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Why no new US made tubes?

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Sirloin

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I was over at my local amp tech shop and he was bemoaning the high number of faulty new tubes on the market. Considering the extremes some of us go to in the search for tone and the fact that tubes definitely have an impact on tone, why no US tubes? I would think somebody could create a boutique US made tube company that would appeal to the TGP crowd. Is it just not economically feasable? Is it US government and or enviromental regs that are preventing this? I would think a quality tube maker could pretty much name their price.
 

Tim Plains

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I'm assuming it's a combination of occupational health & safety along with not being able to compete with the cost of overseas production.
 

digiTED

rock > talk
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Not that I actually know anything about this, but my guess is that it's not just tooling and labor costs, but environmental regs that play the largest role. Look at the two countries where most/all the current production is: China and Russia (neither known for robust environmental protections).
 

bobcs71

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Not that I actually know anything about this, but my guess is that it's not just tooling and labor costs, but environmental regs that play the largest role. Look at the two countries where most/all the current production is: China and Russia (neither known for robust environmental protections).
I'm pretty sure it is an EPA regulation thing. You're probably not even supposed to dispose of tubes in the garbage.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

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There really isn't a demand. Think about the block you live on. How many computers on that block? How many TVs? How many cell phones? How many iPods? How many game consoles? Now how many tube amps?

If you're a manufacture and you have to pay the bills, feed the kids, send them to college, pay the employees, pay the insurance, etc., etc., etc., what are you going to invest in? The future or the past? Sorry, we like to think we're a big market, but in the grand scheme of things we're pretty darn small.
 

digiTED

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Interesting thread topic.

Maybe another way to look at it is that due to our more robust environmental regs, it's too cost prohibitive to comply responsibly due to the very small market demand for tubes. Afterall, an amp or pedal company can operate out of a garage.

Sent from my personal mobile thingy using whatever app this is
 
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Sirloin

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Good points all. But take a look at all the boutique amps, caps, transformers, speakers, cabs, attenuators, pedals that are a small market and could be made more cheaply overseas, but they are selling. Why are there two rocks, fuchs, germino, suhr, carr, morgan etc made in the US? Why make any of this gear in the states? I think when NOS tubes are finally gone, that may be the tipping point.

I bet if somebody made some new tubes, had some great demos made by a well known player and, here's the key, created a waiting list wih the appropriate hype, they would sell like hotcakes!
 

digiTED

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Jon Silberman said:
Hey man, I'm sorry - upon further reflection, I deleted my post out of concern that perhaps it's best I not post here on issues I address in my day job even with a disclaimer. :(
Good call, actually. Nothing private on the Interwebz.

Sent from my personal mobile thingy using whatever app this is
 

GT100

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So how much more are you willing to pay for say a 12ax7?
Would you pay in excess of $50 for one?

Lloyd
 

soundchaser59

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Good points all. But take a look at all the boutique amps, caps, transformers, speakers, cabs, attenuators, pedals that are a small market and could be made more cheaply overseas, but they are selling. Why are there two rocks, fuchs, germino, suhr, carr, morgan etc made in the US? Why make any of this gear in the states? I think when NOS tubes are finally gone, that may be the tipping point.
But building an amp is a totally different animal from building a tube. You can build an amp by hand with small hand tools. Try doing that with a tube. You gonna blow your own glass?

Besides, those factories making tubes in China, they are not just making tubes and nothing else. Some of those factories are making all kinds of electronics, and they just happen to have a way to tool up for tubes on the side. For all we know the place making those tubes is also making phones and microwaves and toasters and capacitors and transformers.
 

5E3

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So if we now pay about $12 for a tube made off-shore, what do you think it would have to sell for to make economic sense for it to be manufactured here?

I know this is just wild guessing ... but what do you think? $100, $200, more?
 

diagrammatiks

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it's been tried before a bunch of times.

people say they want great new us made tubes but if they had to pay 100 bucks for one it's a no deal.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
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Not that I actually know anything about this, but my guess is that it's not just tooling and labor costs, but environmental regs that play the largest role. Look at the two countries where most/all the current production is: China and Russia (neither known for robust environmental protections).

Or good tubes.


:rimshot :)
 

littlejohn

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999
Never happen, enviro stuff aside, or if so seems? like Groove tubes would have taken a shot at it...didn't they offer a US made 6L6GE copy a few years ago?
 

modernp

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I have 4 amps that I retube all the time. 12 or so at the studio that are being retubed and working with an amp tech and I don't see a lot of bad tubes. But I hear it all the time on here. Just curious what vendors you guys are getting bad tubes from and what are they doing when you get em.
 
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