2a3 Tube Question

I'm considering a Cary 2a3 amp. Can I roll ANY RCA tube? I throught I remembered reading something about some of the older RCA Single or Mono plates being incompatible but I can't recall the technical reasons.


PS Besides the RCA, any other recommendations? thanx
Have you checked with Cary? I don't know why any particular 2a3 would not work in their amp. Monoplate RCAs, Cunninghams, etc. are fantastic tubes, but, these days they are quite pricey. If you have some monoplates, you could try them in the amp with the bias set lower than Cary's recommendation to run the tubes consevatively (I believe Cary biases 2a3s at 70mA, you could try 60mA).

I personally like EML meshplate 2a3s (in Audionote Kageki amps). They have a much stronger bass and mid-bass response than the double plate RCAs that came with my amp, so the sound is not as lean. I've had them for over a year and they work fine. I know that a lot of people have had reliability problems with EML meshplates. When I lent them to someone who used them in another amp, the amps started to sputter after a few minutes and the tubes started to arc. I suspect that the EMLs have to be biased at a much lower current than most 2a3s. My amp is autobias (cathode biased) which is gentler on tubes, but, then again, with amps like your Cary, you could just set the bias at a lower level.
I had a Cary 2a3 integrated. I never compared any NOS, but the Sovteks I thought were pretty darn nice and a killer value. YMMV.
As said, EML-2A3 tubes have reliability issues. My pair didn't last a year. Then adding insult to injury the worldwide EML distributor weaseled around EML's 1-year warranty. I bought them about a year ago so they were relatively new production too. I am even out my return shipping to Germany.
I had the cary 2a3 for about a year and try just about all the 2a3 tubes available on the market..AVVT and KR audio sound best to my ear..
I'm using the ceramic base Sophia mesh plates and very satisfied. Great sonics.

Well constructed, well packed, and quick delivery.

I have no affiliation with Sophia.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned any of the old RCA or Sylvania's??? Are these relatively poor sounding compared to the tubes mentioned above? thanx
Buying old power tubes is a crap shoot. Given the expense involved, most folks are a bit apprehensive investing in $500+/pair without a warranty.

The tubes might very well be NOS NIB but in many cases the seller has no idea how and where the tubes were stored which is critical.

All of course IMO.
Audiofeil, I hear ya but, how do they sound?

Sorry can't help you. All the 2A3 amps I've heard have used contemporary tubes i.e. KR, Sophia, et. al.
I have, and occasionally use, dual plate RCA and Cunninghams. They are, in my application, and for my taste, better than the Sovtek, but not quite as good as the EML meshplates -- good top end extension but a touch dry and analytical and lean in the midbass.

I have heard single-plate RCAs and they are fantastic, but they are much more expensive than even the EML tubes.

I just got today the JJ 2a3. I will see how those sound tonight.