12AU7 & 6922

my cd player uses 6922 & my hybrid integrated uses 12AU7.

i'm interested in trying out some different tubes.

currently the integrated has jan phillips, while the cd player has audio research.

the sound is open, dynamic, and pleasing resolution for digital playback.

i keep reading about mullard, amperex, telefunken, & nos tubes.

but i'm not sure i want to take that plunge yet without some recommendations.

thanks in advance.

I might suggest RCA 12au7 Cleartops..Great tube,not too expensive and great sound for the money ....Usually between $50-$60 pair ( with high test marks )........
Biggest bang for the buck NOS 12au7 is the RCA Cleartop IMHO.
There is a broad range of 12AU7s in terms of tone. It really depends on what you want to achieve. Then of course how much you want to risk. NOS and in reality many are lightly used tubes are a gamble, that virtually no seller will warranty, once you have put it in your equipment. Fortunately there is a current production tube that is supposed to be truly excellent. That tube is the Gold Lion reissue. A very good vendor is over on Audio Asylum named Jim McShane. (no financial intersest whatsoever)
If you want to get something really extraordinary chase down the Amperex 7613 from the early 60s and late 50s. They are a direct sub only from Heerlen, often made for computers etc so you will find Hewlett Packard etc. branding. Super clean detailed crystaline halographic extended really special. Of course IMO.
6922s are scarcer if you want really good older tubes anyway. The prices get insane fast. One great sub that I like which is more German Sounding Than British is the Mullard CV2943. Upscale Audio has them from time to time. That's a good place to look also at others. There may be more bang for your buck if you can use 6DJ8s.
Good luck, tube rolling can be a very slippery slope.
In addition to knowing the tubes, it is good to know some of
the more trusted vendors and Jim McShane that Mechans
mentions is one of them, as is Brent Jesse who specializes
in NOS, Andy at Vintage Tube Services who is perhaps the
best NOS vendor, and Roger Modjeski (RAM Labs) who is
perhaps the very best tube tester, but tends to focus on
current production tubes. I have not heard the Gold Lions
mentioned, but their EL84s and KT88s are wonderful, so it
may well be that the folks doing these reissues know what
they are doing.
Someone on audiogon was offering Golden Dragon 6922/6dj8 really cheap. In my opinion, they are the best budget tube. Keep in mind that 6922's last up to 10,000 hours so it's easy to get your money's worth over the years.
12au7's will last about 1/2 as long but will cost 1/2 the price. I'll agree with the RCA's but like the Jan Philips too.
You might want to do a google search for Joe's Tube Lore for some interesting reading, but just as a starting point.
I am reclining in my listening room thoroughly enjoying The Rite of Spring due in no small measure to the Psvane 12AU7 Reference Vacuum tubes. I just recently purchased these new production tubes manufactured under tight tolerances in the Shuguang tube facility in China. The Psvanes replaced gold pin EH 12AU7s. The EHs were good sounding tubes in my heavily modified cj tube line stage. The Psvane's bring a whole new "sophistication" to all aspects of sound. Most notable is a complete lack of "glassiness" in the upper midrange and treble, a smoothness to the musical texture without any loss in detail. The soundstage is open and natural. Bass is powerful and tight. These tubes are very quiet, a characteristic missing in my trials with NOS Mullards. Yes, they were warm and "musical" but the several pairs I used were always noisy...losing their vacuum?

I purchased the matched pair with gold pins for $83 including shipping from Grant Fidelity located in Canada.
Your post has convinced me to give the 12au7s a try in my Atma-sphere preamp where I have been using RCA Cleartops. Worth a try at the price, the reviews on Shaquang have been quite impressive as does Grant Fidelity's testing regimen.
While the RCA Cleartops made a big change in one pre, the expensive Mullard 6922's did not make as big a change in another pre. Since Mullard tubes are well known, and I got them from Brent Jesse; I can only conclude that 12au7 circuits make a bigger difference than 6922 circuits.
I think that is a false conclusion. It says more about the difference between your preamps than the differences between the two tubes and their general and respective impact on sound. Not sure about that, so maybe someone more knowledgeable would pipe in, but that conclusions seems wrong to me.
I posted a dyslexic response, the 12AU7 sub of choice IMHO is the 7316. Please not the correction.
well, thanks all for responses; i have more choices to venture into than i thought prior to my posting. should be fun to try some different tubes!
Using a pair of Genalex reissue 12AU7's bought from Cryoset. They have excellent extension top to bottom and are nicely dynamic. Highly recommended.
Well, I finally took the plunge on Genalex and must say, why oh why did I wait so long to upgrade?!

Very significant upgrade that was not at all subtle; I've updated comments on my virtual system.

Thanks all.