Making sense of New Sensor Corp.

jbird

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In my little bit of research into tubular options, I've noticed several different "brands" or "labels" of the same type (KT88/6550 in my case) of tube all made in the same Xpo-Pul factory (Reflektor) out of Saratov, Russia. These include: Electro Harmonix, Sovtek, Tung Sol, Svetlana, and the Gold Lion reissue. Now, I've read many different reviews on these, and looked at the cost differences, and have to ask: What and how are the differences between these tubes as it relates to them coming out of the same factory? How could one tube type out of the same factory have so many different characteristics? Is it an inconsistency within the factory, as it specs tubes? So say Sovtek accepts a spec'd tube within so 'n so, and a $$ Gold Lion is spec'd here? Or, perhaps they run in batches, the different "brands"? Anybody enlighten me on the subject, I find it a bit interesting!:munch
 

Blue Strat

Member
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It IS interesting. Keep in mind that the different varieties of tubes have been released over many years. You can see obvious differences in contruction between various 12ax7s in most cases. You can hear differences too. In other cases, the differences may be in materials or parts of the tube that aren't visible from the outside.

A lot of it may also be marketing, possibly to avoid a "bad rap" for a certain product without tarnishing the rest of the product line or newer (improved?) versions of the same tube design.

You could also ask the same question of General Motors. They're all cars, right? ;)
 

jockman

Member
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336
I have a pair of Reflektor made Svetlana KT88's and a pair of EH KT88's, and there is a definite difference in sound (to my ears!!) The svets are nice and warm/glassy while the eh's are bright and aggressive, The Gold Lion being the most expensive of the bunch, DO get good reviews though, but again, they are more expensive and 'allegedly' better made..

Jon
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
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11,193
The ruble or whatever its called is probably up against the $$- Russia is riding high on petro wealth.
 

rockon1

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13,703
You could also ask the same question of General Motors. They're all cars, right? ;)

Interesting anology. Being a mech for the last 30 years Ive seen that for a while (not so much nowadays) many of the cars from different divisions were virtually identical short of a few cosmectic changes. Kind of like different labels on tubes.

I looked a Sovtek EL34WXT and an EH EL34 I had and couldnt find a single difference in thier construction. Maybe there was but it wasnt visible. As you mentioned some of them are obvious,some are not. IMO some may just be relabeled but I cant say that for sure. At any rate Im glad they are still producing them though. Bob
 

Blue Strat

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30,723
Interesting anology. Being a mech for the last 30 years Ive seen that for a while (not so much nowadays) many of the cars from different divisions were virtually identical short of a few cosmectic changes. Kind of like different labels on tubes.

But an Escalade isn't a Camaro, is it? ;)
 

mark norwine

Member
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17,266
you can't make sense. I wrote about this in another post just yesterday where someone asked if EH tubes were junk. I wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Junk" might be too strong. That said:

My problem with New Sensor tubes is that "you don't know what's what" or "who's making what"....

I suppose you need to believe that everything is coming out of the Reflektor plant, because MM owns it, so it begs the question: what differentiates a particular EH tube from a "Sovtek" tube of the same designation? Or, now that he's bought the naming rights Tung-Sol, Mullard, Svetlana....what's what?

Moreover, are these even "6L6's" or "5AR4's", etc.? Or are they just the "closest, passable, russian tube" that would seem to work in the application?

I'm not saying "YES". I'm saying "I don't have a clue!" NS's marketing strategy seems to be founded on "trust us".

Confusing is putting it mildly.

I buy JJ tubes. If it says JJ on the box, I know who made it, and I know they're striving to make their tubes to spec.
 

Red Planet

Member
Messages
4,347
Regardless of the construction the one thing that is apparent NS has done is increase its share in the market. Its easy to see. Just surf the web for Tube dealers and count how many NS products they sell against the amount of other brands. With all the "different" versions available NS has way more product over all the other brands combined. Add to that the fancy names that many folks are gonna buy just because it looks good and you start to see the marketing advantage. It is great that they offer so many products in one way but bad in another. Right now we have lots of choices but eventually we may have less choices because of NS strong arming the market. We may look up one day have only NS to choose from.
 

Blue Strat

Member
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30,723
you can't make sense. I wrote about this in another post just yesterday where someone asked if EH tubes were junk. I wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Junk" might be too strong. That said:

My problem with New Sensor tubes is that "you don't know what's what" or "who's making what"....

