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Thanks, that was helpful!

"They're kind of all over the place, aren't they?"

LOL, I'm convinced. In fact, this makes me wonder if the 6AN8 might also be a poor choice. It was originally designed and sold for TV use, and that's one of the big gotchas. Manufacturers were under no obligation to control the characteristics of tubes like these to tighter specs or to cull the ones that failed to meet audio standards. That was the reason tubes like the 7199 and 7247 existed.

At this point, the EF86 is definitely my choice for driver duty. I've tested dozens of them in the past, and they're always very good for THD. And in this position, at this signal level, their modest partition noise and occasional propensity for microphonics in phono and other high-gain applications won't matter at all.

The only remaining decision is how to handle the cathodyne service. It will have to be two 6C4s, a 12AU7 or a 6SN7. Given the transparency of the cathodyne in general, there's probably no wrong choice.

Buy Chinese. Bury freedom.

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