Do you really believe that the Reflektor plant retooled everything just to produce a few "Mullards", and, even if they did (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), do you imagine, even for a moment that they use the same materials and can pull identical purity of vacuum to the original? OR. . . do you think that they might just pull a few of their 12ax7's from the production line that produces the shiney copper pinned version of the tubes, equip them with a "Mullard" label, package them with a special paper wrap, put them in a "Mullard reissue box", charging a few bucks more for them along the way? Same goes for the 6sn7's. I've never seen the Tung-Sol "re-issued" version of the 6sn7, and would be curious if it were the round plated version (if it were, that would be well worth the listen, I suppose). IMHO I think they just label and package what they already make. That's salesmanship, I guess.
I've been considering trying the reissue 6sn7s, but looking at the pictures, they look just like the regular Electro Harmonix tubes. They do not look like the round plate tubes. I can't tell if there is any difference internally. New Sensor doesn't say a whole lot about its tubes. I do remember a quote from the American owner saying the release of these tubes was delayed over a year because they wnated to get them just right. I have searched for posts on AA, and there are a lot of people saying they are not really copies of Tung-Sols, just relabelled EHs but if you read closely, these people have not generally tried the tubes out. I think there was one person who said he had tried them out, and heard little difference between them and the regular EH tubes. On the other hand, there were a number of posts saying the 12ax7 reissues were the best new production 12ax7s available.
Just another way to try to baffle people into thinking they have some new worlds best new tube,by putting a different label on it....Just my opinion
Hi - I have a set of the reissue KT-88s and they are a real nice tube. Haven't bothered looking beyond them. No durability issues after 4 months of fairly heavy use.
These guys went to a lot of trouble to sweat the cosmetics. I kind of think they are like the Chinese - they are establishing the right to charge market to premium prices through quality production.
McFarland is right that it is very difficult to reproduce a 60 year old product exactly - like the beer guys say its the water... and there is a lot of craftsmanship that has been lost.
The Audio Asylum Tubes Forum is a good place to look, they also have a SET Forum.
I have the new Mullard 12ax7s in my VTL tl5.5 and I have been enjoying them very much. They replaced some 70's vintage RCA 12AX7A's that I never really warmed up to. The new Mullards sound great. They have a deep bass nice midrange and an extended top end that is not harsh at all. They have more rythmic drive than the RCAs did, more lively if you will. It definetly improved the PRaT of my system. I prefer them to the 80's vintage Mullard CV4004s i have in my phono section.
As for New Sensor just rebranding the same tubes I can clearly see, and hear, the differnces of 4 different 12AX7s that I have that were all made by New Sensor. I have the reissue Tung Sol , reissue Mullard, Sovtek 12ax7LPS and Sovtek 12ax7wa. They all sound diffent and have diffent internal construction and with the exception of the 12ax7wa they all sound good.
i have the mullard 12ax7 reissues. they don't sound like mullards at all. edgy and lean is what i heard when i used them in a cd player. these tubes are not my cup of tea.
Has anyone compared the sound of the new reissues to original vintage tubes mentioned? Isn't that what we are all aftger? Who cares if it only looks like the original! I think Mcfarland hit the nail on the head, salesmanship and marketing.
I have tried the Mullard 12AX7 reissue tubes in a Conrad Johnson phono stage and they do not look or sound like the NOS Mullard 12AX7 tubes that I was using. The reissue tubes may sound a little better than the Sovtek or EH labeled tubes but they are not Mullards. I went back to the NOS Mullards.
It always amazes me when people comment on products they do not own or have not heard. I have the Mullard 12AX7 reissues and while do look like the Sovteks the sure don't sound like them. They have a much smoother more extended sound and are not strident like the Sovteks. I use them in a Cayin A70T and Cayin MT12A (an EL84 amp that I have not seen in the USA). The A70T came with EH 12AX&'s and MT12A with Cayin branded Shuguang 12ax7's. In both cases the Mullard re-issues were an improvement.
I also have a set of the Tung Sol 12AX7 re-issues and the pair I have are very low gain,the sound seems very recessed and they are a short plate design as compared to the long plate Mullards.
As to output tubes I have not had a chance to listen to the GEC Gold Lion re-issues but I do have two sets of the Tung Sol 6550 re-issues one in an Audio Research CA50 and a pair used in my Antique Soundlabs MG SI 15 DT single ended amp. In both cases (they replaced SED6550's in the AR and Valve Art KT88's in the ASL) they were a significant improvement. To my ear they are very similar to the original GE6550's as I still have one Quad I use a reference. I hope this gives you some help in making your choice.
i have mullard 12ax7 reissue, mullard 12ax7 long plate and sovtek 7025/12ax7wa. i have tried them in my cd player, a vincent cd s6. the reissue mullard is unbalanced, with an emphasis upon the highs. i do not like this tube. the mullard long plate is balanced but has no bloom. the sovtek is the osftest sounding of the three. i know, it is hard to believe.
