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New production tubes as good as NOS.....Is it only a month away?

Grady

Windjammer
Messages
1,090
Everybody knows how much a good NOS tube can set you back.
Is it possible that TechTube Valves will start making some great tubes again by firing back up the old Blackburn Plant?
Hopefully they can make GREAT tubes at a reasonable price.
I'll buy a bunch. For my pedals and amps.:banana

http://www.techtubevalves.com/
 

sidehatch

Member
Messages
1,207
Interesting however, the price is 40 to 60 usd.

For that money I'll buy up NOS first. Thats just too expensive to me.
 

Grady

Windjammer
Messages
1,090
Yeah, $40-$60 is expensive, but that's way cheaper then the Mullards that came out of that plant.
If they had the same quality as the Mullards. $40-$60 is well within reason.
 

nibus

Member
Messages
3,019
Definitely worth a look. I managed to find some really nice 60's 12AX7's for $60 each but they are usually more expensive.
 

Grady

Windjammer
Messages
1,090
Rich..That was a good price.
Some dealers are getting $185 a pop for those.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,945
If you make a steak in a restaurant that used to be the Palm, will it taste as good?
 

Grady

Windjammer
Messages
1,090
I don't know Josh, only time will tell.
If you could hire back maybe 1 or 2 assistant chefs. Who knows.........it could be better than you ever remembered.
 

amp_surgeon

Member
Messages
367
If you make a steak in a restaurant that used to be the Palm, will it taste as good?
It will if the same chef is cooking it.

Some of the engineers at TechTube worked in the plant when it was making Mullard tubes. The plant was repurposed to making CRT's back in the early 80's, using valve technology they already had. It's now being repurposed back to make valves using that same CRT technology.

Sounds to me like they've got a pretty good shot. The only thing that worries me is the lack of mica support on the upper element frame. They say their design eliminates microphonics without requiring the mica support, but they also admit that microphonic problems were one of the reasons they postponed introducing their product until now.
 

Flying Panda

Member
Messages
1,215
In the website Q&A, I found this:

Q: How much of the old equipment is still used?
A: Blackburn no longer has any valve making equipment from the "glory days". The new technology utilises similar equipment but made to todays higher specifications.

Which leads me to believe that it's not going to be much more than making new production tubes (JJs, Tung Sol, Sovtek...etc.) on old, hallowed ground. If they were truly using the old factory, I'd be very interested, but as it is...I think I'll let someone else try 'em first.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,945
It will if the same chef is cooking it.
It will take alot more than that. You'd need the same cut, same quality of beef, etc.

I just have my doubts, that's all. I know NOS Mullards have shot up in price, but at $40 a piece, I might check out some other options over a new production tube.
 

eldanko

Member
Messages
283
This is definitely worth a try... did this plant only supply ECC83's and small tubes, or did EL34's and EL84's come out of this one too?
 

Hiwatt Bob

Member
Messages
1,008
i thought that there were some metals used in old tubes that cannot be used today for environmental reasons..??
 

cj_wattage

Member
Messages
6,698
Even if extensive ABX blind listening/playing tests suggested that these new tubes did sound as good as (or better than) the NOS stuff, people would swear they didn't sound as good. When it comes to musical gear (and many other things), older always equals better sound, psychologically speaking.

:munch




(and sometimes older stuff does sound better) :)
 

amp_surgeon

Member
Messages
367
It will take alot more than that. You'd need the same cut, same quality of beef, etc.
True, but if you gave that same cut of beef to a different chef working in the same kitchen, would you expect it to be the same? Probably not. On the other hand, if you sent the original chef to another kitchen, and you allowed him to choose his cuts of meat, you could reasonably expect to get the same taste and quality as you got in the first restaurant.

Obviously, quality materials are required regardless. But I think the more important variable is knowledge and skill. Tube manufacturing was practically an art, and manufacturing engineers from different companies rarely shared information with each other, and trade secrets were rarely written down. There were probably hundreds of potential performance problems with the tubes that the manufacturing engineers had to work out, and an engineer today could probably only glean a small percentage of them by examining NOS tubes. For the rest, he'd be left scratching his head and wondering "How'd they do that?".

The fact that some of their engineers were around when the company was making tubes means they might be privy to some of those trade secrets. Also, the fact that the plant has been making CRT's ever since they stopped making tubes means that at least some of the technology for making thermionic emission tubes has remained at the plant. Even the engineers who've never made a triode before will at least know how to make a heated cathode that can emit electrons.

That's why I say they have a pretty good shot. Probably better than anyone else who has started manufacturing tubes in the last decade.

I just have my doubts, that's all. I know NOS Mullards have shot up in price, but at $40 a piece, I might check out some other options over a new production tube.
Yeah, agreed. That's a bit steep. Sounds kinda like "boutique tube" manufacturing. I guess only time will tell if the quality justifies the price.
 




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