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Brimar 12ax7?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheLarch, May 21, 2005.

  1. I was doing some garage sale-ing in my neighbourhood today and one of my neighbours was selling an old tube radio. On the off chance he'd have some tubes for sale, I inquired if he had any tubes he'd be willing to sell. Long story short, I picked up the following 12ax7's/ ecc83's: 2 Mullard (unfortunately one turned out to have a short), 1 Amperex Bugle Boy, a Brimar, an unknown and 3 mismarked boxes that were supposed to be Ameperex 12ax7's but contained 6j6's of various makes. All of this for $10.

    I was hoping that one of the 12ax7's would be nice swap for the Eden WT300 that I just got from Justyn. The Eden came equipped with a JJ ecc83 that sounded nice enough but was missing that intangible 1%.

    Of all of the 12ax7's, my 3 favourites ended up being the Brimar, Amperex and Mullard, in that order. The unknown was also quite nice but was microphonic.

    My questions for the tube gurus here:

    1) does anyone have info on Brimar tubes? The one piece of info I found on the web was that they were essentially Mullards but made in India. That doesn't seem right to me as the one I have definitely says "Made in England" and it sounded different from the Mullard I was comparing it to. This tube also has "BVA" stamped on it. There are also some small markings that look like "jl041573" - unfortunately, that was stamped over the "made in England" so it is really difficult to be sure what it says. Both Mullards seem to different inside from the Brimar in that their halo's are a bit smaller but thicker, the box structure has different features, and the Mullard's say "Made in Great Britain".

    2) short of having a machine to test the tubes on, is there any way at all to otherwise assess their strength and remaining life?

    3) My 2nd favourite was the Amperex Bugle Boy - this tube seemed louder than the Brimar and seemed to have greater gain. However, the Brimar seemed to be warmer and with more bass. Are the Bugle Boys known for being a high gain / high volume tube?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. ummmm, anyone?
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    1) Nope. Surely good tubes though.
    2) The only way to assess the safety and output of a tube is to test it. There are a bunch on EBAY. An EICO 667 can be had for under $50 and does the job for me. It is the lowest quality tester you should ever use. Be sure any tester has a manual or chart so you know how to set the tester.
    3) Bugle Boys were great tubes, but not any higher output than any other tubes.
  4. I just bought some NOS Brimar 12AT7's for my guitar amp (Fender DRRI). Brimar is (was) as a British company. Same league of quality as Sylvania, GE, etc. Not quite Mullard, but I have a mortgage to pay, yaknow?

    If you got all that stuff for only $10, I think you'll be glad you got it--even though they're used and require testing. Almost any NOS tube is $20 and up now, and a pair of NOS 6L6s go for well over $50.

    Since the 12AX7 is a preamp tube, you can just plug it in and see how it sounds in various preamp positions. For the 6L6's, you might have an electronics surplus store nearby--if they sell tubes, they'll have a tester.

    BTW, I think a lot of people forget about the local electronics surplus people. I just got 3 Eminence Omega Pro 12 speakers for just $60 (new would be $120 each, and that's without the ginsu knives!). :bassist:

    Hope this helps,
  5. A 6J6 is a dual triode (IIRC), certainly not the same as a 6L6 by any means.

    Not worth much, Antique Electronic Supply www.tubesandmore.com has them for $3.15 each.

    Frankly I don't understand why some people pay so much for ancient NOS tubes, but that could be a heated debate....
  6. Thanks for all of the info - much appreciated!

    To give a sense of how truly subjective the assessment of preamps tubes can be, I decided to compare the Amperex, Mullard and Brimar again, and this time I felt that the Mullard had the slight edge over the Amperex Bugle Boy with the Brimar taking up the very honourable third.

    As I've read many times on this site, with the Eden WT300, the preamp tube doesn't make as huge a difference as it does in preamps by SWR and other companies.

    Bottom line, I have 3 fantastic sounding vintage tubes for $10 and anyone of them can get the job done.

    Does anyone here know of any reasons I wouldn't want to go with the Mullard or the Amperex or the Brimar? Should I still be hunting for a 7025?

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