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    Buying Tubes?

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    music

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    Buying Tubes?

    Post by music on Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:22 pm

    Seems like many people selling tubes out there, who has a (great price) with good service?
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    tubes4hifi
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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:41 pm

    dozens of great places to buy tubes.
    For new tubes, I like McShane ( www.mcshanedesign.net/tubes.htm ) and/or TubeDepot.com
    For used/tested tubes I like tctubes.com
    For NOS untested tubes I like Brent Jessee ( www.audiotubes.com/ ) and/or www.abcvacuumtubes.com
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    deepee99

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:25 pm

    For vintage NOS tubes, http://vintagetubeservices.com/
    Andy is a genuine treasure. He doesn't answer emails, so it's best just to call him. Central Time Zone, I think.
    Michigan, 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday – Saturday EST.
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:03 pm

    If you have the opportunity, get ye to Kutztown (May and September). There are many thousands of well-priced tubes, which you may take to the clinic table and test on my properly calibrated Hickok 539B, no charge. I will even tell you how close power tubes may be to matching.

    Search on DVHRC and Kutztown Radio Show.
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    Danner

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Danner on Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:57 pm

    I recently bought some Brent Jesse tubes, and it was a good experience. Not inexpensive, but Brent runs a curve tracer test to match preamp tubes and has a good selection of US and western European tubes. When he labels a tube NOS, it means he tested it and it meets OEM specs out of the RCU Tube Reference manual.

    I wonder if the new-manufacturer tubes are as good as the old US tubes?
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    bluemeanies

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by bluemeanies on Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:22 am

    Great imformation here.
    Recently I purchased two driver tubes (as spares) form Jim McShane.
    Genalex reissued B749/12AU7
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    Dave_in_Va

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Dave_in_Va on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:51 am

    Without going into details I should say my experience did not match Danner's.
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    Roy

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Roy on Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:58 am

    From what the gents at my local shop that deals with anything tube relayed to me their experiences of the past 40 years or so of NOS tubes comes down to do not bother. Unless they came in the carton from the factory with matching batch numbers matching them any closer than 5% is near impossible, not to mention the lively trade in counterfeit NOS.

    They like new Svetlana best, with Tung Sol a close second.

    For the Netherlands there are not too many sources - one popular one is tonefactory, and they do also test and match before sending out.
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    kevinmi

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by kevinmi on Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:58 pm

    I wonder if the new-manufacturer tubes are as good as the old US tubes?

    NO!
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    tubes4hifi
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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:29 pm

    I wonder if the new-manufacturer tubes are as good as the old US tubes?

    generally, NOT ! tube quality was best in the 50s & 60s, OK in the 70s, and not so great since,
    although SOME new tubes are very good, Gold Lion as an example
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:54 pm

    I wonder if the new-manufacturer tubes are as good as the old US tubes?[/quote]

    Back in the day, it is likely that the likes of Sylvania rejected more tubes in a day than present companies make in a year. So, yes. QC was higher and quality better.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:08 pm

    Somebody, think it was on this forum, posted an RCA ad from the 1950s showing an acre-sized heap of rejected tubes -- point being that only their very best went into cardboard boxes and sold. So one might suppose that manufacturing was just as hit-and-miss then than it is now, except nowadays the rejects get sold, not tossed. A caution on NOS RCA's: make sure they were made in the USA. They made a ton of tubes in Brazil as replacements as they wound down their U.S. factories, and they are junk.
    Again, I'd highly recommend Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Services for NOS of any sort. His prices are fair and his evaluations, while opinionated, are revealing. He really knows his stuff. You could spend a day on his website just learning about the esoterica of tubes.
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    Danner

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Danner on Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:34 pm

    I purchased some Dynaco labeled Telefunken 12ax7s for the phono stage of my SCA-35, and then JAN (mil spec) Sylvania 6BQ5s for the power amp.  The SCA-35 runs fairly high quiescent current in the power stage, and has a reputation for cooking tubes, so I did not want to spend a pile of $$ on them.  I had some RCA 7199 for the drivers and they seem to work well, but I have not 'tested' them per se.

