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I am looking for a new production tubes that sounds well. I was thinking of the 2 listed. I refuse to pay these insane prices for 12ax7 NOS I am looking for nice sweet and smooth with nice detail. any input would help. I tried the psvane 12ax7 sounded good for 6 month them one blew up so not using them again. using in a primaluna integrated.
I bought 3 12at7's(gain level should not matter) and installed them fully expecting to hear this great sound I read so much about. There is only one word to describe these tubes......boring. The sounds are all there, but the music just never happens. I put back some NOS tubes and was shocked the difference.
Several months later I decided to try them in my hybrid headphone amp and forced myself to listen to an album all the way through. I noted that it sounded okay, but nothing to write home about. I put back some NOS tubes and started the same album again. I had only intended to listen for a moment, but the sound was so much better that I was compelled to listen to the entire album over again.
Not all current production 12a*7 tubes are bad though. I put a set of Psvane 12au7 in my amp and I have been hard pressed to find a set of NOS 12au7's that I like as much.
I purchased two of the GL 12Ax7's on the excellent reviews I've been reading. Well after about 3 hours on them, I hear a very good presentation. The only fault I can find with the GL 12AX7 is the cymbal taps are ear bleed. Everything else is so natural sounding. I would like a little warmer midsection as I dont find this tube to be warm as what others are saying. My previous tube which came in the preamp, a Vincent SA-T1 are very nice and warm sounding across the mids with good extension both ways...I would like to know what they are. I may spring for a set of Mullards next to see what they are like. Does any one know what tube is in the pic? Is it just a cheap Chinese tube? One other thing...the GL 12AX7 dont glow...maybe just a little but I cant see anything through the cover...is that normal for the GL?
Well the GL 12AX7's have about 10 hours on them and the cymbal taps settled down nicely and the warmth of the mids is coming in. This is a very dynamic tube. Female voices give you goose bumps. Nice indeed. Still have about 30-40 hours to go before she is broken in fully. I listen to mostly acoustic Jazz like Miles and Coltrane, and classical stuff, a little old school Luther Vandross and Anita Baker, that sort of stuff. I have a Musical Fidelity CDP which leans to the warmish side of things, and a Grado Cart and right now the Grado Phono 1 phono amp, and the Golden Lion performs wonderfully in my rig.
Thanks for the advice. I bought the mullard re-issues on many peoples advice. So far I am very pleased what I am hearing smooth detailed nice air tight bass. I don't want to mess the stuff on e-bay way to many seconds on there and I need a low noise matched pair thanks again
I agree with Jim Mac. Both are good tubes but you may prefer one over the other. Yes, some NOS are 'better' but 'NOS' on fleabay is a crap shoot.
For all the money you have spent chasing new reissues, you could of had a pair of "insane" quality NOS. You keep hunting. Good luck.
There are legitimate practical reasons for choosing to work with current production tubes over NOS, but, obviously, some very strong opinions to the contrary. I think the most cogent argument I would make is that any tube in any circuit is just a part of the circuit and does not generate tone all by itself-it works in conjunction with all the other parts, including other tubes in the same circuit. So it's at least theoretically possible to design an amp with crappy tubes that sounds great anyway. In fact, that has to be one goal of anyone designing an amp for a major company.
I have used both the Mullard and the Gold Lion, and think most people would prefer the GL for it's extremely high fidelity (for current production tubes), transparency, and smooth breakup. It is a standout tube. However, the Mullard has a flatter eq curve, which makes it's distortion spread out over a wider field. You can hear the difference between the two best when you swap them in the phase inverter position, where both are good, but I strongly prefer the Mullard. Your results may vary.
I haven't yet tried the GL, but I have the new Mullard and the new TungSol, I prefer the TS vs the Mullard...found the Mullard to obscure midrange detail and be a little 'mushy' in the bass...this is in a Jolida 102b and in my CAT linestage.
I currently use the TS in my CAT, and a United Electron/AMperex in my Jolida amp. The UE/Amperex cost me less than the new GL
Joe, I too have a CAT. A Mk. II. It uses 12AU7 for the line input. Was wondering if maybe you too had this vintage and if so what you'd found you liked for that 12AU7. I tried the GL reissue and really liked it, but one of them went hissy after about three or four weeks. Now I'm back to the seemingly bullet proof RFT. Not that wild about their tone, but they do seem capable of taking the punishment in that spot.
