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EI 12AX7 tubes----are the new ones any good?

SLG

Sporting a Gold Member
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
659
I used to use the EI 12AX7 tubes. They were a great tube;I loved the sound. They were my favorite current production 12AX7 until they started developing problems with microphonics. In my experience, 80% of the tubes went bad within 2 to 3 months of use. EI started putting out an "Elite" version of the tube, but they eventually developed microphonics as well. Did EI ever correct the problems with their tubes? Has anyone used any of their recent production tubes? I'd like to purchase some more 12AX7's, but not if the reject rate is still high.
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,192
I had pretty good luck with the intial versions of Gold Elite which were not actually issued by EI. A third party tested and screened for the best tubes, and put cheesy gold plating on the pins.

The most recent batch (about 6 months ago) had the normal high reject rate.

I won't be dealing in EI 12AX7s in the future.
 

Igneous

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,937
I was almost temtped to buy a couple of these smooth plates from ebay for real cheap.

They LOOK exactly like the famous telefunken SP that I have a few of and are an exclusive part of my desired tone(mixed with gtax7m)

They also claim to be made on the same equipment but who knows. Anyone here?
 

aeolian

Member
Messages
6,352
I have one that was screened by TheTubeStore in my Fuchs mod. It's held up just fine and not developed any microphonics. But I bought another Gold Elite and don't like it as much. Seems like a lot of variability.
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,769
The EI's are reputedly built on the old German smooth plate Telefunken tooling,which was relocated years ago. When you find a goodie, they are very, very good and easily as good as an original Telefunken. Unfortunately, the yield ratio is pretty poor.

I've been using the current JJ's in the front end, and Ruby's in the FX and drivers, with good success. The JJ's rarely fail, and usually when it happens, it's in the shop during burn-ins. They sound as good as the EI's, they are usually decently quiet, and have tolerable microphonics.

The Ruby's are good for general purpose use, although a new model we're making showed they can have some leakage from section to section if you get a bummer.

I wish EI tightened up their quality, as thats a heck of a tube when it's working up to spec.
 

scottl

Member
Messages
17,063
Originally posted by Fuchsaudio
The EI's are reputedly built on the old German smooth plate Telefunken tooling,which was relocated years ago. When you find a goodie, they are very, very good and easily as good as an original Telefunken. Unfortunately, the yield ratio is pretty poor.

I've been using the current JJ's in the front end, and Ruby's in the FX and drivers, with good success. The JJ's rarely fail, and usually when it happens, it's in the shop during burn-ins. They sound as good as the EI's, they are usually decently quiet, and have tolerable microphonics.

The Ruby's are good for general purpose use, although a new model we're making showed they can have some leakage from section to section if you get a bummer.

I wish EI tightened up their quality, as thats a heck of a tube when it's working up to spec.
Or Andy let's you scavange in his old tube box for mint Fishers, Valvos, Rogers, and Multivox.... :)
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,192
Being built on the same equipment is almost as good as "looking" the same as Telefunkens. Neither speaks to the quality of raw materials or quality control which are both lacking in all new production tubes.

The final quality speaks for itself.
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,769
Originally posted by Blue Strat
Being built on the same equipment is almost as good as "looking" the same as Telefunkens. Neither speaks to the quality of raw materials or quality control which are both lacking in all new production tubes.

The final quality speaks for itself.
Agreed.
 

cap'n'crunch

Member
Messages
1,398
Well, I think I got lucky (knock on wood). I came across 3 EI 12AX7's about 4 years ago and have been using them regularly since. No problems yet and they sound great. Of course I always carry backups.
 

Doug's Tubes

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,588
I used to use the EI 12AX7 tubes. They were a great tube;I loved the sound. They were my favorite current production 12AX7 until they started developing problems with microphonics. In my experience, 80% of the tubes went bad within 2 to 3 months of use. EI started putting out an "Elite" version of the tube, but they eventually developed microphonics as well. Did EI ever correct the problems with their tubes? Has anyone used any of their recent production tubes? I'd like to purchase some more 12AX7's, but not if the reject rate is still high.
The Ei factory in Serbia never manufactured any tubes with gold pins. Ei Elites were a "brand" created by PM Components in the UK, they just purchased tubes from Ei and did the gold plating(a pretty crappy plating at that) which by the way did absolutely nothing for the tone one way or another. Gold plating wont save a microphonic tube. Ever hear the old saying, you cant polish a turd? Pretty much what Mike said.

The Ei tooling was purchased by Westrex Corp(Western Electric) at the end of 2005, the deal has been in limbo ever since. I dont think there are any Ei tubes being manufactured at the present time.
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,229
Where's the best place to pick one or two of these baby's up ..?
Ive got 3 I purchased back when they came out. Unfortunately they were all microphonic right out of the box. Plus the gold pins are socket stretchers. Bob
 

mmorse

Member
Messages
961
I've got one from the early 80s and that sucker can hold its own with any old Mullard I have. I also bought a couple from the mid 90s I believe thinking I'd be getting a couple more "poor man's Mullards." Boy was I wrong. Completely different sounding tube than my 80s vintage tube. Shrill, harsh and inarticulate. :(
 

shizzaq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
781
I sure hope they can make them again with good quality. I have 2 that I bought from Doug a few years ago and they sound amazing but I only put them in for small amounts of time and then I take them out. I just bought some hi test telefunken smooth plates from ebay to try and see what I think.
 

bond_fan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30
It's best to get the pre-War Ei's. The new ones don't use the same materials like old tubes, which sound better for pretty much all manufacturers, Mullard, Telefunken, Phillips etc. They may look like the older ones, but the quality is not the same.
 

RussB

low rent hobbyist
Messages
11,158
It's best to get the pre-War Ei's. The new ones don't use the same materials like old tubes, which sound better for pretty much all manufacturers, Mullard, Telefunken, Phillips etc. They may look like the older ones, but the quality is not the same.

Who are you talking to? How did you discover this old thread? and what was the motivation to post in it?

I'm actually very curious
 




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