CDP-Tube Suggestions

Its tube time again. I would like to try out a different tube in my Jolida JD-100 tube output CD player. It uses a pair of 12ax7s but 5751s will work as well.

I am looking to try a "warm" sounding tube this time around. I am currently using the stock tubes, which BTW, I dont really know what they are. Warm and full vocals with a little taming of the highs is what i am after.

I have tried EH 12ax7s, NOS RCA 5751 blackplates, EI 12ax7s, GE JAN 5751s and found none of them to be all that "warm" in my system. Not that they arent good, I just want something different on the plate so to speak.

The stock Jolida tubes are definately more rolled back in the upper octaves but still sound a little dry, or not robust, in the mids. Especially vocals.

I am thinking NOS Mullards, but I thought I would run this one buy you guys and see what you all thought. Thanks in advance.
Try the Brimar 12ax7s,wonderful vocal quality and they reproduce pianos with sonics to die for.2nd suggestion is the Mullard CV-4004/8137 military tubes.Very full bodied with sweet highs,yet more extension/sparkle than standard Mullard 12ax7s.
Try to find NOS Sylvania 5751, triple mica black plate or Sylvania Gold Brand 3 mica grey plates. They made a big difference in my Jolida, nice and warm! Hard to find, but worth the expense and effort IMO. Good Luck!
Thanks so much for your suggestions.

Tpsonic, I didnt even think of Brimar. Good suggestion, I like alot of Jazz, Classical, and female vocals all of which have a healthy dose of Piano.

Rcj1231, hard to find is an understatement. =) I have been looking for those for quite a while. Do you think the NOS RCA Blackplates perform similar to Sylvania's? Or, are they two different animals?
If the tubes aren't warm enough for you, perhaps there could be another area to look into. What kind of interconnects are you using? Changing these cables might "warm" up the sound, a good pair of copper cables instead of silver. I've recently be fooling around with power cords and purchased and electraglide cord that has given my system a greater sense of depth and emotion.
good luck, there are so many variables to look at.

ivan :)
Kudra, Thanks for you suggestions. However, "all" tubes arent "warm." As a matter of fact, the EI 12ax7's have more highs than my Theta DAC, and they(Theta DACs) arent known for being laid back in anyway.

I do have copper cables(SignalCable IIs) in the mix and silver-copper(DH Labs BL-1) as well. I can choose whichever I want buy changing the input selected.

My intent is to try some "warm" tubes since I have tried several that werent, at least in this system. So I have baseline of what warm tubes sound like.
The DH Labs cable is bright and tinny,not to mention lacking in dimensionality.Just FYI.
I dont want to get too far off my original tube question, but....

When I was using a Rotel Pre/Pro I had some upper midrange glare or harshness, when I upgraded to a Bryston processor it cleared up. Lately I have been content with my cables. Even though I havent tried a ton, I like the DH Labs better than anything else I have auditioned. Having said that, I may in the future be trying a few more moderately priced ICs. But first, I would like a selection of tubes to draw from.

In all honesty I have had some "warm" cables and didnt like them at all. Even though I cant explain it, the warm sounding stock Jolida tubes dont do to the sound, what the cables did, and frankly it intrigues me. And so it goes, I want to try some other "warm" tubes.
Upscale Audio {CA},Vintage Tube Service {MI} and Advantage Tube Service {FL}.Stick with NOS tubes and I think you will find what you are looking for.Happy tube rolling.Make sure that the company will reimburse you for returns/trial rejects,provided that they are still resaleable.

I have tried 5751 Sylvanixa triple mica GB 5751, EH 12AX7 .. Amparex 12AX7, GE 5751 and few others, 5751 seems to be more analytical (Dry ?) while 12AX7 with good vocal on the warm side but not good bass .. Here is a one more tube which I am using for last 4 months, I preferred them over all of the above .. RCA 7058 really nice tube, I don't know much more about it, someone suggested these tubes 2-3 years back for my jolida hybrid, I tried those in CD player and they are great ..

Hope this helps.


Interesting thread. I think the Sovtek 12AX7WA exhibits a slightly warmer and more robust sound than the stock, EH and Telso JJ tubes in the JD-100. At the same time it tames the highs well without sounding appreciably more rolled off than any of the others. Drawbacks? Well, I think it just lacks a touch of clarity compared to the EH and the stock tubes. But, this is a close call.

In any event, at less than $10 for a pair it is a no brainer to add them to your inventory.

In the meantime, I off looking for some alternates as suggested in this thread.
Thanks so much for your input. I will probably make a decision on monday. Probably a pair of NOS Mullards (CV4004) if I can find them, and probably a pair of Sovteks.

I will come back and post how they sounded in the Jolida. But while I am here I might as well share my thoughts on the tubes I have tried.

Stock (Sino?) 12ax7 ---- warm, fairly articulate bass, reduced upper end, overall not bad with my analytical system. not quite rich enough and just a smidge to much "air" lost.

EH 12ax7 --- Neutral, not a lot of richness, but accurate nonetheless. not quite as "dry" as some of the others. Not a bad choice if you dont want tonal changes. I used this tube most and feel it works well if you want a little more top end without tonal change in the middle.

EI 12ax7 --- plenty of highs, laid back mids, not upfront with vocals (polite?), gives a great 3D presentation. Good bass but needs a lot of warm-up before it can.

NOS RCA 5751s --- fairly neutral, a little edgy on the top, very similar to the EH, with a tad deeper bass but a little drier as well. The reduced output of the 5751 is hardly noticable FWIW.

GE JAN 5751 --- Deep bass, but didnt work well for me, seemed 1 dimensional and lifeless in my system.

