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12AU7 comparison

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi! I got a Tung-Sol Black Glass 12AU7 of ebay a few days ago and it sounds wonderful in my Cayin HA-1A amp (compared to the RCA cleartops I was using before). Very smooth and musical. Does anyone know how the Amperex Bugle Boys sound compared to them?
post #2 of 35
Might be a little more work than your willing to do, but there is tons of great info on most of the 12au7's and common substitues in the Raptor tube rolling impressions thread. I have heard the Bugle Boy, but not the Tung-Sol so I cant make the direct comparison.

My impression of the Bugle Boy is it sits a little bit more on the detailed side. My favorite 12au7 so far is my 1960's Mullard which is very warm and smooth but still has a lot of detail.
post #3 of 35
Ditto - my favorite 12AU7 is also a 19060's Mullard - and I have tried a lot of them. But #2 (and a very close #2 at that) is the black-glass Tung-Sol.

The Amperex Bugle Boy is good, but I like the above two better.
post #4 of 35
It depends on personal preference or the condition of your tubes.
Philips/Amperex is my favorite brand
I think the one of best 12au7 is Philips(holland) 45degree Dgetter 1958, philips(holland) 7316 D getter 1959, or Mullard square getter 1956
Amperex Bugle Boy D getter 1959 may be classified to one of second best.
I also have one TFK ECC802s, but I rank it as the one of second best.
post #5 of 35
There are many versions of the Bugle Boy. You can't pin down that a Bugle Boy is one way or another. It was made through a period of time and varies as does the tube according to how well it has aged (gassy etc) and if it is truly NOS as there are people who will use a tube and then put it back in its box as NOS or it will be picked up on ebay etc as NOS.

You need a few to know how it will really sound. The Yugoslavian smooth plate from around 1989 is excellent. It was modeled after the Telefunken smooth pate but to my ear has even more life and is not as slightly sterile. It is very hard to find though.
post #6 of 35
I have a 1960s Bugle Boy w/ small halo getter and I would decribe it as detailed w/ musical mids. I actually think it is similar to how the 7316 sounds.
post #7 of 35
I need to retube my speaker-system amp, an Onix SP3. Budget is not great. Are there any cheap 12AU7s that people recommend that have an overall-good sound?
post #8 of 35
You bet: JAN-Sylvania 6189/12AU7WA - $11.95 each at tubedepot.com:

6189 / 12AU7WA

Amazing sound for the money.
post #9 of 35
Thanks, Skylab!
post #10 of 35
I like the 50s BBs with the halo getter -- they can get pricey, though. Other good bets are the CBS/Hytrons, RCA Command and the French-made RTs and Mazdas. As others have noted, there are a LOT of AU7s and a great deal of variety even within the various marques. Have a look here and on tube asylum, and if you're just starting out with tubes I'd advise buying from a good, trusted dealer -- tubedepot, tubestore, Jim McShane, Upscale Audio, etc. Good advice in tubeworld is worth every penny and there are a LOT of scammers about.


post #11 of 35
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
You bet: JAN-Sylvania 6189/12AU7WA

How does it compare to the EH 12AU7A? I haven't heard the JAN, but like the EH...edgy and punchy.
post #12 of 35
Try the GE 5814A
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who replied

Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Ditto - my favorite 12AU7 is also a 19060's Mullard - and I have tried a lot of them. But #2 (and a very close #2 at that) is the black-glass Tung-Sol.

The Amperex Bugle Boy is good, but I like the above two better.
How does the sound sig of the Tung-Sol compare to the Mullards and the Bugle Boys?

Is the Tung-Sol black glass rare? It seems like only Skylab has tried it.
post #14 of 35
Well, apart from the NOS-tubes I really like the new production JJ ECC82. Unfortunately I can't compare those to the "Bugle-Boy", which seems to reach quite high prices at the moment. I like the Mullard ECC82 too, but it is softer and more round in its presentation. JJ is firm and detailed and fulfills my needs in that.

I am mentioning this just to bring in mind that some of the new production tubes are not bad at all.
post #15 of 35
The NOS tubes rock!
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