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Warmest Sounding New Production 12AX7?


SWL
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Dave A's new tweeters with the B&C drivers have been a game changer in my speakers.

 

A few years ago I went nuts rolling tubes. As far as 12AX7 preamp tubes, none of the new production tubes could compete with my NOS tubes. The JJ's came close but no cigar. The new production tubes had a lot in common....a warm overtone that I was quicky able to identify as a fake, artificial type of warmth compared to NOS. This was with stock Klipsch tweeters and titanium diaphrams.

 

Dave's tweeters are on the hot side (to my ears) but a little EQ at 5khz and their ability to play smooth and detailed more than make up for it.

 

So yesterday I decided to give the JJ's another shot. I was really surprised how good they sounded. Warmth that had none of that fake artificial quality I heard with the stock tweeters.

 

So now I want to go back and try all the new production 12AX7's I bought all over again. I did pop some Sovtek LPS-1's in there because they get a lot of praise it seems.....but not from me.

 

So I'm curious who here uses a new production 12ax7 that they would consider to have more warmth than other 12AX7's?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk

 

 

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I always thought the Electro Harmonix 12AX7 were pretty good for production tubes and the money.  Nice balance.  These are what I bought the most of.

I have used the Gold Lions as well and thought they sound good too.

Tung Sol had high gain but sounded pretty good too.

 

Edit:  Well you asked about new production tubes.  But if you want some real magic get the curve tracer matched Telefunken smooth plates from Brent Jessie.  I have those in both of my McIntosh preamps and they were the final tube changes for me for those units.

 

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17 minutes ago, tube fanatic said:

The decision can only be made by auditioning various tubes in your particular equipment.  Differences in operating points can greatly influence the resultant sound.

 

Maynard

 

^This... Break out the Credit card

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Ok, have a look at this. All New Sensor tubes are „not good, they are in reality catastrophic sh**t. New Sensor is a US brand exploitation company and has acquired the trademark rights from all the old manufacturers of distinction. All these tubes are produced in the Russian Satarov factory. I don't want to list all the brands, you can google it...from Tungsol to Gold Lion. But you will be shocked that all the old glorious brands are today a bad copy. Even the original Svetlana from St. Petersburg is now a product lie from the Satarov factory. The best thing that this Satarov factory produces are the colorful boxes of the original brands. The only honest and original tube from Satarov factory is Sovtek. They have always been produced there. I wonder if it is worse today than 30 years ago.

I am always shocked how naively in all forums (I also play guitar) differences of Satarov brands are discussed. It's all the same crap.

 

Here you can see an objective comparison between a bad replica and good original tubes.

 

https://www.effectrode.com/knowledge-base/mullard-ecc83-12ax7-reissue-vs-original-a-physical-comparison/

 

There are two things at issue with scam tubes. One is the poor sound. The second is that many of them are completely burned out after 1500 hrs or much less. Original tubes last about 10,000 hours.

In the 1990s, the best I could buy for little money were Philips and GE JAN military tubes. They were absolutely fantastic. All 12 AX, AU, AT types for about 16 USD.

Four years ago I bought these tubes, and very similarly priced old 12AT7. They cost half then but they are still a bargain because they last much longer and sound much better. Look at the USD 40 ones in the photo. You will find the dealer when you google the name at the top.

 

1E015AF1-BFF9-43F7-ADA0-9D9A127A1797.thumb.png.1b52dc416e171d15b2ba1fb7ae5eee51.png

 

I must also say that about 10 to 15% of these tubes cracked and hissed after only half a year. I do not know how long NOS is good. But if a Sylvania which is yBaldwin branded as NOS costs 40USD, then it is better at 10,000 hrs than a lousy New Sensor for 20€. By the way, I tried 12AX7 Gold Lion 8 years ago. Bought three pieces for 40€ each. After three weeks, all three were broken and cracked and rushed.

 

Talking power tubes, for me honest and good sounding guys are these JJ from Slovakia. On my MC275 are KT88 from JJ.
They sound very good, much better than new fake Gold Lion to my ears, and they are so cheap, 29€ each, that I replace them once a year because the amp runs a lot, even if it is only for TV sound.
JJ has some original tools from Tesla. Tesla was a very reputable brand in Czecholovakia that built the original Philips KT88 under license. The JJ are not totally original Tesla but much better and more honest than any Satarov production.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Subway said:

Never swap a AX7 for an AT7. It is simply the totally wrong tube for the circuit conditions. Yes 12AT7 are significantly cheaper than 12AX7, because the demand is high for AX types of tubes. But that does not mean one could replace a AX by an AT. It will be very disappointing.

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10 hours ago, SWL said:

 

Dave A's new tweeters with the B&C drivers have been a game changer in my speakers.

