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Recommendations needed - 12ax7 / ECC83 for phonostage


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Hi all, I am looking for some advice as to where best to source three (including a matched pair) of 12ax7 valves for my minimax phono preamp. It also takes a 6x4 rectifier but not sure if I need /want to replace this.

I have the stock valves that came with the amp from Eastern Electric and I’ve had it for 10 years now, just upgrading my main amp and want to try something better that will do the rest of my system justice. (Michell Gorbe/SME m2/9 / Lyra/ Sugden Masterclass/ Goodman Magnum K’s.) 

I’m bit wary of eBay so would really appreciate some guidance for reputable resellers.

I’ve read a fair bit about different types, my budget is a few hundred dollars. 
Thanks in advance !
 

 

 

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This very much depends on whether you would like pursue new production tubes or vintage types. eBay is fine for both if you look at the previous feedback/score of the seller - the higher the better.

 

Low noise tubes would be something to think about in a phono stage. Vintage types such as the E83CC with triple mica construction would be a good starting point. Mullard or Brimar box plate square getters are also recommended.

 

Edit: Here is a nice pair for you to consider from a trusted seller that is also an SNA member:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CSF-Thomson-France-early-1960s-12AX7S-ECC803S-strong-matched-tubes-/164316442919

Edited by xlr8or
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Thanks Kirk, I am definitely more than happy to have a bit of fun trying vintage types.

 

I haven't heard of those CSF Thompson France ones before but I'll have a good look.

 

If I went for those CSF say (for the second stage and buffer stage of left/right channels - according to my manual)  do you have any recommendations for the centre position on my Minimax (first amplifier stage for both channels) and for the 6x4 voltage rectifier? The seller has a Telefunken 12AX7 ECC83 for $96 or Soviet 12ax7 triple mica grey plate at $20.

 

Another seller has a GEC 6x4 for sale here  https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GEC-CV4005-6063-ruggedised-6X4-rectifier-tube-New-in-orig-Box/303886745866?hash=item46c10fc10a:g:Re4AAOSwp4ZgH00-

 

Any thoughts on these options. I guess Im trying to squeeze as much out of the preamp as I can within reason.

Edited by Shaunmaxr
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For the first stage, I would recommend this one:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VINTAGE-MULLARD-1957-12AX7-ECC83-BOX-PLATES-BRITISH-MADE-VALVE-TUBE-/193504004091

 

Regarding the 6X4 my vote goes towards this Genalex U78:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/303886745866

 

Edit: Here is another earlier vintage U78:

 

https://www.tubemonger.com/GEC_GENALEX_1958_59_CV4001_6X4WA_NIB_England_p/2060m.htm

Edited by xlr8or
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I've been through a number of NOS tubes (GE 5 star, RCA Cleartops, Mullards etc), without spending a fortune I would try some new JJ Goldpins, you might be surprised.

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9 hours ago, Shaunmaxr said:

 

Excellent work. Please report back with your listening impressions when received. You can then also invite me and others over to have a listen. 😁

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9 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

Excellent work. Please report back with your listening impressions when received. You can then also invite me and others over to have a listen. 😁

😆 I might do that.

 

I have had the Minimax with stock EE tubes since circa 2010 but having just upgraded my integrated from a Sugden a21A to an Ia4 it got me thinking I should try and see what this thing is capable of.

 

I've also grabbed the British Mullard Box Plate, and the pair of the French CSF Thompson as well.  Hoping the French and the English get on well for a change.

 

Quite looking forward to the post arriving now. I'll let you know how it goes.

 

 

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