The NE-KT88 is a radical new design. For the first time ever a KT88 tube utilizes a solid, thick and completely unique graphite plate (anode). This improves tube life and reliability on top of providing outstanding audio amplification characteristics.
The Northern Electric KT88 audio tube is made with the highest quality materials, from the thick glass bottle to the copper and ceramic base with gold plated pins. The NE-KT88 is carefully handcrafted. Each build stage is measured and verified on state of the art equipment. Then a battery of tests must be passed to make it into your hands.
This new KT88 has been three years in the making. Numerous designs were evaluated, rejected and/or revised until we were satisfied we had the best KT-88 tube on the market today. Everything was designed to give you unsurpassed audio quality which you really need to hear.
The Northern Electric KT88 tube's low end is deep and controlled. The midrange is full and exceptional for vocal, classical, and jazz recordings. The high end is smooth and fairly well extended. The overall sound-stage has great separation and clarity.
Northern Electric had a rich history of producing high quality audio products and vacuum tubes in Canada. We are now re-introducing this classic brand and bringing to you the highest quality tubes possible.
Tried a few different brands and these are the best I've heard. They also look awesome in my mono blocks!
By Patrick Burek from Ontario, Canada
The best I have heard to date in my stereo
Just received a pair of the Northern Electric KT88's and am using them in an unconventional application – a single-ended pentode amp. This review reflects their use in this context, which gives particularly good insight into the tubes' qualities as the amp is very revealing.
My immediate impression upon installing the Northern Electric KT88's into my amp was that they exhibited great clarity across the entire frequency response range, and are more extended on both the top and bottom than the comparison tubes. Most notably, the NE communicated more low frequency detail than any other KT88 tube that I have heard. This was most apparent when using the NE KT88's in a single-ended amp. The change to the amount of bass detail and control was to the degree that the amp sounded more like a push-pull amp than one that is single-ended. The tonal balance was just slightly warmer than neutral, and only by a few degrees. This was determined by repeated listening, as one's ear quickly calibrates to the tone as completely neutral; once again, this is a subjective judgement on my part. However, that said, treble had both resolving clarity and palpable body, and while it was extended, it never sounded thin. As an example, the reproduction of piano keys continued to sound full and not just higher in pitch as the notes ascended the register. This is rarely the case for many tubes.
Compared to a pair of NOS tubes that I had on hand, the only area where the NOS tubes excelled was in imparting a noticeable liquid quality to upper mid-range and lower treble. However, this small gain was at the expense of considerable bass control, definition and detail, especially given the single-ended application in which these tubes were used. While the NOS tubes imparted a romanticized character to the sound, the NE tubes conveyed a confidence that the listener was hearing more of the source material and with greater accuracy. To explain further, the NE-KT88 tubes never sounded bright or etched and in no way were fatiguing, but were considerably more resolving than the NOS tubes and more tonally pure.
The only subjective short-coming of the NE-KT88, is that for a premium tube, the tubes themselves are visually very understated. They have an attractive gold plated base, clear glass bottles and look very well constructed; however, they don't have any special effects, such as black glass or a ceramic base that distinguish their look from other tubes in this category. For many, this is trivial, but for others who use tubes amplifiers that visually highlight tubes, it may be more important. Still, the primary job of the tube is to reproduce sound and these NE-KT88’s are the most resolving, neutral, and subsequently the best I have heard to date in my stereo.