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Hi guys - I've just reviewed and added another half a dozen 12AU7s in Part 2 of my WA7+tp tube rolling guide (towards the bottom of Page.4). I also took a good look at the NOS Soviet-era Reflektor branded 6C45s for the WA7.
In the WA7tp there were some excellent 12AU7s in the line-up including some super budget options as well as some nice alternatives to the Mullard CV4003s - especially if you still want the very finest sound but feel like taking things in a slightly different sonic direction.
I'll be sure to check that out thanks..
I received my vintage 6C45P-E tubes from Barnaul Russia the other day replacing my gold electro harmonix tubes, The differences in the two sets were noticeable to my ears I listen to a lot of jazz heavy in bass and to me the gold electro harmonix gives more impactful bass and the music seems smoother but not by a lot it's still noticeable.
Bare in mind this is after only about 10 hours of use so I think this impression well likely change. I believe the 6C45P-E's are better in SQ then the stock woo sovtek 6C45 tubes and at half the cost definitely the way to go for a good lower cost upgrade.
Just finished reading your tube rolling guide for the WA7, and I have to tell you this may be the best one I have ever come across based on my experiences with many of the tubes you reviewed. Should be required reading for WA7 owners! Thanks for the great review.
I really appreciate that desertblues - thank you!
I'd be interested to hear what 12AU7s are you currently using in your WA7tp? I'm still loving the Siemens silver-plates - so big and clean. But I'm tempted to roll the Tung-Sol re-issues or JAN 5814as back in and save the best of the NOS for special occasions....ridiculous, I know. Tubes are to be enjoyed!
That's awesome abvolt - glad they worked out for you in the WA7 Amp.
It's interesting what the guys on the other thread were saying about how the quality of Russian tubes can vary so much depending on what year (and even what month!) they were produced. I've read that the 6C45s are one of the more difficult tubes to get right too.
Black WA7 looking very nice indeed!
I am currently enjoying a pair of RCA 5814a blackplates, 3 mica 1950's vintage. I only have 12 hours on these, but they are definitely going to stay in my rotation. My favorite to date is a beautiful pair of Mullard ECC82 (Blackburn 1964 date codes). I am also fond of the RCA cleartops, but I keep going back to the Mullards. I have not heard those Siemens silver plates yet but hope to eventually. By the way, I have a pair of Reflektor 6C45 that are cryo-treated. To my ears they are slightly less detailed with a bit more bass than the EH gold-pins.
Excellent stuff desertblues - there's definitely something very magical and seductive about the Mullard sound isn't there! The RCA 5814as sound like a good bet and they seem reasonably priced too. Maybe I'll give them a go!
I highly recommend the CBS-Hytron if you get a chance: Absolutely superb.
I was able to do a little more listening this afternoon as well as audition a second pair Hytron 5814 to try and clarify some of the differences in the various versions I mentioned before.
The previous pair were 1955 red label bent rectangular getter 5814A . These latest were 1953 white label 5814 (no A), again bent rectangular getter. A few small variations in construction and some minor differences in sound. The earliest was a little lighter on its feet, more refined but overall less rich - but still good.
EDIT: after further listening I'm personally finding I do prefer the red-label CBS-Hytron to the white label Hytrons. The reds are Richer. Just more magic.
Although some other tubes (Holland-made Philips) excel in certain areas that play right into my own tastes, for me the Mullards and the CBS-Hytron might just be still top of the tree for pure musical engagement and all round goodness.
The availability/pricing of the CBS-Hytrons seems a bit sketchy. I'm not seeing a load of them for sale but when they are around you can pick them up for as little as £20-£25 a tube.
white label Hytrons pictured below. Not quite on a par with the red labels.
curious about your thoughts between the relative differences between the same tubes from different sources/years compared against different tube models.
There are definitely differences in sound, at least to me. And the personal opinion factor is very real also even though the difference maybe subtle but to geeks like us, those subtle differences make for a wonderful and very addicting hobby. Hopefully this weekend I'll have my quad set of the tung sol 12AU7's 1958 awesome, won that bid for 32. oh yeah fun times..
Interesting question and one that's been on my mind since I always like to try and find some kind of pattern / system to differences in tube sounds!
Overall I would say I just don't have a broad enough of a cross-section of different 12AU7s to make a really accurate statement. But based on the dozen or so 12AU7s I have tried I would loosely make these points to which there would always be some exceptions!
1. There's a rough line you can draw between the European sound (Philips, Mullard, Brimar, Cifte etc) and the US sound (RCA, CBS, Sylvania). Former tends to be warmer and more liquid/smooth while the latter can be a bit, punchier, tighter, more revealing and more lively. This is probably the most clear and biggest pattern in differences from the tubes I tested.
2. - 2 tubes of the same model but of different manufacturer (e.g. a Mullard CV4003 and a Brimar CV4003 or a Sylvania 5814a and a CBS 5814a) can be as different sounding as 2 entirely different models (e.g. a 5814a and an ECC82/12AU7). Therefore, with my testing I'm not able to say confidently something like "there's a ECC82/12AU7 sound vs a 5814a sound" even though they may have different specs.
3. The only 12AU7s I have that are the same model/manufacturer and broadly the same construction but of slightly different years (3 years apart) are the two pairs of CBS Hytrons in the post above. Relative to the above differences this was the smallest of them all. Much much smaller than picking 2 different models or makes. This isn't going to be the same as with a tube that was constructed across multiple decades/factories and have different constructions e.g the Mullard CV4003 where I'm sure the differences could be night and day.
With my equipment/ears I was not able to find any meaningful differences between the NOS 6C45s and the Sovtek branded ones which come from the same factory and had almost 40 years between them but are of the same construction. There are other people here with more resolving equipment/ different ears here so as much as I do trust my own ears - in many ways I'd actually be surprised if there weren't minor differences between the NOS and the new ones, although I couldn't discern them myself.
Definitely agree abvolt! congratulations on the Tung-Sols. Exciting times indeed. There's nothing better than a tube bargain! That's such an great price - wow per tube that's cheaper than the re-issues!!!
Well I received my vintage tung sol 12AU7's earlier today and wow you were right Jeb, They really deliver a good resolution in sound that is clearly audible. Beautiful sounding mids with good detail they add a sweetness to the music and the bass is well defined warm and easy to listen to, how ever I noticed they have a little less gain to them then the mullards I'm using, These are just my first impressions but so far they are excellent sounding..
Those boxes are so cool.
Seems like you got yourself a bargain there. From what you describe with the resolution boost and all round performance it sounds like there might be at least some common ground between the new ones and your NOS - but its hard to say without a head-to-head and from the pics I think your ones might have longer plates. I always tend to think the NOS would sound better and have more magic!
I haven't noticed the gain difference with the Tung Sol re-issues i've heard - i'm not sure of the spec differences between a 6189/12AU7WA and the regular 12AU7 other than that they are military grade with some construction differences to withstand rougher treatment.
Hope you continue to enjoy them,