I have 2 of the tube SE's and yes its a SOB to get the tubes out. I removed the 2 Guards Then you have got to wiggle the tubes loose and pull up at the same time. I never used the heat sinks or guards again. Getting them in is even more of a challenge since the circuit board will flex as you push down.Feels like you're going to snap it . Not the best design for constant tube rolling. I just replaced the 12ax7's with bugle boys and called it quits.
Prima Luna Prologue 6 Amps, Prologue 3 preamp, AR ETL-1 Alphason Opal Ortofon Quintet Bronze, CJ Walker CJ5/Linn Basik Arm Ortofon 2M Mono (2) ProJect Tube Box II, Rega Jupiter, Sonos Connect, Custom built Speakers & crossovers,Luxman M-02 Amp, Sennheiser HD800s