Are you saying you put tubes of different manufacturer on either side or you completely mix them up? How is the soundstage whacky?
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Yeah different manufacturers, exactly. Not mixed up though. Lovingly paired would be a better analogy. The soundstage is slightly wacky because different tubes have different presentations, especially noticeable in the linestage: In my case the Bugle Boy side is slightly deeper (in a 3d sense) than the Rft side. All the images are solid but, for example, the "cello on the left" seems slightly closer than "the one on the right."
Ebm: Try it. Start with your linestage or output tubes. If your speakers and source are as neutral as possible you'll be amazed at what you can achieve. As I said in my OP good tubes have no errors, just sins of omission. Mixing them can make up for their sins, if you get it right. But if you're happy with your current sound then so be it.
A similar approach was advocated by the designer of the Audiopax 88- which had two mirror image amp circuits in each monoblock and a pair of user adjustable controls to adjust bias- 'Timbre Lock' was the name of the feature. I had a pair of those amps for a while, and while I don't remember using different brands of tube, I do recall that there was a 'zone' in the adjustment range where the amp seemed to truly 'lock in' on a particular speaker set up.