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MARKIII Preamp 12AX7 Tubes: CHINA or Tung Sol???

2722 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  peedenmark7
I currently have CHINA 12AX7's in V2 to V5 and a Groove Tube (ECC83?) in my preamp section of my MESA/Boogie Mark III. Does anyone know how my tone will be influenced or changed if I replace all the preamp tubes with Tung Sol 12AX7's?

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Pre-amp tubes are really amp dependant. What sounds good in one amp may not in the next. No two amps are the same either. This especially holds true when you get into older amps, as the parts have swayed abit from their original values etc.

You need to play around and see what you like. Sometimes just changing V1 is all you need, but again, it is amp dependant and also very dependant on your personal tastes. If you find a tube you don't like in one of your amps, it might sound good in another one.
Hey path09en, I don't know much about the new tung sol (the NOS tung sols are among my favourites) but I can tell you about the tubes you have.

The chineese 12ax7 is a well made, quite, very high gain tube. When I got my Two Rock SIG it was FULL of them. They are a little bright and very articulate.

The ECC83 looks a lot like a JJTesla but I can't be sure. If it is a JJ the are well know for the good mids and balanced response. Not the most exiting tube in the world but it will sound good and be there for you at a reasonalbe price. In fact, one of the best 18 watt clones I have heard was loaded with these and JJ EL84's. It sounded fantastic.

Like Ripper said, you need to swap and listen and swap and listen and swap and listen.
i have the new tung-sols in my jmp-1, they definitely improved it. Good sounding tubes for that preamp at least, makes it sound good though my mesa 2:100
I tried the new tung sol in my Mark III before I sold it. Compared to the sovtek and EH tubes that I also tried I found the following:

The Tung Sols were more crisp and articulate. It's hard to put it into words but it made the amp's top end clearer.

If you want a cleaner, more defined sound try them out.

When I say cleaner I don't mean less distortion - I mean more articulate and tighter.
I retubed my Mark III based on some recommendation.
I got a tungsol in V1
V2 and V3 = JJ
V4 and V5 = Chines Ruby tubes.
I also have a quad of 6L6 in the power section and the amp sounds glorious.
I've got some older 60's Tung Sol preamp tubes. They have a greater presence and smooth things out for my Soldano Hot Rod 50.


go tung sol.
theyre awesome preamp tubes that are a little bit on the higher price side of the 12ax7 scale.
chinese tubes just dont last, sure you'll get gobs of distortion... but you dont get much of a preamp tube for $7.

I've got a nice stash of RCA 7025s which is all I use in my '70s master volume marshalls.. great tubes !

I recently got in a marshall jub stack and it has sovteks best 12ax7 in it, cant think of the suffix attached to the number, but its supposed to be their quietest preamp tube.... they are a bit too microphonic for me, so I 'll be putting in some amperex 7025s

if you got the money to spend siemens or telefunken are the only way to go..
I run those in my plexi.
but most would be sore pressed to hear any of the differences between any of the tubes I've just mentioned....

so again go tung sol.. you'll like 'em.
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