All about 12AX7

What is 12AX7?

12AX7 is a small signal tube with high gain. Tubes such as 12AV7, 12AU7, 12AT7 are siblings of pin-compatible tubes with differing gains. 12AX7 is the big brother of them all with the highest voltage gain (mu).

12AX7 allows the amp designer the freedom to build high gain amplifier circuit with less components. Because of this, 12AX7 is found in majority of guitar, audio and recording tube amps.

Modern 12AX7 Tubes

In the golden days of vacuum tubes, 12AX7 was used for more than just audio signal amplification. Today, however, we leave such mundane tasks to silicon chips, and use 12AX7 where they shine the most - in guitar and audio amps.

Since modern 12AX7 is only used in guitar and audio amps, modern tube manufacturers have optimized the 12AX7 for high gain, low noise amplification. Any current production 12AX7 can be used any place where 12AX7, 12AX7A, 7025 or ECC83 tubes are called for.

What is 7025?

In the old days when not all 12AX7 were equal, low noise 12AX7 was given a different type code - 7025. This is why vintage Fender tube chart calls for 7025. Modern 12AX7 tubes are especially made for low noise high gain application, so any current production 12AX7 tubes can be used where 7025 is called for.

What is ECC83? and ECC803?

ECC83 is the European name for 12AX7. ECC83 and 12AX7 are identical.

ECC803 was a type code given to high reliability ECC83. Modern tube manufacturers have resurrected ECC803 type code for different/premium versions of 12AX7. Both ECC83 and ECC803 are drop-in compatible tubes of 12AX7.

Differences between 12AX7, 12AX7A, 12AX7WA etc?

Suffix such as A and WA originally meant they are slight variations of the 12AX7 Tube. With modern 12AX7 tubes, the suffix is just a part of product name for the most part. You don't need to worry about the compatibility.

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