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Thread: Tube info

  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Tube info

    For anyone new to tubes and considering tube rolling, here's some info I stumbles upon when looking up 12X7 tubes

    http://www.audiotubes.com/12ax7.htm

    Do any of you tube heads know anything about these tubes?-

    http://thetubestore.com/tungsol12ax7g.html

    http://thetubestore.com/tungsol12ax7g.html
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
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    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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  2. #2
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    For tube rollers on a budget, the Sovtek 12AX7LPS is a good one. They make a nice, inexpensive upgrade for phono preamp.

  3. #3
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    For anyone new to tubes and considering tube rolling, here's some info I stumbles upon when looking up 12X7 tubes

    http://www.audiotubes.com/12ax7.htm

    Do any of you tube heads know anything about these tubes?-

    http://thetubestore.com/tungsol12ax7g.html

    http://thetubestore.com/tungsol12ax7g.html
    Tung Sol's are what's in my amp.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Geoffcin, I'm looking for a warmer tube. I'm not sure what brand of tube is in my VA equipment, I have to email Frank VA to find out or just look under the hood. I don't mind spending $100-150 for tubes.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  5. #5
    Rich Tubey Goodness
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    Been awhile since I posted... I have yet to try the Tung Sol 12AX7 but what I've heard has been positive. I'm more of an NOS person myself and what new tubes (Sov, EH, Shuguang, Sino) I've heard just don't hold a candle to the older brands. Right now I'm using NOS Mullards in the preamp section of my JoLida and a Telefunken in my Bellari phono preamp. They may be expensive (and I'm not even close to being rich) they are worth the extra money... Just my 2 cents.

  6. #6
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Geoffcin, I'm looking for a warmer tube. I'm not sure what brand of tube is in my VA equipment, I have to email Frank VA to find out or just look under the hood. I don't mind spending $100-150 for tubes.
    I hear ya, but why pay more for tubes that are expensive just because they are old? From what I've been able to find out these new tubes are made to the same specs as the old tubes, and the factories they are made in use more modern equipment which would lead to closer tolerances and greater quality control.

    10 years ago your only choice would be NOS tubes, but now a whole new industry has grown up making quality tubes for the audio community. Sure some people are going to claim that "nothing beats the old tubes", but to me if the tubes are made well, and to the same spec, then they should sound great whether NOS or not.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  7. #7
    Rich Tubey Goodness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    I hear ya, but why pay more for tubes that are expensive just because they are old? From what I've been able to find out these new tubes are made to the same specs as the old tubes, and the factories they are made in use more modern equipment which would lead to closer tolerances and greater quality control.

    10 years ago your only choice would be NOS tubes, but now a whole new industry has grown up making quality tubes for the audio community. Sure some people are going to claim that "nothing beats the old tubes", but to me if the tubes are made well, and to the same spec, then they should sound great whether NOS or not.
    I have to disagree. Tubes made today do not hold a candle to NOS tubes. If tubes were made to the same spec as Mullards, Tung Sols, Telefunken, etc of the 50s and 60s, using the same formulations, "recipies" and the much tighter tolerances of those times, preamp tubes would cost into the $100s and a quad of power tubes would literally go into the $1000s (depending on model).

    I went NOS for preamp tubes because I felt the sound of the Russian and Chinese tubes were not that good. They didn't do anything offensive, the Chinese (stock with the JoLida) were kind of thin sounding and the Russian EHs were a bit sterile and lifeless. The build quality wasn't even close to NOS. I popped in some well used Mullard 12AX7s and the sound changed to something much warmer and I was hooked. I got some NOS Mullard 12AT7s and 12AX7s and there was no looking back.

    As far as power tubes go... I'm on my fourth set of EL34s. The JJs kept popping fuses, the stock tubes died and the EH 6CA7s redplated. Right now I'm using the New Sensor made Tung Sol EL34Bs and have been watching them out of one eye, but when I can afford it I will replace them with NOS Mullards xf2s or Amperex Bugle Boys.

    I guess what I'm driving at is that they don't make tubes like they used to. The formulations are different than they were. Not as much time is given to the evacuation process which has an effect on the lifespan of the tubes. I dare you to find a Russian or Chinese 12AT7 that has even close to the 10,000 hr rating of a NOS Amperex or a modern 12AX7 that gets near Telefunken's 100,000 hr span (maybe EAT but they are incredibly expensive). Ei made a fairly close approximation of the Tele smooth plate soundwise, but the QC was abysmal. When someone can make an affordable tube made like they used to make 'em I'll gladly buy it, until then I'll stick with my NOS Mullards.

  8. #8
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Like I said, it's only been my findings with what I have used. It sounds like you've run into a lot more problems than I have. When I got my amp I had my tech check it out along with the tubes and he said everything was within spec. It had already been updated with 2 Tung Sol 6SN7 & two 12AX7's. The Gold Lion KT88's that I replaced the original output tubes with cost me $200 for a matched quad. I did a bit of research on the Gold Lion KT88 re-issues before I bought them and it's really hard to find anyone saying anything but great things about them. If I wanted to use NOS Gold Lions I could spend $1500 or more on a quad. That's more than I spent on my amp!

    I don't believe there's any "magic" to making quality tubes, or that there's some art or special formula that they were using back in the 50's that has been lost. If the tubes you got were not up to spec, then they simply were made incorrectly. As far as I can tell the tubes I am using were made to spec and are working just fine for me.

    Of course my view is my own, and i tend to skew things from an engineering point of view. From what I've seen a lot of "tube rollers" are of the opinion that tubes are more like wine than electronic devices. That's cool with me, but I'm not going to change my position that quality tubes are being made right here and now. I know it because I'm listing to them as I write this!
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    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
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  9. #9
    Rich Tubey Goodness
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    The "special formula" as you call it isn't really lost. It's more that it can't be used
    due to ecological concerns from the "Green police", that and the alloys that were used (tungsten mainly) have become rather scarce and this does have an effect on sound as well as lifespan. So, even if SED wanted to make an EL34 like an old Mullard xf1 they would have a hard time with red tape and aquiring of materials. Ok... I'll stop now.

