PDA

View Full Version : Sylvania 12ax7 Tubes


Adam79
04-13-2012, 12:51 AM
Hi. Sylvania 12ax7 preamp tubes haven't been on my radar until I came across some posting about the Sylvania 12ax7 long black plates (D getter) being the "holy grail" of 12ax7s. This distinction is usually reserved for Mullard 10Ms or Philips long plates (Heerlen, Holland).

I'm curious to hear what you guys over here think of these tubes.

Thanks,
-Adam

midnightlaundry
04-13-2012, 03:08 AM
I have a bunch. I think the D getter is the 50's variety. My experience seems to be that they have a lot of gain with a strong low and highend.

1moreknob
04-13-2012, 07:12 AM
Ive been testing a lot of tubes lately, both Pre-amp and power, NOS and new versions. What I've found is it all depends on the Amp and circuit. At tube that sounds great in a JTM45 (I really like NOS Amperex, made in Holland) is too bright in a Deluxe reverb.

In my DRRI, I put in a new set of jj 12ax7S. they are in expensive, and sound great to my ear. They tame the high end slightly, and are just big and full in the DRRI.

Timbre Wolf
04-13-2012, 08:01 AM
Hi. Sylvania 12ax7 preamp tubes haven't been on my radar until I came across some posting about the Sylvania 12ax7 long black plates (D getter) being the "holy grail" of 12ax7s. This distinction is usually reserved for Mullard 10Ms or Philips long plates (Heerlen, Holland).

I'm curious to hear what you guys over here think of these tubes.

Thanks,
-Adam

The long black-plate Sylvania 12AX7 from the early-'50s are wonderful, in my experience. You really have to be specific about which Sylvania 12AX7 variant your discussing, because they had widely-varying character. These first Sylvania 12AX7 break up much later than all others they made, and the mid-'50s short-plate variants (first black-plate, then gray-plate) are more clear than the later-'50s/early-'60s long gray-plate ones.

As for comparing to Mullard 10M... those are just short-plate Mullard 12AX7A, and the long black-plate Sylvania 12AX7 beats them to a pulp in any contest for clarity. The '50s Heerlen 12AX7 would still win that particular contest, but not by much, and with a different tonal character. Those Sylvanias are very balanced, tonally, throughout the frequency range.

Yes - the Sylvania long black-plate 12AX7 is worthy of attention.

- Thom

Adam79
05-04-2012, 12:26 AM
The long black-plate Sylvania 12AX7 from the early-'50s are wonderful, in my experience. You really have to be specific about which Sylvania 12AX7 variant your discussing, because they had widely-varying character. These first Sylvania 12AX7 break up much later than all others they made, and the mid-'50s short-plate variants (first black-plate, then gray-plate) are more clear than the later-'50s/early-'60s long gray-plate ones.



Check out the picture below. It has a square getter.

http://members.toast.net/adam79/sylvania12ax7.jpg

LPMojoGL
03-02-2015, 09:02 PM
Bumping this back up for a question. How are the long grey plate Sylvanias? Found someone that has plenty that test new. I'm wondering how they would do in a Rockitt Retro 50 (Marshall 1987 clone).
Also, how does the Raytheon black plate from late 50s early 60s compare?
Grey ladder/ribbed Telefunkens? Thanks!!!

Timbre Wolf
03-02-2015, 09:33 PM
Bumping this back up for a question. How are the long grey plate Sylvanias? Found someone that has plenty that test new. I'm wondering how they would do in a Rockitt Retro 50 (Marshall 1987 clone).
Also, how does the Raytheon black plate from late 50s early 60s compare?
Grey ladder/ribbed Telefunkens? Thanks!!!

Long gray-plate Sylvania 12AX7: kinda wooly, thick mid-character; meh!
Ribbed Telefunken ECC83: brighter treble and greater clarity than smooth-plate T-funk; kinda stiff feel
Raytheon black-plate 12AX7A: bright and clear - very clear - with early breakup. My favorite of this trio (like it more than the lauded smooth-plate T-funk ECC83 too).

If you want to go with the least treble, choose the long-plate Sylvania from those three.

- Thom

LPMojoGL
03-02-2015, 09:36 PM
Long gray-plate Sylvania 12AX7: kinda wooly, thick mid-character; meh!
Ribbed Telefunken ECC83: brighter treble and greater clarity than smooth-plate T-funk; kinda stiff feel
Raytheon black-plate 12AX7A: bright and clear - very clear - with early breakup. My favorite of this trio (like it more than the lauded smooth-plate T-funk ECC83 too).

