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12AX7 Preferences

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by westland, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I've been A/B-ing various tubes in my Groove Tubes Brick; playing my Ritter Roya, and Dean Edge with Nordstrand pups and OBP2 amp. Here's what I've decided I like best to worst in the V1 socket.

    JAN GE 5751
    Chinese Generic

    The first three are warm and punchy, the 5751 a bit warmer and a less defined. The Chinese Generic was more defined than the 5751 but not as warm.
  2. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Just listening a bit more ... the first three are almost interchangeable. They do have a lot more clarity than the JAN GE 5751, whereas the 5751 has the edge on warmth. But there is a little something extra ... punch I guess I'd call it ... with the JJ.

    I haven't tried my Sovtek LPS, just because I have it in my DB659 and it's too much trouble to take it out (a lot of unscrewing). But when I A/B'd before, the LPS was my favorite.

    Interesting how the preference ordering and the price are independent.

    Also YMMV ... this is in a Groove Tube Brick ... I suspect different amps do well with different tubes. I'd heard that modern designs like the Brick do best with modern tubes (like the GT 12ax7 which is equivalent to the Chinese tube I tried)
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I did the tube swap thing in my SWR SM-900 last year. I ended up buying a GE 5751 and an Amperex Bugle Boy thinking that I would pick the 5751 as the best one, but the Amperex killed it.
  4. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    I like the old 5751 tubes best, so I'd go with the GE if it was me. A bit less gain than most of the others mentioned but I do like the warmth and "roundness" (is that an acceptable tone word?:p ).
  5. The JJ is best IMO.
    I've tried the Sovtek LPS, EH, SovTek WA and B.
    The JJ sounds the best to my ears. The EH is second
    best, with more of a tuby sound than the JJ. The LPS
    is not bad, a little muddy from 400K down. I don't know
    why companies put the WAs ad Bs in bass amp pres, they
    are not good.
    I'd like to try a high gain JJ from tube depot to see if it
  6. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I have used JJ, Sovtek, and EH, and my favorite 12AX7 is also the JJ. Great warmth and punch. It opened up my DB750 (and I didn't think it could get any better).
  7. Mesa sp12ax7
  8. JAN Phillips 12AX7WA
  9. Whoopysnorp


    Feb 5, 2006
    Mesa doesn't make tubes, they just rebrand them.
  10. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    I've got a huge stock of GE5751's, mainly for my Guitar amps, but I also use these with my Edens. For a long time these have been my favourites. However, recently Groove Tubes came out with a replica of the Mullard and these are just awesome.
  11. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas

    Haven't heard any NOS Telefunken or Mullard, but I've heard good things 'about' them.
  12. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    the EH are my favorites right now....very good tones:)
  13. Whoopysnorp


    Feb 5, 2006
    I haven't done much experimenting with preamp tubes in my bass amp but in my guitar amp I have Tung-Sol reissues in V1 and V2 and 9th gen. Shuguangs in V3-V5. I like the Tung-Sols; the tone is definitely better than it was with the JJs that were in there when I bought it.
  14. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    For some reason the 5751s just didn't sound as good in the Brick; but I remember it sounding good in the DB659. I don't really think amplification is a factor ... the 5751 has gain that is 80% of a stock 12ax7 ... when you plot that on the logarithmic curve that our ear uses to perceive loudness, I don't think the difference even registers. It doesn't seem to mess up the input to the next stage either (I wonder if the gain pot is logarithmic)
  15. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    The WA's were in my DB659 when I first got it (GT 12ax7-R which I understand is a Sovtek WA) ... it was terrible

    I wonder on the DB659 whether the components are so 'bright' that you do better with a warm tube that maybe is even a little muddy. I'll eventually get around to A/Bing tubes with my 659, but too many screws to fiddle with at this time .... they laid out the chassis better on the 659 ... the Brick sticks V1 back in a corner where you have to work to change it.
  16. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I just ordered one of the JJ long-plates (ecc803S) from The Tube Store (I've decided it's better to mail order new tubes from the States than to deal with the erratic markups of the local tube retailers ... particularly on new tubes). I'll be interested in seeing how this works in the 659 and the Brick given my experience with JJs and with the Sovtek LPS
  17. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    So much of a tube's subjective worth is dependent on the circuit. I've never heard an amp that didn't sound better with a Tele, Orange Globe or Bugle Boy somewhere in there, especially when replacing anything made in the past 20 years.

    That being said, I did find the Tele a bit edgy in my Bellari compressor when compared to the JAN Philips 5751. Fine for instruments, but vox were a little exaggerated. Could work for most applications, just not right for the particular job at the time, and the Philips stayed in, as Teles are put to good use 'round heah...

    I've found that even a $10 RCA of any variant (5751, 7025, or 12AX7) will smoke any new stuff.
  18. svtb15


    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    i have been sticking with the ElectroHarmonix 12ax7EH simply because they sound good enough for rock n roll but they are mechanically quiet.. without microphoics in excess that many others have.. i use the ElectroHarmonix in my Ashdown as well as my SVTs ....my favorite is a pair of 1960 Telefunkens that i pulled from my fathers old stereo tuner that was going to be junked... i have them in my 1976 alembic F2b pre....
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    A couple of years ago I went on a vintage/classic tube buying rampage on Ebay. I bought Telefunkens, Mullards, and half a dozen Belgian/etc. oldies that I no longer remember the names of. I bought only from high-feedback dealers who provided measurements and assurances of quality. I was swapping them out in a few different tube preamps, overdrives, and a compressor. The funny thing is none of them sounded as good (to me) as whatever modern Chinese tube had come stock in each unit! I ended up selling all the vintage ones back on the bay. Of course, this doesn't indicate anything about other people's results and equipment. Just a funny observation of my own experience.