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I didn't think for one minute that I was going to change anyone's mind that's already been made (and closed).

    I will say that I've seen and heard a bunch of good tube amps made by the likes of McIntosh, VTL, Audio Research, BAT, and others and they all use newly issued tubes. If it's good enough for the likes of them, it's good enough for me!
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  11. #11
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    Thanks, but I'm good.

    Chris

  12. #12
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I've enjoyed playing around with various 12Ax7s in the preamp section of my Jolida integrated and in my Bellari phono stage. The nice thing about the Bellari is it only takes one tube so it's not that expensive to try a few single stray nos tubes. I had a Voice of Music branded Mullard in the Bellari. It came in a "grab bag" of 12Ax7s. It's been my favorite so far. The best description I can come up with is "lush". But it didn't have much life left when I got it. I got it from a harmonica player who probably pulled it from his harp amp. Now, I'm alternating between an nos Tungsram and an Ei gold pin, both of which were donated by a member here. The Tungsram comes closer to the lushness of the Mullard, but the Ei really brings out detail with acoustic instruments and vocals. The Ei can be a little harsh with complex music making the Tungsram the better all-around tube, but (there's always a "but") with the right music the Ei puts the performer right in front of you.

    I've had to come up with pairs for the Jolida. Fortunately, I found two pairs of RCA 7025s. These have an amazing sparkle or bell-like quality on the top end. One became noisy so now I'm down to a pair and a spare. I use a pair of RCA 12AT7s in the driver positions which improved both bass extension and tightness over the stock 12AT7s.

    I use a pair of the new sensor Mullard 12AX7s in my jolida cdp which was an improvement over the stock tubes especially in frequency extension and "openness", but no real "wow" factor. It could be the medium, because the occasional well-recorded, uncompressed cd sounds good.

    I use a pair of Sovtek LPS in my Jolida phono section (it wasn't planned to go all Jolida - it just sort of happened). The Sovteks are a bargain. They arrived about the same time I got the phono amp so I popped them right in without comparing the stock tubes. Sometimes I get the feeling the Sovteks are a little compressed - not as much air or extension as I'd like, but this could be due to the Jolida's unusually high output/gain. If I had another pair of 7025s (a little less gain than a 12AX7) I'd drop'em in. Not sure I want to splurge on another pair of nos or lightly used 7025s right now.

    Lastly, I recently replaced the 12AX7s in the first three positions of my vintage Fender guitar amp with some old RCAs from the aforementioned grab bag. They cleaned up the mud from the Groove Tubes that were installed about 5 years ago. Now I'm getting tone that is closer to the amp's tone when I first got it.

    BTW, nice stash, Chris!

  13. #13
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    Tubes are fun and I was quite the tube whore back in the early 00s, buying thousands of dollars worth, just as they started going through the roof.

    I'm using a tube preamp, phono stage, 300B monos, Dynaco FM tuner and a full blown 'Mr. Pig' Bottlehead Foreplay, so I have a need, however, I haven't bought them since then.

    The golden age and silver age, for tubes is over and they ain't comin' back!

    Chris

  14. #14
    Vinyl Junkie slate1's Avatar
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    Late to this thread, and I'm sure the OP has already purchased something. But, I'll share anyhow!

    I've had a little different experience than some here, I suppose. I spent hundreds of dollars rolling NOS tube after NOS tube in my phono preamp only to come back to the stock new-production EH 6922's Bottlehead shipped with my kit. I have to say, they are the quietest, least microphonic, most musical I tried and they are proving to be quite reliable.

    In my preamp - I did the same thing (to a lesser degree) and settled on the current production Tung-Sol 12AX7's too. The main problem with NOS 12AX7's is that NOS tube variant tends to be quite pricey. I've got current production Tung-Sol 6550 power tubes too that I run and love them.

    Don't misunderstand me, there is some current production junk out there too - I've never had a JJ tube last more than a couple of weeks in my gear before they've gone noisy or microphonic. I guess it all comes down to synergy and preference, but I've really enjoyed the current EH and Tung-Sol production tubes quite a bit.
    Cayin A-70T Integrated w/ Gold Lion Tubes PS Audio GCPH Phono Stage Pro-Ject RPM-9.1 Turntable w/ Pro-Ject Ground-It and Pro-Ject Speedbox II Dynavector 20X2H Cartridge Usher Audio X-718 Monitors Ultimate Cables C4 Interconnects & Speaker Cables

  15. #15
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Hey Slate,

    Nice to see someone else besides me likes new issued tubes! I'm currently using Tung-Sol 12AX7's, and the the KT88 Gold Lion re-issues. Can recommend them both!
    Audio;
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    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
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  16. #16
    Vinyl Junkie slate1's Avatar
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    Those Gold Lion KT-88's are magnificent. I ran them in a Cayin A88T with wonderful success. Incredible midrange.

    If you ever want to try something with a little different "more neutral" flavor I can't recommend the Tung-Sol 6550's highly enough. They are quite nice indeed and can be had for around $150/quad. The Tung-Sol 12AX7's beat any other tube I tried - very nice and affordable.
    Cayin A-70T Integrated w/ Gold Lion Tubes PS Audio GCPH Phono Stage Pro-Ject RPM-9.1 Turntable w/ Pro-Ject Ground-It and Pro-Ject Speedbox II Dynavector 20X2H Cartridge Usher Audio X-718 Monitors Ultimate Cables C4 Interconnects & Speaker Cables

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