2a3 Tubes - Favorites?

Hi all,

Doing a quick search, it's been some time before specific 2a3 tubes have been discussed, and I just recently got a 2a3 SET amp, so I'm curious what tubes everyone prefers.

Ideally, looking for recommendations of tubes that are easily obtainable in 2024 - they can be new production like the Takatsukis, or easily sourced NOS. In the past when I've asked around in various places about tubes recommendations, I often hear about tubes that are near impossible to source nowadays, so I'd like to avoid those recommendations since they're pretty much irrelevant if they're unobtainium now.

Thanks for any suggestions!


When I was using a 2A3 tube amp the best tubes I had was were the Kron 2A3SQ that I bought directly from the manufacturer for about 600 euros.  They outperformed a variety of NOS tubes.  But NOS 2A3 tubes are still relatively cheap so I would suggest your read up on them and start with some RCA Black plates.

It has been a while since I ran 2a3s, but, I too liked the EML tubes.  I had both meshplate and regular EML tubes.  The meshplates threw a very large soundstage and sounded vivid and colorful and alive.  The solid plate version delivered a little more weight and a tighter, albeit smaller soundstage.  For want of a better way to describe the difference, I would call the meshplate sound more "phasey" but it was not extreme in that regard.  I personally preferred the meshplate tube.  The solid plate tube, I believe, lasted a bit longer than the meshplate tube.

Interesting! I'd heard about EML before, so will look into the mesh 2a3s from them. They're significantly cheaper than Takatsuki 2a3s (and I can't really find any reviews on those at all).

The Takatsuki's are good but their claim to fame is that they are most expensive. 


What 2A3's are you using now and what might you want to change about the sound?



@dekay The ones that came with my amp are Linlai Global 2a3T.

My problem right now, is this is my first SET amp and first set of 2a3s, so I don't have much context as to where these land with sound in comparison to other options.


I can't find any feedback on the 2A3T, so I'm in the same boat as far as making rec's.

I assume that many/most are also looking for reliability, along with sound quality, which makes recommending new production tubes somewhat difficult.

This said, I would suggest a nice new testing pair of RCA Black or Gray bi-plates  as a baseline reference and as backups for whatever you find you like better through trial and error.

They should be available in the $200-$300 range and they last forever/sound good in my amps.

I use RCA Back/Gray Bi-P's, Ken-Rad Black glass dual flat plates and early Vissesux engraved base Bi-P's.

I suspect that later screened base Visseaux's may have also been marketed as Mazda (or visa versa), but I have not used either in my setup.

Just throwing that out there in the event that you eventually look into Visseaux.



Not suggesting Visseaux's but the RCA's seems to be available from a main/reliable dealer.

With a quick search it seems that Brente Jessee has new testing RCA  2A3 matched pairs for $300.



Quick update - I picked up a pair of NOS Svetlana SV-2A3 (2C4C) tubes and a pair of EML mesh 2a3s.

Both will take a little bit of time to break in, but immediately fresh out of the boxes, each set sounds much better overall than the Linlai tubes that came with the amp - as to be expected.

I'll see how they develop over time!

While I'm curious about the Takatsukis, I'm not curious enough to spend the asking price on them. I have heard that their 300b tubes are sublime, but they're even more expensive (and I don't have a 300b amp haha).


EML Meshplates are very nice. Should be noticeably better than either the Svetlana or Linlai tubes. I've tried Psvane Acme, KR, Sophia and NOS RCAs and keep coming back to the EML Meshplates. 

Running RCAs.

I found that coupling caps make a difference also.  When I changed from the EH/Gold Lions to RCA it was fairly big.

After upgrading the coupling caps, I put the EH back and the sound was pretty close.