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Snoop's 12ax7 picks

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Snoop65

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Post Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:35 pm

Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Some months ago I started trying out 12ax7/5751 tubes for the moving magnet stage of my Sunfire classic tube preamp. Here are the ones that worked best for me and my set up.

1. GE 5751 black plates & triple micas. These babies did it all. Great extension both ways,great soundstage with lots of air. It just sounds right.
2. RCA 12ax7 grey plates. Very close to the GE 5751. Not quite as much "air'.
3. Sovtek 12ax7LPS. Nice tube. Not on the level of the RCA or the GE in my opinion anyway. I felt it was very listenable though.

I also tried out a set of Amperex Bugle Boy 12ax7's but I didn't like them. They had great highs and low end but everything else just wasn't right for me. I also have a set of Amperex 12ax7's with the orange world globe on them but I fell in love with the GE's and never bothered to try them out. When I do try the last Amperex tubes I'll post what I think.
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Zoot Horn

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:42 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

I've had very good experiences with the GE's as well,,IIRC they were quite affordable.If you get an opportunity,, try some of the older Mullards,,which is currently what I'm looking for, every now and then a pair comes along at a reasonable price.
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Eddie

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:49 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Snoop you should try a set of EI Gold Elite or a standard set of EI's next.
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Snoop65

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:38 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Added to the list. Thanks!
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Chauss

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Surprised nobody has mentioned Telefunken???
Another of my faves that won't break the bank is RFT-
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BillD

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:22 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

When it comes to 12AX7s, I don't think Telefunken is even in the top 10.
It should sound like it isn't there!
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Snoop65

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Post Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:12 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

I think you told me about the 5751's BillD
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Chauss

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:37 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

BillD wrote:When it comes to 12AX7s, I don't think Telefunken is even in the top 10.


Really?...try looking at ECC83 or 6SL7 tubes and see what the tube highest in demand is? 8)
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BillD

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:01 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

The demand comes from the name. It has nothing to do with the sound quality.

Yes, I think 5751s are as good as you can do in the 12AX7 family.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
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Chauss

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:27 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Like most all tubes- it depends upon the system you are running them in. Some think the highs / mids are too bright- some think they are truly accurate.....guess it depends on your system. These tubes were what Fisher, Dynaco, Seimens, etc were using in the day for their receiving tubes- just manufactured with their name on them by Telefunken. I am running Telefunkens in my tube phono pre with good results but I use RFT's in my CJ preamp because they have an overall "smoother" sound to me with my system.

The BEST 12AX7 (ECC83) ever made is supposed to be the Telefunken ECC803S - but good luck finding some! :D
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Snoop65

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Post Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:17 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

I have auditioned some more tubes since I originally started this thread, so my list has changed. Here we go!!!

1. My new top dog the Mullard 10M 12AX7. I got a great deal on these NOS gems, practically stole them. Anyway on to the sound, the are the quietest 12AX7's I have heard. DARK background! Very extended both ways,warm and detailed. These tubes gave my system much greater image focus. Tons of air. Haven't played a cd since I got these babies. On a different planet.
2. Sylvania triple mica black plate 5751. Another awesome tube not too far behind the 10M. Quiet but not as dark as the 10m. Very warm and musical with excellent extension. Lots of air.
3. Siemens 12AX7 made by Mullard. Detail for days with a little warmth. Makes me think of a Siemens Cca 6922. Another tube that sounds just right. (Thank you for the audition MRHP!!!!)
4. GE triple mica black plate 5751. Warm and musical but a little rolled off in the treble but the bass is excellent. Doesn't do classical that well to me but excells with everything else.
5 Telefunken smooth plate 12AX7. Very detailed and extended. Not a very warm tube but does everything well. A killer on classical. lots of air.
6. GE 5751 triple mica grey plates. Lacks the magic of the black plate GE's but still a competent tube. Can be had for a nice price too!
7. RCA long black plate 12AX7. Beautiful detail and extension but produced a small soundstage in my system. Nice warmth.
8. Sovtek 12AX7LPS. No where near the other tubes but will get the job done.

I have made improvements to my system since the original post that let me hear the tubes performance better. Keep in mind these are just my views in my system. These tubes may sound very different in other gear and set ups. Also everybody's taste and views in what sounds right varies.
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angelod307

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Post Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:44 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

BillD wrote:When it comes to 12AX7s, I don't think Telefunken is even in the top 10.

No kidding. It was heaven in the baby tube amp bob built. Hands down the tele was the winner in those tests we did.
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MRHP

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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:44 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

My phono preamp is made for 12AX7's but after finding out you can run 12AU7's in a 12AX7 socket(thanks Chauss) I started trying them out and alot of the time they are cheaper.

The RFT rams head tubes are awesome for the price, they can be found for $20 a pair on ebay and still have the most liquid topend of anything I have tried.

Snoop has talked me in to trying the Mullard 10M's and I scored a matched pair on ebay for a very reasonable price. They are not here yet, cant wait!

Right now Im running some little know Amperex 7316 / ECC186 (12AU7) that are hard to find and have incredible low noise and vivid 3-D presence.

My next best tube and nearly equal to the Amperex is the Mullard 13D5 (12AU7).

As Snoop said these are personal opinions on my system but fun info to share none the less.
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Snoop65

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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:40 am

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

Thank you for your input MRHP. The best thing, as always is to try tubes or any other component for yourself and let you ears decide. You may or may not come up with different conclusions but that's all part of the fun! :D
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+CARVER SD/A 390t=WOW!!!!!!
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Chauss

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Post Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:25 pm

Re: Snoop's 12ax7 picks

It's a conspiracy!!! The audio gods are making us each pay our share on this quest.... #-o Enjoy your toys boyz! :D
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Good sound—like good music, good wine and good fellowship—is meant to be shared.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" Albert Einstein
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