Best 6sn7

I have Bat 150se mono blocks and looking
for 12 NOS tubes that I don't have to take
a loan out to buy. Help!
Hey Randy- Glad you made a choice on amps! As far as the tubes go the ones that are really important are the ones on the very front, the other tubes are important but less so then the fronts. I ran Raytheon's in my VK-60 and they were outstanding for the money, they retail for about $39 ea. NOS and the sound improvement from the Sylvania's and Sovtek's was HUGE. I am told Tungsol's are great as are Mullards and certain RCA's are among the finest 6sn7 tubes available. So what I would do is buy the best you can afford for the front pair and then get something between a sovtek and raytheon for the rest. The only real way to know what's best to you and to your ears is to get them in a try them, with tubes there isn't much to loose because you can always re-sell desireable tubes. Also replacing the 6c33cb-gt tubes with a matched quad will help the autobias function even better and yield more detail, they sell for around $30 a piece and last a VERY long time. BTW which speakers are you using now? still the JM labs??
Saxman2- In general I would agree with Tireguy, in that you will have to try different tubes to find the ones that you like in the context of your system and personal preference. However, don't dismiss Sylvania 6SN7s. The problem here is that there are many different versions, some being vastly superior to others. Do a little research and you'll discover that the finest of the 6SN7 types, (my preference being the Sylvania metal base 6SN7W), are worth the effort. Check out VTV and other web sources, and then give some a try. It can be a little spendy, but very rewarding. Enjoy!
My preference is the old Sylvania.
The old VT-231 types (any brand) would be my first choice. The Ken-Rad have the best bass. You will find VT-231 made by RCA, Tung-Sol, Ken-Rad, Raytheon, National Union, and Sylvania.
I use the Sylvania VT-231's in my BAT 150 SE's. I absolutely love them and they were a significant improvement over the stock Sovteks. I even collected a back up set.

Part of the reason I chose the Sylvania was based on the fact that they seem to be a bit more resadily available to purchase in groups of 4 or more which makes it much easier to collect a set of 12 than some of the other vintage tubes. I bought my sets a couple of years ago and, as far as I recollect, paid about $35-$40 a piece for them.

As far as the price now? - good luck!!
Agreed the front most tubes will make the most difference in those amps. Generally in any tube circuit the one(s) with the most gain will have the biggest effect.

VT-231 is simply the military designation for 6SN7GT - no real special meaning other than that. some think the vt-231 types sound different, most notably this may be the case with Sylvania but I have heard of it on other types too. Generally the vt-231 designation is more in demand from buyers so if you have to have that designation you will pay more, but likely get the same tube as the consumer version.

All the ones mentioned are good chioces. personally I prefer the earliest GT types, rather than GTA, GTB, etc. some WGT and WGTA are also quite nice.

Let me know if you need some, I have a collection of a few hundred and can part with a few, I think I still have an ad up listing some sample prices/types. (have many more than just those in the ad which are mostly all sold now anyway)

Ed....I get the feeling you think the VT-231 are no better than the others because you have none for sale?

Actually the various 6SN7 types are not all the same. While they will all work in all 6SN7 sockets; they do not all have the same voltage and plate disapation ratings.

Consequently some will run hotter than others, and therefore, will not last as long as others, and will not sound the same. The various 6SN7 types and voltages are:

5692 - 275 Volts maximum & maximum 1.75 Watts per section

6SN7GT/WGT (and VT231) -- 300 Volts maximum & maximum 3.5 Watts per section

6SN7GTA/GTB - 450 Volts maximum & maximum 5.0 Watts per section

Some types may not be appropriate for some gear. You may want to check with your gear's manufacturer if you are not sure. The GTA/GTB were originally made to a higher voltage primarily for use in televisions I believe.
Sugarbrie -

I have tons of VT-231s, for both keeping and sale. (let me know if you want some). Generally my thoughts regarding them is the difference in sound between GT and VT-231 is minor at best. I am happy to supply VT-231 to folks, the demand (and thus price) is higher, which is fine with me. But bang for the buck, the regular GT version is just as good IMHO.

Re: ratings - agreed. But mostly the point I was making was labelling.

Correct re: TV's. GTB also had series filaments, and controlled warm up (11 seconds warm up time).