NOS tube for V1, anybody do it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Yoda, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    I tend to believe modern amps are designed around run-of-the-mill Russian or Chinese tubes, and that putting NOS in a modern amplifier won't yield significant results but tonight I was experimenting with tube-swapping in my Fender Blues Junior amp (with Cannabis Rex speaker) and the best tones I've ever heard come out of the BJR were with an Amperex 5751 and also with a no-name (the brand rubbed off a long time ago) NOS 12AT7 in V1. Those tubes completely changed the dynamics and tone of the amplifier and are stellar tubes compared to any modern tube I've tried. I think modern tubes are fine for less tone-shaping tube positions.

    I'll be leaving the NOS 12AT7 in V1 in BJR, the Amperex tubes are going in my Bassman.

    I haven't even experimented with NOS power tubes yet, but I'm already excited about the significant difference of having just one NOS preamp tube, so I may try NOS power tubes in the future.

    Is anybody else using NOS tubes in a modern-day amp? If so, what tubes and what amp?
     
  2. jcs

    jcs Member

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    You just have to try some......depends on the circuit & certainly NOS 12ax7 for example vary widely in tone & response as there are many design variations.

    5751 & 12at7 are always worth a try in v1 as well as the last slot (phase inverter).
     
  3. pepedede

    pepedede Member

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    theres a jd simo rig rundown on youtube from premier guitar where jd swears on trying different preamp tubes in v1 with his old marshall, from memory his favourites were rca 12ax7. He says he tries several nos out in the v1 position and marks them for reference in case he needs a good sounding replacement when on the road.
     
  4. halcyon

    halcyon Supporting Member

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    I explicitly try not to. What if you find something truly amazing? They're expensive as hell and not being made anymore.

    Meanwhile, ignorance is bliss and I like Tung-Sols in V1/2 for most applications, and they're readily available.
     
  5. Hand of Doom

    Hand of Doom Member

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    yeah! Tung -Sol! Oh wait, never mind.
     
  6. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

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    I've been going on a vintage (usually slightly used, rather than true NOS) tube buying spree recently. Why? Because I can buy 1950s and 60s Tung-sols, Raytheons and RCAs for less than modern Chinese tubes! Tubes are insanely expensive here in the UK. After shipping and tax a new TAD 12AX7 (made in China) costs £18 ($26). I just picked up a bunch of ANOS 1959 Tung-sols for £15 per tube, including shipping. For 12AT7s a new one can cost £15 before shipping and tax (!), whereas we can still get genuine NOS for £10 before shipping and tax (I'm currently running an old Brimar I got for £6 total, shipping incl.). Much the same is true of plenty of output valves. A pair of JJ 6L6s would cost me £36 (TADs, which I really prefer would cost a little bit more, if I recall). I just got a pair of GE 6L6s for £40.

    At these prices, for me, it is a no-brainer. If you're in the US and have better prices I could understand choosing differently.

    Personally, I'm using NOS in V1 and V2 and also as a reverb driver (Tone King Sky King...also vintage tubes in my JTM45). If the economics change, my buying habits will change with them (I still prefer the TAD 6l6WGBs over any other output tube I've tried, including RCA blackplates, believe it or not...I like bright).
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  7. LPVM

    LPVM Member

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    NOS, or New Old Stock (meaning old but never used before) are expensive.

    ANOS tubes (which are old used tubes that test as new) are very affordable and I have them in most of my amps. ANOS RCA, GE, Sylvania, Tung-Sol and Ratheon 12AX7's are easily found in the $15 - $25 range. Mullards are typically about $40 a copy.

    Sorry, I just suspect people are applying the NOS term to any old tube again. ;)

    True NOS tubes do command higher prices. Instead of buying those I spent my money on a tube tester so I know what I'm really getting. I've scored a bunch of ANOS US made tubes in the $10 a piece price range. It's pretty easy to do when you buy in lots.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  8. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

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    Ah, yes...this is the other thing: buy in multiples! You don't have to go full-on 'Cost-Co', but buying in relative bulk really helps.
     
  9. bbaug14

    bbaug14 Supporting Member

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    Every amp I own I run ANOS tubes. Makes a world of difference in most amps. Power tubes not so much, but preamp tubes definitely. Really high gain preamp driven amps don't benefit as much from the change.
     
  10. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    I will definitely look into accumulating ANOS tubes, that sounds like a good way to save money.
     
  11. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with every post in this thread, except for this.

    It will never get easier to experience the glorious tone of those old tubes. You really owe it to yourself to try a great tube in the early stage of a vintage clean amp. Yes, it may spoil you, but any old stock tube is bound to last way longer than those being made today. Not cheaper, but a better value. Just my 2 cents.
     
  12. LPVM

    LPVM Member

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    I agree with this as well. It seems like the higher gain the amp the less affect they have on the tone. However, you just have to use the right tube in that application. I put early '90s NOS Chinese Military 12AX7's in a few key preamp positions of my 6505+ and they definitely made big difference. I had 40 of those about 18 months ago all NIB and stupidly sold all but 5 tubes because I didn't own any high gain amps at the time and didn't like them in what I was running then. :bkw Holy crap are they good in high gain amps!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Common internet meme perpetuated by people who are already predisposed not to want to use NOS tubes. It is what it is. ;)
     
  14. logdrum

    logdrum Member

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    In EL-84 and 6V6 amps they actually make a difference as well. The transition from clean to tube overdrive and the compression quality for NMV amps.
     
  15. NewDr.P

    NewDr.P Member

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    always a blues jr...

    dont NOS tubes cost more than blues jrs?
     
  16. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    LOL. For the most expensive complete set...possibly. What do these amps run these days?

    BUT, this discussion is about V1.

    So, if NOS did make a significant difference...would that be any different than spending twice as much on an amp that you liked better? ;)

    This isn't a sales pitch. People who are going to go with NOS will go with NOS and people who won't, won't. There's plenty of business and not that much supply, so everyone can be happy.
     
  17. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    It will sound different, maybe better, maybe worse...
     
  18. blues

    blues Supporting Member

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    A good thing about the V1 is it probably has the most impact on tone. You can check out different tubes with out breaking the bank.

    You can try ANOS before moving on to NOS to get a better idea of what you like.
     
  19. Pleximan

    Pleximan Member

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    I have an RCA Black Plate 12ax7 in the V1 and a few Lowery Tung sols, mixed with modern tubes in the preamp of my FJA amp. They have been in there for about 9 months. They still sound pretty and strong. I have reissue EL34 Mullards for power tubes. I totally agree old production tubes are better. They also had to be. Because everything ran on tubes back then. Tv's, organs, medical equipment, radios, guitar amps, etc.

    I wish a company could make tubes to old standards, and quality. I guess the money isn't there so it probably won't happen. :cry:
     
  20. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Modern tube companies make more money selling more inexpensive tubes to more people, repeatedly, than they would selling more expensive tubes to fewer people less often. And they don't have to expend any R&D or risk of failure to do it. ;)
     

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