Which 12AX7 new stock tubes is your pick?

Just couple days a go, a Mcintosh C22 pre showed up on TMR and I snagged it. I want to tube roll and Mcintosh simply refused to recommend an aftermarket new stock tube to go with the amp, and Mc branded tubes are on back order anyways.

I find that very annoying and not very customer friendly.

Anyhow, which 12AX7 New stock is your pick for your tube amps? Doesn’t have to be Mcintosh.


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Hey wudai_e

Would Paul recommend an amplifier brand other than
Stellar or BHK ?

It would be like a Toyota dealer recommend a Ford
or a Chevy …and damage their own line of business.

When you say New stock tube are you referring to new
reissue (new manufacture) tubes, or new old stock,
meaning old tubes never used (NOS) ?

I don’t see why Paul wouldn’t if they sound good together. It would more like a ford dealer won’t recommend a non ford branded air filter, that would sound ridiculous wouldn’t it?

So far I’m happy with it, if I ever get bored with it, will just trade for a BHK I guess. This is my first high end tube gear, definitely better than solid state for vocals and strings, can I call pianos strings too? haha

With my short experience with the C22 is I’m really paying for phono sections, the pre-amp sections is good, but nothing as magical as I hoped. the MM section is light years better than what I had in my Yamaha integrated.

What I mean by new stock is the tubes are in production and are current being manufactured in either Russia or China.


The Gold Lions are your safest bet.


I second that. The 12AX7 has a higher gain than 12AU7.

As of yet …I don’t recall Paul recommending any other
brand except PS Audio branded gear…

Why would he shoot his enterprise in the foot?

He David,
Paul does help people select peripherals, OEM products and accessories. He commends and praises products made by competitors when praise is due. I highly respect him for that. When people select PSA gear, they do so based on genuine merit of the product and the company behind it.


If you’re willing to look for them NOS Telefunken tubes are extremely good. Try Brent Jesse’s site.


Hi Serhan…please understand not knocking other manufacturers …not
at all…simply saying it would not be good business practice
for Paul to recommend Pioneer, Marantz, etc to the detriment
of his very own PS Audio brand…

Akin to Disney recommending their guest to go to
Universal Studios instead of a Disney owned and
operated theme park…

That is the point…

Now back to the thread’s main point.

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I’m using a quad of Mullard 12ax7s in an HH Scott 222c integrated amp and I have never heard the amp sound better.

I burned through two sets of Mullards NOS… they got noisy. My experience with NOS tubes has not been good… they just don’t last for me and are expensive.

Bruce in Philly

Absolutely. Nobody would do that .

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Thanks for the pointer to the website, great information there, most of the stuff they sell are way out of what I’m willing to pay but very educational.

Absolutely perfectly reasonable to ask McIntosh to recommend tubes for their amps. No different than asking a dealership what brand of tires they recommend for their cars, other than what came standard (and yes, that is something dealerships do). I ran into the same situation with Upscale Audio. They won’t recommend tubes for equipment they sell. Horrible customer service.

Odd. Upscale Audio has always been happy to recommend tubes, including substituting tube types such as KT88 for EL34, and the pros and cons of doing so.

I dealt with their customer service last year. They told me they no longer recommend tubes (I’m guessing they had customers wanting to return tubes if they didn’t like them).

Bummer. They were previously a good resource for information.

If you look at the descriptions for individual tubes, Kevin still voices his opinion regarding their characteristics and sometimes will mention a particular audio model as benefiting. Not as convenient as getting a straight answer to a simple question but better than nothing, I guess.