Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

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ZeroPointEnergy
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Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by ZeroPointEnergy »

I got my JCM 800 working and so I'm looking for a pair of nice preamp tubes. I am pretty thrifty, on limited income, but might spend as much as $180 on two preamp tubes, IDK..

What do you think is the best in new production preamp tubes?

Any good suggestions for reliable sellers of NOS tubes?
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by JMPGuitars »

ZeroPointEnergy wrote:
Wed 05/06/20 5:01 pm
I got my JCM 800 working and so I'm looking for a pair of nice preamp tubes. I am pretty thrifty, on limited income, but might spend as much as $180 on two preamp tubes, IDK..

What do you think is the best in new production preamp tubes?

Any good suggestions for reliable sellers of NOS tubes?
I don't personally believe the NOS hype. BUT if you're going to consider that route, don't bother if you don't have a tube tracer/tester. I only use NOS for rare tubes that aren't in production, or if the price is reasonable. And I do have a tube tracer/tester, so I don't have to worry so much about getting ripped off, or tube reliability.

My suggestion would be to buy some new production Mullards or Tung-Sols and try them out. Make recordings with each and see if you can truly perceive a difference, and which you might like better.

Try other brands if you want also, but I would skip Mesa and GT. They're overpriced relabelers.

If you want to waste a few dollars, try some gold pin ECC803S tubes and see how they compare for you. I like them in some positions, but I don't really believe the gold pins do much of anything special.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

JMPGuitars wrote:
Wed 05/06/20 6:43 pm

My suggestion would be to buy some new production Mullards or Tung-Sols and try them out.
Agreed on the reissue Mullard and Tung Sols, although they're basically both relabelled Russian ladder-plate tubes. Both have transparently clear sweet tones. The Mullard is very balanced with a mid-emphasis, plus superb clarity and definition Perfect for British style amps. The Tung Sol has a thinner, brighter tone, while still very sweet sounding.It's ideal for brightening up a dark amp. Both great choices. I was always a die hard NOS user, until I came across these two.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by ZeroPointEnergy »

zaphod_phil wrote:
Wed 05/06/20 10:21 pm
JMPGuitars wrote:
Wed 05/06/20 6:43 pm

My suggestion would be to buy some new production Mullards or Tung-Sols and try them out.
Agreed on the reissue Mullard and Tung Sols, although they're basically both relabelled Russian ladder-plate tubes. Both have transparently clear sweet tones...


It's really good to hear from you again! Thanks for that response! This is 1Way from way back when.

I used to marvel at your amp knowledge for years when I was here back when Vox was here, and even Elliot Easton of The (New) Cars, was here.

He even gave me a great tip for how to use a Bigsby more properly on a Gibson, instead of using the standard gibson bladed bridge. He basically pointed me to learn from Gretsch, to use a roller bridge, or tilting bridges, or something similar.

Gretsch is famous for using Bigsby's, and they stay in tune, while Gibson's are sorta known for going out of tune after using the bigsby. I believe he had been (variously) sponsored probably at different times, by Gibson and Gretsch, so he was in a really good place to know the professional solution. Talk about a solid tip. ;)

It never would have happened if it wasn't for this website's cool nature. :wink:

There's more to the story, but just wanted to,, give historical reference, so that you will at least remember the time when I was here.

Early on, I was sort of resisted by many, but I knew one day I would end up working on my amp, at least tinkering and tuning and maintaining. I am one to learn and plan ahead, and I have many interests and several passions.

Anyway, it is truly an honor hearing from you again. And I will take your (and JMPGuitar's) advice.

Sad to see this place be so,, vacant.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by ZeroPointEnergy »

I wish I knew of other places to order tubes than tube depot and ebay. hehe It's been probably 8-9 years since I last looked into buying tubes. I don't want to go to guitar center, or have they become the place to go for tubes. :lol: 8O :mrgreen:
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by JMPGuitars »

ZeroPointEnergy wrote:
Thu 05/07/20 10:31 am
I wish I knew of other places to order tubes than tube depot and ebay. hehe It's been probably 8-9 years since I last looked into buying tubes. I don't want to go to guitar center, or have they become the place to go for tubes. :lol: 8O :mrgreen:
tubedepot.com is okay. So is the thetubestore.com and tubesandmore.com and mojotone.com. Compare prices, but otherwise all reliable. I think eurotubes.com is also supposed to be good.

Thanks,
Josh
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

ZeroPointEnergy wrote:
Thu 05/07/20 10:26 am

It's really good to hear from you again! Thanks for that response! This is 1Way from way back when.
Gretsch is famous for using Bigsby's, and they stay in tune, while Gibson's are sorta known for going out of tune after using the bigsby. I believe he had been (variously) sponsored probably at different times, by Gibson and Gretsch, so he was in a really good place to know the professional solution. Talk about a solid tip. ;)


Great to hear from you too, and welcome back to the crazy farm! :lol: Yes, it's been a pretty long time for me as well, and I've also had brain surgery - no joke! Personally, I'm not into using whammy bars, I hope you don't mind. My only Strat-type guitar is a lawsuit Tokai with two HBs and the trem screwed solidly down. :mrgreen:
ZeroPointEnergy wrote:
Thu 05/07/20 10:26 am
Sad to see this place be so,, vacant.
That reminds me of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcauCclfytI :lol:
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

I'm anticipating, some people are going to ask about JJ 12AX7s. I personally think they're OK. They have good tonal balance with some nice mid-range emphasis, but their sound seems a little hazy to me, lacking the stunning clarity of the Russian-made Mullard tubes. So those Mullards win again! :D
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by JMPGuitars »

zaphod_phil wrote:
Fri 05/08/20 5:34 pm
I'm anticipating, some people are going to ask about JJ 12AX7s. I personally think they're OK. They have good tonal balance with some nice mid-range emphasis, but their sound seems a little hazy to me, lacking the stunning clarity of the Russian-made Mullard tubes. So those Mullards win again! :D
I agree with that also. I find JJ's preamp tubes to be okay, but not great. Definitely good enough for low budget builds.

On the other hand, I don't recommend anybody EVER use JJ EL84s. They're trash.

How do you feel about Sovtek and EH?
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

IMO they're also both averagely OK.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by JMPGuitars »

zaphod_phil wrote:
Fri 05/08/20 11:26 pm
IMO they're also both averagely OK.
I agree. Fairly lifeless, but okay. Still better than wasting money on GT or Mesa tubes though. I think TAD is also usually a waste of money. Some of their tubes sounded nice, but some are typical relabeled junk.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

I agree with you on the Mesa and GT. 90% of what they cost will be their brand name hype.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by JimbpGaff »

Great place for Tubes is Watford Valves in the UK.
Massive selection and they test and match.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by zaphod_phil »

Yes, I've bought from Watford Valves when I was living in the UK. They're somewhat pricey but give good service. Let me give you my standard government health warning about using matched valves. In guitar amps you will generally get warmer, better tone using non- matched valves, due to the asymmetry they provide. Remember this isn't hi-fi, and also the great guitar amp companies, whose sounds we all lust after, never used matched valves and just used valves grabbed out of the bulk box, as they came.
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Re: Seeking 12AX7 preamp tube, seller recommendations

Post by colossal »

JMPGuitars wrote:
Fri 05/08/20 7:32 pm
On the other hand, I don't recommend anybody EVER use JJ EL84s. They're trash.
I have found the glass envelope on the JJs to be VERY thin. Way too thin. They become quite brittle with routine use. Not recommended.
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