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NOS 12ax7's for all tube bass amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by denton57, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Just curious to hear the thoughts of those who have done some preamp tube rolling with vintage 12ax7's in an all tube amp.. Which brands stood out as the best for bass?

    RCA, GE, Sylvania, Amperex, Mullard, Tele, etc..

    Not interested in new production suggestions or modern amps that are preamp tubed only, thank you :)
  2. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my sunn had ancient rca tubes that sounded great
  3. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    NOS is a bit of a con, much better to get old tested valves, run them through a tester, they aren't new any more. What the valves do to the sound is down to the circuit they are in. Generally, I use tested old stock chinese military valves in my stuff, prefer the sound to the various mullards and old stuff I have to hand.
  4. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    I have used, but testing close to new Telefunkens and there is was a huge difference. It really tightened up the low end and added clarity. That's what I'll be buying in the future.

  5. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    I have used a variety of RCA's and GE's in the past, but I took the plunge and ordered a Philips miniwatt made in the Heerland (?) Holland plant from 59-62 and a black plate RCA from the early 50's. Should be arriving any day now, and I'm anxious to hear the results in my brand new 100T. After reading many reviews, I'm thinking the RCA in V1 with the Philips in V2 overdrive channel. I guess my ears will let me know what's best, but I'm bored at work and daydreaming :)

    Another option is to return the one that loses the battle for V1 and just get a different (cheaper) USA 12ax7 for V2. Then use the credit to help pay for the GE 6L6's I want.
  6. I have some nice RCA black plates that sound really good. Have had some GE's. Also have run some Telefunken 12au7's, Amperex and Mullards...

    Really want to try some Telefunken 12ax7's..
  7. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Call these guys tell them what you want for sound wise.
  8. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Isn't Eurotubes exclusively JJ?
  9. I really enjoy the RCA 7025 tubes in my bass amps. The RCA 12AX7's sound great as well. Awesome warm wonderful bass tone.

    I really like the Telefunken 12AX7's as well, Super clear and defined.

    I also use the Amperex 12AX7's as V1 in my Sunn heads. These just sound best for my Sunn heads, I generally use RCA's for all the rest of the pre-amp tubes.

    I have and have tried most of the NOS 12AX7 tubes and my recommendation to you would be to get yourself a variety and try out a bunch till you find the one that sounds best. Each of my amps sounds best with a different combination of tubes.
  10. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Thanks for your thoughts. I guess the ears are the best judge. How would you describe the Amperex in the Sunn? I would think the Sunn stays pretty clean at higher volumes and would allow the preamp tubes to have more impact on the tone. I could be way off, but I would think a Sunn would be a good platform to test preamp tubes tonally.
  11. Dan55


    Apr 26, 2006
    I put a couple of (tested) NOS Sylvania-Baldwin 12AX7s in my 100T. They sound very good. Also installed new SED Winged C 6L6s. I'm quite happy with the result.

  12. Slough Feg Bass

    Slough Feg Bass Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    San Francisco
    I found some NOS RCA's and put them in everything I own, and yes, it is a really cool difference. Just sounds better. It won't make a ****** amp sound great, but it will make a good amp sound even better.
    Biggest difference was in the microphones. I swapped out the JJ that I put in there a couple years ago with the old RCA, and wow, HUGE difference. Those mics sounded good before, but with the old tube in there, they had a much nicer sound. Just more pleasant.
  13. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    I'm trying to decide between the winged C's or just get some used but matched GE 6L6GC's. Bout the same price I believe.
  14. Yeah, the Sunn heads are great for rolling tubes through, pretty much any tube head that goes clean and loud is good for that.
    The Amperex in the Sunn just warms and smooths out the tone, not much different than an RCA, but after going back and forth several times I ended up digging the Amperex just a tiny bit more. This is in a Sunn 2000s head.

    If you play the Sound Cloud link in my sig...that is a Hiwatt DR-201 with all RCA pre amp tubes and a set of JJ KT88 power tubes, played through an Ampeg SVT15E cab.
  15. aedaza


    Apr 20, 2013
    In my Orange AD200B, V1 is for a Tele 12ax7, and V2 is for a Matsupoopiea 45deg Getter 12Ax7. Nice combo!!

    The tele adds a clarity and a definition that is just a solid ground and lets your bass sing, whithout coloring too much. The Matsu adds warm mid lows that are also great.


  16. I have been running Matsupoopiea 12AT7's in the phase inverter section of my amps for a while now, I really like them. Have yet to try their 12AX7 versions yet.
  17. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Yeah I have read several places that the Tele is king, but lacks the warmth the Amperex and Mullard have.

    I can't wait for the tubes to get here! Day 4, so hopefully today :)
  18. aedaza


    Apr 20, 2013
    As you may know, matsus are mullards on the cheap! ( ;
  19. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Yep, I've read those and many others. Brent Jessee's site has the most info, and that's who I ordered from and have before. However, seems reviews are more geared to guitar amps as opposed to bass amps. That's why I wanted to ask you guys who have some experience with several different vintage 12ax7's...

    I know it's very subjective and amp/bass/cab/strings/etc have a role as well, but just curious to hear real word bass amp reviews.