Customer Reviews: Sovtek 12AX7LPS Vacuum Tube
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on February 6, 2013
EEC83s (12AX7s) are the most common valve made. Some of the ones being made today match, or out-perform American and British versions made in the 1960s. The Svetlana (Sovtek) 12AX7LPS is THE best buy in hi-fi land since the AR turntable or the Advent Speaker. It's also cheap. The Sovtek 12AX7 LPS, consistantly out performs all other version I have tested. The bottle glass is thick, oversized and the microphonics are therefore low. They are long plates, so you probably do NOT want these for your guitar amp. These are for hi-fi preamps, voltage preamps or phase spitters. Even if your heater voltage is DC, ALL converted DC has some AC rements (which cause your hum along with ground loops). The spiral filiments often help, although, if you have built a good preamp, they should not make any difference. My Mcintosh C20 gives me 65db S/N in the phono sections with the Sovtek 12AX7LPS. My collection of 20 or 30 NOS Mullard and Telefunken don't do better than about 62 db. And they sure as heck don't sound any better! Electrons cannot tell brands.

As far as as the vague descriptions like "soundstage", "presence", "airy feeling", I cannot give you any of that hokus pokus. But the 12AX7LPS has better signal to noise, higher mu, lower distortion, better periodic harmonics, less microphonics, lower distortion (of all types) than my mint condition original Telefunkens and Mullards made in the early 1960s. BTW: original NOS of Mullard and Telefunken are usually the a great disapointment. After 50+ years being knocked around, they are usually noisy and often gasseous. Sure they are valuable today, but for 30-40 years they were junk and probably thrown about a garage. Neither gass or microphonics will show up on the common tube checker transconductance and plate ma tests. As for those magical hi-fi nut descriptions from people with magic ears but no brains, you can go by those, or you can go with science good test gear and knowledge.

Most of the long plate 12AX7s now being made in Europe -and even some in China, are excellent. Most complaints come from people who don't know enough about electronics nor have the tools to maintain and repair their old or even new gear. Many of the NEW preamps and amps are horrid. They look cool -real works of art, but are NOT good gear. Why? -Read some books! Try the ARRL Handbook -1st 4 chapters for a start. If you want valve hi-fi then you had better learn your stuff because otherwise you are going to be ripped-off silly.

GET SOME TOOLS, READ SOME BASIC BOOKS AND LEARN HOW TO WORK ON YOUR OWN GEAR. YOU WILL ENJOY IT MUCH MORE KNOWING THAT YOU ARE HEARING WHAT YOU SHOULD BE AND YOU WON'T GET RIPPED OFF SO MUCH -LIKE PAYING $$$ FOR WORTHLESS "SPEAKER INTERCONNECTS". You see, the world has moved on to high current FET and class D Hi-Fi. These are FAR better technologies. But I am old and so is my gear. Plus, my records are old and they sound better on my nice old McIntosh, Dyna or handmade gear. Of course, all my gear has been rebuilt and updated with modern components and improved circuit fixes. "Bumble Bee" or Kimber caps will NOT sound any better that the dirt cheap Xicon or Solen. -Do a double-blind fold test and see.

So get your speaker cable at the hardware store. Pay no more than 20 cents/foot. 14-18 gauge is fine. Just watch the aamp's phase. Solder your own RCA patch cords with Switchcraft plugs and good cheap cable. Gold plated ANYTHING is a scam. Gold is not even as good of a conductor as copper! Plus, it is thin, and wears off in a week. Copper, silver plated, or high nickel content steel or nickel-plated copper (e.g. Switchcraft) is the best. And unless it is for a MM or MC cartridge, or you are mastering records with computer gear (high RF and EMF), it matters not.

Learn Ohm's law and you will save a lot of money. Learn Hertz, Maxwell, and everything RCA did in the 1920s and 1930s , and you can build a damn nice Hi-Fi. Mr. Williamson was not writing anything new in 1947. It was new only to Mr. Williamson and his readers. The RCA Victor engineers had Hi-Fi in 1930. Push-Pull (class B) has been around since 1923 and 300Bs and 2A3s are directly heated (They have no independent cathode) and will HUM like a bee while delivering low power and naddaladda bass. If you want you Hi-Fi to sound like a 1930's movie house, use 300Bs or 2A3s. Or use 811s or 572Bs for a fraction of the price and get many times the class A wattage.

