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  1. #1

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    Default 12AX7 long plates or short plates?

    I have a lot of tube knowledge in general about the various tubes I use. The EL34 and 12AX7 types I really don;t a whole lot about but I am rapidly learning.

    I see in many of the 12AX7 variants that they refer to a long plate 17mm or short plate 15mm

    What are people's experiences and opinions with them? Is one really better than the other? With 12AT7's the longer plate variants can sound superior but also are more prone to microphonics. Is the same true for 12AX7 long plates?

    Discuss

    Thanks

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    That's a tough question. The best X7 I've heard is the Tele long plate. The Telefunken long/smooth plate copies made by Ei, if you can find them, are not bad at all.
    Last I saw, NOS Telefunken "box plate" which are the short plates were going for almost $1k a piece over at tube depot.

    The 12AX7 is a fun tube to roll. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun. Some will recommend the 5751 but this substitute will depend on your gear. 5751 will change some of the circuit's parameters.
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  3. #3
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    H9,
    I have found that the Telefunken 12AX7 have the most neutral sound in my pre-amp and CD player. By that I mean the music seems to contain all of the overtone structure, in the correct balance, that I hear when I listen to live music. I've only had experience with the long plate version, both the ribbed and smooth sound the same. The other thing I like is that a Telefunken tube seems to last longer than any other tube I've owned.
    The 5751 has a different gain from the 12AX7 and would have different operating points in a circuit. The stage following the tube would be effected as well, so I don't feel it's a substitute.
    I hope this helps.
    Cheers, Ken

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    I does help a lot Ken, thanks. One of my favorite 12AT7 (ECC81) tubes is the Tele and my favorite ECC85 (6AQ8) tube is also the Tele so it stands to reason I would probably like the ECC83 Tele. I'm a fan of Valvo Hamburg tubes as well. Again for the same reason you describe, they seem to be very balanced and neutral.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  5. #5

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    12AX7 long plates or short plates?

    How about medium plates?
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    H9,
    You mention EL34 tubes, since I use these in my amps as triode connected drivers what do you prefer?
    Thanks, Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Swauger View Post
    H9,
    You mention EL34 tubes, since I use these in my amps as triode connected drivers what do you prefer?
    Thanks, Ken
    Not sure Ken, the amp I have is a Norh SE9. It's a single ended pentode w/no negative feedback if you read the literature. It uses two El34's w/9 wpc in class A.

    It sounds pretty good even with current Russian made tubes. I did swap out the Russian Sovtek 5AR4 and put in a Blackburn manufactured RCA 5AR4 (made in Great Britain) and the sound improved markedly.

    I use it in my office rig with a pair of 1985 modded Polk Monitor 5B's w/RD0's and Clarity Caps/Mills. One heck of a nice sounding rig for very little investment (if you take the cost of NOS tubes out of the equation)

    Now I'm looking to replace the (2) 12AX7 driver tubes and then finally the EH EL34's.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Brock,

    I have used a few 12AX7 tubes, both long and short plates. The long plates seem to have a better sound stage than short plates, but as you stated do have a greater tendancy of suffering from microphonics. With the 12AX7, I have never had a tube be microphonic though. Either I've been very lucky, or they don't go microphonic much. I have used the Ei long silver plate tubes and they are very good for a newer tube. I have used the Valvo (made in Hamburg, Germany) long plate tubes and they are very good. I have used Amperex "Bugle Boy's" short and long plates and they have the best sound stage out of any 12AX7 tube type I have used, but definately not the best tones. I will have to think about the others I have used, and I will write up a little more about them. In general, I think you are correct about the 12AT7 and 12AX7 tube comparisons.

    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I have a lot of tube knowledge in general about the various tubes I use. The EL34 and 12AX7 types I really don;t a whole lot about but I am rapidly learning.

    I see in many of the 12AX7 variants that they refer to a long plate 17mm or short plate 15mm

    What are people's experiences and opinions with them? Is one really better than the other? With 12AT7's the longer plate variants can sound superior but also are more prone to microphonics. Is the same true for 12AX7 long plates?

    Discuss

    Thanks

    H9
    I like the Tele 12AX7 smooth long plates in MOST of my applications.
    I have to throw in the disclaimer of "ROLLING" to maximize sound quality and matching up your system.
    I've found some of the old Mullard 12AX7s to sound supreme as well as some Amperex Hollands I picked up out of an old Harmon Kardon '60 integrated. I kept those tubes around for years until a flood destroyed a lot of my gear.
    I've had RCA long blackplates sound superior in some of my phono sections. I can't say there's a BEST X7 for every socket. Some of the old organ tubes from RCA are mighty fine sounding also. Usually "bigger is better" will hold true.
    The EL34 is an easy pick however. NONE better than the Mullard XF2 "OO" I've found. I won't waste my $$$ on anything else. I have a quad of 50year old + tubes I'm running now that still test over 97% and are perfect in sound quality. I have a quad of metal base Mullard xF 1's here but the 2s still seem to be a nicer overall tube to my ears and they've mated well with ANYTHING I've put them in.
    I've done a lot of rolling tubes. At one time I had over 30,000 tubes I kept around just for my audio habit. I'm down to less than 1,000 now. I did however sell the bulk of my tubes to a friend locally and they're sitting in his garage IF I ever need tubes.

