Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by jgnov99, Oct 14, 2006.
Hey guys, what do you think is the VERY BEST 12AT7 out there?
Very best? Probably Telefunken.
What about the NOS Brimars Blue Strat? How do they compare?
What makes them the best exactly? I ask because I attended a guitar show once and a gentleman there was offering NOS Telefunken and Mullard 12at7s for $15 a pop. That amount was all I had brought with me to stay out of trouble. I ended up going with the Telefunken, but afterwards read that many liked the Mullard better. BTW I still use that tube in a PI slot.
i had a tele 12AT7 in the PI slot of my BFD, and I liked an RCA better. The tele was "better" sounding, as in more "hi fi" but I preferred the character of the RCA.
After a point, it's all personal preference.
There's absolutely no consensus on tone, it's all subjective. This is the experience of 13,000 tube orders talking.
Objectively, it's a little difficult to compare since all Western European tubes were some of the best tubes ever made. Telefunken gets special mention because of the German engineering reputation for overdesigning everything.
Right. I wonder if they last as long as Tele 12ax7s. At any rate mine is still working well without issues.
It's not unusual to see NOS preamp tubes last 30 years. Tele's are rated for something like 100,000 hours.
It depends on what you want out of a 12AT7.
I get all misty-eyed over late-production ('80s) Mullard CV4024, but only for certain amps - they've got a solid low-frequency foundation thats stronger than any other 12AT7 I've tried (including early '60s Mullard 12AT7/M8162), fluid-feeling dynamics, and airy high-frequency clarity. I've used them for V1 and phase-inverter positions, in several amps.
But for another amp (5E7 clone), I ended up (so far) with '50s Tung-Sol black-plate 12AT7 (phase inverter) because it didn't accentuate the low frequencies (the CV4024 didn't work for me), but it did have superior dynamics and upper-frequency clarity.
I have not yet tried Raytheon black-plate/3-mica 12AT7, but will soon, and anticipate auditioning them in that 5E7. I expect these Raytheons to be akin to Raytheon black-plate 12AX7 in character (that's a very good thing) - but who knows, they may not be.
That doesn't say anything about 'how many miles' the tube was already running within this 30 years and under which stress (supply voltage and operating current)
That's valid for the 'long life' tubes from TFK, Valvo, aso. like i.e. the TFK ECC803S with the gold pins. The 'standard' stuff from the past (60's & 70's production) was supposed to last 10,000-30,000 hours, depending on the operation conditions.
Just trying out some 12AT7's in the V1 of my Crate Vintage Club head. Picked up a bunch of various brands and just got around to trying them. Many of them seem to have small plates. I really like how the black plate RCA (small plate) warmed things up. Also an Amperex Bugle Boy(french made) warmed it up nicely too. Im leaving in the BB for further listening.
True, but I bet we won't be measuring the life of new production tubes in decades under ANY circumstances. In fact, we're already measuring them in months and years (as opposed to decades).
Anytime I hear talk of using an 12at7 I always think of trying a 5751 .Sometimes it works where noise or other problems live. Anyhow I often use 5751 in many applications or at least try them.They are a wonderfull tube IMHO.Good Luck!!
i have rft's and jan ones
bumps in the pickle for updates
The Mullard CV4024s are not only objectively excellent, but also subjectively loved by most users.
For a lot of stuff, the GE 6201 is near perfect.
There's a lot of tubes that are good enough that differentiating them is only a matter of taste or for the less fussy any of them will do.
Not so great in Fender reverb driver sockets though.
+1 on the Mullards for BF PI's. Tele's for reverb drivers. For some amps either can be great in V1/V2, taming the beast a bit.
I really dislike these subjective "which tube is best" conversations. Isn't there another forum this would fit better into?