NOS vs New Production Tube Sanity Check

I have been running NOS tubes in my AtmaSphere MA1 amps for a while now after rolling various tubes to get a blend that seemed optimal. I got to wondering tonight how they would compare to the TungSol ReIssue and Electro Harmonix I had been running, having gotten used to the sound and running them in for a number of months . I substituted 3 TS Reissues into the middle 3 positions (the gain stage) and EH into the end positions (driver and CCS), and took a listen to 2 discs that I have been listening to a lot lately - John Lee Hooker Mr. Lucky and Ravel Orchestral Works on the Decca label, Montreal Symphony, Charles Dutoit conducting (a real blockbuster of a CD). I then swapped the NOS back in - RCA gray glass in CCS, Sylvania tall bottle bottom getter parallel plates and JAN Phillips WGTA (appear to be 70s vintage)in gain stage, and GE drivers. My overall impression is that the EH/TS RI are very good sounding, considering their price and the general assumption that NOS are better. Compared to the NOS, they seem to compress the sound a bit, and accentuate the bloom of notes, while blunting transient attack, The EH/TS RI arae not quite as resolving as the NOS, yet they do project a greater sense of power. I think they are stronger in the bass, because the transition from full range speaker to subwoofer is more seamless with the EH/TS (this was just a couple hour test, and I did not compare with the subs off).
Musically, the NOS are more exciting to listen due to their greater speed, especially on music with a lot of fast percussive transients. Tonally, the NOS seemed a bit more natural also. But they tend to sound a bit thin compared to the EH/TS, which sound a bit richer throughout the whole frequency range. Overall, I prefer the sound of the NOS in my system (with this music), but can see where the fuller sound and stronger bass of the new tubes might be beneficial for a thin sounding system, and the slight compression might be beneficial if your speakers or amps can't handle transients well.
Honest1 your post is testimony to how system dependent tube sound can be. I have been running NOS Mullard 4003's in my highly modded cj PV-12L line stage. The warmth of the Mullards was just the ticket for my system at the time. After a new interconnect from CD Player to preamp and a new cable from preamp to amp, plus a new power cord to my new version 2 PS Audio Power Plant Premier, the Mullard sound had too much warmth obscuring midrange detail. As one of the Mullards became noisy, I reached into my tube stash to pull out a pair of EH gold pin 12AU7's that I had hardly used. Because of the system refinements listed above, the EH tubes were just what my system needed. Their clarity and dynamic resolve with the smoothness of the system, have tunes sounding better than ever. The icing on the cake is that the EH tubes cost a fraction of the NOS Mullards!
SAVE YOUR SANITY. GO SOLID STATE! The above is the reason I only use SS or Hybrid where the tube choice isn't so critical.
There's no easy answer. Many new production tubes sound pretty good, but usually not *quite* as good as NOS tubes. Audiophiles being the way they are, it's difficult to accept second best, even considering the price discount of new production tubes.

If it helps you justify the cost of NOS tubes, it's been my experience that NOS tubes last much longer than new production tubes. The higher quality control in place during the Golden Age of tubes pays dividends, and may completely wipe out the cost difference when you factor in how many new production tubes it takes to do the job of one NOS tube.
Mullards(or any other Brit tube) will generally add warmth(too much coloration, IMO) to any system. BUT- many people like that sound, as can be witnessed by their popularity. No one that's posted thus far has compared any of the better NOS offerings with the new stuff, ie: Siemens CCa, E188CC or E83CC, Telefunken ECC801S or ECC803S, Sylvania or Ken-Rad VT-231/6SN7GT(bottom getter-40's), Amperex PQ 7308 or ECC82(and many others), TungSol 6SN7GT/JAN CTL (round plate-40's) or Sylvania 6SN7W/JAN CHS(tall bottle-40's). These tubes simply allow the music to flow, and get in the way of nothing, which results in much better ambience retrieval/imaging, more open sound stage, accurate instrumental timbre, note decay and harmonic bloom, etc(all the things of which the new production tubes(EAT excepted) and most SS gear are so lacking). YES- YOU WILL pay for these tubes dearly, BUT- How much value do you place on actually hearing all of the music on your recordings? I've never regretted a dime spent on the "best" I could find(regardless of the subject).
I went with the RI Tujngsol 5881s some time ago... vs the NOS tungsols, nearly across the board, the RI Tungsols were terrible... but that was at the onset of their production. Perhaps things have improved.

I also did not care for the malformed dome of the RI 5881s either. Like someone had pushed their thumb down on it's top. They went back and I never looked back.... except for the loss acquired from trading across the border due to exchange rate.