Genuine Telefunken?

The last few years I have really enjoyed the exceptional sound of my tube audio equipment. After reading as much as possible on the net about " NOS " tubes, have narrowed it down to Telefunken 12AX7 and 12AU7 for my Jadis DPL preamp, but now I am really confused and can't believe all the fake ones being passed on for the authentic tubes. I have three questions! 1.) What exactly should I look for on genuine Telefunkens of these #'s, should they all have gold pins? 2.)Is it possible to stumble upon a genuine NOS Telefunken 12AX7? and 3.) Is it just a matter of preference of smooth plate verses ribbed plate? Or is one better than the other? I am new to experimenting with tubes and would love any opinions or comments. Maybe I should just consider a used tube being they have such a long long life. Thanks, Deb
I don't know if the conterfeiters have managed to get the embossed emblem right, but,on the bottom of real Telefunkens should be their diamond symbol that is actually part of the glass pressing (raised surface) and not painted or etched into the glass.

The ones I really like are marked ECC 803D (12AX7 equivalent). They may sound a bit lean and bright in some applications, but, I have never heard a tube with greater clarity and detail. Unfortunately, they are super expensive (though, I've been told, they will last a very long time).
Oops, I think they are marked 803 S. Sorry, I haven't pulled them from my phono stage in a LONG time.
A tad off the subject...but try vintage Mullard long plate /square getters if you can find and afford them..the perfect combo for the Jadis pre IMO...Tele tubes sound thin and brittle in that pre compared to these...or the Mullard 7025,more gain but still fluid
Yes, it is the diamond mark that prooves they are genuine. I have never seen it on any other tube. Labeling is delicate and can rub off with very little handling. The smoothe and ribbed do not sound the same. Both are great, but it is a matter of personal preference. I feel the ribbed plates have a slightly sharper,tighter, more precise sound. Sort of like a robust version of Amperex's Bugle Boys which is another great 12AX7 to consider. Once I had a smoothe and a ribbed plate in opposite channels of a phono preamp and the sound was amazing despite being a no-no of unmatched tubes.
Be very careful!!.....My friend spent five hundred dollars(for three tubes),for his phono section.They sounded drab,thin and basically horrible.

As it turns out,they were "fakes".

He has since replaced them with superb Siemens CCa's,but he got excellent results with the Mullards,Amperex,and very fine results with the Ediswan 6922 tubes.

I've had all of the above(for phono section)except the TELE(fortunately).

I am currently thinking about the Pinched Waiste Amperex 6922's,which might be available to me(very good ones)....

Not to hijack the thread,but(aside from what I've read,in Joe's Tube Lore)does anyone have experience,or a good opinion on the PW's?

Best to all
To be clear to the novice , the Diamond is located in the middle of the Pins and part of the glass itself .
After reading as much as possible on the net about " NOS " tubes, have narrowed it down to Telefunken 12AX7 and 12AU7 for my Jadis DPL preamp
This could be a disappointment if you do not audition other tubes. There's no way to know how the Tele might work with the Jadis unless you listen to its performance to others.

The Tele 12ax7 was outstanding in the Aesthetix Io phono stage but it just never cut it for me in the CAT and Manley products I owned; the result was rather dull. The Sylvania 5751 was a big improvement to the Tele 12ax7 in the CAT product. As for the Tele 12au7, it compared poorly to those from Mullard in the CAT. But there are so many other 12au7 tube types out there that to focus solely on the Tele could limit your preamp's performance.

I enjoyed the Tele 6DJ8/6922 in the Aesthetix and CAT products, but after playing with Amperex tubes the last year or so, particularly the 6922 and 12au7 families, I am less and less impressed with the Tele tubes. They are good but way overrated after hearing the Amperex.