All right, I couldn't stand waiting for someone else, so I just ordered a half dozen to try in my Atmasphere MA1s. When I come to any conclusions, I'll post back here - probably not until after the new year, though. I wioll be comparing to regular Electro Harmonix, not NOS anything.
Another thing I wonder about is if by the time you get around to trying a new tube type, if the old tubes are so worn out that anything new would sound good, but if you had different tubes all new, then did a shoot-out, you might think differently.
In a neutral system, the Tung Sol re-issue is a honky sounding tube...nothing smooth or natural about it. For a bit more, you can get into NOS Sylvania VT231 tubes...smooth and extended. Good stuff!
I am using the new Mullard long plates and new GEC Gold Lions (from what I have read, the consensus is that these are the most highly regarded new production KT88's and some say they are *better* than the originals) in an Audio Note Kit 2 and have no complaints. Both are good tubes. There is no *best* tube as they are all circuit dependent. I have not tried the new Tung Sol 6SN7 but it is certainy a different tube from the EH.
I have been around tubes for a long time and there is a lot of *marketing* hype in the world of NOS too. I am just happy to see good sounding affordable new production tubes.
OK, I got my TungSol RI 6SN7s. Visually, there was little difference. Eveything you can see looks identical except for the color of the plates. The EH have gray plates, the TS have black. I put 5 in one AtmaSphere MA1, and left the Electro Harmonix tubes in the other (I actually took them out and put them back in, in case that would make a difference, maybe by cleaning corosion off the contacts). I let the TSs bun in fo about 25 hours. I ran the outputs of my Wadia GNSC 850 to a Pass X1 preamp, which I set to mono. I then disconnected both speaker wires, and pulled them to one side so they were coming from the same spot, and I could not tell which was which. I labelled one A and the other B. I put one Talon Hawk with stand in the middle of the living room and did a blind test of the amplifiers with different tubes. I concluded the one with the Tung Sols sounded noticably better than the one with the EH tubes. The TSs sounded richer in the lows, more 3 dimensional, and more liquid. By comparison, the EHs sounded a bit metallic and flat. The difference was not huge; it was not like the change you get from changing a major component like an amplifier or CD player. The basic characte of the amplifers was the same, but one was a better version than the other. Unlike many comnponent changes, there seemed to be no tradeoff; I didnt' hear anything get worse going from the EH to the TS. The only question in my mind still is whether the difference was due to the design of the tube themselves, orr the aging of the EH tubes. The EH are about 1.5 years old, and have about 1200 hours on them (I estimate). I suppose I should buy a set of new EH to come to some real conclusions. I'll think about it.
Honest1 - thanks for experimenting and giving us your report. I also have MA-1s and use mostly VT-231 Ken-Rads and RCAs - which are not getting any cheaper. The TS may be worth a try. Where'd you get 'em?
I got them from TubeStore.com. TubeDepot has them also; both sell them for $15.00 each. How often do you typically replace tubes? I'm really wondering how much of what I heard was due to the age of the ElectroHarmonix tubes. If you try them out, let us know how they compare to your vintage tubes.
As we all sould know tubes are curcuit dependant.I have treid them all,including NOS Amerex Bugle Boys.In my Audio Research SP16 alomg with Sunfire Signature tube imulated 625 watts,BW 801,3s,You aint heard nothing yet.This is the tube curcuit combo of a life time.Rich tube lush voice,double 3d sound stage,good bass,each instriment featured or not ,its there with vibrance and glimmer.No end to the mid range.And Im not dreaming but still inching myself. In tube land its all about it all not just the tube.
Mullard reissue 12ax7 As we all sould know tubes are curcuit dependant.I have treid them all,including NOS Amerex Bugle Boys.In my Audio Research SP16 alomg with Sunfire Signature tube imulated 625 watts,BW 801,3s,You aint heard nothing yet.This is the tube curcuit combo of a life time.Rich tube lush voice,double 3d sound stage,good bass,each instriment featured or not ,its there with vibrance and glimmer.No end to the mid range.And Im not dreaming but still inching myself. In tube land its all about it all not just the tube.
