Tube Top Ten


Below are lists of tubes and their applications in order of my own personal taste. As the result depends not only on the tube in question but also the rest of the setup, it is hard to judge a tube as being generally not as good as another. Even my taste will change over the years, so this list will too.

The "Cool Tubes" section has nothing to do with sound, but everything about appearance. I am a sucker for light shows (tungsten, mercury etc).

 

 

OUTPUT TUBES

1 RS241 Telefunken Great warmth in mids, detail in highs. Great tube all-round!
2 UX-210 RCA/Cunningham Great on voices and highs, gives off light!!! A winner.
3 UX-245 RCA/Cunningham Nice tube, round/warm sound, detailed, very musical.
4 VT-52 Hytron Great detail in mids, a little coarse in highs, good bass.
5 45 (ST) RCA A bit lacking in sweetness, otherwise very musical and lively sound.
6 UX-171A RCA/Cunningham Excellent all-rounder, highs a bit less articulated, very nice mids.
7
8 31 RCA Very clear and detailed, a bit dry in the mids/lows.
9 275A Western Electric Good mids/bass, weaker in highs.
10 300B Western Electric Middle of the road. Warm bass, fuzzy warm mids, laid back highs.

 

 

DRIVER / GAIN TUBES

1 UX-226 RCA/Cunningham My favorite. A pain in the behind on hum, but sound is like an angel.
2 UX-112A RCA/Cunningham Very close to the 26, easier to use, not as focused on the voices.
3 KC3 Telefunken The perfect gain tube in specs, very clean and even sounding, sweet.
4 VT67 Hytron A bit lean on the bass, nice voices, highs are so-so.
5 RE134 Telefunken Very neutral, can be a bit dry in the voices.
6 1H4/30 RCA Clarity and detail, microphonic, dry int he bass/low mids.
7 1G4 RCA Very neutral, less detailing in general.
8 KC1 Telefunken Closed in, no air, very lovely tone otherwise.
9 6C45 ? Great in DAC's etc. Detail, speed.
10 5842Q Raytheon Good for DAC's, nice details in high, speed, pace.
- 437A Western Electric Very bland compared to the 6C45.

 

 

RECTIFIERS

1 RGN2504 Telefunken mesh My favorite, best articulation, detailing and life.
2 RGNx004 Telefunken mesh 2004 and 4004, almost identical in sound, very clear and clean.
3 AZ1 Telefunken mesh Really nice rectifier, clean, musical, liveliness.
4 UX-280 RCA/Cunningham Very musical, sweet, detailed in mids, highs are pretty good.
5 83 RCA Very detailed high-mids/highs, good response.
6 80 (ST) RCA A bit more mellowed than the 80 globe, not as precise/accurate.
7 UX-281 RCA/Cunningham A bit like the 80, somewhat warmer, more force in the lows.
8 866A RCA In big amps only. Very clear, sometimes a bit noisy.
9 5Y3GT RCA Very neutral, good for preamps etc, clean, a bit dry.
10 5U4G RCA Sound is dull, not as detailed, warm. The 300B of rectifiers.
- GZ34/37 etc These types all sound very grainy and closed in, just not my cup of tea.

 

 

COOL TUBES

see ''Extreme Tubes'' for pictures
1

UV-202

RCA The grandfather of all power tubes.
2 Ce Siemens The first ones with seperate anodes/grids. To die for.
3 RG1-250 Mullard Globe, spiral filament, mercury, blue light. Need I go on ?!
4 212E STC/WE Ah, what can a guy say?
5 UV-203 RCA Ancenstor of the 211.
6 GM100 ? Argh, BIG.
7 866A RCA etc. Big bottle mercury diode. WOW!!!!!
8 100TH Eimac Weird, round, big, bright lights...
9 126 Arcturus My favorite preamp tube, in a blue globe!!!!
10