Hope these descriptions give someone a little help.
Hmmm, I see there are several Sovtek 12ax7's to choose from.
12ax7LP, LPS, WA, WB, WC and maybe more. Any suggestions?
Nealhood, Thanks so much for your post, which I should have read more closely, you specified WA's. Thanks again.

I do remember reading somewhere about the Sovtek LPS's being a good audio tube. As cheap as they are maybe I will just buy a pair of each.
I agree with Rcj1231 who said "Sylvania 5751, triple mica black plate or Sylvania Gold Brand 3 mica grey plates. They made a big difference in my Jolida, nice and warm!" I've used both in my Jolida integrated amp and in my California Audio Labs Alpha DAC. I give the nod, ever so slightly, to the black plates version--vocals, brass and vibes pop at you and melt around your ears. I'm using Sylvania black plates right now, in DAC and preamp, and Miles Davis is sounding pretty good in the background. The GE 5751 black plates are excellent as well (much, much better than the grey plate GE JAN 5751s) and I like them somewhere in between the 2 Sylvania 5751 versions. You might want to try Raytheon 5751 black plates, although there's seemingly multiple variants; the best are very tight. I can't get behind RCA 5752s--they don't sing. Mullard 12ax7s are too fuzzy sounding for my tastes as are Telefunkens (more fuzzy than the Mullards I've tried). Bugle Boy 12ax7s are pretty good though if you want to stick with 12ax7s instead of 5751s. Have fun!
Zinfan2, thanks so much for your comments. The Sylvania's have been on my list for a while now. They are hard to come by, and when you do, they are costly. I intend to keep looking though.

I thought my first order of business (since I am somewhat new to tubes) would be to audition the "cheaper" newer production tubes. I havent ordered the Sovtek's yet. I think I will today. After I audition them I will post my thoughts, for what they're worth.
OK the Sovteks are in. I am trying the LPS first. I like it pretty well. Tonally balanced, nice deep bass, good leading edge on percussion.

I am curious the sound of the Sovtek LPS is very similar to the EH. The construction looks very close as well. Might these be the same tube with different branding?
I recommend going for the Sylvania Gold label triple mica blackplates. I cannot beat this tube, and still have a pair of GE triple mica blackplates as my back-up tubes. The Sylvanias are pricey, hard to find, and even harder to beat. My JD-100 came w/Sovteks, and I used them for only about 5 hours. Good luck on your tube rolling.

Also, I recommend upgrading the PC to a Chris VenHaus cryoed Flavor 1 PC. I feel you cannot touch it for the price. It made a huge difference overall, and esp. in the bottom end.

Happy listening.
Has anybody compared GE Non-5-Star triple micas to 5-Star triple micas? I have a pair of Non-5-Star and didn't know if all GE triple micas are the same before I popped for a pair but with the 5-Stars. I've found my Non-5-Stars to not be as warm as the stock ones, but definitely more detailed up top.

Russtom, I tried the two GE types and don't care for either. That may not be the answer you are looking for, but that is my opinion, w/ my gear.
I am currently trying the Sovtek WA's (12ax7). The LPS's stayed in for a while. I really liked them.

The WA's sound just a little bit more rolled back in the highs. Not much though. Its somewhat hard to put into words, but.....sounds/notes seem to "bloom" with the WA's. The bass isnt as pronounced as some of the other tubes. However, bass notes seem more differentiated. Less "one-note-itis." I like the the way the WA's do vocals. They are going to stay in a while.

I also have a pair of Shuguang tubes I will post my thoughts on these later.

After pulling the Sovteks LPS's and comparing them with the EH's, I realized how faulty my memory can be. Side by side, it is immediately recognizable that these are two different tubes. Though they do sound similar.
I thought I might update this thread. I have been running Telefunken smooth plate 12ax7s for a little while now. These are the best synergistic match for me and my system yet. I love them. Very smooth. Vocals bloom from way back and seeming higher above the plane of tweeters themselve. Detail is present without to much emphasis on the highs. Strings ohhh strings, you can hear the pluck so well its hard to put into words.

I have taken the Vibrapods from underneath the unit and placed them under the Sony, which this unit is stacked upon for now. The DH Labs BL-1s have been replaced with Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway 3s. That in and of itself made a nice improvement.

Just for the record I tried the Telefunkens and liked 'em. So I put back in the EH's and tried them again, just to make sure. Then the Sovtek LPS's went back in and within a few days each I would start missing the Tele's. So far only the Telefunken tubes have this impact on me and my tube swapping.

I am curious. I leave this unit powered on 24/7. how long will the Tele's last? I have Pearl coolers installed. I am thinking 8000 hours?
When you say you leave the unit powered on 24/7, is the on-off button blue or red in color? You can keep the unit in a semi-on condition (red color), which won't provide tube current, but keeps the unit in a standby mode. I think you can only go to standby mode with the remote, but I could be wrong (too lazy to check the manual!).

Anyway, I bring this up in that it may be a reasonable alternative to "Full-on" mode (blue light). The manual may have more information.
Hello Djbnh, Blue light on, straight up power on. Though after giving a little thought to the cost of replacement telefunkens. I have decided to put the unit on standby (red light - with remote) when listening is unlikely.

Nice looking system. I see you have tried the GE blackplates and the Sylvanias. Lucky you. Those are some tough tubes to come by. I am keeping my eye peeled but so far I am quite happy with the teles.

Have you ever tried leaving your Jolida on (blue light) for a few days and then have a listening session? I am curious. Do you hear anything different or am I nuts? Mine seems more tonally smooth, less grain, a lot more depth.