because of the great cosmetic condition of both tubes - over 90% of the paint is intact and well preserved. The Heerlen factory date codes etched on glass perfectly visible: 

delta 5C4 (delta = Heerlen, 5 = 1965, C = March, 4 = 4th week of the month)
delta 5C2 (delta = Heerlen, 5 = 1965, C = March, 2 = 2nd week of the month)

Packaging

This pair of tubes will be packaged in the original Philips E188CC tube boxes, secured by a handmade paper ribbon (by courtesy of Soundlumia.)

Shipping Policy 

- US Shipping: Flat-rate ($5.50) USPS Ground Advantage for ALL states.

- International Shipping: Flat-rate ($35.00) DHL Express Worldwide for ALL countries.

 - Orders ship within 24 - 48 hours
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