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Thread: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    I've got a big stash of old tubes kicking around in my basement (long story - a few years back I cleaned out a hoarder's home and he had dozens of old tube amps/lots of tube amp gear kicking around so I ended up with boxes of stuff). Earlier this year I ran across the box and figured I'd give it a go. Checked the Internet, and people rave about RCA tubes with black/grey plates.

    Sounded promising. I stuck 'em in my amp (a Traynor YCV40) in p1, p2, and phase inverter position. I've played with them for a few weeks now, and had my amp fully open in that time (as well as most of the range between that and silent). They do sound different than the Sovteks that came stock and the JJ ECC83 S that I later stuck in. I'd say they're softer on the highs, about average in the bass and have an OK midrangey sound. They're nice with overdrive, not as clear as the Sovteks on cleans/pedals. Not as nice as the JJs with lots of distortion.

    The way people rave about them I kinda expected more. If you only play blues, I could see really loving them though. For what I want, I prefer a combo of the Sovteks and JJs more. Am I crazy?
    Last edited by GuitarStv; 07-30-2019 at 04:32 PM.
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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Well, maybe, but not based upon your opinions about the tubes.

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    Mojo's Minions LLL's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Of course, all depends on the circuit you use them with.

    General rule of thumb:

    - RCA's for vintage Fenders
    - Mullards for vintage Marshalls
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    Glossless SlyFoxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Also remember. Modern amps were built to work with modern tubes...and why not?

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    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    There is no requirement for any tube on the planet to be voiced merely for your approval.

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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    I have to check but I *think* one is stock in my Silverface Champ; interchanged it with an RFT 12AX7 at one point and couldn't tell the difference, which is a good thing in my book.
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    Tone Member Big Mike Blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    You also got a stash of tubes pulls right? No quantifying or testing where they're running. Theoretically you could be comparing a 3/4 or worn out RCA blackplate to a good sovtek.

    I like them, but yes also mostly for fender circuits.

    Mullards are great but over hyped IMO. Lots of teh GE and Sylvania stuff is very good.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Mike Blues View Post
    You also got a stash of tubes pulls right? No quantifying or testing where they're running. Theoretically you could be comparing a 3/4 or worn out RCA blackplate to a good sovtek.

    I like them, but yes also mostly for fender circuits.

    Mullards are great but over hyped IMO. Lots of teh GE and Sylvania stuff is very good.
    These were still in the box and had the silkscreen on 'em, so I don't think they were used. They might have been bad though. Don't think they'll be going back in at any rate. There are a bunch of other random tubes in the pile - I'll try some of the GEs next.

    It was just surprising, because I've read nothing but glowing reviews . . . but two of the cheapest tubes on the market right now sound better to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    I've got a big stash of old tubes kicking around in my basement (long story - a few years back I cleaned out a hoarder's home and he had dozens of old tube amps/lots of tube amp gear kicking around so I ended up with boxes of stuff). Earlier this year I ran across the box and figured I'd give it a go. Checked the Internet, and people rave about RCA tubes with black/grey plates.

    Sounded promising. I stuck 'em in my amp (a Traynor YCV40) in p1, p2, and phase inverter position. I've played with them for a few weeks now, and had my amp fully open in that time (as well as most of the range between that and silent). They do sound different than the Sovteks that came stock and the JJ ECC83 S that I later stuck in. I'd say they're softer on the highs, about average in the bass and have an OK midrangey sound. They're nice with overdrive, not as clear as the Sovteks on cleans/pedals. Not as nice as the JJs with lots of distortion.

    The way people rave about them I kinda expected more. If you only play blues, I could see really loving them though. For what I want, I prefer a combo of the Sovteks and JJs more. Am I crazy?
    Most of the new amps are designed to run these new tubes. They do not have the life for sure that the NOS stuff does and they do sound differently. If you don't want the black plates yell my way as I have older stuff normally they do work well in.
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    Tone Member Big Mike Blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    These were still in the box and had the silkscreen on 'em, so I don't think they were used. They might have been bad though. Don't think they'll be going back in at any rate. There are a bunch of other random tubes in the pile - I'll try some of the GEs next.

    It was just surprising, because I've read nothing but glowing reviews . . . but two of the cheapest tubes on the market right now sound better to me.
    Lots of tv repair guys would toss them in the. BOx from replacements
    Without testing you don’t know they’re in correct shape unfortunately
    Hard to make a judgement on small sample size
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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlyFoxx View Post
    Also remember. Modern amps were built to work with modern tubes...and why not?
    Agreed. I have a small stash (about 50) NOS tubes. I find they sound great in my 1986 JCM 800 and I find the factory new production tubes in my Quickrod sound better in that amp.
    All depends on the circuit as LLL mentioned.

  12. #12
    Tone Member Big Mike Blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: RCA black plate 12AX7s . . . Not all that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gtrjunior View Post
    Agreed. I have a small stash (about 50) NOS tubes. I find they sound great in my 1986 JCM 800 and I find the factory new production tubes in my Quickrod sound better in that amp.
    All depends on the circuit as LLL mentioned.
    Absolutely. I don't waste my time with Nos on a channel switcher with built in OD channel. They get new sensor stuff.
    But my plexi builds, deluxe, Greer all get the old stuff and it sounds and lasts much better.
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