Where to put best tubes in AR Ph3-SE

Of the three tubes in a ph3-se, are they all equally important? Which spot should I put my best one or two tubes?
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I had one of these, and as I recall, the one tube is a cathode follower, and has less of an impact on the sound than the "front" two tubes.

I'd try to go with some (matched) premium tubes in those positions first.
Hi Lloydc,
When I owned the PH3-SE I used Andy at Vintage Tube Services to purchase some tubes to roll in it. I got three Amperex Bugle Boys and Andy sent instructions to put the best graded tube in V1 the second best in V2 and the third tube(which was graded slightly lower than V1 and V2) to be used in V3. When I called him to order he knew all about the phono stage and the tubes it used. I took his advice and enjoyed the results very much. Hope this helps.

Thank you
I have a PH3SE, (and a PH3). The V1 and V2 positions are the right and left channel tubes. Both of these need to be matched and of lowest possible noise. The V3 is a cathode follower and just needs to be of good quality.

I have always used (3) matched, tested, low noise tubes for all three positions, but I'm anal...
thanks for the anwers. Exactly what I needed to know.


I bought a PH3-SE after hearing so many good things about it. When I got it setup I was never really all that happy with it. I tried to read up on tube rolling suggestions for the PH3 but I had trouble finding much written about it. I did get a piece of local advice to try gold pin, JJ 6922’s. I swapped out the tired set of Electro-Harmonix 6922's with the JJ tubes. I had planned on the eventual NOS set of gold pin Amperex PQ's but I wanted a stop gap before shelling out for a quad of NOS PQ's. In short, I was nothing short of amazed, for a relatively small investment I got a huge improvement. If I was looking for a "third tube" I might be tempted to replace the cathode follower with the JJ and put the big bucks in the PQ's. I plan on a backup set of JJ’s just in case. It’s a good reference point for me. Are there any other suggestions for the best possible tube combo in the PH3-SE? I am always interested in hearing of peoples experiences with this phono pre. In spite of being less than impressed with the PH3 initially, I now think it’s great combination for my basic vinyl setup. I am even considering a SUT from “Bob’s Devices” and a new low output Denon cart. Matched with the step up tranny, I figure my cartridge selection will be greatly expanded and the PH3 will have a long happy life in my system.
I ended up using NOS American Amperex tubes with a modern Gold Lion remake as the cathode follower, and am very pleased. Big improvement over EH's used previously.