NOS tubes not so good

I am not a tube roller but recently tried some early 70’s
Mullard’s in the BHK 300’s. They were very different that the Gold Lions. More laid back, warmer, more blossom in the bass, but not in a good way. This sheen, for lack of a better word, came at the expense of accuracy and attack. With crappy recordings they certainly smoothed out the edges and made a pleasant EQ. I still think there is gold in older tubes and I may have to try some others but will stay set for
now.

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Funny, you explained very well what people often say they value in NOS Mullards.

I have many NOS tubes and I have learned over the years that Mullard’s aren’t for me. I had a quad of rare and expensive, Wrinkled Glass Mullard’s and I didn’t enjoy the sound in my BHK 300’s or my BHK Pre. I sold them to a tube lover and he couldn’t stop raving about them. He put them in a phono preamp. I’m fond of Telefunken tubes.

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I have a general observation about NOS tubes from a lot of experience (and greenbacks spent). My NOS tube box includes Mullards, Telefunkens, Siemens, Brimars and Valvos. I shop constantly for and will only consider tubes from the 60s. For whatever reason the design and manufacture of small signal tubes reached the height of low noise and tonal neutrality performance in that era. Teles and Siemens 6DJ8 family glass manufactured in the 60s is the best of everything in small signal tubes. CCas, if you can find them, from the 60s are other-worldly. I’m one lucky guy to have a pair of NOS 1% matched Valvo CCas in my stash. I handle those beauties with kid gloves and use them sparingly so that I can eek many years of listening pleasure from them. I also have 12 V NOS tubes in my box. A pair of 60s 12AU7 Teles I treasure.

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Yep. Classic NOS Mullards. Seems a lot of tubeophiles swooned over this type of sound. Maybe a good match for early ARC gear, which compared to other tube gear of the day was considered bright, almost harsh. Just my opinion.

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Couldn’t agree more. The absolute treasures of my stock (containing many TFKs) are two matched pairs of Valvo Blue Label 6201s. Absolutely stellar!

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I may give this tube trial another go at some point. Thank you all for sharing your considerably longer journey with tubes. I find it ironic that the exemplar quality of early tubes are showcased with the best and latest designs.