I have the MK1 with an upgraded p/s. SO same tube compliment as yours.
I liked the reissue TS 12ax7 so much (over the new Mullard )that I sprung for the new TS 12au7, so far I am liking the all TS combo.
In the CF I first had the EH6922's tried the GL but didn't care for the sound(too dark), ended up with a Packard Bell branded/Amperex 6DJ8...very clean, 3D sound.
I would like to try Brimar 12AU7, more pricier so awaiting funds for that step.
I should add that the TS au and ax tubes I am using are cryoed, when I first bought the unit it came with non-cryoed TS ax's and I thought the sound was too 'hot' which is when I went with the Mullards.
I tried the RFT au's...clean pure tone but no texture.
Joe, thanks for that. If you don't mind me asking, where'd you get the cryo'd TS's and what kind of money are we talking about? I'm with you on the CF's. Using a Toshiba M3624 (6DJ8) in the phono CF for tone and a Siemens 7308 in the line CF for a little sparkle and punch. I had a nice quiet pair of Tele 6922's that I'm using as phono inputs. For now using Mullard reissues in all the AX positions. For being over 20 years old this CAT sounds amazingly amazing. Have you experienced any early death/noise issues with the AU's? I haven't owned this CAT all that long and am still learning its ropes. Had read that it drives the AU's quite hard and that many are prone to go noisy there.
Prices are comparable to market prices of non cryoed tubes: eg; TS 12AX7 @ $18.99...add $3. for matched pair.
I buy many of my tubes from Jim, but he doesn't offer cryoed tubes (as far as I know).
When I first bought the CAT (2years ago), it came with EI 12AU7's, those were the first tubes I changed, to NOS GE12AU7A (sourced from Jim).
After I had such great results with the cryoed TS in the 12AX position(displacing the reissue Mullards), I was curious to see/hear what the cryoed TS12AU had to offer. So far I have not had any problem with early tube death in the CAT. Maybe I am lucky, since I have read/heard of that rep.
I like the LPS 12AX in the phono. I got the GL12AX(cryoed), but haven't tried them yet...I also got the cryoed version of the LPS, but it's still awaiting audition. Vinyl is just 5% of my listening time, a shame since the CAT phono stage is excellent.
Joe, thanks very much for the Cryoset tip. I liked the GL AU's so much that I am going to try them again on hopes that the one I had go hissy was just an outlier. So I just ordered up a cryoed pair from Cryoset. I'm pretty satisfied right now with the Mullard's, but based on your recco, I will also order some TS 12AX's too.
You are welcome.
Hopefully you will post your impressions in a new thread after the new tubes are run in and you have had the time to compare them with each other.
NOS really arent that expensive compared to the gold lion reissues. 12AX7 last a looooong time, especially Telefunkens. Buy a good pair of NOS, they will probabably last you forever.
I've used the re-issue Mullard in a Primaluna 1 integrated as well as a Primaluna 3 pre-amp. It is an excellent tube, period! It is a little sweet - takes the edge off some of the highs and the cost is very reasonable.
Now if you want something even warmer, try the JJ/Tesla ECC803 (long plate). It is even warmer in tone, and while too warm for me in the PL's, it is really good in my old Calif Audio DAC. They are cheap, reliable I don't know, I've only been using them for about 6 months. No problems so far.
While the earliest GL 12AX7s were tending towards microphonics issues the latest production is FAR better. So I now believe you can consider it for use, that's why I now brought them into stock after I DID NOT stock the first release (after getting a 20 tube sample set).
The latest production of the Mullards is superb - VERY quiet, quite well matched sections, very low microphonics, excellent tone with a hint of the old Mullard warmth (but not as warm as the old production). Top shelf reliability too...
What I'm getting in terms of customer feedback is that the GL is warmer toned than the Mullard reissue, so some care would be needed to keep your system from getting overly warm.
I don't think you can make a decision between the two until you consider what the rest of your tube set is, and what sort of overall tonal balance you are looking for. You can't go wrong, both are excellent tubes - but you should look at the impact on the entire system before deciding which tube to get.
With the improved production Genalex now showing up I can unhesitatingly recommend either tube. I'd use them in my own gear in a heartbeat!!
You get what you pay for. I never use any of the new reissue tubes. NOS only and NEVER had a problem with them, blowing on me. Not saying it can't happen. I uses pair of 12ax7 Telefunken and Mullard for years with no problems, bite the bullet and buy a good old tube from a relable source.
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