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    I'm in the "long plate" camp--Ken pretty much summed it up,,"balance",,they just seem to be very neutral and accurate/precise.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    Quote Originally Posted by george daniel View Post
    I'm in the "long plate" camp--Ken pretty much summed it up,,"balance",,they just seem to be very neutral and accurate/precise.
    Hey George, are you talking about long plates in general or the the TFK long plate?

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  12. #12
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    Thanks for the EL34 tip!

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    Harry, I don't doubt the xF2 dbl OO getters are fantastic, but with this integrated amp being in a secondary office rig it's hard to justify the price of the Mullard tubes. In fact I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of a pair of smooth long plate TFK's.

    If this was a main rig system, cost would not be an issue. If I can scrounge a pair of TFK long, smooth plates for around $100 or less off Ebay, I'm ok with that, but much more and it just seems like too much for a secondary rig.

    Mullard 5AR4, Mullard EL34, TFK ECC83 long smooth plate all added together gets very pricey.

    If I can get 80-85% there with another EL34 choice or ECC83 choice, I'm all ears. I have a couple British made 5AR4's as well as a nice Mullard GZ34 already that I got great deals on. Now I need to fill the ECC83 slot and decide on which EL34's to go with.

    So keep the ideas coming. I appreciate them all and who knows I may just shoot for the moon and spend the $$$.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Hey George, are you talking about long plates in general or the the TFK long plate?

    H9
    Tele's
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    "Oh, you take the long plate,
    and I'll take the short plate.
    And I'll be in good tunes,
    before ya!
    Me and my tube amp will
    never roam again on the
    bonny bonny banks of
    mart logan!"

  16. #16

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    H9,
    Like I mentioned before, try looking for the Ei ECC83 on ebay. They are copies of the TFK smooth plates made on the actual machines used for Tele. I"d say this can get you 80% of the Tele and save you a lot of $. Ei is no longer around now. Western Electric purchased them years ago and I haven't heard anything since then.

    You already have a Mullard GZ34 so that's good. You don't need Mullards for EL34. There are great ones being produced today. I know a guy who prefers the good stuff from modern day production over his Mullards.
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    organ, are you talking Ei's from Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia? I thought I saw both, but I could be mistaken and only Yugo's.

    Actually adding the RCA Blackburn made 5AR4 really helped the sound. I haven't tried the Mullard GZ34 yet.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  18. #18

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    Ei was making some great tubes! Too bad they stopped. I've got some of the 12ax7 and 12au7 stashed away.
    DKG999
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  19. #19

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    H9,
    As far as I know, all Ei tubes were made in Yugoslavia. JJ/Tesla is made in the Czech Republic. The Ei are great tubes. The Sovtek LPS is also great as a current production tube. Here's some Ei ECC83 listing. You can see, multiples go for less than $50. http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trk...All-Categories The "silver bullets" are more expensive but they sound pretty much the same to me.

    Dkg,
    Yeah, I have a pair of their ECC83 that I'm saving to use in a SET amp. Don't want to use them too much because they're getting rare.
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  20. #20

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    I've been watching the Ei's FS in Germany on ebay.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Cool. Hope you win them. Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Harry, I don't doubt the xF2 dbl OO getters are fantastic, but with this integrated amp being in a secondary office rig it's hard to justify the price of the Mullard tubes. In fact I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of a pair of smooth long plate TFK's.

    If this was a main rig system, cost would not be an issue. If I can scrounge a pair of TFK long, smooth plates for around $100 or less off Ebay, I'm ok with that, but much more and it just seems like too much for a secondary rig.

    Mullard 5AR4, Mullard EL34, TFK ECC83 long smooth plate all added together gets very pricey.

    If I can get 80-85% there with another EL34 choice or ECC83 choice, I'm all ears. I have a couple British made 5AR4's as well as a nice Mullard GZ34 already that I got great deals on. Now I need to fill the ECC83 slot and decide on which EL34's to go with.

    So keep the ideas coming. I appreciate them all and who knows I may just shoot for the moon and spend the $$$.

    H9
    Look around for some brown base Tung Sols. Fair price and good sounding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by organ View Post
    Cool. Hope you win them. Good luck!
    I did win and I've bought tubes from this seller before so I really have no worries. $18 for shipping is what I'm not used to.

    I'll be sure and give a full review when I get them and have a chance to hear them.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Harry, I don't doubt the xF2 dbl OO getters are fantastic, but with this integrated amp being in a secondary office rig it's hard to justify the price of the Mullard tubes. In fact I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of a pair of smooth long plate TFK's.

    If this was a main rig system, cost would not be an issue. If I can scrounge a pair of TFK long, smooth plates for around $100 or less off Ebay, I'm ok with that, but much more and it just seems like too much for a secondary rig.

    Mullard 5AR4, Mullard EL34, TFK ECC83 long smooth plate all added together gets very pricey.

