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Which NOS 12ax7 for the best clean tones?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by CBeeper, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    I'm running an Orange Rocker 30 which has one 12 ax7 tube for the clean channel. Which NOS tube will give me the best headroom and tone. This amp has no tone control on the clean channel so it's all about the preamp tube to change the clean channel response.
     
  2. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    Doesn't work like that, you try different tubes and see what sounds best.
    10 NOS RCA 12AX7s will sound like ten different tubes, none are the same.
    Hope this helps you.
     
  3. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    Understood Doug. I was just wondering if a Telefunken was a bit more prone to a clean sounds than say a Brimar for example. Is one brand more hi-fi while another tends to break up sooner? I'm trying to find a starting point before I start buying.:)
     
  4. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    That's been my experience. Mullards are smoother and warmer and Telefunkens are brighter and more hi-fi.
     
  5. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    Cool. I have a few Mullards and RCA's floating around. I guess I'll check out a Tele also. Is there a difference as far as the plates are concerned? Smooth, ribbed , long , short?
     
  6. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    I have both smooth and ribbed but I can't tell the difference. Of course the ribs are for her pleasure. :D
     
  7. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    But of course! :eek: Thanks man.
     
  8. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Doug. I have to disagree a bit. :)
    I have many old NOS telefunkens, RCAs, GEs, Mullards and others. While there are very slight differences between 2 GOOD NOS RCS for instance, it is VERY slight, and they all have the same basic character. However, you go from say a telefunken 12AX7 SmoothplateP to an RCA, and the tone can vary by quite a bit. It does NOT change the entire amp, but it gives it a bit of a different flavor. For me, I found GE, telefunken and RCAs to be the best three 12Ax7s for cleans, with none any better, just a bit different. I like Teles in my TwoRock, RCAs or GEs in my Brunos.
    For example, if you try 10 telefunkens in V1, it would be almost impossible to hear any difference, unless a tube was bad. between an RCA and a Tele, almost anyone could hear a subtle difference.
     
  9. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

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    Ditto on the 'Funkens and RCAs ... either sounds great ... clean and full, not warm. I used them in a Toneking Meteor II to give it a slightly more "Twin" feel to it, and also a Carmen Ghia. Nice tone either way you look at it ...

    Doug has a good point ...the preamp tubes are not as consistant as power tubes ... but generally you go with the tubes suggested by Tag if you want a better clean sound.
     
  10. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

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    Great info. I have a few RCA's to try tonight. Anyone want to unload a Tele?
     
  11. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    You might also want to try a Tesla E83CC or a Siemens.

    Michael
     
  12. bluesbreaker59

    bluesbreaker59 Silver Supporting Member

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    My favorite has always been GE's with the white lettering for cleans in a Tweed, GE's or Tung Sol's in Brownface, and RCA's in a Blackface.

    For English amps though, I'd say a Mullard would be more appropriate. All that said I have NO experience with Telefunkens.
     
  13. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Ditto on the Tesla (NOT JJ!) E83CC.
     
  14. shakti

    shakti Member

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    Tesla E83CC gets my vote as well. RCA blackplate too. The Teslas are just so damn sweet and full sounding though...RCA sounds more "American" to me, or maybe I'm just imagining that since I've always gone with that in my BFSR.

    I can't help but join the recent Tesla hype. They really are incredible.
     
  15. bryan k

    bryan k Member

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    i personaly like the NOS GE-12ax7A. it had the best balance, and honk. The RCAs were the brightest, but there was something about the GE's honky sound that i dig. Really cool for the clean channel in an amp.
     
  16. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got to agree wholeheartedly with this, Tag - there are definite and predictable characteristics exhibited by the same manufacturer/type/era tube. For those of us that know these differences, here's a friendly suggestion to help others, and avoid confusion: please don't carelessly toss around terms like "NOS RCA 12AX7" (for example) without being specific about the version of RCA being discussed. I've got four vastly different versions of "NOS RCA 12AX7." Same goes for Mullard 12AX7 - hardly anyone is specific, and it really does make a world of difference. Mini-rant over.

    I keep hearing good things about the old Tesla E83CC - gonna have to try one someday. Here are some types I've tried that provide superb, later-breakup cleans:

    Mullard long-plate/halo-getter (f1 or f2 type)
    Ken-Rad long black-plate/D-getter
    RCA 7025 short gray-plate
    Sylvania long black-plate/square-getter

    You seem to have wanted to stay away from earlier-breakup valves, but my favorite cleans are those that transform dynamically. That's why I use a Raytheon long black-plate/halo-getter as my favorite. Second favorite is RCA long black-plate/square-getter.

    Conspicuously not on the list, for me, is the Telefunken smooth-plate - these just seem to lack the dynamic liveliness I crave, and they're also too light in the low-end for my taste, compared with my favorites. Many others seem to like them, though, but I honestly cannot figure out why. I just offer this as another opinion.

    If you're looking for any particular tonal emphasis, CBeeper, post your preferences, and I (or others) can try to narrow it down for you.

    - T
     
  17. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    I have 8 of the NOS Tesla ECC803S's that sound like just the trick you need but they are very hard to find. And I'm stingy :)
     
  18. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Hey Reeeeeeeek! Don't be so farging stingy:D
     
  19. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    Well, ya know . . . :D

    I actually remembered I only have 7 now because when I ran one of my Sanos without a load, of all the tubes in it, I lost that one (V1) and I only had one in that amp. Go figure . . .
     
  20. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    That's a revolting development! Must've just been a strange coincidence. Preamp tubes shouldn't really "care" if the amp is running with a load or not.:jo
     

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