 

A few years ago I went nuts rolling tubes. As far as 12AX7 preamp tubes, none of the new production tubes could compete with my NOS tubes. The JJ's came close but no cigar. The new production tubes had a lot in common....a warm overtone that I was quicky able to identify as a fake, artificial type of warmth compared to NOS. This was with stock Klipsch tweeters and titanium diaphrams.

 

Dave's tweeters are on the hot side (to my ears) but a little EQ at 5khz and their ability to play smooth and detailed more than make up for it.

 

So yesterday I decided to give the JJ's another shot. I was really surprised how good they sounded. Warmth that had none of that fake artificial quality I heard with the stock tweeters.

 

So now I want to go back and try all the new production 12AX7's I bought all over again. I did pop some Sovtek LPS-1's in there because they get a lot of praise it seems.....but not from me.

 

So I'm curious who here uses a new production 12ax7 that they would consider to have more warmth than other 12AX7's?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

Perhaps the new production tubes just need some more hours on them. Tubes do need some break-in time. I prefer NOS and buy them whenever I can price wise and availability. The main difference is not so much sound but longevity from all that I have read on the web. The tubes of old did not all sound the same from brand to brand much as is with the new production ones. 

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"Never swap a AX7 for an AT7. It is simply the totally wrong tube for the circuit conditions. Yes 12AT7 are significantly cheaper than 12AX7, because the demand is high for AX types of tubes. But that does not mean one could replace a AX by an AT. It will be very disappointing."

 

I was waiting for that response and that's why I provided link, not my opinion.

 

"The biggest difference between these the amount of gain they will provide. The 12AX7 has a gain factor of 100, while the 12AT7 has 60. The 12AU7 has the smallest, at just 20." I've swapped 12AT7 for 12AX7 in both guitar and stereo amps. With that said, "I" don't advise anyone to do.......anything (again, that's why I provided link, not my opinion). Paul Grzybek serviced my amps when I began this "hobby". He taught me much. We often traded/bartered amp parts, discussed the latest issue of Vaccum Tube Valley and so onHe suggested using 12AT7 in one instance and not due to cost or availablity, had ample of both on hand. Hope all is well in Germany.

 

image.png.4c9a76640ad0fb01b403e59ca145cba5.png

 

12AX7 vs 12AT7 vs 12AU7 Tube Shootout (Differences, Which To Buy) (producerhive.com)

 

 
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1 hour ago, KT88 said:

Never swap a AX7 for an AT7. It is simply the totally wrong tube for the circuit conditions.

Absolutely true.  The only tube you should swap for a 12AX7 is a 5751.  However, the 5751 has 30% less gain, and is not to be used in a phono circuit.  Otherwise, if you don't need that much gain, the 5751 is typically less microphonic and quieter.

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7 minutes ago, jimjimbo said:

Absolutely true.  The only tube you should swap for a 12AX7 is a 5751.  However, the 5751 has 30% less gain, and is not to be used in a phono circuit.  Otherwise, if you don't need that much gain, the 5751 is typically less microphonic and quieter.

Yes I fully agree, I used JAN Philips 5751 in pre amp circuits. What many users don't realize is that one wrong tube can damage the whole circuit, to the point of destroying it. If a tube, such as an AU makes less voltage gain, it sucks more current. But the AX circuit is not designed for this.
The difference is that e.g. a 5751 makes less gain, but it behaves in the circuit exactly like a 12 AX7.

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"AU makes less voltage gain, it sucks more current. But the AX circuit is not designed for this."

 

image.png.2c10fdec8cb90c1ce5ea6566cbe10e57.png

Artlcle I linked in past post: ""While you can physically use a 12AU7 tube in place of a 12AX7 in a circuit, it’s not recommended to do. Most circuits that are designed for a 12AX7 will not react well to the significantly lower gain of the 12AU7. It can also cause issues with the bias of the amplifier, which can lead to very serious damage, including blowing the amp circuit! The other issue you can run into is the fact that the 12AU7 has a higher plate voltage than a 12AX7, and this difference can cause a host of problems in your amp circuit that was designed around the use of a 12AX7."

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For my own need to know "why", I reviewed tube data sheets and other info.  KT88 & Jimbo are correct stating 5751 would be the proper substitution for AX. Not that either need validation, but rather to admit my error. For whatever reason or desired result, I used AT in circuit. Just because it worked in my application doesn’t mean it's correct.  It's not a long term solution in a circuit designed for AX as it's not functioning as designer intended; KT88 mentioned above. From what I read NOS 7025 are another alternative.

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I have yet to find a new production 12AX7 that I like better than a Blackburn Mullard. There were several versions over the years (long and short plate just to name a couple), but they all have a characteristic sound common to just them. Many love the NOS Bugle Boys or the Telefunkens, but you take a chance on getting fakes. The Mullards are easy to get right because of the production numbers etched onto the glass. Only a few makers did this.

