What does the "high gain" option refer to when buying preamp tubes

I received an email from tube depot and I was browsing 6SN7s and noted that one of the options available was "high gain."

Does this mean that selecting that option for a tube would increase gain, or does it mean that selecting that option would be a better tube for preamps/systems that are already high gain?

Or am I cold on both guesses?

Thanks in advance/Matt



All 6SN7s tubes are the same gain!

6SN7 is a dual triode vacuum tube with an eight-pin octal base. It provides a medium gain (20 dB).

@yogiboy  , thank you.

But in that case do you know what Tube Depot is referring to with that option that they want $2 extra a tube for?


The text below was found on Harmony Central from a post were someone asked the same question 15 years ago. I don’t know if it’s the correct explanation or not but at least it’s an answer to your question-

Tube Store options

Standard Test = normal test to make sure tube is operational

High Gain = actually opposite of what it sounds, handles more high gain therefore making it actually have LESS gain

Matching = should be self explanatory, matches tubes to be same

Balanced Triodes = what you normally use for phase inverter slot

Matched + Balanced Triodes = same only matched, probably won't use for guitar head

Low Noise and Microphonics = mainly for playback equipment

@designsfx  , thank you!  Since I feel I have too much gain, the "high gain" option would probably be what I would be looking for.  Thanks again.

Tube depot charges $2.00 to test the tube. Like I said the gain is the same on all 6SN7s tubes. No test is going to change that! You should give them a call to explain what they mean!

@designsfx  , thank you again, and with that explanation in mind, I emailed tubedepot with the exact same question, which is something I could have just as easily done before, but didn't think of it.  Part of the aging process I guess.

@yogiboy  , thank you.  Just before you responded I did send them an email.  If they do not respond tomorrow early enough, I will call them before their sale ends.

"High Gain" is just another way for Tube Depot to extract another $2 from a buyer!

Just to follow up on this, I emailed tubedepot and asked them what they meant.  The responded:

The "high gain" option is an additional test that ensures you received the tube with the highest gain that we have available, meaning less early breakup. 

And I emailed them back to say that I really did not understand what they meant,  and to clarify my question as to whether it added or reduced gain, and their replie was::

it only refers to the amount of gain a tube can handle