[Harp-L] How do different preamp tubes sound?

I tried three different preamp tubes in the VHT Special 6 amp: stock 12AX7,
NOS JAN Philips 5751, and NOS GE 5965.  Videos here:


Summary --  First, the stock 12AX7 tube: There is nothing wrong with the
tone of this tube. I like its punchy, gutsy feel. You could leave this tube
in the amp and love the tone. It is loud but just a touch bright without
being overly harsh. Cuts through the mix like a hack saw.

As many of you know, the JAN Philips 5751 tube is my favorite preamp tube
for harp, and I think it stands out here. It sounds fuller and warmer than
the 12AX7, with a broader more complex tone. Breakup sounds more pleasing to
me. It sounded as loud as the stock tube.

The 5965 tube had a rather large drop in volume, and the sound was kind of
lifeless and un-dynamic. It was the darkest sounding of three tubes. In
bigger, more powerful amps this may be okay, but in a 5- or 6-watt amp it
just sacrifices too much punch and power.

Both the stock 12AX7 and the 5751 sound great in this amp. Either one is a
good choice, but I give the nod to the 5751.

-Rick Davis
The Blues Harp Amps Blog

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