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Western Electric 403A & 6AK5 tube comparison and questions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have a few questions and I'm tryin to think of everything so I'll blurt it out:


The 403A looks similar to the 396A, I know they're different tubes but both have the same box and print style. I've heard the 396A was made with no price-point so it's built well, sounds great and will last a long time. My question is, would the 403A be similar in that sense?

Does anyone know how the WE 403A would compare against Tung-Sol JTL-6AK5? From what I can tell they are the same "model" as in that they are compatible with each other, is that correct?

Lastly, would using a WE 396A in a preamp/buffer and then the WE 403A in a tube amp that's connected to the preamp/buffer, would that have any kind of beneficial synergy?


For 6AK5 tubes, is there a better option than the Tung-Sol JTL-6AK5? I realize that tubes can sound different depending on the circuit they're used int but I'm mostly looking for general comments and answers.



post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Since the site was down briefly yesterday, I figured I would bump this.

post #3 of 11

Check the Darkvoice 332 threads. It uses the 6AK5/EF95/403A family of tubes. In the DV332, Tung-Sol 6AK5 = mega bass.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

I looked for a while and found a Darkvoice 332 thread but it was about 150 pages long and I didn't want to sort through that just to find out about tubes. Anyone else have experience with these?

post #5 of 11

I don't have any experience with the Tung-Sol 6AK5, but just picked up a pair of Western Electric 6AK5 for my LD 1+ that I like. I've also tried Philco and RCA 6AK5 that were kind of dry sounding with thin bass. The bass using the WE version is full, but not too heavy (what I was looking for).


post #6 of 11

Spanky, did you finally find some good tips on 6ak5 tubes to use?

I was looking as well for the A1, but it seems the WE 403A/B are top(?)


I'm trying the Raytheons first (I posted the link in the A1 thread)

post #7 of 11

396A / 2C51 / 5670.  Different tube altogether than the 6AK5.


Some of the variants that can be used in place of 6AK5 tubes- EF95 / 5654 / CV4010 / M8100 / 6096 / 403A/B / 6J1


The Tung Sol 6AK5 are one of my favorites but also very good are Siemens 6AK5, Mullard M8100 and for Grados I like CBS Hytron.  Many to choose from this family of tubes.

Edited by HeatFan12 - 9/16/10 at 2:36am
post #8 of 11

Thanks for the tip.  I'm checking the LD mkIII thread, lots of info there, too much " class="bbcode_smiley" height="" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies//smily_headphones1.gif" title=":)" width="" />


So far it seem to be:


Mullard M8100 (CV4010)

WE 403A/B

Tung sol 6ak5


Edited by Ultrainferno - 9/16/10 at 12:02pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

No, I've learned nothing about tubes for the A1 beyond what I've already posted here. It seems that a lot of people seem to like the Tung-Sol and I like it and don't see a need to change it, at least right now.

post #10 of 11

I'll do some research, I enjoy it. I've already started and then you can add it to the FAQ if you want ;-)

post #11 of 11

Going to bump this old post up as I'm in the midst of ordering/rolling tubes in my EF2A.  Can one of you guys who knows all the details point me to a prior post or explain to me how/why different brands/styles of tubes in the same family (in this case 6AK5) can produce different sounds in an amp?  Aren't tubes essentially nothing more than AC/DC converters?

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