Lowering HT voltage on RS124 clone, or not?

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Yep. I don't know if it really is 15 - 20dB compression but, like you, I think this thing really is made for that.

An ECC189 tube giving you a bit more headroom there before you overload (cut off) the thing.
Don't worry so much about the absolute voltages. Remember that tube equipment most of the times was built for quite variable mains voltage, sometimes with 20% variations.
The important thing is making sure the voltages are balanced where they need to be (push-pull stages in particular).

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