Sirspeedy - YES. The Amperex 6922 PQ PW's. This is my reference 6922 tube. It's a killer in the CAT and excellent in the Aria preamp. But it was soon displaced in the Aria by its cousin, the Amperex 7062 PQ PW. The 7062 is a 12v based tube so it is not directly replaceable from the 6922 ...... except in the Aria with a flip of an internal switch. 8-) The 6922 PW is very smooth with great dimensionality. But the 7062 PW beats the 6922 PW at its own game and quite handily...and with greater dynamic contrasts. The Amperex tubes are special.
It is always possible to purchase an authentic Telefunken tube that is unfortunately past its prime and/or microphonic so making sure the tube has the diamond on the bottom guarantees you nothing sonically. Do yourself a real favor and deal with a quality tube dealer. Call Andy at Vintage Tube Services: 616-454-3467
I can vouch for the Jadis/Telefunken match, in my JPL and JP80 the Telefunkens sounded far more lush than the Mullards I tried, so go figure. It's good to try other types (Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8s sounded great in my JP80's phono stage, better than the Teles in that position, so I imagine their 12AX7s would sound good), but I have always wound up with the Teles in my Jadis equipment. And Larryi is right, the ECC803S are the best of the Teles that I have used, but they are outrageously priced these days. Mine have been going strong for years, so the high cost has been well-amortized. Do watch out for fakes; if you buy from a reputable seller you can be confident you'll get the real thing.
The info on the genuine Tele's having the diamond molded in to the bottom glass, and their excellent sound qualities is all correct. I've not seen this counterfeited as yet. Only pursue a British tube(ie: Mullard, Brimar) if you have a taste for a warmer/tubier presentation. The better Tele's and Siemens are about as transparent/smooth/detailed/dynamic as tubes get, unless you go with a pair of these: ( and take the risk out of the game altogether. BTW: The ECC803S is a 10,000hr tube, which(combined with it's exemplary sonics) makes it somewhat of a bargain.
I can vouch for excellence of Tele ECC803S, as they took my inexpensive Jolida tuner to a whole new level (got mine from Audiogon seller "Sam1104"). They were not cheap, but I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for".

Stick with reputable dealers when buying NOS tubes. I've had good luck with Tube World, Vintage Tube Services (however took 2 weeks to ship), and a seller that goes by Sam1104 on Audiogon.

I also agree with other posters that a NOS tube can sound great in one component, but fall short in other components... so getting advise from foks you trust, experimentation and willingness to take some risk is essential when choosing NOS tubes.

I've found fellow Audiogoners "Rodman99999" & "Albertporter" to be good sources of audio info... you may want to check with them regarding tube selection and reputable NOS tube dealers.
Jafox,I am happy for your "always interesting" response,except this time around you may have cost me some money. -:)

Worth replacing my CCa's with the PW's?
Tele 12AX7 and 12AU7 do not generally come with gold pins, so this is not a sign of authenticity. The smooth plate 12AX7 does sound somewhat different from the ribbed plate and is more highly valued. Will it sound better in your rig? Who knows, the whole thing is completely system dependent.
I suggest if you are going to buy tubes, that you use a tube dealer that has a good track record, and not just some guy selling a few tubes. Research some of the web based tube vendors and pick one that you feel comfortable with. You might pay a little more but I just consider it like insurance. The tubes that you put in your pre-amp should not be noisy and most of the good vendors will rate them phono, line or driver stage with phono being the least noisy. I personally like- Vintage Tube Services and have never gotten a noisy tube from him. I have also bought tubes on E-Bay that were so noisy that in my pre-amp they were useless,even though they were new old stock. Just my 2 cents
Tele used to relabel their tubes as 'The Fisher' You will find 12ax7 smoothplates so marked. Quite a bit cheaper than those marked tele too.

John C.
Sirspeedy - I was hoping to cost you some money last time with a new Hyperphono cable. 8-)~ A pair of PW's is small fry to that. As for CCAs, I have a pair of Valvo PW CCAs. I did not compare these to the Amperex 6922 PW in the Aria line stage as the 7062 here made this a moot point. And the CCAs I have are too noisy for the Aria phono stage so they landed in the CAT amps where they are very nice. I guess I could compare the Amperex to the CCAs in the amps. If I get motivated to do try this, I'll let you know. But I got a special D-getter pair of 7062's today from a friend so I'm a happy camper to play.
Jafox,one thing I am consistently amazed about you,is....

No matter what the "known,believed" excellence of "anything" audio is...

You can be relied upon to basically come up with a "new",not usually known/considered "take" on the subject!

No matter what the "known,believed" excellence of anything audio is... You can be relied upon to basically come up with a new,not usually known/considered take on the subject!

Wow, thank you.....I think! 8-) I've tried to behave myself since my "contributions" to the Gabriel Gold thread last year.

