1. The Rules have been updated regarding posting as a business on TGP. Thread with details here: Thread Here
    Dismiss Notice

Groove Tubes and Current Production vs. NOS tubes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by PFCG, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. PFCG

    PFCG Member

    Messages:
    2,806
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Calabasas - CA
    Ive read alot about NOS vs the Current Production market, but im not sure what to do here. I have Two-Rock Custom Reverb Artist 100 watter with 4 6L6WGB and 5 12AX7's. I know the guy in Connecticut that runs Telefunken USA and i was gunna get the preamp tubes from him, but im not sure what to do. I hear that the Groove tubes are made on old GE equippment, but do they compare or sound like the real deal? How about Sovtek or Svetlana? Im very curious. I hear tons of great things about NOS JAN Phillips 6L6 tubes, and great things about Mullard/Amperex/RCA/Telefunken. I currently have TAD's in the poweramp and no name chinese in the preamp that the amp came with, and it sounds great, but can it be better? Please help me out, and i also have no idea how to bias my amp. I have a voltmeter, but i need help! Thanks!
     
  2. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    My personal experience has been that NOS tubes - when you get good ones - are always significantly better than current production tubes. So much so, that I will never use current production tubes in my amp. Once you hear the differences yourself, you will be convinced. I use a mix of Mullard, Telefunken, Amperex, RCA, Tung Sol, Polam/Telam, Tesla.

    Not to say that current production tubes are bad, they just aren't nearly as good as the best NOS tubes, either preamp or power or rectifier. It doesn't matter that GT is using the original equipment - their current Mullard repros are 'not' the same as NOS Mullards. And not all NOS tubes are exactly the same. I've tried a number of Amperex, Telefunken, and Mullard 12AX7s and kept some and sold others. You have to experiment with 'your' amp to hear what works best for your desired tones.

    Just be sure you buy from reputable dealers who charge fair prices.
     
  3. PFCG

    PFCG Member

    Messages:
    2,806
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Calabasas - CA
    Thanks, i definately need to try some stuff out, but is there any place you can go and try out different tubes?
     
  4. Chadley

    Chadley Member

    Messages:
    2,749
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Modesto, CA
    There is a very knowledgable local amp builder that I know in my town. I took my Dr. Z Z-28 into him last week to see if I could do any better than the Groove Tube 6V6's that were in there. He told me that what Groove Tube basically does is takes JJ Tesla tubes and relabels them. He held a JJ and a Groove tube side by side and they were the exact same thing.
     
  5. scottl

    scottl Member

    Messages:
    17,041
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Correct in that instance... But, GT also makes their own tubes. They also sell Chinese and Russian relabeled. In all cases, the tube has a different part number. Their homebrews are labeled as such.

     
  6. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

    Messages:
    2,935
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Location:
    The Jewel of the Rockies
    I guess I have a different view after trying several NOS tubes.

    They DO sound better. But to me, it's in the 'just BARELY' category. Do I notice any difference when I'm playing with the band? No. The only time I can REALLY tell is when I play with new production tubes, then change out to NOS, play again in my practice room.

    Some of the production stuff out there is pretty decent to great. (I love my Reish Tung Sol's). Why would I spend another few hundred dollars every year or so for NOS tubes that 'may or may not' sound good with my amp.

    Also, the NOS ones last longer, but at the price differential, I'm still coming out way ahead by having several sets of new prod in reserve.

    IMHO.
     
  7. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Maybe there's an amp guy near you, but he may have a limited selection. Basically you have to pay to experiment, but the resale value for barely used old tubes is decent. Talk to the guys at Two Rock and find out which old tubes they recommend, then start with them.

    With my amp fully loaded with select NOS & ANOS tubes, the difference is major. Having heard those tones, it's painful to go back to current prod tubes for me. I recently got a new Kingsley Deluxe 32C, and took the tubes out of my Kingsley Deluxe 32, replacing them with current production. BIG difference to my ears.

    The old tubes give me the tones and response & feel I've been searching for, so even though it does cost a few hundred more, for an amp costing in the $2,000s, it's well worth it for me. And good NOS tubes last for years and years, so if you're changing NOS every year, there's something wrong with them. Perhaps the quality wasn't as good as you thought, which also might account for the "just barely" differences.
     
  8. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,337
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    I've come to the conclusion that there is no best tube, it all depends on where it's being used and what you need to happen. Case in point, I really dislike Sovtek 12ax7WA tubes, I think they are hideous. Just for kicks I put one in my Guytron because I wanted to reduce the low end a bit. I put this tube in V6 which is the tube which controls the tone stack in this amp and it works great. In fact, most any other tube I use (Telefunken, RFT, NOS Tesla, etc...) does not sound as good.

    I really think it depends upon what you need to get out of your equipment. A lot of guys complain the Guytron has no low end... I really wonder if they ever tried different preamp tubes. Sure NOS might last longer but look at this way, if a NOS lasts 5000 to 10,000 hours and you play your amp 2 hours a day it will take at least 7 to 14 years before the tubes will be worn out. I don't think I've seen anyone on this forum that has had an amp for 1 year, so go figure.;)
     
  9. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    21,742
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    A small cautionary tale: I bought an original 65 JTM45 last year-very nice shape and decent coin (read, more than a brank new Two Rock :)). It had decent modern tubes in it, in a rush I replaced V1 with my favorite Mullard and V3 with an RFT, dropped a matched set of KT66s in and waited for the sonic bliss to start. It didn't sound great. Clean was wonderful, but the breakup wash harsh, abrupt and nasty. Took it to a really good amp tech because it probably needed caps-got that done, a few out of spec resistors changed. No dice, didn't help. Just noodling around changing tubes, suddenly remembered that I'd left the GT7025 in V2, what harm can it do there, just the EQ recovery, right? Anyway, changed that for another mullard and voila-sonic bliss descended. The lesson is that all tubes are important, and at least some modern tubes can destroy the sound of a killer amp. You do have to experiment, which is a problem if you've got 9 tubes to replace and not a lot of time. You can get some good advice from the Two Rock guys, also Lord Valve and KCA tubes will make some recommendations about what might work. I'm not sure I'd go on an ebay quest till you've had some time to research with these guys...
     
  10. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,302
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Gulf Coast, AL
    I'm not buying any Groove Tubes unless there are no other options.

    I get my NOS and old tubes off great guys like Orlando on this board. When I buy new tubes, I get them from Bob at Eurotubes. The JJ's I've received from him have worked well for the last few years of purchases.
     
  11. myles111

    myles111 Member

    Messages:
    2,955
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles CA

    If he held up a GT 6V6S, yes, it was the JJ tube.

    The 6V6R is the EH

    The 6V6C is from Shuguang.

    But, the 12AX7M, 5751M, KT66HP, KT-88SV, EL-34M, E34LS, 5881, and 6L6CHP are all GT exclusive tubes.

    GT offers most everybodies tubes along with their own and all of them go through a dynamic matching process rather than a static matching process.

    I use NOS tubes in the studio only for certain cases but on the road only use current production tubes as I can get them anywhere and replicate them in the field.

    In the case of cathode biased amps using EL84 tubes I only use new EL84S tubes.

    In most EL-34 amps I tend to use the E-34Ls as it is the only 30 watt EL-34 and gives about 15% more output than a 25 watt EL34 in most of my amps.
     
  12. myles111

    myles111 Member

    Messages:
    2,955
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles CA

    Ron,

    I see you are in Los Angeles. If you ever want to get together one late afternoon, evening, or weekend and bring over a pile of tubes I will be happy to test, trace, and document them at no charge.
     

Share This Page