Any 12ax7 El34 gurus here, please help

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Cary Chilton, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    I have been thinking about trying out more tubes for my marshall (1967 100 watt plexi) I have been thinking about mullards, telefunken, tung sol, rca, GE, phillips for 12ax7's and or El34's. THe problem for me is, there are SO damn much to choose from, I really don't know which to settle on. I have flat plate tubes, long plate, short, ribbed etc.
    .....then there is the matter of model numbers.
    Some 12ax7 made by Mullard have very different numbers other than Ec83 etc....
    The there are evilbay sellers selling a tube made by telefunken or mullard but with a different name.
    Last most tube sellers list the test results of a tube and then stating that it is very good..... the problem is all Ican do is agree because I don't what half of this stuff means.....

    People can you help a chap out?
     
  2. onetubetone

    onetubetone Member

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    Haha I know, this stuff is confusing. Different preamp tubes can have a big affect on your sound, and it's hard to know what you're really getting. First off, 12AX7 is the same as ECC83, it's just what they're called in Britain. Second, what you're going to be able to get will depend a lot on your price range. If price is not an issue, Mullard ECC83s are "the" preamp tube to have for the classic Marshall sound. They sound really thick and musical, and have a really creamy overdrive. However, there are many other tubes that are extremely well thought of. Off the top of my head, there's RCA, which have this wonderful hollowish tone (my favorite), GE, which are very balanced and bright, RFT which sound an awful lot like mullards but are a bit rougher around the edges... telefunkens I would not recommend because personally I find that they sound too hi-fi and sterile. But others will tell me I'm crazy. Anyway, one of the most important things is to find a reputable dealer. KCA NOS tubes is well thought of. The thing about old tubes is that, even if theyre used, theyre still so overbuilt that, if they are well tested, they are sure to last for one heck of a long time. I hope this helped.
     
  3. starfish

    starfish Member

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    Mullard manufactured tubes under quite a few brand names but you can always verify because there is a production code etched into the glass. The ECC83 is the UK tube designation. 12ax7 is U.S. They are the exact same tube type.

    The desireable Mullard tubes are the Blackburn factory tubes which have a production code (etched into the glass) of "Bxxx." The best value these days are the Philips (Mullard's parent company) ECC83 in the yellow boxes. These are etched with the Blackburn code serial number. They are Mullard manufactured tubes from the 60's and 70's but you will pay less than half of the cost of the Mullard branded tube. The best Mullard branded tube is the Mullard military cv4004. If you're going to shell out the $$$ for Mullard branded, buy this one. CV4004 is the low noise military ECC83/12ax7.

    Another great yet overlooked tube is the Brimar 12ax7/cv4004. This consistently wins in tube tone shootouts and places second only to Mullard, that is when it doesn't flat out beat the Mullard. Other Mullard rebranded tubes are Philips, EIC, Heath, Fisher, GE. Again, look at the production code to verify manufacture date and factory.
     
  4. onetubetone

    onetubetone Member

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    Yeah, I second Phillips as a great bargain. Brimar I've never tried, but I've heard good things.
     
  5. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    thanks guys, what about plate differences? and deciphering test readings on e-slay
     
  6. Thazy

    Thazy Member

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    I got a bunch of old preamps tubes lately and found the Philips sounded the best in the amp I was trying them in. I agree they are a good value.
     
  7. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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  8. g3rmanium

    g3rmanium Member

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    This is one of the reasons why I don't buy NOS anymore. I can't really say if the tubes are still "very good," "good" or just trash.
     
  9. dosmun

    dosmun Member

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  10. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    Hey Dosum thanks! Killer Link!
     
  11. tedwoods

    tedwoods Member

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    I don't want to add up to the confusion but since you're e-baying for tubes,why don't you try some Mullard 7247/12DW7's for the Stage Hog...?

    Ted
     
  12. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    Ted, actually I haven't even started messing too much tube swapping on the Stage Hog yet. You find the 7247 /12dw7's are nice with the Stage Hog?

    Should I be buying 12ax7's with a long or short plate for my marshall???
    I noticed that phillips and fischer were also made by mullard? Are these pretty sweet? Regarding the pricy mullard and telefunken's what test reading should I be aware of that the tube excellent -like new?
     
  13. Phil Harmoneeek

    Phil Harmoneeek Member

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    I agree with what onetubetone is saying inregards to his descriptions of various tubes, however I would not use the terms hi-fi or sterile for the Teles, how about articulate ... I use a couple in my rig (Vicky 50212). But it also depends on how you are going to use your amp ... cranked to the 9's (10) or as I use mine, with some cleanliness & then pedals. It matters, for sure, experiment ...

    Randall
     
  14. tedwoods

    tedwoods Member

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    I like the Mullard made 7247's.They are more "open" than the JJ's.
    As for short or long plates there really is no rule,whatever sounds best to you.
    Mullards were rebranded by many tube firms.Look for ones that do not look very worn.Test readings in e-bay aren't to be trusted really and even if they are indeed as published they rarely serve any purpose as to how a tube performs in a given circuit.
    I'm afraid there is no other way but trial and error...
    Have fun!

    Ted
     
  15. onetubetone

    onetubetone Member

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    Haha I will accept that. As a matter of fact, my amp (Penn Amps) is already a very articulate and clean sounding, so to be fair, Telefunkens are not really a good compliment to it. RCA's on the other hand sound wonderful. I guess the important thing is finding tubes with a tone to compliment your amps design, in order to best aproach that sound you hear in your head. =)
     
  16. Festus

    Festus Supporting Member

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    Long vs. short plates, and ribbed vs. smooth...er, ah, I have a bunch of all those, and I can't say I hear much real difference between them. I do hear a difference, however, between Telefunken, Mullard, Amperex, and RCA. RCA made tubes for a lot of different American and some European brands.

    Best bet is to get some different tubes (gets pricey) and experiment. Test results are going to vary widely, every tube tester has different measurements for good/bad values. Buying from a reputable dealer will take the guesswork out, but you'll pay more. eBay can be a crap shoot, I've bought good and so-so tubes, though I found a handful of sellers that really do know their stuff. The majority of them buy a questionably calibrated tube tester, and list tubes with questionable test results.
     
  17. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    can you remember any ebay sellers that were good?
     
  18. Thames

    Thames Member

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    Just put some ANOS early '70 Philips-labeled BlackBurn Mullards in my '67 Superbass repro and they are VERY DANGEROUS ;)
     
  19. fle

    fle Member

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    A really good resource:

    The latest issue of Tonequest Report has an interview with Mike Kropotkin that is a good read. His site is www.kcanostubes.com

    He just helped me retube my Bogner, haven't gotten the new power tubes in yet, but liking the pre tubes a bunch. Great service!
     
  20. dosmun

    dosmun Member

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    My advice would be to by from a reputable dealer such as Lord Valve. If your going to bother and spend the money at least you know what you are getting this way. Why take chances unless it is very cheap then your not out much if they are junk.
     

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