Vintage tube suggestions


Need help with tube selection. What would you consider a great value 
(budget of $100 per tube) for 12AX7 vintage tubes? Application would 
be preamp, and possibly DAC.
markj941
JAN Philips.
Telefunken has a great 3D soundstage. I have tried lots of others but keep coming back to Tele. I use them in my pre amp, power amp and phono amp. Ymmv.

thanks rotaryphone Will any Telefunken 12AX7 do? Are there a variety to chose from?
Telefunken Black Diamond ECC83?
IMHO, one of the best 12AX7 is the Mullard CV4004.  I have drawers full of tubes and these have always sounded great.
Telefunken Black Diamond ECC83?

I'm pretty sure that rotaryphone is talking about NOS Teles, not new production, which the Black Diamond Series is.
It is late 50s to 60s NOS Tele is what I am talking about. Mullard is also great as well. Mullard is little bit richer in the mid then telefunken. In my system, Tele has a better and bigger soundstage then mullard but less creamy.  Only new production 12ax7 I like is Generex gold lion brand.
What preamp do you own? Also what is your amp? The type of circuit and design is important in tube rolling. If you want detail, good imaging, transparency, then Telefunken or Siemens. Want warmer, liquid mids, then Mullard. RCA BlackPlates are great for slightly warm sonics with great soundstaging. These are all NOS recommendations.

I think it will be difficult to find Tele’s for $100 each. Plus each manufacturer made 12ax tubes with different internal structures.
If I was to choose one tube it would be the Mullard CV4004 (12AX7). Brimar is another good tube, similar to Mullard but more extended. Both made in the UK.
I see someone selling both the ribbed plates and the smooth plates at 
the same price. Is either a better deal at the same money?
I second the NOS Mullard CV4004.  An excellent rich sounding tube.
markj, The smoothplate  Telefunkens usually sell for more, but many people think they sound the same.

It would help a lot if you told us what preamp you have and what kind of sound you're looking for.
My preamp is a Jolida fusion, I'm currently using Genalex Gold Lions
for both the 12AT7 and 12AX7. My DAC is a Jolida glass fx tube dac III.
In the DAC I'm using a pair of Mullard 12AX7 / ECC83. Though I think
the tubes I'm using sound very good, I would like more air, larger
soundstage. Vintage?
Gennerlex is good tube but they have a smaller and flater soundstage. Also little drier mid and leaner bass compare to Tele or mullard tubes. And new tubes just Don't or can't produce that big 3D sound vintage tubes make. Vintage tubes just have more meat on every note. I can't tell if there is any difference in sound between smooth or ribbed Platte. Is your mullard reissued ones?
Yes rotaryphone they are reissues.
I am not sure how vintage tubes will work in your pre or DAC but I never had a where vintage tubes didn't improved quality of my systems sound. I can't really turn and go back to using reissued tubes. In my tube gears...Vintage rule.. lol.
I owned a Jolida preamp and using NOS was a vast improvement. If you are using Mullards in the Dac then maybe you should use a more neutral tube in the preamp.

Telefunken is very neutral, dynamic and has a huge soundstage. RCA BlackPlates are very open and realistic sounding, more like classic tube sonics. And inexpensive.
An important point is to purchase NOS tubes from a reliable dealer. Using Ebay is risky since the tubes may not be of the highest quality.
Now I remember markj, you didn’t like bass that the Gold Lions were giving you. I think you’ve got enough Mullards in your system. They are not known for tight bass.  Telefunkens or Amperex are considered to be pretty good in the bass and top quality tubes, but to be honest we’re all just guessing about what might give you the sound you want. Different brands of tubes are generally considered to have a particular sound, but it doesn’t always work that way in a particular system. It’s really hard for anyone to guarantee that what works in their system will work in yours. It’s also possible that the tubes aren’t the cause.

The best suggestion I can give you is to call Upscale Audio, Brent Jessee or Jim McShane and talk to them about what would work. A phone call won’t be a commitment to buy. Just tell them you need to think it over. They are all willing to give a little free advice.

Below is a link to a thread about tubes in your Jolida Fusion:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/tubes-for-jolida-fusion-preamp?highlight=Jolida%2BFusion

and another:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/jolida-owners-need-tube-help?highlight=Jolida%2BFusion
Brent Jessee provides descriptions of each type of tube and their sonic signature... 

http://www.audiotubes.com/12ax7.htm
Mullards are great in bass in the EL34s I run in my highly modified voltage regulated Dyna Stereo 70.  Deep and punchy in Legacy Signature IIIs.   Also, the Mullard 12AX7 I get great bass in a 3rd system with an EAR 864 preamp using the military version CV4004 which is very open and detailed (not bright just balanced with a wide frequency spectrum), totally unlike original Mullards which tend to be very warm sounding.  
I would not recommend   Upscale or McShane.    Only because in my own experience  with both there was some difficulty that marred the transaction.    Not necessary to go into detail.  I'm sure that on some level they both meant well and hundreds of others have fared well.    I would recommend Brent Jesse and Jac Music who is in Europe..   There are other  home body retailers whose names escape me but spending time online and talking with others can bring to light much detail to the average person who would like to find gems out there.   Of primary importance is to be able to trust who you are dealing with.   I have also read about  major scams that have occurred over they years pertaining to fake tubes.   Jac Music web site has  a lot of good info about counterfeit tubes.   I bought a pair of Siemens 12at7 from Jac and very happy with the testing and documentation that was provided.  
I have bought many tubes of ebay as well  although did my research prior to buying and communicated with the seller and paid attention to FIRST IMPRESSIONS .  If communication is sketchy and seller does not seem to be forthright or seems to not want to be bothered why even pursue dealing ? 
As far as 12ax7's go there really are more than a few NOS USA made tubes that would be very similar in performance as the best of what Mullard and Tele have to offer.   For that matter there are NOS US tubes that were actually made by Tele or Mullard and other well known companies back in those years.  There is a ton of of info out there and it takes a lot of research online to find out what is out there and learn all one can about tubes.      I had read once that back in those days it was quite common for major companies to award contracts to other companies like Tele or Mullard and many others as well to produce a run of a particular tube.   So then there would be thousands of say RCA 12ax7's made by Tele and would have the diamond mark on the bottom.    Regardless of what anyone would claim I would never buy a tube purporting to be a TELE without the diamond on the bottom..    Being as I am on a different mission these days I have  not paid much attention to what is going on out there and there may well even be fake Teles out there WITH a diamond bottom.   
You can get vintage EI tubes for the preamp at the Tube Depot. I use them in my CAT and at least in my preamp they sound good and last a long time. They're reasonably priced too.
GE or RCA 5751 triple mica black plates from the early 1950s.  Well below your budget.