12ax7 tube recommendations for Croft Phono Integrated


Hi everyone,

Was hoping that some of you tube gurus could give me some suggestions for 12ax7 tubes for my Croft Phono Integrated. It uses two in the phono section and one in the preamp section. Open to anything - NOS, new, expensive :). Looking for a nice liquid, somewhat tubey sound. Source is a VPI Traveler with Clearaudio Maestro Ebony 2 cart and Reynaud Bliss Silver speakers.

Thanks! Scott
smrex13
Can't really recommend anything without knowing what type sound you really want. What tubes are in the Croft now? What's wrong with them? Anyhow here is a link to Brett Jessee's web site where he compares sonic signatures. But remember the topology of the amp can make a huge difference in the sound signature.
http://www.audiotubes.com/12ax7.htm
Call Andy at Vintage Tube Services. He will help you make a good decision.
I agree with jperry. Call Andy at VTS and discuss your options.
Thanks for the recommendation on VTS.  His website is very informative- will give him a call.

Best, Scott
Check on Matsushita 12ax7 from VTS.  I just got them from Andy for my Conrad Johnson Phono.  Wonderful tubes.  Japanese Mullards at a fraction the cost.
I upgraded the pair of 12ax7s that came with the 7R amp with NOS Mullards and the improvement was very dramatic. 
Vintage Mullards if you like warm rolled-off sound.
Vintage Telefunkens if you want a clean, detailed, airy, neutral sound.
New Shuguang LS Black from Grant Fidelity for Telefunken-like sound with even lower noise floor and more detail.

You can also try GE triple mica black plates 5751 for a very detailed sweet sound and lower gain. Not great depth but a lovely black background.

I’m a huge fan of the Genelex Gold Lion for input tubes. I use them on my tubed DAC (12ax7) and on an Audio Research VT60 (6922) with great effect.

They are current production and readily available which is something that your component manufacturer will design around. They won't design for out of production tubes in mind. Also, if you like them you can get them again when/if they go bad.


I second the recommendation for Brett Jessee. He is a real straight shooter. Also, when it comes to NOS tubes, spend a little get a little, spend a lot get a lot. Buy one set of great tubes, don’t buy an assortment of mediocre tubes otherwise you will just end up with tubes you want to sell later.   And do ask about depth.  I have found the most detailed sound can be ruined by lack of openness and depth.