I suppose you need to believe that everything is coming out of the Reflektor plant, because MM owns it, so it begs the question: what differentiates a particular EH tube from a "Sovtek" tube of the same designation? Or, now that he's bought the naming rights Tung-Sol, Mullard, Svetlana....what's what?

Moreover, are these even "6L6's" or "5AR4's", etc.? Or are they just the "closest, passable, russian tube" that would seem to work in the application?

I'm not saying "YES". I'm saying "I don't have a clue!" NS's marketing strategy seems to be founded on "trust us".

Confusing is putting it mildly.

I buy JJ tubes. If it says JJ on the box, I know who made it, and I know they're striving to make their tubes to spec.

But what does it really matter? We know they're all made in Russia and marketed by New Sensor, right? We know that they're cheap new production tubes so we can't expect NOS longevity or quality. We're not going to blindly assume that anything labeled Tung Sol is good (they're not) or that everything labeled Electro Harmonix (or ANY of the other NS brand names) is bad (they're not), so we have to evaluate each item on it's own merits.
 

jbird

Member
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1,025
It's as if this Xpo-Pul (Reflektor) plant is like some hidden nuclear facility! You'd think from the various reviews, that there would have to be some differences within a given tube type. Maybe like GM, theres different production lines running at the same time? Or, like Mesa, where they're different product lines are done in batches? I would, as stated above, find it unbeleivable that a certain tube type would be of the same production line/process and then relabeled. But, this is my curiosity in searching out various tubes, I'd still like to know!
 

Red Planet

Member
Messages
4,347
But does anyone really think they're getting a Mullard or a Tung-Sol?

Are you saying all the tube buying public is equally informed? From teenagers to old hacks like me?

Look around at some of the posts on the net about these tubes. I get tickled when folks compare the NS Mullard EL34 to the sound of a Mullard. Sounds just like one. :crazyguy


Like I said before if they come out with 97 different versions of tubes its fine with me. My fear is later down the road our choices will be limitted because of this. I hope it all goes swell and we have many choices to eternity and beyond.
 
Messages
3,127
Two big questions

"I've noticed several different "brands" or "labels" of the same type (KT88/6550 in my case) of tube all made in the same Xpo-Pul factory (Reflektor) out of Saratov, Russia. These include: Electro Harmonix, Sovtek, Tung Sol, Svetlana, and the Gold Lion reissue."

Are any of the "New" type tubes made by companies other then this one? Are there other choices then EH, Tung-Sol, Svetlana, Winged C, "Mullard" etc.-the more easily available tubes of today? Is there an alternative other then NOS. Is their another modern manufacturer?

Mike, hey thanx for the NOS tubes. I havent put them into the amps yet.

Other then swapping them into the chassis what do I need to do to check them and what are the best conditions for storage?

Thanks
Groovey Records

Listening to The Jeff Beck Group- Produced by Steve Cropper
On Vinyl of course
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,723
Mike, hey thanx for the NOS tubes. I havent put them into the amps yet.

Other then swapping them into the chassis what do I need to do to check them and what are the best conditions for storage?

Thanks
Groovey Records

Listening to The Jeff Beck Group- Produced by Steve Cropper
On Vinyl of course

You betcha! Plugging them into an amp is the best way to check them. If you bought power tubes, be sure to adjust the bias for them. Start with the bias pot set at the lowest setting (using your existing tubes) before plugging in the new tubes.

No specific storage procedure. A dry place would be better than a damp place though.
 
Messages
3,127
So if the amps self biasing I can drop in the matched set of Mullard EL 84's that I got from you straight in ?

No testing bias with a multi meter or anything. Can a sound diferance be percieved from which plug which EL84 goes in to

I also got a couple of Mullard 12AX7's from you should I go 1 at a time after I test the El 84''s in V1 slot? I guess so?

thanks
Listening to Beck-Ola
On Vinyl of course
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,723
So if the amps self biasing I can drop in the matched set of Mullard EL 84's that I got from you straight in ?

No testing bias with a multi meter or anything. Can a sound diferance be percieved from which plug which EL84 goes in to

I also got a couple of Mullard 12AX7's from you should I go 1 at a time after I test the El 84''s in V1 slot? I guess so?

thanks
Listening to Beck-Ola
On Vinyl of course

Yeah, I'd try the pair of EL84s first (no biasing for a self biasing amp) and then try the 12AX7s one at a time so you know which tubes/sockets have the most effect on tone.
 




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