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Fisher 400 - Tube rolling and phono help!

Discussion in 'Fisher' started by Jon Kasper, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Hi all,

    Have been rocking out to my Fisher 400 over the past year thanks to the awesome recommendations on this forum, and have really been loving it! Have the 400 driving two Klipsch Cornwall IIs, using both my TT (with the 400s phono/pre) and a DAC (Grant Fidelity Tubedac-11). 4ohms tap for the cornwalls. My Fisher 400 is a basic restore job I believe which I purchased off ebay, see the pictures attached.

    Have two questions hoping some of the seasons 400 vets may be able to be able to help with if there's any chance.

    1. Tube rolling

    Truth be told, I'm a rookie when it comes to which tube goes where and am struggling to figure out where I might be able to experiment/improve things. At present I am using a strong matched quad of some new EH 7868s for the output tubes which I am very happy with. thanks Jim mcshane!

    With respect to other sections... when I bought the Fisher 400 it had a smorgesboard which I have slowly been replacing as my budget allows, but not sure if what I have done is ideal or could be done better... on a budget.

    [​IMG]

    Here's what I currently am using in the other sections right now:

    V10 & V11: new production matched pair of Sovtek 12AX7.

    V12 & V13: new production matched pair of Tung Sol 12ax7 (NOT gold plate pins)

    V8 & V9: new production matched pair of tung sol 12ax7 (NOT gold plate pins)

    And then old stock in all other sections, not sure of the quality/effectiveness of the remaining tubes in place as I have only replaced the output tubes and the 12AX7 as per above.

    Does the selection above seem sound, could it be made better? Is there any key tubes I have not replaced/looked into that I should ie if they play a part in quality of sound produced. I dont use the Fm receiver so not a big deal if the other tubes are only used for radio.

    Other tubes I have on hand and in other sections:
    - 3 12AX7 Pilot Radio (which I believe are Japanese Raytheon long plates)
    - 2 12ax7 Toshiba (toyko shibaura electric)
    - 1 12ax7 Sylvania
    - 1 12AX7 Valvo
    - 1 12AX7 marked "ASB USA" which I believe if Raytheon
    - 1 12AX7 Bogen

    Also have a matched pair of 12Ax7 RCA black long plates on the way.

    Is there any key tubes I should look into perhaps in other spots in my unit, ie any key tubes other than V8,V9,V10,V11, V12 and V13 as that's all that I have replaced. And based on what I have in there now after replacement, any of the tubes I have on stock above worth rolling in?

    2. Phono/Pre

    A few weeks ago I bought a used Grant Fidelity Tubetac-11 as a secondary source of music, my Turntable is the main source. I have been feeding the DAC into the Fisher 400 via the line/aux input. After using the DAC with the 400 for a few weeks, the DAC seems to be on par and maybe even superior sound compared to when I use my TT through the Fisher 400. When I say superior, I mean it seems like a veil/haze is almost lifted, more detailed and clearer if that makes sense. The TT I have is a rega planar 3 with some improvements to it. This seems a tad odd as I understand the Fisher's phono section is highly regarded, so would have expected the TT to sound better than the DAC given the DAC is ok but nothing special.

    My question - perhaps is there something that can easily be done to my Fisher 400 to make the TT sound better? I don't think any work has been done to the phono stage on my Fisher, but have attached a picture as I'm not sure.

    I purchased some caps per board member Sony - replace existing .01uF ceramic coupling capacitors (there are 2 of them I believe) with .01uF Vitamin Q and replace the existing .022uF capacitors (2 of them as well) to a Russian K40Y-9 .022uF 400V capacitor. Might this provide an improvement to sound quality when playing my TT thru the Fisher 400? Any other recommended improvements based on the pics attached.

    Thanks very much and really appreciate any help someone may be able to offer!
     

    Attached Files:

     

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  2. thornev

    thornev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    515
    Location:
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    The first thing everyone is going to ask is what you mean by "sound better"? What sound are you after? More clarity? More bass? More highs? More volume? Less heat? Brighter-glowing tubes? Everyone has their personal preferences.
     