If you want to go with the least treble, choose the long-plate Sylvania from those three.

- Thom


Thanks! Any of these better than current production tubes? Worth $15 for the Sylvania and Raytheon?

What about early RCA grey plates, white label? Doesn't say long/short, smooth or ribbed. $25?

Timbre Wolf
03-02-2015, 09:40 PM
Thanks! Any of these better than current production tubes? Worth $15 for the Sylvania and Raytheon?

What about early RCA grey plates, white label? Doesn't say long/short, smooth or ribbed. $25?

You can throw your money out there, for curiosity's sake. But what are you trying to accomplish?

Those prices are pretty good, these days. I'd choose to go for the Raytheons, because I love their supreme clarity. But that's just me.

RCA variants have different characteristics. Even short-plates: 7025 sound different from 12AX7A. You could ask the person offering...

- T

LPMojoGL
03-02-2015, 09:53 PM
You can throw your money out there, for curiosity's sake. But what are you trying to accomplish?

Those prices are pretty good, these days. I'd choose to go for the Raytheons, because I love their supreme clarity. But that's just me.

RCA variants have different characteristics. Even short-plates: 7025 sound different from 12AX7A. You could ask the person offering...

- T


Trying to accomplish: Better clarity and frequency response than the EHX tubes in there now. Experience the instant better sound that I have in the past when slapping good old tubes in place of new tubes. That kinda thing. I'll probably grab a couple of each and try em out. I like having 12ax7s to try. Thanks again for your help!

RussB
03-02-2015, 09:53 PM
Thanks! Any of these better than current production tubes? Worth $15 for the Sylvania and Raytheon?

What about early RCA grey plates, white label? Doesn't say long/short, smooth or ribbed. $25?


Here's the thing...

When in new condition, they are excellent tubes. Sometimes folks sell worn out old tubes. You won't know until you take the chance

LPMojoGL
03-02-2015, 09:59 PM
Here's the thing...

When in new condition, they are excellent tubes. Sometimes folks sell worn out old tubes. You won't know until you take the chance


The seller says they test at and above NOS. The guy seems to have a huge stash of the Sylvanias, labeled Baldwin. Only a couple of Raytheons, one Telefunken and a handful of RCAs. The Sylvanias look like these:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Sylvania-Baldwin-12AX7-ECC83-Stereo-Tube-Results-1730-1460-V-Strong-/400861501803?_trksid=p2054897.l4275

RussB
03-02-2015, 10:06 PM
The seller says they test at and above NOS. The guy seems to have a huge stash of the Sylvanias, labeled Baldwin. Only a couple of Raytheons, one Telefunken and a handful of RCAs. The Sylvanias look like these:


There are some good tube retailers, and there are some shady bastards out there too. Buyer beware!

Ask the seller what "test at or above NOS" means. Ask what tester he's using, and if and when its been calibrated, ask if he provides test numbers with the tubes...and ask if he accepts returns on dead, noisy or microphonic tubes. Or take a chance

LPMojoGL
03-02-2015, 10:24 PM
There are some good tube retailers, and there are some shady bastards out there too. Buyer beware!

Ask the seller what "test at or above NOS" means. Ask what tester he's using, and if and when its been calibrated, ask if he provides test numbers with the tubes...and ask if he accepts returns on dead, noisy or microphonic tubes. Or take a chance


Thanks for the tips. The ad has a pic of the tester and the readings. I'll be sure to follow up and ask about returns. He did let a person return a Tele for 2 Sylvanias because the person like the Sylvs better for his modern amps.

damian1
03-02-2015, 10:30 PM
Take the chance. The old preamp tubes last for damn near ever. I have very rarely ever been duped by a seller. Even random no name ebay sellers with no clue. As long as you are not paying premium prices it is worth the gamble in my experience. Roll the dice. If you want to pay the big bucks for the professionally tested old stock tunes by all means go ahead.

Timbre Wolf
03-02-2015, 11:11 PM
Trying to accomplish: Better clarity and frequency response than the EHX tubes in there now. Experience the instant better sound that I have in the past when slapping good old tubes in place of new tubes. That kinda thing. I'll probably grab a couple of each and try em out. I like having 12ax7s to try. Thanks again for your help!

Raytheon!

DaveKS
03-03-2015, 12:04 AM
Raytheon, big wide range tube full of harmonic overtones, especially when in OD.

