What's the best sounding 12AX7 for high gain application?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by laadeeda, Jun 8, 2006.


  1. laadeeda

    laadeeda Member

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    Hello, just wanted to get a feel for what the best sounding for my high gain preamp. It does mid gain and clean as well. Is there a 12ax7 in current production that comes close to the good 'ole made in america 12ax7's of yesteryear?
     
  2. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I LOVED the Tung-Sols in my OD-100 but I hear the Mullards are pretty sweet too. Talk to Doug at www.dougstubes.com He was very helpful!!!

    Chris
     
  3. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I like everything in it's place but clean tones to mid gain I'd suggest the Sovtek LPS or the EH 12ax7. It sounds like people also like the Tung sols but they are more money. The last alternative which I haven't tried would be the winged "C" 12ax7, used to be Svetlana until the name change. Stay away from GT Mullards, not reliable enough for what you spend, (lots of unhappy customers from what I've read). I used them once and was not impressed at all.
     
  4. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

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    The older RFT ax7s do well in high gain amps.
     
  5. mavrick10_2000

    mavrick10_2000 Member

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    Out of the newer stuff on the Market EH12AX7's are my fav, followed by JJ's, Tung-Sol and Svetlana. As with everything YMMV.
     
  6. tonemandan

    tonemandan Member

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    Tung Sols are my current fave for higher gain. Sovtek EH and JJ's are next in line. Sovtek LPS is a great tube for Fenders and other lower gain amps but doesn't do as well in higher gain applications.

    Dan
     
  7. mlongano

    mlongano Member

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    I have a non-JJ Tesla in V1 on the Komet 60, and it has the greatest overdrive tone. Only $40.00 from Mike at: www.kcanostubes.com
     
  8. twangbanger

    twangbanger Supporting Member

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    Tung sol's all the way! To me they are best new prod so far.Meater than the eh's to me ,but still a good overall balance.Had used the eh's alot til now.the eh's are still good tubes IMHO but alittle brighter to my ears which is not bad,but for higher gain my moneys on the tung sols!
     
  9. mangley

    mangley Member

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  10. SteveStrat

    SteveStrat Member

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    I like the new Tung-Sols first, then JJ803, JJ83, GT Mullards, then lastly Sovtek LPS. I haven't tried any of the EH or EI's. I'm keeping myself from NOS tubes because I want to know that I can get the same tubes easily an not have to pay thru the nose for them.

    The one downside to the Tung-Sols that I have found is, they are mighty unreliable. Some sound good and last a long time, others are crap right out of the box.

    I'm running a Tung-Sol in V1 and then Sovtek LPS' in V2-V5 in my Soldano.

    Steve
     
  11. tonemandan

    tonemandan Member

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    Buy 'em from Lord Valve. He screens them really well and will stand behind it if it craps out. LV calls the Tung Sol 12ax7 "audio crack". I agree.

    Dan
     
  12. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    What preamp is it? What tubes have you used? What do they lack?
     
  13. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Yep, these tubes smoke. A customer recently bought 2 of the NOS Teslas and 2 Tung Sol Reissues. He loved the Teslas and wanted to return the Tung Sol Reissues.

    If funds are limited, the Tung Sol Reissues are fine.
     
  14. bjm007

    bjm007 Member

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    I'd go with Tung-Sols for new production and Mullards for the old stuff.

    In the end, the Mullards are hard to beat.

    And if it were me, I'd get yourself a good preamp tube tester, like a Vacuum Tube Valley, and you will find all kinds of tubes that sound great.

    That gizmo has paid for itself many times over for me... Again and again...
     
  15. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Oops, I'm sorry. Don't know what I was reading, I take back my comments about the LPS and EH tubes. These are better low gain tubes. High gain tubes should be darker IMHO, so I would go with the regular JJecc83 short plate tubes or the Shugnangs. I also like the RFT's but the really put out a lot of low end, at least in my amp. From what I have read short plate tubes do better for high gain, less microphonic so they say. I don't know why this matters, perhaps someone could explain why.
     
  16. Igneous

    Igneous Supporting Member

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    You will not be dissapointed
     
  17. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    As already mentioned, hands down for me lately have been the the Tesla E83CC's. There is a magical gain factor/element in these tubes that makes me lightheaded when I play them. They're a real bargain too. And remember, there is a huge difference between early breakup and gain.


    http://kcanostubes.com/content/estore_details.asp?product=395
     
  18. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I recognize that I'm a NOS snob (and for very detailed reasons). But the original question was about current-production, so ... in my book, nothing beats the new Russian "Tung-Sol" for cleans through high gain. This is by no means a "reissue" - just one glance at the inside can tell you that. But its got great articulation, nice tight lows, clear highs that are not strident. And, despite the design difference, it is reminiscent of the old original long-plate Tung-Sol 12AX7. Very nice!! I'd recommend it over many true NOS options.

    There were a couple of mentions of the RFT ECC83, as a NOS option. I agree that these are well-suited to high gain applications, and they help in this regard by having an early-breakup character. I would not recommend them for cleans, though, because, in my experience, they tend to sound murky, and kind of soft, at both ends of the frequency spectrum.

    I like (non-JJ) Tesla E83CC more for cleans, than for overdriven settings (highs seem to get a bit harsh). They're a wonderfully musical NOS option for late-breakup, even though they're high-gain (as Reeek alluded, above).

    - T
     
  19. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the longer plate vibrates more, much like how taller buildings sway in the wind more than shorter ones. Why does it matter? I like a good, musical feedback squeel now and then, but uncontrollable ringing from a microphonic tube doesn't turn me on at all.

    Tube microphonics are more often an issue in combos, where the speaker vibration is shaking the tubes more intensely than in a rack-pre setup.

    - T
     
  20. laadeeda

    laadeeda Member

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    how about the sovtek wb's
     

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