I notice that my system-implementation priorities are much different than many people here. I read the reported major improvements of moving a VTA adjustment 1 mm or 2 and suddenly hearing images lock in. But I notice that many such systems use stock power cords, have little attention to power distribution, use stock tubes, have severely compromised ICs and tonearm cables, etc., and I shake my head. In my system I can move the Graham 2.2 VTA dial quite a bit and not observe anything like what I read about here. But I can change the IC from the line stage to the amp and hear changes that far exceed the claims of VTA adjustments. And thus I have focused much attention to this system link.

And look at the discussion concerning the RIAA accuracy to 0.1db. But if I can not be convinced that there is a piano before me with its incredible fundamental tone and follow-on harmonic structure and decay, the whole technical discussion of RIAA accuracy to this level is irrelevant. No matter how accurate the tonality might be, without the dimensionality being convincing, the game is over for me.

Last night the differences between two 7062 D-getter tubes in the Aria line stage were HUGE. I was going back and forth between the Graham2.2/ClearaudioAccurate and Zeta/KoetsuRWS because I could not decide which one was more fun to compare these two tube pairs. One pair was so much more holographic and dynamic and the other mellow and smooth. But both pairs put the piano in the room. With any number of other tubes on hand, this one key performance parameter would nose dive in an instant even though the tonality is much the same amongst all these tubes.

I have observed such tube differences since I got the tube-rolling bug with the Aesthetix 5 years ago. That's why I wanted to suggest to Noguerol not to commit exclusively to Tele or any other tube brand.

Trying different tubes can result in a discovery that can take one's system to a level that even a preamp upgrade can not achieve. Look at those who upgrade their preamp loaded with Sovtek tubes for another preamp loaded with Sovtek tubes. Gosh, it makes no sense as they never had a chance to hear the potential of what they had before.
Jafox,it was meant as a compliment!
Yes Hyperphono-less man (lol), I knew that. 8-)~
Oh no, not a reference to the dreaded Gabriel Gold thread!!!


Hmmm... I wonder if the zealots came out of the closet again with the Revelation mkII coming out recently.

FWIW, I have a pair of brand Tele 12AU7 ribbed plates that I listened to for about an hour on my Cary 303/300. They were phenomenal. Accurate and detailed like SS, but with that a touch of the richness that makes tubes so seductive. Sadly, I've gotten away from tubes and have about 4 sets of various brands now sitting in their boxes. Maybe one day I'll get back to them, or sell them with the 303/300.

Where does one go to even find Telefunken tubes these days?

Well,I don't have stock power cords,and my Exact Power EP-15a/Ultrapure "regeneration -- fully balanced" conditioners blew away a huge variety of stuff.

Went through evrything except the PW tubes,AND you are selling the IC-70 short,IMO -:)...BUT...

if you can move your 2.2's vta "that" much,and don't hear much change,I may be having my doubts -:)

I owned,loved,and "as of this moment" sadly miss my five years with the 2.2(an amazing arm,by any standard),but in my set-up,and that of a close friend,such vta changes stand out BIG TIME!!

Hmm?Maybe the Hyper,or your figamajig super tubes,or "something else" is clouding the "should be" instantly recognizeable differences you "should" get,with vta changes,on an arm as good as the 2.2!... -:) -:)

Time to check the cartridge?Or maybe the CCa's should get a try-out(they are quite good,btw).

BTW,since I don't know you too well,there was a healthy dose of humor in my post......BUT,hmm?

Sirspeedy....I think you're in need of a vacation to Minnesota! I need help with my VTA. <8)~
C,mon Jafox....I think you just might be trying to "out-fox" me!!??

Trust me..."That arm is incredibly good"!!Your system looks to be "incredibly good".Your experience seems to be the same,so don't assume you cannot get a bit more from "something" in the system,not allowing you to hear minor(which should be "instantly" heard)changes in the analog chain(vta)....I think if you look at other hobbyists comments,on the subject,it will reveal the vta impact,should be easily heard.

I mean this with the "utmost" respect,and am speaking as though you are a friend.Yet,I probably should just shut up.Please don't get peeved because there is a nice surprise in store for you,if you like to attempt to push the envelope.

We ALL have assumptions about some aspect of sonic performance, that winds up being changed,and surprising us from time to time!You have a high resolution set-up.Certainly high res enough to change your opinion of this vta "thing".You'll love the results,and can send me a nice bottle of wine,if you pursue this!! -:)I'd be happy with a nice Chardonnay,if you only get a small improvement,but I think I'll wind up with a BIG RED BARLOLO,because if you don't already think I am nuts,your in for a treat(it may take some work)!BTW,just kidding about the wine...just happy to see you get what you deserve from such a great system!