Tele rib plate, pure, neutral raw gain, some people say their sterile but not me, they make great follower tubes if you don't want to change character a lot but still want superb gain. Some of the high testing ones are capable of huge amounts gain, so are some of the Raytheon blacks.

Sylvania, nice mids focused compression with fairly neutral bass and treble ends. I like them especially well following old RCA and GE in fenders.

3 very different but all excellent tubes that you'll find a use for somewhere.

LPMojoGL
03-03-2015, 12:15 AM
Raytheon, big wide range tube full of harmonic overtones, especially when in OD.

Tele rib plate, pure, neutral raw gain, some people say their sterile but not me, they make great follower tubes if you don't want to change character a lot but still want superb gain. Some of the high testing ones are capable of huge amounts gain, so are some of the Raytheon blacks.

Sylvania, nice mids focused compression with fairly neutral bass and treble ends. I like them especially well following old RCA and GE in fenders.

3 very different but all excellent tubes that you'll find a use for somewhere.


Thanks for the input! I'm gonna grab em tomorrow. Don't know about the Tele, but will grab a couple of Raytheons and Sylvanias, and probably and RCA or two.

LPVM
03-03-2015, 03:07 AM
I've got a few of those Baldwin labeled long plate Sylvania tubes and like to use them in the PI slot. I've got a few Ratheon black plates as well and they are real nice tubes.

DaveKS
03-03-2015, 04:46 AM
I've got a few of those Baldwin labeled long plate Sylvania tubes and like to use them in the PI slot. I've got a few Ratheon black plates as well and they are real nice tubes.

Yep, most of the organ stock tube have alway exceeded my expectations. Think did really screen them extra and give organ makers the best pickins, nothing worse than hissing organ. Most those baldwins ect sat around as living room furniture hardly being played, their usually like new. Wurlitzer and Lowery branded RCA and GE have alway been outstanding tube as well. Gulbransen and Hammond branded Amperex/Philips awesome.

Timbre Wolf
03-03-2015, 07:08 AM
Yep, most of the organ stock tube have alway exceeded my expectations.
I have always said... Nothing satisfies like a good organ pull.:banana

- Thom

Blue Strat
03-03-2015, 07:40 AM
I have always said... Nothing satisfies like a good organ pull.:banana

- Thom

Oh no you di'n't! :D

ScioBro
03-03-2015, 08:22 AM
I scored a lot of those Syl. grey plate Baldwin (green label) pulls "direct from the field"

blue strat predicted a lot of microphonics fall out regardless of test data.

he was right...70%+...most had the paint on their kewpie doll tips (indicating orig. factory sort? QC?)
Many that tested real strong, balanced triodes,... were microphonic...usually a hi freq. ringing...sometimes limited to hi vol. setting

Blue Strat
03-03-2015, 10:11 AM
I scored a lot of those Syl. grey plate Baldwin (green label) pulls "direct from the field"

blue strat predicted a lot of microphonics fall out regardless of test data.

he was right...70%+...most had the paint on their kewpie doll tips (indicating orig. factory sort? QC?)
Many that tested real strong, balanced triodes,... were microphonic...usually a hi freq. ringing...sometimes limited to hi vol. setting

Not sure who did the testing, but microphonics weren't a concern.

SupremeDalek
03-03-2015, 12:17 PM
I acquired a few of these tubes. They tested great, sounded great, and I really fell in love with them. Unfortunately, every single Sylvania 12ax7 I purchased went microphonic after 2 months. Maybe I just had terrible luck...maybe not. I just wanted to put that out there.

Blue Strat
03-03-2015, 12:26 PM
I acquired a few of these tubes. They tested great, sounded great, and I really fell in love with them. Unfortunately, every single Sylvania 12ax7 I purchased went microphonic after 2 months. Maybe I just had terrible luck...maybe not. I just wanted to put that out there.

Most of the brand new ones I see that test great are very microphonic.

swiveltung
03-03-2015, 02:12 PM
Yep, a lot of tubes out there have been sifted thru for years now. There's some great labeled tubes that test perfect but are microphonic as hell. Unless the seller has put them in an amp and played... he has no idea.
Between the hissing, crackling and microphonics I pretty much gave up old stock a couple years ago. I have a bunch sitting in a drawer too. Including sleeves of RCA Black Plates.
I'm a player... not a tube snob... I'm using mostly Mullard RI's now. Havent had a bad one yet.
The type of pre tube you are using is WAY down the "effects tone" list priority if you ask me..... especially in a band mix.