Favorite NOS preamp tubes for Fender Blackface style amps

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,996
Just curious what everyone's favorites are & also what tonal differences you hear between brands/types. Would love to hear what amps you guys are using your NOS tubes in.

Mostly interested in bright & clean blackface/stratocaster tones.

Thanks!
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,999
What are the tone differences between black and grey plates?
To my ears - Greyplates have a bit warmer top end and are a bit more forward in the mids. Blackplates are a bit more lively. I almost think of them as a more present Mullard. All the best qualities of a Mullard with a bit more presensce/clarity. Again - that's what my ears hear.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,999
thx sb!

what abour short vs long plates?
Shorter plates are less microphonic than long plates. That's the only negative thing against the the Blackplates. They can sometimes be prone to microphonics. Get them from a good vender. The tone is worth it!
 

StratStringSlinger

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,255
Is there any truth in using long plates for the PI position? Why?

P.S. I heard black plates dissipate heat better; why and why they went to grey plates later on is beyond me.
 

lv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,996
Can anyone tell me the tonal difference between these RCA tubes?

12AX7/A RCA NOS 1960s production gray plates
12AX7 RCA long gray plates
12AX7 RCA long black plates
12AX7/ 7025RCA NOS
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,703
no idea, but RCAs do sound "richer" than GE, which really aren't that bad. newer russian stuff sounds far edgier and aggressive, which you might like.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,524
Can anyone tell me the tonal difference between these RCA tubes?

12AX7/A RCA NOS 1960s production gray plates
12AX7 RCA long gray plates
12AX7 RCA long black plates
12AX7/ 7025RCA NOS
Yes and no, you can tell if you prefer one to another if you do prefer one, but it might not go the same way the next time you listen.

I can't count the times I've decided that it was time to swap something out for one issue or another, grabbed "the same tube, same number, same brand", and gotten different results.
It's a different tube. . .
Not every time, not every position, but enough to conclude that there must be some amount of matching tube characteristics to the specific amp that favors how the tube is actually performing over brand or brand variation.

I'm generally fond of the RCA stuff, reminds me of 'Fender', and I might prefer long black to short grey or whatever, but in what amp with what guitar?
The reality is most guys are working with a limited supply of misc. pulls, and any tube's performance is relative to the guitar, amp, and application, so you still have to listen to a couple to pick a winner.
There are any number of visual clues that allow me to identify the manufacturer and style of a tube, but none of that stuff tells me if I'm going to like it.

Sometimes I'm surprised by that, sometimes not. . .
 

Singin' Dave

Member
Messages
520
Another RCA fan here, but depending on the amp, I've had more success using Amperex, Mullard, Westinghouse, GE and even Tung Sol RIs.

Good comments above. The same tube can work wonderfully in one amp and sound just OK or poor in another. It's really a combination of many factors. I've spent hours swapping pre-amp tubes until I found the right mix in my old Fender amps. It's actually a fun and enlightening process.

Here's a cool article to reference:

http://www.kcanostubes.com/content/newsletter_details.asp?ArticleID=5

very reliable dealer here
 

go7

Member
Messages
2,499
Mazda silver long plates do sound really good in some black face amps. All the sparkle etc. with some girth. Good luck.
 

blackba

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,179
RCA's are my favorite. GE's are nice too. I don't know what exact GE and RCA 12AX7's I have tried, but I know the RCA's are sweet :)
 

TheGuildedAge

Member
Messages
13,074
Rca's for me to. Although I had a 65 super reverb that I used 5751s in with success. I hated 5751s in every amp I tried, but the super had 7581A power tubes and 5751 preamp, and sounded great.

Only amp I wish I never sold.

Bryan
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,068
I have a telefunken and and RCA with long grey plates in my Fender Dual Showman. Both sound great, with the tele showing more detail and just sounding overall better.
 

ozspawn

Member
Messages
345
Mostly interested in bright & clean blackface/stratocaster tones.
Thanks!
I have tried the following 12AX7's in my blackface amps:

GE LONG GREYPLATE
RAYTHEON LONG BLACKPLATE
MULLARD SHORTPLATE
TELE RIBBED
TELE SMOOTH
RCA SHORT GREYPLATE 7025
RCA SHORT GREYPLATE 12AX7
RCA LONG BLACKPLATE WITH D GETTER
RCA LONG BLACKPLATE WITH SIDE GETTER (CLEARTOP)
AMPEREX SHORTPLATE
MADE IN CANADA PHILIPS SHORTPLATE
SYLVANIA
AND MANY OTHERS.

My favorite:

RCA LONG BLACKPLATE WITH SIDEGETTER (CLEARTOP).

I generally prefer RCA's but the cleartops are the best RCA's.
 

VanR

Senior Member
Messages
1,591
I have a stash of RCA 12AX7A greyplates I pulled from an old Lowrey organ that I sure do like. I put them in V1 of all my amps. But only V1 any more than 1 in an amp is too much of a good thing.
 

daveg777

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,913
RCA 12AX7A/7025 are really sweet in any of the Blackface amps, but may I suggest a Tungsram shield logo 12AX7/ECC83 and a Valvo ECC83? Sweetness....



Dave
 




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