Maximatcher vs/and Hickok 600A tube testing/NEW HOBBY??

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by tedjac, Feb 27, 2006.


  1. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    I'm finding myself interested in NOS and used vintage tubes. Of course, I will use them in my amps, but I think the search for great tubes is fun. Plucking some off of eBay has been interesting... but I've had to trust the sellers claims about the condition of the tubes and how they test. There is also a difference in testing numbers that is a bit confusing.

    So... I find myself on the verge of a new hobby and am wondering about different types of testers. I've looked at the Maximatcher, which appears able to test and match output tubes. I've also seen the more traditional testers (like the Hickoks). If one is going to do a complete tube test, what is needed? Does it make sense to have both? Like I said< I find this whole world of tubes interesting all on it's own, but primarliy I will be testing preamp and output tubes for guitar amps.

    Thanks for all the insight and experience you can share on this...

    Ted
     
  2. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    All you tester owners and tube gurus... HELP, PLEASE!!

    I do appreciate it... I know people say to just buy from the tube dealers. Even when I do that, I think I want to test on my own just for the fun and education.
     
  3. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    There are plenty of threads on this topic if you do a search.

    Short answer: if you are talking power tubes, neither by itself will completely test a power tube. If you have to choose one, the maxi will do more for you. The maxi-matcher won't help with preamp tubes or rectifiers....so you will need something else anyway. The Hickok works great for preamp tube testing. You can always use both. Also investigate the VTV preamp tube tester (or characterizer, as I think they call it).
     
  4. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    Thanks for the response...

    I did a search through the threds and read them all. Just wanted some fresh thoughts on the subject. It does seem that in order to do really accurate and useful testing that having all THREE would be ideal. By that I mean a Maximatcher (power tube matching), VTV Preamp Tube tester and a traditional tester like a Hickok. Could get to be an expensive hobby really fast...
     
  5. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    I agree with your conclusion on all counts.:AOK

    If you have a couple of amps you can use for matching tubes, your cheapest "entry" into testing is the Hickok and a bias meter. You can do quite a bit with those two tools (and an amp or two).
     
  6. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    By bias meter...do you mean something like the Weber Bias Rite? Is that good, usable product. I don't currently own any electronics grear. The first amp I'll be working with is a four 6V6 OR two 6L6 amp (or two 6V6... not sure about that) Fuchs ODS30SLX. I will probably get one or two more amps in the not too distant futire. And like I said, this MAY become a hobby. Sounds like starting with a biasing set-up and a decent Hickok would be the first thing to buy.
     
  7. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Yes, the Bias Rite will work fine.

    You're starting with a great amp for tone, but not necessarily for testing tubes;) . The ODS30 is cathode biased and won't need bias adjustment. (I'd need to check but I think Andy used separate cathode resistors.) You can read the relative currents of 6V6's or 6L6's but you'd be better off with a fixed bias amp for matching IMHO.

    You need to define your goals a bit more into what you want to test most. For that amp, I'd just get a nice quad or two of matched 6V6's and focus on trying different preamp tubes.

    For the money, a Hickok and bias meter will get you further than any of the other options you mentioned and you can always continue to use both, even if you do get the other tools.
     
  8. tedjac

    tedjac Guest

    I've picked up a quad of Marconi Canada 5871 (these are RCA made greyglass blackplate 6V6GTs), a quad of Bendix 5992 (currently in the amp, installed and set-up by Andy), a quad of RCA greyglass blackplates from 1953, and a quad of JAN Sylvania 6V6GTs from 1979. Plus, Andy is sending the JJs that would have gone in the amp if I hadn't sent him the 5992s. I guess I've got more than I know what to do with. The Marconis are matched, the Sylvanias are NOS, and the 5992 are matched. Don't know about the rest.

    I also have about a dozen preamp tubes to play around with. I just don't have any way to verify any of these tubes... so I have to trust what the people that sold them to me said and just try them out to see how they sound. Being able to testthem would be fun and informative and educational.
     
  9. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    I agree. The only thing the Bias Rite falls short on is speed when testing a pile of power tubes of the same type. This probably isn't an issue for you though.
     
  10. VintageJon

    VintageJon Member

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    Well, here it's a Hickock 800A for preliminary/leak testing and a converted Twin Reverb chassis for real-time Cathode Current Tests on output tubes, octal.
    Same pices if equipment for pre-amp tubes, though Weston may be subbed for Hickock for Gm and leakage. Converted chassis used for Voltage Gain and Noise Tests.

    Tube testing can become a mania, but my customers appreciate it. My suppliers dread it yet respect it. Some even use me for a "Beta Test Site" for new production tubes.

    -Jon
     
  11. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    Is there 'current' tube testers out there? Not just NOS? Just thinking out loud....
     
  12. VintageJon

    VintageJon Member

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    Not aware of any Tube Testers built after about 1968, which I date my Hickock to. (Westone is 1953 and ETA is early 60's, but it is the last "public tube tester I'm aware of".)
    I've rebuilt them and calibrated them to the best of my ability and all 3 seem to be true indicators of a tubes condition.
    Reallly like the Hickock 800 as the manual gives indications of what's-leaking-to-what. This allows my to bitch at maker/distributor with "3M cathode to filament leakage and none of the others do this" or some such.

    -Jon
     
  13. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    I developed the same interest and over time acquired several different testers, off ebay and flea markets. Using a Hickok 600A and a digital bias meter with a couple amps that took the common tubes, I could test most personal use tubes for guitar amps just fine. But that's not audiophile testing, e.g. like Kevin Deal does at Upscale Audio. 65amps has a VTV tester for preamp tubes, and it's very nice. I guess it depends on what you mean by a "complete tube test", since a number of the possible tests have little import for tube typically used in guitar amps.
     

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