  3. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    To my it all comes down to the listening experience - ultimately I am looking for the most engaging, most fun, most “magic”, most 3D experience. Not necessarily the most accurate, just the most lively and Interesting When listening to my TT and some high end pressings thru the Fisher 400 (using the Phono + Amplifier section) versus the DAC (using only the fisher amplifier section), the TT definitely sounds less detailed, less 3D and less “engaging” for lack of a better word. Almost as if there’s an obstruction between the way the music is supposed to sound, and the speakers, like a veil. Which leads me to suspect something is up with the phono stage. Guess I could buy a separate phono stage, test it and then return it in order to see if indeed the fisher 400 phono stage is the culprit, though thought I’d check first to see if there’s any glaring culprit from the pictures and the tubes deployed (ie if there’s a defective tube I haven’t yet replaced somewhere that matters, a faulty capacitor, etc).
     
  4. thornev

    thornev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    515
    Location:
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Now that you bring turntable into the picture, that adds several variables that could be the cause of a lack of "engaging, magic and 3D experience." For example, your cartridge could require adjustments so that the stylus is "engaging" the groove walls as accurately as possible.
     
  5. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Yeah that’s a good point, will have a look tomorrow at my cart. I have an elys 2 installed (by a local Rega shop) which is an ok cart but nothing spectacular.. perhaps it’s part of the solution!
     
  6. The Fuxtor

    The Fuxtor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,753
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    You could try a different couple for the phono tubes and listen and compare? The other 12ax7 tubes you are currently using seem quite adequate for their jobs!
     

     

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  7. thornev

    thornev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    515
    Location:
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Having said all that, now I'm willing to share that I like Sovtek 12AX7LPS tubes in the phono section. I forget why I liked them over other tubes I tried, but what I'm always after is a smooth output across the frequency range and as "full" and clear a sound as possible.
     
  8. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Tried rolling some tubes this mornin in V8 and V9. Tried Sovteks, the Tung sol, pair or toshibas, pair of Japanese pilot radio Raytheon... very little change across the board. Perhaps I just have crap ears lol. I thought th Tung Sol and the Sovtek were indeed the best but was difficult to tell the difference if I’m being honest.

    Plan to pick up a tracking weight gauge to assist with making sure my TT is ok as well this afternoon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  9. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,746
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    frankly in a well designed circuit, the tubes are not supposed to make a lot of difference provided all the tubes are in good working order.
     
  10. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    So you were right, it was totally the turntable source as this culprit! Tracking weight or anti-skate must have been too light.. after I recalibrated and added a bit more tracking weight and redid anti-skate setting things are sounding so much better. Much more lively and dynamic and vivid, just as much so as the dac plus easily a bit on top, but also much more coloured and quite frankly inviting. Thanks!
     
  11. The Fuxtor

    The Fuxtor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,753
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    maybe try those other phono tubes now?
     

     

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  12. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

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    Damn. It’s like a freakin’ completely different system... I must have royally messed up the calibration last time around. Feel like a dufus.

    Toast to Avery Fisher and Paul Klipsch. Legends! One happy listener over here.

    Good call with another round of rolling for fun, will do that tonight, tho happy with what I now have regardless of outcome! Also have two matched pair of RCA Long black plate 12ax7 coming in from eBay, 1957. Couldn’t afford NOS but was able to win a “make an offer” for a set with strong ratings near 95% with no microphonics issue according to seller. Looking forward to seeing what they migh bring to the table as at this point it’s just gravy for this set of ears!
     
    bolero likes this.
  13. thornev

    thornev Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    515
    Location:
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Good for you that you got it sorted out. I added an upscale turntable and cartridge to my system and I was amazed at the improved sound quality. All these years I didn't know what I was missing. And then adding the 500-C into the mix...wow. It's like rediscovering my records all over again.
     
  14. bolero

    bolero Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    Ontario
    congrats!

    another Fisher 400 + Klipsch Cornwall user here
     
  15. 2526

    2526 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    3,499
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    78FD0EDE-201B-4D84-A9A0-40C491FD2421.jpeg
    400 with Heresy here - in the phono I use Westinghouse grey short plate 12ax7s as recommended by the guy who restored the 400.
     
    bolero likes this.
  16. Jon Kasper

    Jon Kasper New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Beautiful! Man, these fishers receiver just keep aging like fine wine. The magic sound is bread and butter, but the aesthetic is a very nice bonus and its important when you're living in a smaller place like I am and the amp has to be displayed in the common living area. I've had a collection of newer amps and receivers rotating/swapping in and out as my tastes evolve, nothing crazy but decent quality nonetheless, and my Fisher 400 is the only piece of equipment my wife has gone out of her way to comment how nice it looks! I think it's the only reason she hasn't given my cornwall IIs the boot!
     
    bolero likes this.

     

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