Belles 21A upgrade


I'm considering upgrading my Belles 21A at an authorized dealer overseas, they tell me that the upgrade is much better than the Auricap. Should I go ahead with the upgrade?

what is the upgrade?
Mundorf M-caps gold of V-caps TFTN's. I'm not sure what it
means but here the specs are better than Auricaps and exceed their sound quality
I had a 21A on loan for an audition and it was the stock unit. I don't remember what the stock output coupling caps were. But definitely remember seeing several Orange drops. I advice replacing those caps as well. They tend to blunt the transients, especially the trailing end. Also, I'm sure you have rolled the tubes?
I haven't rolled the tubes yet since I hear the unit comes with Mullards. Which tubes are better 5814A or 12AU7? Any recommendations for the system listed below will be welcomed:

21A Belles tube Pre
Belles 150A Ref
Rega Apollo
MI2 Biwire Goertz
AQ Columbia IC
Vandersteen 2 Ce Sig II

the mullards were too rolled off at the extremes for me.
the tubes i like best are raytheon 5814a(great),raytheon 12au7(great),
brimar 13d5(great), cbs/hytron 5814wa(great), rca 5814.
for a smoother sound any of the conn or baldwin organ 12au7.
Do you have a source where I can order these tubes? Man too many choices?

I have a pair of Phillips Jan 5418A never used, are they better than the stock Mullards if the unit comes with Mullards?

the stock tubes in the belles 21a are mullard cv-4003 i believe.
here is a link to thread discussing tube dealers.
I opened up my 21A last night and found out their not Mullards but GE6189/12AU7A. Are these any good!

My preferred variant is the GE 5814A BLACK PLATE from the mid 1950's. IME though with your pre-amp, you will only get so far rolling the tubes. In order to make it sing, parts need to be upgraded.
How good are these tubes?

you have a solid state amp, so a warmer 12AU7 might be preferred

best in order
all are nice, smooth high end 12AU7's

2 low noise pairs) ECC82 Mullard branded Philips NOS 1964-1969 in Philips boxes (recommended)
1 pair $160) 11.8/12.2 and 11.4/11.6ma 1967 and 1969
1 pair $160) 11/11.8 and 11/11.2ma 1964 and 1966

1 platinum low noise pair $150) CV4003=12AU7WA Brimar NOS in original boxes 1974-1975 1-5% matching, boxes moisture damaged
1 tube) 12.2/12.5ma 1974
1 tube) 12.5/12.7ma 1975

Low Noise Platinum Pairs $125/pair) CV4003=M8136=12AU7 Mullard "Box Plates" NOS copper grid posts 1982-1985 most in original boxes

a 5814A could be used as a sub

1 platinum low noise pair $150) JRC-5814A RCA black plates double mica 1962-1965 original boxes (best pair)<-------
1 tube) 12/12.1ma
1 tube) 12.2/12.4ma



No one can answer your question as tubes are opinion orientated and specific to ones gear/taste.

There is no reason at all to spend more than $60.00 for a pair of 12AU7/5814A tubes for your particular unit. It would be a waste of money.

The GE BP 5814A is dead neutral in sound. That means wide bandwith. No rolled of highs, no rolled of bass, no excessive brightness, very dynamic etc.

E-mail me, I've got lots of tubes. I'm not out to make any $$$. I do not need the money, but also am not a library. Be specific as to what type of sound you like.


So I can buy GE BP in 12AU7 and 5814A or the GE BP are only in 5814A?

Can't find anyone that sells GE BP 5814A, how does the $200 a pair 1956 RCA 5814A Triple Mica compare?