Author Topic: Valve Audio Whisper  (Read 2199 times)

Offline Jonesy

Valve Audio Whisper
« on: September 22, 2017, 09:17:24 PM »
Hello, this is my first post in these forums, and I'm hoping some of you can help me. Although I live in the UK, I took a chance and bought a Valve Audio Whisper over a year ago, mainly based on a few comments on this site. I was a bit dismayed when it arrived and I saw how difficult it would be to swap valves. Schalk sent me some instructions but I still haven't done it yet. It looks a bit nerve wracking.

I enjoy the Whisper a lot but I find the gain a tad too much with my integrated so I can't turn the volume knob up too high.
I asked for Voskhod Rocket 6922 to be installed when he was making it but I'm looking for some valves which tame the mids a little. I find some guitars solo's a bit ear piercing at times. I'm sure it's not the Whisper. Could be my cartridge. If I use the lower resistance settings for the cartridge then the gain is even higher and then I can't use the volume knob to an even greater degree. My amp sounds best when the volume is turned up a bit. You can actually hear a big improvement when you get to a certain level.   

Also I was wondering what valves I can safely use with the Whisper.

I know I can use 6922, 6DJ8, ee88.
Can I use 7DJ8, PC88 etc.?

Schalk has said using 6n6p sounds good  and they have lower gain, but I'd have to remove the cases at the back because they're taller than the 6922.

Could I just buy a matched pair and swap out two of the valves or do I need I need to buy a quad? Which position would the valves go into to if I just buy a a pair?

I've read it's not critical to buy matched pairs in a pre amp but i don't know how true that is.

I've got a selection of cheap valves mainly bought from Ukraine/Russia but they were bought in pairs as my previous phono pre only required 2 valves.

If I only have to buy a pair then I can pay a bit more for them e.g. Tungsram.

many thanks to any help you can provide for me.


Offline Timber_MG

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 09:27:43 PM »
Why not try a passive attenuator at the output? Gain structure is rather important and this is a simple 2 resistor per channel solution that one can sometimes get in an in-line package.

Offline gavinbirss

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 09:27:51 PM »
There is a 2nd hand one for sale with 6N1P so they may also be an option.

Perhaps later replies from owners and Schalk will help.

What cartridge? Your profile says : Dynavector xx2 mII

inputs on Wishper? : MM or MM and MC?

What input are you using on the Macintosh?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 09:33:19 PM by gavinbirss »

Offline FranZAR

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 09:50:19 PM »
I still have the standard valves in my Whisper and yes, the gain is high. I run mine on MC 23/30 selection with a Benz ACE MC cart and it sounds great. Have a set of Phillips SQ which I want to put on the output stage.
Exclame 150|Vivere|Whisper|Croak SL1200|Sonor Claro

Offline Schalk

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 10:01:48 PM »
Hey Mick  ;D

Hello to these shores. A 12 hour flight and you are here with the phono under your arm... sorry, bad joke but would've been nice. Obvious solution would be to change to one of my integrateds and junk the Mac, but that is indeed a bad choice of words, again.. Been a long hard day here.

I have actuall only yesterday lifted the new modified casings from the engineering works after it spent more than a week at the powder coating plant, so I'll have these in the post by Monday. I am similarly waiting on a desperately needed batch of remote casings of which one has to go to a very patient customer in the US. I think he has been without his remote for way too long now. Even though I am a really small cottage type industry, I usually in the end come through for the customer. Just remember to send me a reminder post Monday morning so that I can get the stuff to the Post Office. I'll work out a small mod that you could possibly effect yourself to lower the gain by say 20 to 30% while having it stripped down.

Guys, I have to say that Mick is a really good guy and the fact that he actually bought a little known brand without auditioning first speaks volumes. Thanks to you Mick, it is now D DAY.

Offline Jonesy

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 11:06:57 PM »
Hi thanks for the replies, and hi Schalk, hope it wasn't too bad a day. No need to apologise for the jokes. I wish I could change the Mac but I'm not a serial upgrader. I'll definitely need to consider it though. 

Schalk did very kindly make me a pair of interconnects which included a resistor, and I also bought a pair of RCA resistor plugs which had good reviews but they both seemed to rob the music of a bit of life. I know this might sound a bit daft but I want the same sound I get at lower volumes when I turn the volume up. When I get to a certain level on the volume knob the soundstage opens up. I'm not sure why but it's very noticeable.
I want to try to swap out some valves as it could simply be the Voskhods are too bright.

What time should I send a reminder Schalk?

That would be great if there was a mod I could do myself.

I understand about being a one man industry Schalk, and that's partly the reason I chose to buy from you. I'm not complaining. I know you've put a lot more care into making your stuff than some large company who have a lot of workers working for them who don't pay that same attention.

I'll be made up when I get the modified casing. Then I'd just need to know which valves I can use and where they should go in the Whisper  ;)

Not sure why anyone would need a remote for the Whisper,but there again he might have a huge house. 



