You can now select "Matched Sections" for most common audio pre-amp tubes; there is an added $5.00 cost per tube
that will be reflected in your shopping cart. We've been offering
this service for years but have now made it easy to order on the
website. This is the most accurate service available to insure that all
your pre-amp tubes have equal gain.
Click the questions below to jump to the answers.
1. What does "Matched Sections" mean anyway?
Many of the most commonly used pre-amp tubes (e.g. 12AX7, 12AU7, 12AT7,
6922) actually have two identical sections inside of them. These two
sections are technically called triodes and are intended to have
equal electrical performance characteristics. It is two tubes in one
enclosure. When you pay extra for the "Matched Sections" tubes you are
getting the assurance that every triode section in every tube will be as
closely matched as possible, ensuring balance.
2. What do you get when you order "Matched Sections" tubes?
Tubes are manufactured to be within certain tolerance ranges according
to a specification but like all electrical devices there are variances
from tube to tube and section to section. By using "Matched Sections"
tubes the two triode sections inside every pre-amp tube will be
identical to each other and also, each triode section will also match
every other triode section in other tubes of the same type. You are
guaranteed that every triode section of every tube will match the spec
for its type.
It is possible to get "matched" pre-amp tubes that are not balanced,
meaning two tubes may match each other but their own halves are not
identical. Our "Matched Sections" service is superior to this and
insures that all pre-amp tubes (of a type) that you have ordered will be
perfectly interchangeable with each other.
3. Who should use "Matched Sections" pre-amp tubes?
For guitar players: if your amp has a "phase splitter" (or "phase
inverter") it is important to have matched triode sections in this tube
location because of how the tube is used in the circuit. For example,
Fender amps often have a 12AT7 that is used this way. For other parts of
the pre-amp stage in guitar amps this service is not necessary.
For audiophiles: For the best pre-amp performance possible, use matched and balanced pre-amp tubes.
Every matched tube is labeled with the triode section measurement. If
you just want a regular tube, choose "None". You will get a regular
tube that has had no special selection done and the tube will not be
The cost for the "Matched Sections" upgrade is $5 per tube; you will see
the tube price increase when you put it in your shopping cart if you
have selected "Matched Sections".
5. How do you order matched pairs or quartets?
To order a matched pair of pre-amp tubes, you must have an order
quantity of 2 in your shopping cart with "Matched Sections" selected.
To order a quartet, your order quantity should be 4 with "Matched
Sections" selected. If you order an odd number of tubes we will match
them together as well (if you would like a pair and a spare, for
We reserve the right to limit the maximum quantity of identical tubes to
5. If you order more than this we can usually fulfill it however
sometimes we can’t with the stock on hand and will group your order as
best as possible. (Example – You order 10 and we will ship two sets of