    At any rate, I am real happy with the sound.
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    Roy

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Roy on Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:51 pm


    ^^
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    peterh

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by peterh on Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:22 pm

    Danner wrote:I recently bought some Brent Jesse tubes, and it was a good experience.  Not inexpensive, but Brent runs a curve tracer test to match preamp tubes and has a good selection of US and western European tubes.  When he labels a tube NOS, it means he tested it and it meets OEM specs out of the RCU Tube Reference manual.

    I wonder if the new-manufacturer tubes are as good as the old US tubes?

    New tubes may come with warranty. NOS does not
    New tubes may be bought in batches, NOS does not

    What should be asked for both new and NOS : what warranty does the dealer offer ? And
    will the dealer be there if you need help in the future ?
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    cci1492

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by cci1492 on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:07 pm

    My 2 cents: I purchased not so good stuff from ebay to save a buck. Found I didn't save much in the end. Have bitten the bullet and purchased from Upscale Audio, not cheap but you get what you pay for when it comes to tubes. I purchased from Jim McShane too, very happy with him as well.
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    Peter W.

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Peter W. on Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:53 am

    What should be asked for both new and NOS : what warranty does the dealer offer ? And
    will the dealer be there if you need help in the future ?[/quote]

    Given the (relative) cost of tubes-to-equipment these days, and that new-production tubes seem to be fast-wearing parts as they were not so much before, it is my *considered* opinion that a heavy user of tubes might consider investing in a reasonably adept tube tester, preferably a GM tester with on-board shorts, gas and life tests, if not by specific name.With that, some calibration tubes, an RCA manual and a substitution manual. Then, learn how to use it and what it does, and equally importantly, what it does not do.

    As always, this presents a host of secondary issues as unless one purchases a new unit (available from several sources) with the associated software, legacy units start at 30 years old and go up from there. There are reliable dealers in such things, and their costs reflect the effort involved in making such a device operational and reliable. Writing for myself, I was immensely lucky in purchasing a lab-grade unit (actually from a lab) that had been maintained by GE Reentry Systems (made warheads) directly from the technician who did the maintenance, and with the calibration tubes. That is not the typical situation. I am also just good enough in my skills to diagnose and make repairs. Most are not.

    All-in, I expect that such an undertaking would cost in the neighborhood of $1,000 for a reliable device with all the bells and whistles, add anywhere from $200 to $800 more for something capable of true matching - there are few legacy devices with that capacity.

    In any case, owning a reliable tube tester would open additional sources and prevent the needless disposal of questionable tubes just because they were part of a set which lost a mate or mates.

    Failing a full-blown tester,  testing socket (  https://www.radiolaguy.com/info/Test_Socket_Adaptors.htm  ) are useful, with the proper precautions and great care, in testing tubes in-situ without having to have the chassis open and on its side or back.

    For US users, Hickok, WE, Jackson, Stark and others are the go-to names. In Europe, AVO & Funke would be the ones.

    http://tone-lizard.com/tube-testers/  

    In any case, those relying on mail-order and do not have the vast (truly) resources available to the tube hobbyist here on the East Coast of the US above the Mason-Dixon line might consider a tester if they are making a serious, long-term commitment to the vacuum tube.
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    CletusB

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by CletusB on Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:46 pm

    Reached out yesterday to Jim McShane about my intended tube purchases, really helpful, knowledgeable guy and very fast response. Looking forward to doing business with him in the next couple of weeks.
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    deepee99

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:51 pm

    CletusB wrote:Reached out yesterday to Jim McShane about my intended tube purchases, really helpful, knowledgeable guy and very fast response. Looking forward to doing business with him in the next couple of weeks.
    You can't go wrong with Jim. Been dealing with him for six years now and he's always been there, with good advice and fantastic service. One time during my tube-rolling days I stupidly pulled the glass out of the base and he shipped me a replacement the same day without waiting for payment. Can't beat that.
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    CletusB

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by CletusB on Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:07 pm

    We're discussing going Gold Lion KT-88's and a 12BH7 EH gold pin as the voltage amplifier while retaining the stock pair of 12AU7 phase-inverters.
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    Roy

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    Re: Buying Tubes?

    Post by Roy on Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:33 pm


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