Matching pre amp tubes?

Hello, I was wondering if it was nessasary to match the 6DJ8's in my pre. I see lots of matched output tubes but as yet have not seen anyone selling matched tubes for pre amps. Is it not as critical as with the output? Thanks, Gene
I have found that there is a need for matching gain of preamp tubes. I ended up with 6922's and 12au7's that were supposed to be matched and subsequently threw out the L&R balance so much that I was questioning my hearing for a while ... kept thinking my left ear was going deft. Sounds funny till you experience it. Gain is critical for stereo imaging.
To buy an argument. Why even consider tubes in a Pre-Amp, as Solid State devices work so much better in low level applications, lower Noise and Distortion, no Hum and no problems with Microphony. I firmly believe that tubes are superior to Solid State in the actual Amplifier Power Output stage, and also by necessity to get sufficient drive to the output tubes. I have just created a superb Commercial 60 Watt Monitoring Amplifier (KT88) for use in Recording Studios etc. It uses solid state Phase Splitter, and common garden variety 12AU7 tubes for voltage gain in the driver section, and for cathode followers. The voltage gain stage has local "Nested" feedback restricting the 12AU7 to a gain of 8. Tested 12 random 12AU7 tubes of various ages and makes in the voltage gain stage, and found a gain difference of less than 0.1 dB, and the plate voltage to come up within + and - 3 Volts of the designed 160 Volts DC. The Amplifier does have Bias Control for adjustment of Output Tube Cathode Current for each output tube, and AC Drive Balance, mainly to compensate for gain differences in the output tubes which despite matching and identical cathode current settings, still have slight gain differences. The Amplifier trims out to give 0.01% distortion at 1 Watt at 1 KHz and at 10 KHz. Changing driver tubes required a slight, but relatively insignificant "Tweak" to get identical performance from every one of the 12 tested 12AU7 tubes. I firmly believe that any healthy tube, of any make, should give identical performance in a correctly designed amplifier. If it does not, the design of the amplifier is suspect. Honestly, valve Pre-Amps, "Forget it", go for solid state any time.
You can purchase matched some NOS pre-amp tubes from Kevin Deal at, or try the new Tesla tubes (best value) from the folks at Leave the theoretical electrical analysis to the amateur physicists. Matched tubes that have been pre-tested for your specific pre-amp will image and balance significantly better. Let your ears be the judge.
If you don't have a ton of cash, using a tube preamp an SS amps is a decent way to get the signature sound of tubes in your system without having to sell appendages or organs to keep up with the cost of replacing power tubes in a tube power amp. Most small preamp tubes are quite cheap. I agree with most of the above posters that matching isn't really as critial in a pre.
poulkirk, i paid less than $2k for a nice used tubed preamp. i can't think of anything solid-state anywhere near the price, even used, that would come close to it. the linn kairn solid-state pre i was using before - a wery nice pre for the price, imho - can't touch my new toobed pre...