“The sound with the tungsols was wider, deeper was very smooth and had great body and very nice detail with out any edge.” Read “Good detail without edge. Smooth but not vague. Affordable tube with no glaring negatives.” “I can’t believe what a difference this tube is making in my headphone amp. It’s replacing a JJ tube, which is a brand I’ve always liked, but this is day and night.”
Hi there, I’ve now listened and analyzed countless 12au7’s (and it’s equivalents) and thought I’d give my opinion on my current favorites.
1st Place Tie: Mazda 6189 Silver Plates 3-Mica and 50’s Valvo Long Plate Angled Getter
These are somewhat similar to me in that they both have soaring/sparkling top-ends and beautiful midrange. Both have lots of detail. I think Mazda has better bass and is slightly more precise, forward and transparent. But Mazda is also more dry. Valvo is sexier and easier on the ears. To me, the Valvos are a bit light on the bass. Mazdas have maybe a larger soundstage, but Valvo is deeper and more intimate. Tie for first. If someone put a gun to my head, I’d choose the Valvos.
The matched quad of the Mullard CV491 Long Plates cost me a small fortune. They sound great and were the seated “incumbents” in my reference system. It was time to stop enjoying for a second and get into some serious listening with two other great tubes: the CBS-Hytron 5814 and Westinghouse 12au7 Carbon Plates.