Musicians and guitarists who use tube amps understand their significance and how they will change the amp’s characteristics. This is why finding the best 12AX7 tube for clean tone is a priority for every music enthusiast.
12AX7 tubes amplify the sound and increase its quality while decreasing the noise. This will guarantee the cleanliness of the audio quality. Installing different tubes will change the brightness of the amp.
In this article, we’ll talk about the 12AX7 tubes and why they’re prevalent among musicians. We’ll also review the Fender Blues Tube Set and explain how it affects the audio quality.
What Do 12AX7 Tubes Do?
12AX7 tubes have pins that amplify sound signals. Using these tubes, you can create an amplifying circuit with fewer components, which is the reason why 12AX7 tubes are used in guitars and recording tube amps.
These tubes provide high gain with minimum noise. Using a 12AX7 tube guarantees that you’ll have a clean tone with no microphonics that would typically affect the audio quality.
The 12AX7 tubes are called ECC83 in Europe, so they’re the same. There are also other versions available like the 12AX7A, but they’re not that different after all. They can all be used interchangeably to amplify the sound without creating any distortion.
Musicians find 12AX7 tubes handy because they provide crisp lows, mids, and highs. As a result, your sound quality will be amazing regardless of the type of music you’re playing on your Hi-Fi amplifier.
When were 12AX7 Tubes Invented?
These vacuum tubes feature a double triode that provides a high gain. The first one was developed in 1946, and factories across the globe still produce several models.
Currently, Chinese factories are offering new tubes that are of the same quality as the old ones but are sold at an affordable price. The response you get from these tubes usually provides a great balance between lows, mids, and highs without any distortion.
What is the Gain Range of Tubes?
The amp’s sonic performance is related to the different gain levels that change according to the type of tubes used. You can alter the range of audio produced by mixing and matching several tube types to create the audio quality required.
Although 12AX7 tubes are close to each other, picking several ones provided by different manufacturers will change the quality of the sound produced by your guitar or Hi-Fi amplifier. This is why lots of people try to experiment with various tubes until they find the ones that work for them.
There are four levels of gain available that you can add to your guitar. By swapping the tube, you can alter the gain obtained and, accordingly, the audio quality.
Gain Factor 100
This is the highest possible gain level available on the market. This is the tube you should pick if you’re into metal and heavy rock music.
Although most players would appreciate the high gain level of this tube, the distortion can be problematic. The cleanliness is affected due to the sharpness, which might be a problem, especially with lower tones.
Gain Factor 70
Some players prefer tubes that offer a lower gain with lower distortion. The lower gain is enough to reduce the effect of the overdrive, which causes noise when you’re pushing the tubes to the maximum.
While most players might not appreciate the decrease of the gain, it will induce less noise. This will result in a fuller signal, especially in the early stages of the amp.
Gain Factor 60
Installing such a tube is not that common. Generally speaking, you can simply install one and see how it performs if you’re not sure that it will work the way you need it to. The lower gain will reduce the distortion associated with the tubes that have a higher gain, but then some players find that the sound is a little bit dull.
The crispness or dullness of the audio differs from one amp to another. However, most musicians agree that this tube can successfully tame a first gain stage.
Gain Factor 40
The significant decrease in the gain means that this tube will push the front-end of your amp the least. However, this also means that it will provide clean audio with the least distortions.
Review of the Fender Blues Tube Set
This set is made up of 2 EL84 tubes and three 12AX7 tubes to provide excellent audio quality. The EL84 tubes are bold producing solid notes with minimum distortion. They can be really pushed without causing any noise, so they will provide you with excellent sound quality.
Clean tones are sparkling with no gritty or raspy notes that would affect the music produced, even in the case of an overdrive. They’re designed to provide an excellent organic sustain that doesn’t change the sound quality as the notes fade out.
The 12AX7 tubes have enough gain to produce exceptional sound quality with no noticeable distortions. As a result, this set will provide you with clean tones.
As a balanced set, these tubes will provide a colorful spectrum of lows, mids, and highs. They can be used to improve the sound quality while minimizing the noise that you usually deal with when the gain factor is higher.
Adjusting the equalizer might be necessary to compensate for any perceived changes. You’ll eventually have to replace them after a while because the sound quality changes over time, even if the tubes don’t fail.
What We Like
- Balanced set for clean audio.
- The tubes can be pushed into overdrive without dealing with any distortions.
- They provide adequate gain, which can offer clean tones.
- Balanced lows, mids, and highs.
What We Don’t Like
- Adjusting the equalizer is necessary to get adequate sound quality.
Vacuum tubes need to be replaced occasionally as they tend to lose their ability over time. The best 12AX7 tube for clean tone isn’t the one with the highest gain. As the gain increases, you’re likely to deal with more distortions and noise.
Buying a tube set is a smart decision because you can enjoy the mixture of audios to provide the desired quality. These tubes can be installed in minutes, and the result is outstanding.