    If I can get 80-85% there with another EL34 choice or ECC83 choice, I'm all ears. I have a couple British made 5AR4's as well as a nice Mullard GZ34 already that I got great deals on. Now I need to fill the ECC83 slot and decide on which EL34's to go with.



    So keep the ideas coming. I appreciate them all and who knows I may just shoot for the moon and spend the $$$.

    H9
    I hear a lot of complaints about the cost of the Mullards and other quality tubes.
    Just my experience here but I've found I'll end up buying more re-issues and spending more money on them than I will on a good set of Mullards or Teles.
    On my old completely rebuilt Dynaco St-70 I went through 3 matched quads of the Svetlana wings in less than 2 years. The last quad lasted less than 4 months and a tube shorted out blowing 2 resistors. Bias was set perfect and checked probably weekly.
    My present quad of Mullards has been in at least 4 amps since new. Test results are still over 97% for these '60 tubes. Sound is absolutely clean and clear.
    I've found good tubes are usually the best bargain. And yes, I'm calling re-issues "less than good" though useable.
    You're always at the mercy of synergy with tubes and rolling is the ONLY way to get the best sound.
    IF you're going to use the amp on a part time basis in a secondary system I can see using re-issues. It makes sense.
    I have some old SS receivers and integrateds that I keep around for those purposes. They'll never have the SQ of tubes though they're still pleasant to my ears.
    Audio World is great and there's a lot of ways to enjoy it without going crazy trying for the "PERFECT" sound. LOL!

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    Harry, your thought process is exactly the same as mine. I would much rather use NOS tubes vs. reissues or current tubes but it's very hard for me to part with the $200-300 a good pr of Mullard EL34's cost for a secondary rig.

    That's the reason I am on the fence and asking so many questions about the Ei-6ca7, EH-EL34, Winged C-El34, etc. No point in spending on several pairs of reissues when the cost is about the same as buying the real thing to begin with.

    As far as the driver position, I just won the Ei-12AX7's and I'm going to spend the coin on a pair of Valvo Hamburg 45* getter 12AX7's. SO the question is do I just bit the bullet and get a pair of Mullard EL34's?

    Only time will tell, but I can buy a lot of EH-El34's for the price of a pair of Mullards :)

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    damm rabbit hole.

    RT1
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Harry, your thought process is exactly the same as mine. I would much rather use NOS tubes vs. reissues or current tubes but it's very hard for me to part with the $200-300 a good pr of Mullard EL34's cost for a secondary rig.

    That's the reason I am on the fence and asking so many questions about the Ei-6ca7, EH-EL34, Winged C-El34, etc. No point in spending on several pairs of reissues when the cost is about the same as buying the real thing to begin with.

    As far as the driver position, I just won the Ei-12AX7's and I'm going to spend the coin on a pair of Valvo Hamburg 45* getter 12AX7's. SO the question is do I just bit the bullet and get a pair of Mullard EL34's?

    Only time will tell, but I can buy a lot of EH-El34's for the price of a pair of Mullards :)

    H9
    I continue going back and forth on the price of tubes.
    Where I am now is...I don't like worrying about my gear.
    I seldom check bias on the Mullards and don't give them a second thought.
    After a couple of re-issue meltdowns the past few years I notice I worry about them so I only use them in "less quality" gear or gear I haven't refreshed. I have about a half dozen 'Mismatched Reissue" quads and pairs just for this purpose.
    I did have pretty good luck out of some of the older EH/EI tubes I used for a year or so. I gave them to a buddy using an Antherm and they lasted about 6 months before he replaced them as "noisy" in his description.
    Even NOS tubes will eventually go bad or can be noisey. It sounds like you're like me and a lot of us. Burnt fingers using the tone controls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    damm rabbit hole.

    RT1
    You have no idea how deep I am :D. For chrissakes this a secondary rig and I'm trying to re-tube with the cream of the crop. I'm getting to the point where I won't, no can't, accept anything less. :p.

    It sure is fun though...........................

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    damm rabbit hole.

    RT1
    Bottomless friggin pit!

    Unless I find a bank manager with a tube addiction I'll never get another house loan.
    I have "hot glass" collateral though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Harry, your thought process is exactly the same as mine. I would much rather use NOS tubes vs. reissues or current tubes but it's very hard for me to part with the $200-300 a good pr of Mullard EL34's cost for a secondary rig.

    That's the reason I am on the fence and asking so many questions about the Ei-6ca7, EH-EL34, Winged C-El34, etc. No point in spending on several pairs of reissues when the cost is about the same as buying the real thing to begin with.

    As far as the driver position, I just won the Ei-12AX7's and I'm going to spend the coin on a pair of Valvo Hamburg 45* getter 12AX7's. SO the question is do I just bit the bullet and get a pair of Mullard EL34's?

    Only time will tell, but I can buy a lot of EH-El34's for the price of a pair of Mullards :)

    H9
    Brock,

    I think you will like the Ei's, but you will ike the Valvo 45 degree Hamburg, Germany 12AX7's more. I went from the Ei's to the Valvo's and have never regretted spending the extra money on the Valvo's. Let us know what you think about both tubes though.

    Greg

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