Recommend me some tubes!

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calaverasgrandes
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Post by calaverasgrandes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:58 pm

I would concur. I do believe that some brands of tubes from the olden times are superior to present day manufacture in terms of tone. But I also am old enough to recall getting my amp retubed and having brand new "USA made" duds that would glow purple or arc.
OG Tung-Sol and some others are known for longevity, but I wouldn't sink coin into vintage power tubes betting on longevity to defray the price.
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

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Post by hogfish » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:29 pm

Part of what makes buying used vintage tubes (as long as they test high of course) is that not only do they have superior tone, but they also have a much longer lifespan than any new tube.
What you are saying about "superior tone" is subjective, and in the ear of the beholder.
What you are saying about lifespan is complete bullshit.......

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markjazzbassist
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Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:21 am

JJ are built for the road, i toured with them for 6 years and had to replace preamp tubes once, they are rock solid and able to take a beating. they sound nice tonally as well.

SED winged C are nice tubes as well.

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davepinkham
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Post by davepinkham » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:21 am

calaverasgrandes wrote:I would concur. I do believe that some brands of tubes from the olden times are superior to present day manufacture in terms of tone.
I concede that this is possible, but if so, it still doesn't mean that they can't improve the new ones to match the tone quality of the old ones.

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EasyGo
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Post by EasyGo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:05 pm

I recently got a stash of tubes from The Tube Store, including a couple different 12AX7s that I compared in the same amp, in this case a Bugera V5 (1 x 12AX7 and 1 x EL84). I tried the Electro Harmonix 12AX7 and the Svetlana 12AX7. I found the Electro Harmonix to have more of a high gain preamp distortion sound (more 'Marshally,' if you will) and the Svetlana to be cleaner, clearer, and larger sounding, which I liked better.

Earlier, I swapped out the five 12AX7 preamp tubes for 12AT7s (NOS JAN Philips) in my Mesa Boogie, and found it to be more usable for clean and in-between sounds.

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Recycled_Brains
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Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:08 pm

NOS is pretty much a money pit if you ask me. I'll never do it again. Wasted a lot on something that makes only a subjective difference to my ears. No better or worse, just different.

I stick with EH, JJ, SED winged C (for power tubes in my Marshall).

I like to be able to get tubes that are readily available anywhere. I will say that I've gotten some duds, or microphonic tubes, but I'd rather lose $10 on a shitty EH tube than $40 on a shitty GE, or Mullard or whatever.

Tubedepot.com is your friend. It's been my experience that they do a swell job of weeding out the lemons.
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Neal
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Post by Neal » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:15 am

I don't know what kind of Marshall you're using or how you're using it (whether you crank the volume or the gain or both) but I do know it made a huge difference changing the power tubes in the Marshall I used to use. Just as much if not more so than just swapping preamp tubes. I was cranking the master volume pretty high though so a good amount of distortion was coming from the power stage as well as the preamp stage. Groove Tubes sounded really freakin good in that amp but I know their consistency is an issue. I really like JJ's in the amp I have now (JSX). Pre and power tubes are close to 3 years old with many hours on 'em and still sound good to me.

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tubetapexfmr
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Post by tubetapexfmr » Wed May 02, 2012 10:59 am

To say that a new product CANNOT be manufactured to the same level of quality that something made 40-60 years ago seems a little unreasonable to me. If the materials and specifications are the same, then the product is essentially the same.
That is exactly it. The metals used, the quality of mica used (if they use mica at all), the quality control, the pride in workmanship, and many other factors make vintage tubes superior. LEAD especially is no longer used in most cases and is CRUCIAL to longevity in anything electronic. Look up 'tin whiskers' on your favorite search engine and see for yourself how just this ONE factor backs up what I am saying.

Also, note I was saying buy TESTED and USED vintage tubes at comparable prices to new. If they still test high without microphonics after all these years, trust me they WILL outlast anything new while costing about the same. But, if you want to waste money on some 'Mullard reissue' bullshit, then be my guest. More vintage stuff for me and my amps.

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Recycled_Brains
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Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu May 03, 2012 8:23 am

Neal wrote:I don't know what kind of Marshall you're using or how you're using it (whether you crank the volume or the gain or both) but I do know it made a huge difference changing the power tubes in the Marshall I used to use. Just as much if not more so than just swapping preamp tubes. I was cranking the master volume pretty high though so a good amount of distortion was coming from the power stage as well as the preamp stage. Groove Tubes sounded really freakin good in that amp but I know their consistency is an issue. I really like JJ's in the amp I have now (JSX). Pre and power tubes are close to 3 years old with many hours on 'em and still sound good to me.
JMP 2204 50w ca. 1980.

I play heavy stuff, so the preamp and master are pretty high. I was messing with the master dimed, but it's a bit too compressed for what I do.

It had GT 6550s in there when I got it. They went south after a year or so, and my tech put the SED Winged C's in as a replacement. Sounds great. I trust him, so I didn't question the choice.

EDIT: He (my tech) basically told me that NOS stuff is pointless to get into, and that currently manufactured tubes are completely adequate, but that you have to do some QC on your end to find good ones. Basically told me that when he orders bulk tubes (esp. preamp tubes), he's seeing about a 5:1 ratio of good to bad, sometimes as high as 10:1.
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slowcentury
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Post by slowcentury » Thu May 03, 2012 3:38 pm

Id have to say JJ and Mullards are my favorite. Great tone and reliability. I have yet to have a JJ or Mullard go microphonic on me. The worst I have come across in my travels are Mesa tubes (avoid at all cost IMO). I worked in a guitar shop for a few years and we had quite a few issues with Mesa tubes going microphonic out of the box or shortly after installing them. If you cant track down some old RCA's or Phillips tubes they are pretty amazing. My 42 year old Traynor still has the original Phillips tubes in it, I tested the power tubes about a year ago and they were still at 80% or so. Great tubes, however the idea of buying NOS kinda freaks me out a bit.

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Sean Sullivan
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Post by Sean Sullivan » Wed May 09, 2012 9:07 am

I've always been happy with Electro-Harmonix 12AX7s, 6L6EH's
Still waiting for a Luna reunion

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