Offline Jonesy

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2017, 11:13:21 PM »
In reply to Gavin.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm using balanced interconnects into my MAC. I'm using the load of 10,000 ohms on the whisper. When I use the lower load I can use less of the volume on the amp. I know lower loads are supposed to give more bass,less treble but I've found using 10K that the bass although not as great, the highs are sweeter. I think this may be because I can only turn the volume knob are a little on say 100 ohms, but can turn it up more on 10k and then the bass kicks in from the integrated. 

6N1P, that's interesting. I'll do a bit of research.
I've got E88cc, some 6922, 6h23, E88CC in a box somewhere all cheap ones from eBay. 

Offline Schalk

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 12:26:10 AM »
Thanks for your support Mick! Small timers do need exposure and the more people take a plunge and buy "blind" or based on positive feedback from somewhere, the more chance we have of surviving. I remember Jeff Rowland once told me, and again confirmed this at the just past Munich Show, that he first made a name selling mostly in the Far East, before his home crowd took him seriously.

The 6N1P in the Whisper delivers an absolute visceral performance. So detailed and not hiding anything, that I think they would give your Mac a middle to high frequency overload. You already have too much of that I believe. Also, most of your problem lies in that the input sensitivity of your Mac is very high, requiring a smaller input level. The "bite" you hear is when the input stage is on the threshold of overload, just almost breaking the barrier between "clean" and starting to distort. This is more evident on mids and tops. The mod I'll suggest to you via written media, will not really have an effect on sound balance, but should allow you to get the Mac's volume to the sweet spot where in itself there is less low frequency rolloff as a function of the volume pot setting.

We start our Mondays two hours ahead of yours, being early birds of course and also being further east of Greenwich Mean Time. Just "dawned" on me. Monday in SA this coming week is some sort of public holiday. I do not even know what for or on behalf of whom. This means I can only mail this on Tuesday. However, when you get the time Tuesday morning, whatever time that is, we'll be two hours ahead of your time. Just ping me and I'll get them going with some goodies.

Best of British Luck to you Mate!

Offline Rotten Johnny

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 12:39:08 AM »
I'm flying back to London on Monday evening...if the items don't weigh a hell of a lot and aren't bulky (I'm travelling with small suitcase only) I can mail same from London.
I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things -- Tom Waits

Free your mind...and your ass will follow.

Offline Jonesy

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2017, 01:15:54 AM »
Thanks Schalk, and thanks very much Rotten Johhny, for the offer. It is very kind of you. I think they are quite heavy, so I'm led to believe. I think it would be up to Schalk, whatever is best. Be prepared for wet weather though. It seems to have been raining in the UK for most of September.

I love the Whisper, at times it sounds amazing. I've heard Russian valves can sound a tad bright, that's why I'm dying to try some others.

When I get my next cartridge I could try a very low output one - won't be for a long time though hopefully.     

I'll give the 6n1p a miss then.

thanks again, and “Goeienag”.

Offline Jonesy

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 10:19:32 PM »
I just want to thank Schalk for sending me the new casings for my Whisper. I haven't had time to attach them yet as I've been partaking in the British national past time of decorating (obviously after being told to do it) an which still isn't finished.

I want to spend some quiet time putting them on because I want to concentrate whilst I'm doing it.

I've recently changed my cables from balanced interconnects that I bought from Holland, which had rave reviews, and replaced them with some JPS Labs interconnects that I've had for a while. I think they're a much better combination. They're the cheapest in their line but they're still quite expensive for my budget. They're very natural sounding and have great bass with good dynamics.

I'm a big reggae fan and I've been listening to a band from New Zealand called Fat Freddy's Drop. They do a mixture of reggae,electronic and dance. I'm not a big dance fan but their dance tunes aren't too bad. Their reggae tunes such as Roady sound great. Their vinyl releases are very well pressed and very well produced.

Anyway thanks to Schalk again, I hope he gets the success his talent and service deserve. 

Offline Schalk

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2017, 06:04:50 AM »
Hi Mick,

Thanks for the blessing! Just be methodical and once you have done one according to the steps the rest will be easy.
Good thing about the difference the interconnects have brought about  :thumbs:


Offline vleisman

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 09:13:29 AM »
The 6N1P in the Whisper delivers an absolute visceral performance. So detailed and not hiding anything...

Hi Oom Schalk (or anyone that knows) as Mick asked above, how many of these 6N1Ps would I need? This sounds like something I'd like to try.

Offline fdlsys

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2017, 10:09:03 AM »
What, these little ones?
The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. Dave Barry
Come back when you’ve lived a little. Miles Davis

Offline vleisman

Re: Valve Audio Whisper
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 10:34:46 AM »
Hoo boy. Since a few years ago, I don't get paid. We decided to consolidate bank accounts because I was annoyed with Absa and wanted to simplify and reduce bank charges. So my salary gets paid directly into my wife's account and I get pocket money.

I think it's time I had my salary paid into Mike's account.  :groovy:

PS: closing all your accounts is not the easiest thing I've ever done, took me ages.