#1.Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 EH Vacuum Tube
For those of you who want the best 12au7 tubes, the Electro-Harmonix is one of the better all round solutions. These tubes sound better and more clear across the entire dynamic range than other similarly priced 12ay7 tubes on the market. While it certainly sounds nice, there is a bit of a noticeable decrease in detail and accuracy, which is the trade off. Also, they are very reasonably priced for its quality.
Best 12au7 Tube
- #1.Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 EH Vacuum Tube
- #2.Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7 Tube Reissue
- #3.JJ Electronics 12AU7 Tube
- #4.Mullard 12AU7 Preamp Vacuum Tube
- #5.BUGERA Amplifier Tube 12AU7
#1.Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 EH Vacuum Tube
If you are in the market for the best 12au7 tube, we highly recommend the Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 EH Vacuum Tube to you. These tubes give you a very clean and clear sound across the entire dynamic range. In fact, we think that these tubes deliver much better high end and mid range than other tubes on the market. But to get this sound, you will need about a 24 hour break in period.
One of the downsides is that we sort of experienced some moderate tube noise and hiss. So while it is definitely very nice sounding, this maybe at the expense of accuracy and details. As a comparison, they sound much better than stock JJ 12AX7s and sound pretty similar to Mullards. Another thing is that it is not so good in hi fi applications.
#2.Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7 Tube Reissue
Another great option when it comes to the best 12au7 tube is the Genalex Gold Lion 12au7 tube. Because the original Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7 Tube is one of the rarest tubes ever made, we can settle with reissues. The reissued Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7s are still very much great tubes. They feature very good linearity and extremely low noise. It also has gold plated pins and made like the original.
In general, we think that these tubes have a better soundstage than most of the competitive tubes on the market and arguably even better than the Electro-Harmonix at times. In fact, we think the mids are truly magical on these and this is where it really shines. So you can’t do without your mids, you know what tubes to get.
#3.JJ Electronics 12AU7 Tube
No list of the best 12au7 tube can be complete without at least mentioning the JJ Electronics brand. In our opinion, they make a nice cheap and durable 12au7 tube that has a decent sound. This is a pretty good sounding preamp tube and gives you a nice deep but controlled bass. It also has level mids and very detailed highs. Left and right channels are also well balanced.
If you compared these to a Electro Harmonix 12au7 tube, the JJs have a slight V characteristic that is warm without nearly as much mid forward response. And finally, we should just mention that they are very reasonably priced for its level of quality and durability. They will last quite a long time and should outlast most of your other tubes.
#4.Mullard 12AU7 Preamp Vacuum Tube
The Mullard 12AU7 is a great little preamp vacuum tube that works great for low gain 12au7 applications. This tube works great in HiFi applications from phono sections to preamps. In fact, some people say that there’s a remarkable improvement over the JJ Electronics 12AU7s as these give you a more clear and warm tone with an overall richer sound.
In general, we would say that these tubes produced some solid mid and low range acoustics. The high end is a bit reserved at times however but overall they deliver a very detailed sound. Also, as some users have mentioned, the Mullard 12au7 is great at smoothing out the fizzyness of guitar amps, which is a huge deal for some people.
#5.BUGERA Amplifier Tube 12AU7
Last but not least, we have the Bugera Amplifier 12 AU7 Tube, which is a classic preamp tube found in many vintage and current amps. This tube can be used in phase-splitter or driver stages. You will definitely get a noticeable bump in sound and performance when you swap them out for stock 12AU7s in any amp and in any position.
These tubes will give you high levels of gain and low output impedance as well as great reliability and consistency. They rarely malfunction and blow out further down the road than other tubes. Now we know that these are a really popular brand when it comes to these kind of tubes, so if you want to experiment a little, then this is the way to go.