Originally Posted by XFxGeforced
I got two 12AE6a tubes, and I was wondering if I could use them, since they have the a at the end. One is Olson, and the other is GE.
According to some, the 12AE6A
is actually preferred. The original 12AE6 is much older and may not test out as well. With quality brands (GE), however, I've noticed no difference.
The thing you want with the Millett is two tubes of the same brand and vintage. Matching is not an issue - you're essentially doing "matching" when you bias each tube separately. However, the sound quality - things like bass response, highs/details, and soundstage - resides within brand and vintage. So you want two of the same kind, period.
That said, Olson was more than likely made by GE, but it's probably not the same vintage or quality. Most of my GE's have top getters, but the Olson's have side getters. They probably won't sound the same.
I don't want to be discouraging, but after finding a couple of old electronics and antique stores with tube stashes myself - I doubt seriously that someone (many someones) hasn't picked out all the good stuff long ago. Millett tubes are an exception - perhaps no one but a Millett builder puts any value on those tubes.
A quick check of the brands and variants for the 12AU7 will tell you if someone's picked through the good stuff already - GE, RCA, TungSol of 12AU7, 5814, 6189, and 6680. If you find few of those or mostly some JAN's, the stash has already been pilfered. You may score some 5963's which are good for the SOHA and mostly won't work in a commercial amp using 12AU7's (it has lower voltages).
I've had more luck sticking my nose in the stash of a real tube dealer:Tube Depot in Person
They buy so much from independents, estates, and stores like the one you've discovered, that they often have so many they haven't had time to categorize all of them according to brand and demand.
Motherone's tube list is really great for reference, anyway, though. Good luck.