Telefunken .........Read more here if you haven't already done so. http://audiotubes.com/ . I am not affiliated in any way.
Thank you for the response. Yes, did go there actually quite a lot for the last few days, spoke with Brent, he says Telefunken will sound a little flat as bass goes comparing to Mazda labels, which cost about twice as more. I won't mind the price per say if it goes there, my concern is that with my PV-12 with phono stage I won't be able to rip the benefits of the more expensive Mazda. My speakers (which I may have to upgrade) are Audes 037. The amp is CJ MVC60SE.
My cj pre amps (premier 16/17) never responded much to NOS tubes although I never experimented a lot . Tried some Jan Philips and Sylvania's and the EH 6922 Gold Pins performed on par with them. And actually the JAN Philips were somewhat microphonic. But maybe your experience will be different.
Now my Cary SLI-80F1 responded to NOS tubes and differences where easy to discern. I am currently running 7308 Amperex with Sylvania 6sn7wgta's. I have tried Bugel Boy 6dj8's and National 7DJ8's and all have their pluses and minuses but all were better than new production.
As far as 12ax7's go. I have a Herron vtph2 phono stage that takes 4 of them and 1 12at7. I have Telefunken in all 5 positions actually I have an ecc801s (Tele) in the 12at7 position and it is much smoother/natural sounding along with more detail than the stock Ei's provided.
Good Luck and have fun rolling tubes.
I have tube swapped now a fair amount (on an Ayon CD player and an Ayon integrated). From this and reading what others in their systems say when they swap out tubes like I have is that, generally, the effect of tube swapping is highly variable on the system... and the perceived sonic benefits and demerits of the swap are also very dependent upon the persons personal tastes. So... the only reliable way to swap tubes is trial and error in your system.
For what it is worth, there are some generalities in 12 AU7's that seem to be applicable in many systems --- RCA tubes are more punchy and have slightly better bass than Mullards but are brighter and have more sibilants. Mullards are warmer, smoother, less bright, less punchy with less well-controlled bass. That said, there is variability in RCA's when compared to other RCA's --- though Mullards seem to be very similar across varied stock of Mullards.
So... again -- you are stuck making a purchase and hoping for the best. I contend that none of us out here with different systems and different ears can help you much.
Thanks folks, I guess you are exactly right - buy and listen!
And that's fine. I read through a lot of posts here and quite a few of them state different tubes behavior. To the point about the RCA - actually one seller did state the same about the RCA, though in his inventory the RCA are not the most expensive ones, whether this was an indication of his integrity or not I can't say, just need to wait to wait until I receive the product. Best Regards to all.
FWIW, I chose for my system the Mullards over the RCA's because I like the smoother rounded-off sound that takes the edge off certain piano, violin, and clarinet passages. The Mullards made some strident recordings (of great music) listenable --- where the RCA's were too bright and etchy. Yes... I do prefer the better bass control and energy of the RCA's over the Mullards... but based upon my listening preferences the trade-offs with the Mullards worked better for me.
Given your price range, you might want to try the Psvane tubes --- I have not heard them, but they are supposed to be great --- if you do try them let me know what you think.