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Warmest Sounding New Production 12AX7?


SWL
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That is almost the most ridiculous thing I have seen today. A very good reason why I don’t buy anything from them.
I don't do ANY business with them anymore. I'll save the story but they get no respect or money from me.

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6 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

That is almost the most ridiculous thing I have seen today. A very good reason why I don’t buy anything from them.

 

Seems to be the going rate for these. Agreed, insane price.

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As long as Teles last, and as easily obtainable as they are used on audio forums, used is the way to go on those. I'm very much a believer in NOS but I've had really good luck with used Telefunken 12AX7 because most gears they came from were never used enough to wear them out. Toughest, longest lasting vacuum tube for audio I have ever run across.

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As long as Teles last, and as easily obtainable as they are used on audio forums, used is the way to go on those. I'm very much a believer in NOS but I've had really good luck with used Telefunken 12AX7 because most gears they came from were never used enough to wear them out. Toughest, longest lasting vacuum tube for audio I have ever run across.
....but as far as a warm sounding new production tube reccomendation, NOS Telefunkens would be the farthest thing from what I'm trying to achieve.

I have several pairs of NOS smooth and ribbed plate Telefunkens and my experience is like many others...they have a brittle top end that usually doesn't lend itself to Klipsch speakers. YMMV

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So there are many different Klipsch speakers and equipment combos............so I understand the comment above.

 

But as I mentioned on Page 1 I have had excellent results with Telefunken smooth plates in my McIntosh C220, and C2500 preamps that get paired Mac S/S amps.  I doubt I could find a tube/equipment combo that pleases me more for my Jubilees and MCM setup.  I have rolled lots of tubes into those preamps.

 

What may be helpful to you.............. is that for my cornwalls I have an HH Scott LK-72 with no NOS tubes at all.  I have rolled for years and found Electro Harmonix tubes to be pleasing over several other current production tubes.

 

All a matter of taste, right?

 

For my Lascalas I have NBS/VRDs and the only NOS tubes I use in all of that are the 12AU and 12AX tubes in the VRDs which are all Amperex Bugle Boys.  I have been pretty happy with that combo as well.  In the VRDs specifically, I did not like any of the current production tubes.  With the Mcintosh equipment in the room.........nothing sounds as clear.  The Bugle Boys were about the clearest I found for the VRDs.  Still, that setup doesn't get much use.  I use the LK-72 and cornwalls more.

 

I would check out EH tubes.

 

 

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So there are many different Klipsch speakers and equipment combos............so I understand the comment above.
 
But as I mentioned on Page 1 I have had excellent results with Telefunken smooth plates in my McIntosh C220, and C2500 preamps that get paired Mac S/S amps.  I doubt I could find a tube/equipment combo that pleases me more for my Jubilees and MCM setup.  I have rolled lots of tubes into those preamps.
 
What may be helpful to you.............. is that for my cornwalls I have an HH Scott LK-72 with no NOS tubes at all.  I have rolled for years and found Electro Harmonix tubes to be pleasing over several other current production tubes.
 
All a matter of taste, right?
 
For my Lascalas I have NBS/VRDs and the only NOS tubes I use in all of that are the 12AU and 12AX tubes in the VRDs which are all Amperex Bugle Boys.  I have been pretty happy with that combo as well.  In the VRDs specifically, I did not like any of the current production tubes.  With the Mcintosh equipment in the room.........nothing sounds as clear.  The Bugle Boys were about the clearest I found for the VRDs.  Still, that setup doesn't get much use.  I use the LK-72 and cornwalls more.
 
I would check out EH tubes.
 
 
Yeah I've used all tubes you've mentioned and many more in a 222c. I don't think I've ever tried EH in it, though.

I'll check em out thanks.

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I use new production for testing but for listening I prefer the real deal.
 
Telefunken
Amperex
Mullard
 
I'd put just about any vintage 12AX7 against new.
 
 
I agree but man those JJ'S sounded very 'Mullard-like'.

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In the electric guitar world, I ended up running JJ everything. Shooting-out a big box of tubes in a Mesa Tri-Axis, all the other new brand stuff was a one-trick pony, the JJ's sounded decent on everything.

 

IEC branded Mullards caused a spontaneous outbreak of "Iron Man". They really nailed the tone.

 

Back to Hi-fi, get some JJ Gold-Pin tubes from Bob at Eurotubes. They were noticeably better than the regular JJ stuff.

Although, their website and marketing jabber isn't much better than EHX, or hell, the old Herter's catalogs.

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On 6/19/2021 at 5:44 PM, KT88 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.

 

 👍 or the reverse.....well unless your a fan of distortion. These types of suggestions usual have an origin in guitar amp circles where distortion is king! Not at all advisable in the Hi Fi tube amp. 

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IEC branded Mullards caused a spontaneous outbreak of "Iron Man". They really nailed the tone.


I use an IEC Mullard 6SN7 in my Schiit Saga preamp. It nailed the tone for me as well.

I like these JJ's so much I'll be trying three different types of JJ 12AX7's in the near future.


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On 6/19/2021 at 10:40 PM, Subway said:

Are you aware if counterfeit Telefunkens have diamonds on bottom?

image.png.2e5d15dec965bc50a678ded556210012.png

If the diamond is raised, it's probably real, if it's etched or sunk, it's definitely fake. I have yet to hear for sure if fake tube makers have gone to the trouble of making the raised diamond pattern.

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On 6/20/2021 at 6:43 AM, KT88 said:

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very informative comment.

 

I have not tried the Gold Lions simply because they are too expensive. You can buy used old production Mullards for that price.

 

What you say about your Mac amp is true of well-made amps. A well designed amp is heard as much as a well built tube. Mac's have such well designed circuits that they can sound good with almost any tube, and they bring out the best of well made tubes.

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What is the problem with TubeDepot? They are one of three vendors I use regularly. They have always been great to me and ship quickly since I am in Little Rock and they are in Memphis. I've only had a problem once and they refunded immediately.

 

 

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So far I'm really digging the JJ gold pins. Warmer and smoother than the frame grids. I should have more time this weekend to compare the two but I really like them both.

Gotta say that I'm really glad that I finally found a new production 12AX7 that I like in my amp.....and don't have to pay an arm and a leg.

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On 7/3/2021 at 2:58 PM, SWL said:

So far I'm really digging the JJ gold pins. Warmer and smoother than the frame grids. I should have more time this weekend to compare the two but I really like them both.

Gotta say that I'm really glad that I finally found a new production 12AX7 that I like in my amp.....and don't have to pay an arm and a leg.

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If you are looking for a nice full warm sound and if possible microphonics is not the most decisive criterion, (e.g. in the line area less decisive than in the phono circuit), then I have made really very good experiences with the long plate versions of JJ in my C22CE.
They are called something different but they correspond electrically to the 12AX7/ ECC83.

Just google JJ ECC803S. There are also available with golden legs and I have also seen somewhere a "grey plate" version which I do not know and whose difference I am not aware of.

The JJ ECC803S is NOT! a frame grid tube (which may sound harsh to some?). It is a bit irritating because at Telefunken the frame grid tube had this type designation in the past.

For me the JJ ECC803S long plate is one of the warmest full bodied and yet not cloudy JJ AX types.

 

EDIT:

I wrote earlier that the relatively new JJ E83CC is a frame grid tube similar to the original Telefunken ECC803S. I think this is true and important for both camps to know, the searchers and the avoiders as well.

 

Sometime I read about the historical background re the different type designations. When I remember correctly, original Tesla had already changed the type designation of the frame grid type in the 1960s for some confusing reason and JJ continued to keep it this way…but I am not 100% sure about this background story.


 

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