Tubes - Sonic Signatures of brands; Opinions?


I've had a lot of different tube preamps(CJ, AR, Aud/Ill, Luxman, Counterpoint, etc...) and I've been amazed at how dramaticly the personality of my system changes when I change my preamp tubes. No surprise, right? But it seems to me that there is a degree of consistency (more or less) of in the personality of the tubes used; regardless of the preamp I'm using. Granted some tubes just sound better in certain brands and individual models, and no one tube is perfect for all products. Yet each specific tube brand seems to impart a specific sonic character into the component. Most of the tubes I've been using are the 12AX7, 12AT7, 5751 and 5965's, and a few others in the same league.

I'd like to get your opinions and your observations on what you have perceived in certain tube brands. This is what I've noticed; tell me if you think I'm on the right track here...

GE- Tight bottom end, fairly smooth throughout the mids
and highs but can sometimes sound a bit "glassy",
Overall sounds seems quite neutral and pretty fast.

Telefunken- Very nice liquid mids and highs, the higher
freq's seems a bit rolled off. They seem a bit
loose on the bottom end and a little soft on transients.

Sovtek- A nice unilaterally flat presentation of
frequencies throughout the range, fairly fast
transients but not as transparant as the GE or

Gold Aero- Best overall in speed, transparancy, depth and
frequency balance and a consistent lack of hardness.
My usual tube of choice.

Golden Dragons - very fast and detailed at both extremes
but hard and very forward sounding sounding.

Roger Mojesky (RAM)- I haven't heard a consistent "sound"
or personality. Maybe it depends on the tube type or
brand (?) he selects. Sometimes they sound just
perfect; sometimes, well...

I would appreciate your input on this subject and what you may have observed in diffent brands like Mullard, NOS, ARS, Svetlana, Siemens, Philips and anything else you've used and in what type equipment. Thanks in advance and a Happy New Year to all!

All the best...

Hello Morbius and happy New Year to you. Like you I try to get a sonic picture of the tubes I have tried. I am fairly new at tube rolling and at present have tried amperex,siemens,teles,valvo,svetlana,jan-philips,and elctro-harmonix. I like the amperex tubes(6dj8)and the svetlana's(el34). The amperex have nice mids and the svetlana's are a little laid back. On the the other side the electro-harmonix tubes are more forward(el34). Just got some rca cleartops in today so I will try them tomorrow(12au7). Well that's my two cents and hope this helps. Take care, Bret
Morbius: Go to and look for "Joe's tube lore" (it may be under FAQ's). Joe describes the basics (per tube) that are in the ballpark of what I have experienced over the years, though this is always dependent on the circuit that the tubes are used in (think that this may be his disclaimer as well). IMO, Sovtek 6922 types suck big time (I would rather listen to good solid state), so you may have more ground to cover. I suspect that this is also one of the reasons that I have never cared for AR tube gear in the past twenty years (which seems to always use Sovtek 6922 types for the signal tubes).
Post removed