I was looking to see if anyone has tried or uses tube rings or dampers. Post your finders here.
I have used them on input tubes on various tube amps and preamps. They may work, but I was never able to convince myself there was an appreciable difference. If one has a problem with a microphonic tube it would be worth trying.
They are cheap, so give them a try.
I use Herbie’s Audio Lab . . . www.herbiesaudiolab.net
The difference is subtle, and the more resolving your amps are the more you may hear it. I think I became convinced when I started using the power regenerators, I could hear the difference with and without more clearly.
I would say what I hear is refinement: little details of timbre and ambient information.
I also use Herbie’s and agree completely with Lonson’s comments. I started using them in my previous amp which had tubes sitting out in the open where they were definitely affected by the sound waves from the speakers as well as other things (I suppose) – the benefit was clear. The difference is more subtle with the BHK units but still worthwhile.
I picked up some super cheap tube rings from The Tube Depot for now. Seem to add a subtle detail I didn’t have before. A easy tweak for a buck a tube.
I used the original Herbie’s, and now use the double o-rings Conrad Johnson provides. I know Audio Research uses them too.
I know when I first got the Herbie’s I liked what they did. I still have them on a tube preamp that is not being used, at present. There used to be some weird dampers with springs, and some tube coolers that looked kind of scary. So Herbie’s would be a good choice.
It is inexpensive, and as long as you get the right ones, that are made for high temps there is no downside to using them. You can try them in different placements too. CJ recommends thirds, while I was told AR suggests using them closer to the top of the tube.
I have placed two rings on each tube. I bought extra so I could do 3 each. I doubt I’d hear difference with a 3rd but you never know till you try.
I too use Herbie’s Audio Lab’s damping rings for the tubes in my power amps.
They improved the sound.
I currently have issue with higher background noise from my BHK pre when playing high-resolution files when I needed to raise the volume setting to 45-50. Someone here suggested to try a different set of tubes. I was wondering whether tube damper rings will help. Your experience with noise level after applying the damper rings? Thanks.
Dampers can help if the tubes are microphonic (picking up and amplifying vibrations from the environment). Tubes are typically microphonic to a small extent, but sometimes you get a tube that’s unusually so. I’m not sure, though, that tube microphony is the source of the noise issues you are experiencing.
OTOH, tube dampers range from downright cheap (the little ring kind that Tube Depot sells) to inexpensive (Herbie’s). So there’s not much to lose in trying them.
Also try isolation feet of you have any. Maybe your getting vibration back into your preamp from the room.
I currently us EAT Dampers they seem to be the most neutral while greatly reducing ring. I must say that I have used them in a number of amps over the years to the point that the I had to write Roy Hall to get replacement inserts. The decay of a cymbal is incredible, I think a bit of dampening with a certain amount of mass really allows the tube envelope to get out of the way of the grid and plates within the tube i.e. reduce coloration.