Good Luck.
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on September 16, 2013
I'm not an expert when it comes to audiophile products, and am always taking reviews where people use highly qualitative and vague terms to describe some "improvement" in their sound stage when using various products with a grain of salt, as they're usually highly subjective and often not substantiated with any sort of testing results. Blame the research engineer in me.

However, I will say this: this Sovtek Tube has definitely brought life to my Bellari VP130 phone preamp. I have heard sounds where I've heard none before. Strings seem that much more rich and warm, and it sounds like a string should, with reverberation and oscillation. The bass has dropped in intensity compared to the stock tube (I lost the "punch"), however it is so much cleaner, focused, and I bought the bass levels back in the amplifier equalizer.

The tube took some time to "break in..." I could tell an audible difference immediately, however, it was probably about after a day of staying warm that I started hearing things in a new context.

I have no experience with other remanufactured or NOS tubes, so all I have is this context. However, I can highly recommend this tube to anyone looking to improve preamp sound quality at a great price. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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on June 21, 2011
I replaced the original Jet City JCA20H Chinese made tubes with the 12AX7LPS tubes since they were pretty cheap and well reviewed. They have a shielding that is supposed to help with the noise and I think they did help a little. It does not glow brighter but that does not matter to me. What does matter is the nice tone quality I get from these tubes. I also get more gain and breakdown while keeping a "musical" tone that I like. I play a wide range of sounds so I ofter use stomp boxes and they react well to those as well as the natural overdrive.
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on August 3, 2015
Massive improvement for my Little Bear phono preamp stage, coming from Chinese 6N2 valves (which were already surprisingly excellent, but short plate design had its limitations). Highly recommended for hi-fi valve amps. Important note: these tubes don't glow, cathode / filament are hidden. Don't expect fancy tube glow, just great music.
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on January 7, 2016
I put this into my Orange Micro Terror DARK version and it made a heck of a difference. One thing I noticed immediately was it is drastically louder. As far as tone and shape I far prefer it over the JJ in there. The overdrive is like night and day. By way of example, gain at noon is now at 9. The gain is a better sound to me, much more crunchy. From 2 o'clock to wide open I would call this a distortion as opposed to gain. I really notice a difference in the overall clarity. I think this tube is very clear and not mushy on open chords. This is the only other tube I have tried and I will leave it in as I prefer it to the stock tube.

I will give you a word of caution. If you are using a micro terror or dark terror exclusively with headphones this may not be for you, or me, in the long haul. I use my micro dark with headphones by night and my Hughes and Kettner in a 1x12 Orange by day. The volume increase is so substantial that it is hard to adjust the headphones low enough for me to not lose my hearing in the next week or two. Further to get to a comfortable volume I have to reduce the gain to about 9 o'clock which limits me on the tone I can get. I may try another tube that may not be quite as loud but have the improved "color" and tone of this tube
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on May 27, 2012
I play both a Mexican Fender Stratocaster as well as an American Fender Stratocaster along with the Fender Deluxe Reverb-Amp. I have this tube plugged into the second socket from the right, the tone area for the 2nd channel. It's a pretty cheap tube, but it sounds pretty fantastic. It takes a little bit to heat up, probably around 5-10 minutes, but after that the tones are smooth and playing sounds beautiful.

If you're looking to buy tubes for a beautiful sound for both live and recording, make sure you buy the best tube you can afford. This one probably would not be the one. It's great, but probably not for the pro musician. I am just a small-time guitarist playing in a garage band. This one did the trick for me.
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on January 27, 2014
I really enjoy this tube. I read a review somewhere that claimed it was 2D rather than 3D. The opposite is true. Sound is enhanced in treble and bass while maintaining a nice mid-range. I'm much happier with the sound-stage. Had some NOS tubes of renown that didn't sound any better.
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on April 8, 2013
Probably the best tube to use if going with a 12AX7 in the phase inverter spot. Only drawback is, if installing in a combo, the tube can become noisy from vibration due to the long plates. Other than that, the best PI tube out there for guitar amps.
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on April 18, 2016
Bought to replace a failing preamp tube in a Marshall JCM2000 amp. Sound from this tube is perfect for what my customer was looking for. Decent price. Russian tubes seem more robust than others. This tube has a harder edge distortion than other ones.
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on October 24, 2015
Ordered these as an "upgrade" for my Little Bear phone pre-amp. I was not impressed at all. Lots of hum/buzz and almost complete lack low tones. The music was tinny and empty. I replaced them with these ECC83's and now I'm EXTREMELY pleased. JJ 12AX7 / ECC83 Preamp Vacuum Tubes (Three Pack).

For my PreAmp, these were terrible.
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