I have been using the Tung-Sol re-issue 6SN7s now for several months in my Supratek Chenin preamp. This weekend while listening with my wife I decided to swap the EH tubes back in to see if she and I would notice the difference. It was very apparent that the tubes were different. The EH tubes were more pronounced in the bass and MUCH hotter in the highs than the Tung-Sols. We both preferred the sound of the Tung-Sols, mainly because the EHs made our ears hurt due to the over-emphasis in the highs - I actually preferred the EH bass, but not so much that I would accept the highs. The Tung-Sol mids were clearly superior to those of the EHs. Neither is perfect, however.
OK Gang after a few years of experimenting much time and re$ources . . . I arive to soem clear conclussions.
There si no reissue that will take teh place of a good NOS.
Though must confess that Tung-Sol reissue are decent, they're not great nor wonderful.
I have bought tried tested and played with dozens of NOS types too many to list here but it shall suffice to say that i will list them in order of my personal prefference granted that every tube sound different in teh context of different gear even interactions and synergy (or lack thereof)with the otehr tubes in the system, be power tubes, driver tubes and pre tubes, phase splitter tubes, etc. also rectification tubes also influnece greatly.
So here we go:
1- Tong-Sol round plate black glass (1940's)best overall
does everything right tube
2- RCA gray glass (1940's)very close to TS sweeter mids
slight softness in the bass but lots of detail.
3- Ken Rad parellel plates ribbed clear tops 1940's does
everything right more and tighter bass than TS.
4- Raytheon ribbed plates extra support rods in front of
the plates unknown year but presumed early 1950's.
5- Sylvania chrome domes and bad boys 1950's
6- Tung-Sol tall bottles black plates black bases top halo
getter or harp shape getter.
7- just as good as teh Sylvanias and teh Tung-Sols tall
bottle come the Russian 6H8C NOS 1950's only the NOS
tubes they present an absolute wonderful bass celar and
airy top end a slight forward mids nto as sweet as the
Tung Sols or RCA's. Warning: newer tubes are same as EH
8- GE 1950's and early 60's (GTA GTB)not as refined as the
RCA's and TS but definetely not a sloucha dn will easily
better any new production tube.
Recent production tubes TS better than CHinese recent production tubes older production tubes sound pretty decent actually this is true for the 6SN7 only.
Interesting post, Gonzalo. I agree that I prefer old tubes to the new EH/TSRI, alhtough I would rank them in different order than you have them. In reality, though, I have found a mix of types sounds best. One other to try is the Shuguang Treasure tubes. They are as good as any old tube I have used. That's not to say they will sound best in any application, but they are certainly competitive, performance-wise. I am using early blue-glass tubes, not the final black-glass types. Supposedly the black coated glass are better. I suppose I'll hve to try them at some point, but they are very expensive.
Thanks Gonzalo, man, that you were back with your impressions make this thread realy special, thanks again! I am not like you, never tried any re-issues, except one time when I bought PrimaLuna Prologue Two, where the stock KT88 tubes seems to be a copy of Genalex. Well, let me tell you, they arent bad, but when I upgraded to NOS GEC KT88, there were NO WAY BACK to it, period.
I dont see Tung Sols Mouse Ears in your list, but also ECC33 Mullards are not there, so, if you still use 6SN7 based amp, try them out, best out there...love this!
I agree that the older tubes do sound better. Have not heard the new Shuggie Treasures but from what I am hearing they are awesome. Not sure I can afford them but maybe one day I can catch a good deal. I agree with Gonzalo with his list of favorites. For the most part as I have not heard some of the tubes he has but the RCA grey glass are my favorites so far. The TS round plates are crazy expensive and the Bad Boys are quickly getting there. Not sure if the Bad Boy is worth it as I have found a Sylvania that is close at a fraction of the cost.
Hey MAxmad you are right!! I neglected to put in my choices teh TS mouse ears, they sound as good as the TS tall bottles with top getters with more and tighter bass, so if you are a Bass freak like me you will love the tubes in my estimation they will come in the same line of preference as the TS tall bottle harp getter. mids not as sweet but the bass takes the cake, very similar bass to the Russian 6H8C form teh 50's though, mids more real than them and top end more open
Thanks for your input.
I also tried some other types, none of the european 6SN7 subs I'm sorry to say they are difficult to get
Yes, EU NOS 6SN7 valves are getting madly expensive, but if you check online sales daily you may get lucky. One of those you may want to try, which sells around USD200 a pair ( still a lot of money ), are BRIMARS CV1988, check the link where you can see the exact pic of it pls http://www.upscaleaudio.com/Brimar6SN7GTCV1988_p_110.html,
which I found to be closer than any to ECC33 Mullards, however not the same, Mullard mids are simply better.
And yes, low end that coming from Mouse Ears is shocking good, TS are my favor US brand.