The ECC81 (12AT7) has somewhat lower voltage gain than the ECC83 (12AX7), this makes it suitable for high frequency applications.
Originally the ECC81 valve was intended for operation in TV sets and FM tuners, as an oscillator/frequency converter. However, it also found wide use in audio as a driver and phase-inverter in guitar amplifiers.
The reason this valve is used so much is because it’s actually two identical valves in one! So amplifier designers can get two stages of amplification using just one valve. This reduces the space needed to house the electronic hardware inside the guitar amplifier.
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