 

Yes, almost all new production tubes come from the same factories in Russia, and are made with a similar quality (that does need improving). But they DO NOT all sound the same. They are made with different designs. I've bought and listened to JJ's, Sovteks, Mullards, EHs, and Tung-sols. They all sound different, they all have their merits, they will last in a circuit that doesn't tax them too much for a few thousand hours, but once you swap in that Blackburn, you'll never want to listen to anything else.

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8 hours ago, MechEngVic said:

I have yet to find a new production 12AX7 that I like better than a Blackburn Mullard. There were several versions over the years (long and short plate just to name a couple), but they all have a characteristic sound common to just them. Many love the NOS Bugle Boys or the Telefunkens, but you take a chance on getting fakes. The Mullards are easy to get right because of the production numbers etched onto the glass. Only a few makers did this.

 

Yes, almost all new production tubes come from the same factories in Russia, and are made with a similar quality (that does need improving). But they DO NOT all sound the same. They are made with different designs. I've bought and listened to JJ's, Sovteks, Mullards, EHs, and Tung-sols. They all sound different, they all have their merits, they will last in a circuit that doesn't tax them too much for a few thousand hours, but once you swap in that Blackburn, you'll never want to listen to anything else.

 

Then we are in the same boat. Who is not looking for a very good sounding ECC83/12AX7 from newer production.
The link in my earlier post shows exactly at the example Mullard the horrible differences between original and Russian new production (fake).

The next new tube I will try when tubes need is this JJ as I wrote above, the relatively new JJ E83CC.
It is supposedly a frame grid tube similar to the original Telefunken ECC803S.

 

 

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/jj-e83cc-a-real-winner.2089856/

 

This makes me very curious because no new AX style tube has been developed for a long time. But even in the past, it was only through constant development that the tubes became so good. So the new JJ is a new development so far I can see.

 

But to your question...as far as I can help there. My impression of New Sensor tubes.
I limit my description to just one amplifier combo.
My Mcintosh C22CE with MC275 Mk4. I have been listening to both units continuously for 18 years. In these devices I had different brands also the pseudo brands of New Sensor. I must say that these Mcintosh devices are characterized by two things. 1) They treat tubes very gently. The voltages are conservative.
2) They still sound very good even with worse tubes. When they were made, around 1995 the CE22CE and 2001 the MC275Mk4 there were no good new tubes either. The small tubes were Mcintosh labeled and from China. The only positive thing in 2001/2002 was that the KT88 on my 275 were original Svetlana Winged C from St. Petersburg. Very good tubes, long gone, or bad batches of the last unreliable production years from about 2006? or something like that period of time.

 

So much preface because otherwise it makes little sense to describe a tube. 

Since the Mc devices sound "very decent" with new tubes, the basis is fulfilled, everything is of course open upwards.
The only New Sensor tube that had moved "emotions" was the ECC83 Gold Lion. It was clearly different from the rest of the New Sensor brands.  It had warmth and richer timbres with nice differentiation. I had bought three Gold Lion initially and I was going to repurchase this tube if I liked it.
Unfortunately, it did not become a Homeymoon. After 6 weeks already all three! Gold Lion began to hiss and crackle loudly. Two GL burned at the same time, the third I used later, it also lasted only 6 weeks. It's an absolute outrage that for such a mess meanwhile 40€ are demanded. My experience is 8 years old. Maybe GL are more reliable today, I don't know.

Other small New Sensor tubes also had errors but not so outrageously blatant.
 

Very reliable back ups are Electro Harmonix types. Both 12AX and 12 AT. They also last a longer time. Sonically they are not despicable but they do not have great emotions. Rather a sober sound without big ups and downs. Overall rather boring. These EH are most similar if not equal to the old Sovtek types. I haven't heard a Sovtek ECC83 in a very long time, but maybe they are the most honest Satarov types.

Tung-Sol Satarov sound very clear but as if it were a black and white photo, pretty much completely devoid of instrument coloration. I mean colour of sounds that is missing, I don't mean self-delusional discoloration.

I have never heard the Russian Mullard. I stopped investing money in these pseudo brands at times.

 

My recommendation, 1980 or 1990 Philips or GE US military types JAN. If they cost 50% more than a new Gold Lion, it's worth it in my view. Even with the JAN types there are preferences, you can google that. As a driver tube 12AT7 for the KT88, the JAN types are incomparably better than any Russian tube. They all can't do that job well at all.

I bought and used a lot of these JAN in the 90s. At that time they were about 15 USD. In my guitar amps they worked  just as very well as in various hifi amplifiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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