I think,with all of the associations you have,in the hobby,this VTA issue can open additional doorways to an already fabulous system!!You may want to hit me now,but might thank me at some future point.

A system as good as yours should,"absolutely",be capable of "easily" showing changes in VTA!Assuming the fluid in the bearing cap is not set too high(minimum gains openness,maximum damps down sound).I had my fluid(using my old Transfig Temper-V)at 1/3 way up the bearing "square.I'll assume everything else is doing what it should,but maybe some tubes need replacing?Ya never know.

Sorry if I'm pissing you off,but you seem like a great guy,and this is the place to have some fun...

Besides Minn. is far enough for you to not want to attempt to beat me up,since I am on the East Coast. -:)

I have a sneaky suspicion that if you actually address this subject(aren't you sorry you mentioned the vta "thing"?)you will be in for a revelation!!

Best Regards
John,I just got off the phone with Steve Huntley,as he is doing some new update work for me.

The subject of PW tubes came up,as did your name.Steve thinks you a super fellow btw,and a very knowledgeable hobbyist.

Also,he mentioned your IO sounded amazing with the PW's!

Maybe I should have kept quiet! -:)

Sirspeedy...Thank you for the light kicks your sending my way. And yes, I am a sly Fox. 8-) But in all honesty, a year or so ago I played with the VTA on the Graham and on the Zeta (Pete Riggle device) and I did not hear the magnitudes of differences as reported by others. Had I listened harder and spent more time I likely would have heard greater differences. But I was overwhelmed with the major gains elsewhere (tube-rolling and cable changes). I had no patience for subtleties at that time. And keep in mind, "subtleties" are relative. When you hear the effects that tubes and cables can make like they do here, this is MAJOR vs. VTA.

I have since re-cabled the system, changed to the RLS Haley, found an outstanding triplet of small-signal tubes for the JL-3s, and now the stunning Aria WV. I have detail unlike ever before and the 3D magic remains. And so a re-visit to the VTA scene is warranted.

I checked the damping fluid in the 2.2 and it is 3/8" down from the top of the reservoir when the cap is removed. Is this too much or too little? But with the hyper-detail now due to the Aria, I am spending more time with the Koetsu RWS and that's on the Zeta and Hyperphono cable.

So today I just grabbed an LP off the Shelf. One of the later Heart releases. With the Koetsu body parallel to the LP as I have always set it, I listened to a track a few times. Then I adjusted the Zeta VTA to put the back of the cartridge tilted down, not drastically, but very noticeable when viewing this. The dynamics and dimensionality of the singer's voice changed little for me to hear any difference. But the tonality was significant. There was now a definite brightness and fatigue to her voice. I went back to the parallel position and much much more natural. I then went the other way, cartridge front titled down with 4-5 turns and now the top-end has much reduced life. At least the result was consistent! Does this match your past observations? So this one quick test brings an immediate conclusion to me: VTA (on the Koetsus RWS anyway) greatly affects the resultant energy in the upper octaves, and thus affects treble tonality and perceived treble detail, but the other sonic parameters were pretty much unaffected. I now hear how dialing this in can help to find a good balance between smoothness and treble detail/energy, almost like a tone control! So thanks for nudging me to play again. However, I will resist to become one of those obsessed with 1/16 turns on the dial for each LP.....just not gonna happen!

With the cartridge parallel to the LP again, I swapped one 7062 for another (smooth plate vs PW) in the Aria line stage. Tonality nearly identical but now a reduction in dynamic contrasts but more presence of reflections, almost like echo of the singer's voice off the wall behind the speakers. And then a change to the Aria's 6v setting and Valvo ECC88 PWs. Wow, those 6922 family tubes just don't do it vs. the 7062. Such a big drop in air and harmonic overtones.

So clearly the tube changes are affecting the sound in ways the VTA clearly does not with the Koetsu anyway. I understand that dialing all these in is critical. And coincidentally, I had the Koetsu at a great position all along with it parallel to the LP. I'll see what I can do with slight tweaks from this position and then leave it there.

As for working with Steve of GNSC, this gets my highest recommendation. The result is outstanding for someone who has a great performing product and wants to take it to the next level without going crazy with the cost. And yes, Steve helped to get the Io's noise level way down by tracking down and replacing one noisy socket. And I found another quiet pair of tubes for the other channel's input. Before that, I never heard the Io's noise level so low. When things slow down here. I'll get back to GNSC so Steve can see and hear the Aria. I bet it will be incredible in his BAT/Avalon room. Gosh that sounds so wonderful. So let me know how it works when you get your components back from GNSC.

