Best non-NOS tube? Are there "boutique" tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by xmusic123, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Yeah, I wasn't claiming any knowledge, just saying that someone somewhere thinks about four hundred dollars of highly for 'em. I'm with you about following my ears. Recently retubed my cheapo Peavey, it helped a bit to unmuffle it, but that's probably more just new tubes than this or that brand -- a pair of JJ 6L6s in this case. Not a life-changing experience.
     
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  2. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    I haven't found any tubes (other NOS included) that sound anywhere near as good as Amperex Bugle Boys in V1 and V2 of my JTM45.

    I've got current production Tung-Sol, JJ, EHX, Mullard, Sovtek, and some Chinese like Ruby and Sino preamp tubes. I can always find a NOS preamp tube from my stash of GE, Sylvania, JAN Philips/Sylvania, Mullard, Amperex (bugle boy and globe), tungsram, RCA, Raytheon, E.I., and Siemens that will perform better than any of those current production tubes in an application.

    Whether it is worth it or not is a whole nother argument, and one that is a hard case to make sometimes in certain applications.
     
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  3. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    Those are most likely hi-fi guys paying those prices for that particular tube. Of course, some players love Telefunkens in certain applications.
     
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  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I'm all ears, bud. I'm kinda simple-minded about tubes and don't mind hearing opinions. That's why I read these threads, after all.
     
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  5. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    I'm certainly no tube genius. All I know is from my personal experience rolling tubes.
     
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  6. vicdeluca71

    vicdeluca71 Member

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    Can’t believe how expensive these are any more,nuts. Perception... Now what I didn’t talk about is chain, that Tele might sound great in your Peavey! I’m ONLY talking IME , I was using a vintage fender twin with a frankenstrat that has a custom bubinga neck and I play finger style,,, so, . Mullards sounded Woolley so did jjs, tells sounded thin etc,etc.All in the chain man,use your ears
     
  7. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Well, this amp could use more highs and clarity, to be sure -- but I'd rather spend $800 on a better amp, lol. TF is mighty proud of their 6L6s.

    But I don't have a Tele, just an aside.
     
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  8. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    Speaker upgrades give way more bang for the buck than NOS tubes for sure and would always be my first step in improving my tone.
     
  9. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

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    There are places that try to convince the hi-fi audio buyer that their tubes are different, "special," and worth hundreds more than other people selling the same tubes. Most tout their testing/culling process or some additive treatment they perform. A few just lead the buyer on into thinking they actually manufacture something.

    TAD seems to have managed something special with Shuguang, who (from the reading I've done) manufacture TAD's tube lineup. From some other reading, it seemed that Shuguang was the factory Groove Tubes was working with to develop their "6L6-GE" tubes (that were made in China despite GT's initial marketing implying U.S. production). GT had numerous problems with that 6L6-GE, the EL34s, and maybe the "Mullard reproduction" 12AX7; seems they couldn't get issues sorted with Shuguang. Meanwhile, TAD seems to have cracked the code in getting good work from Shuguang, and others here routinely post favorable reports of those tubes (I don't know, having not tried them).

    It is possible to work with a current factory to get something unique made within the framework of their existing products, and that's what I'm thinking TAD has done.

    The 300B discussion is kinda irrelevant, as those are hi-fi directly-heated triodes which are essentially non-existent in guitar amps. You might see some effort put towards a boutique-version of such tubes, because the alternative are original tubes from 100 years ago, and because that market is already accustomed to paying $1,000 per pair or similar due to sheer lack of supply. I suspect even that market isn't lucrative enough (due to the small sliver it represents of all audio consumers) to support large volume production needed to ensure a consistent product.​
     
  10. grunf

    grunf Member

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    yep...new production tubes sound just fine...only thing/problem is: it is quite limited choice (russian, chinese, czech), and, in some cases quality control is bit off, but luckily, in most cases you can get replacement tubes for free (unless **** happens after few months of usage)
    Having said that, I bought a bunch of NOS/ANOS tubes past year and for most of those tubes were /same/below/or little above new production prices (I guess it is maybe because I studied in Eindhoven where Philips comes from)..but, I don't get it when people pay 50 or more bucks for a preamp tube.
     
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  11. vicdeluca71

    vicdeluca71 Member

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    Yes! I was lucky to discover this years ago when these tubes were cheap or free. Feel sorry for anyone who is rolling with NOS tube prices! You almost have to convince yourself that they sound better
     
  12. vicdeluca71

    vicdeluca71 Member

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    Telefunken
     
  13. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Take the needle out of your arm. Adjust for sonic turbulence. And, where do you do standup?
     
  14. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    At the risk of wading into controversy, Mesa-branded tubes (and yes, I'm fully aware that Mesa doesn't actually produce them) seem worth the slight markup for all the testing Mesa does before sale. You can get 12AX7s for $20 apiece and matched power tubes for $48-$68 per pair depending on the size.
     
  15. Dead Astronaut

    Dead Astronaut Member

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    Trust me, heroin doesn't make you think anything sounds better. I believe you're thinking of ... every other drug?
     
  16. Raghoister

    Raghoister Member

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    How does this view:

    Co-exist with this:

    ?
     
  17. vicdeluca71

    vicdeluca71 Member

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    What I meant was NOS tubes don’t sound better
     
  18. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

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    I like newer TAD 6L6wgc and Tung Sol 12ax7s.
     
  19. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

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    Tung Sol 6v6 sound good also, but 1040 RCA black plates are unbeatable.
     
  20. heavyrebel

    heavyrebel Member

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    We've had to cut back on selling replacement tubes, trying to conserve what we have for production. But we get them from TAD and Tungsol mostly, Tube Depot, Tube Store, Antique Electronics Supply, etc.
     
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