I finally found my Holy Grail tube for the Dared SL2000A pre-amp. I've tried about a dozen different types and years of 12AT7/ECC81 variants. Some better than others. I also have tried about 1/2 dozen rectifiers and settled on the best one I've heard.
I have been very good lately not looking for or buying any tubes since I have enough to last me a lifetime at this point. But there was one type I had read a lot about but is very rare to find in the US. I have seen them for sale on Ebay from Europe but I never could find a great deal.
I already have my 3 favorite tube types so I wasn't going to spend an arm and a leg to try another type when I was unsure about how it would sound. I finally found a triple for sale here in the US from a seller I felt comfortable dealing with.
My former top contenders were the Telefunken ECC801S and Valvo (Hamburg) 6201 gold pins and 50's Raytheon 6414 triple mica blk plate.
The holy grail tube all 12AT7/ECC81 owners need to try is the Telefunken long plate 5965.
All I can say is WOW. This tube has the best bass response I've heard yet, deep, textured, extended and very "real" sounding and fast. The midrange is to die for! The highs are so smooth and detailed. That 3D "in the room" sound tubes provide (I call it soul of the music) is even more impressive. Didn't think it was possible to get even more delineation between instruments, vocals, drums, etc. The entire soundstage is expanded as if every sound has it's own place in space
I was blown away