OK John,one thing I want to make clear is that I am in "no way" too serious about pushing you,in a direction you don't want to go in!

It's really just hobbyspeak to me,so do what you feel comfy with.That being said,let's take the gloves off-:)....

Firstly I've been through the cable wars,tube rolling times,and the multitude of "virtually anything" I could come up with myself.I also have a close friend who has been obsessed with cable changes,and Line Conditioning "type" products for too long a time.He has a very similar set-up as me,so he is a superb "lab mouse",and I benefit greatly from this.Yes,they are of paramount importance,along with many other being open to changing one's attitude,on occassion.Been there.Done that!

I have always been a big believer of "updating/modifying" something I think works well in my set-up,and I have a highly modded system.For my tastes(without going too overboard with ego)it is ultra high res(in the best way),and of very low coloration(something that almost everything "IS"!!I am truly happy,regardless of industry hype,because I trust my ears,and have friends who remind me of this,alot!!

Living here in the North East,I've been lucky to hear alot of great set-ups,and it is the "hobbyist system" that influences my approach,as opposed to live music!

Why?...because we are not about to "do" live music for a long time(of course it MUST be heard often),but when one hears another person's set-up "doing" something better than our own,it "instsntly" stands out.Then we(I) say.."how can I get that too".

Just my own approach.

OK,and please remember I KNOW you are an "audio maven"!

At least this is what Huntley told me yesterday...I am having him update my SP-15 pre/phonostage for the second time(the combined costs have been nothing approaching inexpensive,but worth every cent).It is a shockingly good device,but the new V-Teflon caps,and new P/S should make it even superior to the first "Ref Mod",done by Steve.

I was asking him about PW's and your name came up,because he felt your pre was fabulous(with the PW's),and he mentioned you to be a knowledgeable hobbyist...but...we both raised an eyebrow regarding your comment about not hearing a "worthy" enough difference when playing around with VTA....Whew!!

Steve was totally complimentary towards you,and your system,so we left it at that.....but I have to tell you if you are willing to go to the "voicing lengths" with tubes/cabling etc(and rightfully so),your enthusiasm about VTA leaves me "definitely" feeling ...

"There is something wrong in "Resolution-ville"!!

I used to own four different Koetsus,as well as the Zeta,but did not have the analog experience at the time(though it sounded good)to make a meaningful comment.

The 2.2 I know like the back of my hand!!Actually better!!..

It is "unbelievably" sensitive to fluid in the bearing!This is actually a good thing,IMO,because if you play around with it you will be in for a surprise,assuming there are no "resolution issue" in the overall system.

The amount I,and my friend had(we both moved the the Phantom,but don't believe the zealots,because the 2.2 "IS" a fabulous "cartridge carrier")was at the about 1/3 "way up" from the "bottom" of the bearing "square"!This is probably cartridge dependant,but I'd be willing to bet,not as big a difference with the majority of choices.Just a hunch.
The arm is "so" sensitive to fluid,that as much as "one" pinhead difference can be(should be audible....and I'm NOT nuts) "clearly" heard,if the system is of a high resolution.Believe me(or not) I spent alot of "worthy in the long run" time on this,and know "that" arm.I LOVE it!!

I would suggest,if you buy my schtick,that you start with a fluid of about 1/4 way up the bottome squared off part of the bearing,and move up in "rediculously small" fluid addition increments.Sorry,but it works!Don't sell your arm/cartridge/attitudes short!

The more fluid,the more damped down the sound(lower resolution).The less fluid,the higher resolution,openess and bass,but at the expense of brightness,so be very careful.It might not hurt to have a good second set of ears here.

If the system is as good as Huntley thinks,you may be in for a shock,because the VTA "thing" is HUGE( very small movements of "that" dredded vta dial),once the best tubes,and cabling are in place.Not to mention a fabulus electronics array,that you appear to own!

So,if I start to read your posts about "better phonocabling" and the finest PW's,I'm gonna be "real suspicious" if you wind up thinking VTA is not worthy of the same approach -:)

"Those VTA Fanatics" are absolutely on to something,because it is clearly audible in a good set-up!

Meant with the best intentions.