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Retubing My Marshall - What NOS Tubes Work For You

Flatfish.

Member
Messages
278
I wouldn't bother with NOS for output tubes, most of them are well used anyway, a proper scam. But what really makes NOS output tubes not worth it.. are the EHel34. they sound really good in Marshalls. Preamp tubes are another story, everyone is after the same tubes for the same reason hence the price. Mullards sound amazing in v1. Tungsram welded plate 12ax7/ecc83 are fantastic also.
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
I wouldn't bother with NOS for output tubes, most of them are well used anyway, a proper scam. But what really makes NOS output tubes not worth it.. are the EHel34. they sound really good in Marshalls. Preamp tubes are another story, everyone is after the same tubes for the same reason hence the price. Mullards sound amazing in v1. Tungsram welded plate 12ax7/ecc83 are fantastic also.
Thanks - I hear exactly what you're saying. I've heard good things about the EH and even if they don't have longevity , 2x new$ probably will be equal to or less than a tube tauted to be ANOS . At least with the EH you know what you're getting , at least until the batch changes !
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
I believe it was about 2 years ago. Around the same time I was able to
to also get a hold of this absolutely stunning pair of NOS Metal base
EL34s, they are from Hamburg. Fellow member, Timbre Wolf (Great guy!!)
was kind enough to share some of his considerable knowledge with me.
He is a fan of the Hamburg manufactured tubes.
This pair is from 1955.
what amp do you have these in ?
 

nondeplume

Puppet For Prophet
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,037
Suhr SL67.

I have a few pairs of "fat bottle" 6CA7's, been toting them around forever for that "special" day/amp. Finally, I decided, all days are special :)) and the SL67 is special, so put them in along with some Brimar 12AX7's I had from and old 68's Plexi Marshall PA I have lying around (that stopped working).

The amps isn't my daily driver, more my garage queen that I take out on weekends for a bit of fun etc...so it makes sense. Where I live I can turn it up as loud as I want, usually run it around V6-8. Does it sound better than before? Idk, the amp sounded great, it was biased a little cold, so it sounds fuller/warmer to me, but ya know...haven't done any true a/b testing. I'll be leaving it like this for sure in any event.

 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
I wouldn't bother with NOS for output tubes, most of them are well used anyway, a proper scam. But what really makes NOS output tubes not worth it.. are the EHel34. they sound really good in Marshalls. Preamp tubes are another story, everyone is after the same tubes for the same reason hence the price. Mullards sound amazing in v1. Tungsram welded plate 12ax7/ecc83 are fantastic also.
Have to agree with you on the NOS power tubes.
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
Suhr SL67.

I have a few pairs of "fat bottle" 6CA7's, been toting them around forever for that "special" day/amp. Finally, I decided, all days are special :)) and the SL67 is special, so put them in along with some Brimar 12AX7's I had from and old 68's Plexi Marshall PA I have lying around (that stopped working).

The amps isn't my daily driver, more my garage queen that I take out on weekends for a bit of fun etc...so it makes sense. Where I live I can turn it up as loud as I want, usually run it around V6-8. Does it sound better than before? Idk, the amp sounded great, it was biased a little cold, so it sounds fuller/warmer to me, but ya know...haven't done any true a/b testing. I'll be leaving it like this for sure in any event.

I've shied away from big bottle worried that they may not fit/cause issues in my smaller 5 watters. What brand did you use ?

 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
The key (brands) is what the code on the tube says, there was a lot of
rebranding done back then. You can still find good deals, if know
what to look for.
As an example, these GE EL34s are really Xf2 Mullards from 1966.
Knowledge is king when tube hunting!!
Thanks for the pix - helps in doing my homework !
 

Flatfish.

Member
Messages
278
All but 1 of my 20+ 1960-1970 Mullard Blackburn EL34's tested as or many stronger than new production.
A bit ambiguous and rather irrelevant.
I'm not a fan of the testers, i think they're basically useless.
Another point to make is that yours aren't for sale, if they were weak that's precisely where they'd be.
I used to be on the hunt for brown base tesla el34, scored a few which I still have but don't get too excited about output tubes as the ehel34 is so good.
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,652
A bit ambiguous and rather irrelevant.
I'm not a fan of the testers, i think they're basically useless.
Another point to make is that yours aren't for sale, if they were weak that's precisely where they'd be.
I used to be on the hunt for brown base tesla el34, scored a few which I still have but don't get too excited about output tubes as the ehel34 is so good.
Another vote for the EH - THX!
 

Coolidge

Vendor
Messages
2,491
A bit ambiguous and rather irrelevant.
I'm not a fan of the testers, i think they're basically useless.
Another point to make is that yours aren't for sale, if they were weak that's precisely where they'd be.
I used to be on the hunt for brown base tesla el34, scored a few which I still have but don't get too excited about output tubes as the ehel34 is so good.
Both new production and NOS all tested on an Amplitrex AT1000. Hard data from a modern tube tester. I purchased all these NOS tubes over the past year, many in the past 7 months.

If you found a new production tube that works well in your amp(s) great. I have amps where NOS is meaningless just about any tube sounds good in them. I use new production in those amps. But I also have amps that seem to hate new production tubes, they sound like ass in comparison or lack richness.

I am selective when buying NOS, ANOS, and used tubes from that era. There's a lot of BS info in peoples ads for them, frequently the sellers don't know what they are talking about or how to date them. There's a lot of loser overpriced 'vintage' tubes out there for sure.
 

Flatfish.

Member
Messages
278
The best tube tester is my ear, and my ear tells me these machines people are relying on to test their tubes are rubbish as the ranges are so wide for example between the low end of NOS and the high end.
You could run a preamp tube for 20 years and ' test' it, get your NOS result, put it in a nice new box and sell the thing to someone for good money.
What they test for is shorts. ( and ive seen intermittent shorts in tubes which really does mean these machines are useless)
 
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