It was bound to happen, and I've dipped (with a tiptoe) into the liquidity of tubing. Fedex rang the bell at 7:45 AM and I've had my new 12AX7 tube based entry-level phono tube preamp cranking out tunes constantly since shortly before 8 AM rolled around.
The Sovtek 12AX7LPS* is brand new so it will need some time to simmer, but the sound quality and soundstage are already clearly superior to the great phono stages in my solid state NAD 2600, NAD 7600 and my 2 stand alone Thorens MM-001's.
I've read enough to get myself in trouble, but would like to tube roll this new pre to find the tube that is most synergistic with my overall system. It's a simple enough proposition as the unit uses just one tube.
Here's the list with those I believe will sound best descending to those I believe will not be a good match.
1) Ei --- 12AX7 / ECC83
2) Tung-Sol --- 12AX7
3) Mullard Reissue: --- 12AX7 / ECC83
4) Jan Phillips --- 5751 (same pinout, and said to not be lower gain as tyical 5751's)
5) Jan Phillips --- 12AX7-WA
6) Sovtek --- 12AX7LPS (*this is what's in the stock unit)
7) Electro-Harmonix --- 12AX7
8) Jan Phillips --- 5751 (same pinout, and said to not be lower gain as tyical 5751's)
I probably will not pursue these last 4
9) Tesla / JJ --- 12AX7 / ECC83-S
10) Sovtek --- 5751
11) Sovtek --- 12AX7-WA
12) Sovtek --- 12AX7-WB
Any help / opinions about these tubes is welcomed, and any used tubes in decent shape offered up for sale to me at a fair price (send a PM to preserve the thread) will be considered.
I'm also considering a Herbie's "UltraSonic 9 Damping Instrument" to further smooth the tube out.