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  1. #1
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    12BH7A Recommendation

    I have a McIntosh MHA 200 tube headphone amp and am looking for recommendations on the output tubes - 12BH7A. They appear to be a bit of an odd duck.
    Tom

    Audio:
    Amati Futura Mains
    Amati Homage VOX Center,
    Proac Response 1sc Rears,
    Three MC2301's for L,C,R
    MC 602 for the rears
    C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 77
    Nottingham Dais with Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation
    SurfacePro 3, JRiver, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

    Video:
    MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

    Lake House:
    Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 80, Rega P3

    OnDeck:
    McIntosh MAC 4300v

  2. #2

    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
    I have a McIntosh MHA 200 tube headphone amp and am looking for recommendations on the output tubes - 12BH7A. They appear to be a bit of an odd duck.
    I found the 12BH7A's that clicked for me were

    Brimar CV5042's

    I'd say around $40/50 tube possibly

    Bruce

  3. #3
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    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    i have a power amp that uses the 12bh7a in the driver position. the stock tubes it came with are electro-harmonix which are perfectly fine new manufacture tubes. there is also JJ electronic new manufacture tubes which i would not recommend for either sonics or quality.

    i swapped out the stock tubes for some 1960s NOS 12bh7a RCA tubes and have been very happy with them. if going the NOS route, i would recommend vintage tube services -- they have quite a few brands / vintages of 12bh7a tubes and are exceedingly knowledgeable.
    viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | air tight atc-5 + atm-300r | clearaudio concept + virtuoso v2 MM | t+a dac8 dsd + kanjiroba diy transport + roon rock
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  4. #4
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    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    Thanks Gents,
    I'll buy both of your recommendations and check out vintage tube services.

    The fun part about this amp is with only 2 12AT7's and 2 12BH7A's tube rolling doesn't break the bank.
    Tom

    Audio:
    Amati Futura Mains
    Amati Homage VOX Center,
    Proac Response 1sc Rears,
    Three MC2301's for L,C,R
    MC 602 for the rears
    C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 77
    Nottingham Dais with Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation
    SurfacePro 3, JRiver, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

    Video:
    MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

    Lake House:
    Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 80, Rega P3

    OnDeck:
    McIntosh MAC 4300v

  5. #5

    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    Nos rca.

    I keep typing the above in all caps and it keeps changing it to lower case letters except for the "N."
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, HiFi Rose 150B DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

    Reviewer for Positive Feedback

  6. #6

    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    I've used them as the driver in tube amps, in place of 12AU7. 1950s Sylvania shiny black oval plates w/ D or horseshoe getters were the best (neutral and incredibly dynamic with a great midrange), but then the later dark gray and grey versions of these same plates are a lot less musical. RCA's of any era are pretty consistently good, and on the warm side. The oldest RCA "winged" plates (?) from late 40's early 50s are the sweetest sounding, but hard to find, especially with low noise. Tung-Sols (shiny black oval plates like those Sylvanias) are quite good, but a bit on the bright side. I remember GE and Japanese 12BH7 as being serviceable, if not spectacular. Haven't tried any pinched plate variants.

    I can't overstate how much I prefer any good 12BH7 over 12AU7, when that sub is possible. I hate that 12AU7 is so ubiquitous in 2ch audio gear. My first experience was doing this sub for the driver slots of a Heathkit W5 pair, and the difference was massive.

    Some of these tubes took a HEAVY load in the gear they were used in, so you're more likely to run into dog tired 12BH7 tubes than usual for 12A*7 variants. And they're also much more problematic for slots sensitive to microphonics - same gain as the 12AU7, but with much larger plates (similar issue with vintage 6SN7). Trust your seller or be willing to take a chance. Agree Andy at VTS is great for sourcing reliable 12BH7 tubes. I also like Brent Jesse but haven't bought 12BH7 from him.

  7. #7
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    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    Thanks! Looks like the RCA’s get high marks all around and I’ll definitely look for some of the Sylvanias with black oval plates and D/Horseshoe getters. Thanks a for the detailed recommendations. This is exactly what I’m looking for.

    I have no illusions of finding true NOS tubes of this vintage so seller credibility will be critical.

    One of the McIntosh OEM tubes is a bit noisy so that will be a key consideration for me in this headphone amp application.
    Tom

    Audio:
    Amati Futura Mains
    Amati Homage VOX Center,
    Proac Response 1sc Rears,
    Three MC2301's for L,C,R
    MC 602 for the rears
    C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 77
    Nottingham Dais with Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation
    SurfacePro 3, JRiver, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

    Video:
    MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

    Lake House:
    Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 80, Rega P3

    OnDeck:
    McIntosh MAC 4300v

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    west Michigan
    Posts
    688

    Re: 12BH7A Recommendation

    There were a ton of 12bh7's made as they were used in TV's.
    Should not have a problem finding NOS.
    The older RCA's have white letters.
    My System:
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12BH7A Recommendation

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