Good tube source?

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by rockinlespaul, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. sonar

    sonar Senior Member

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    Sep 10, 2008

    Most modern power tubes are more than adequate for the job. Believe it or not some sound really good. And once you get a good 12AX7 (either new or old) it'll last for years, sometimes longer than the player.

    This really is about tone chasing tube rollers. And most tube rolling is based on a bunch of myths and unqualified hype. It took me a lot of time and money to figure that out. Sure, a Mullard EL84 would be optimal for your all original, 1962 AC30, but for an Orange Tiny Terror? It would make little difference to use old tubes when considering the ratio of price to any "improvement" in tone for most modern amps.

    My personal preference for old 12AX7/7025 tubes has to do with my bad luck with modern pre's and microphonics. Tone "improvement" is mostly marginal and varies too much to definitively say one brand is better than another brand with old pre tubes. I've had RCA 7025's and Mullard 12AU7's from the same respective batches sound different.

    Other old glass 9 pin pre's popular in guitar amps (12AU7, 12AT7, etc) are still readily available at good prices.

    Again, once I get a good 12AX7 (new or old) they stay in the amp unless they go microphonic. I have 50 year old 12AX7's still running in 50 year old amps I've owned for 20+ years.

    I miss the old RCA 6L6's, but no way I'm paying that kind of money when there are pretty kick *ss sounding new 6L6 variants like the Tung Sol 7591A.
    ac/dcfan87, fleahead, frankv and 2 others like this.
  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Agreed, the differences between most tubes are very subtle, and very dependent on the amp itself.
    northernguitarguy likes this.
  3. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Aug 25, 2011
    This could be the first time I actually agree with Sonar. And I do agree having rolled more tubes then most of you guys. Most likely anyway. You would be hard pressed to tell a difference... NOS vs Brand new.
  4. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    Sep 6, 2007

    You misunderstood. I meant paying the money for today's tubes and not searching and tone chasing prior production tubes.

    northernguitarguy likes this.
  5. fett

    fett Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member

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    Jan 21, 2012
    I love anything that has tubes. You name it. I bought a Berlant reel to reel tape recorder. Why? Because it was delivered to me locally. $175. The deck is useless. However, it came with two tubed mic pre-amps. It was made in '50's? I actually tested each one with headphones and a big mic. They worked. Were the tubes up to snuff? The only way to check is having a mutual conductance tube tester. I have two. The stock tubes were tested and were weak. Back to why I collect tubes. I knew I had a 6x5 somewhere. I needed a 12bh7. I bought two online. I found box of tubes I bought years ago. Yikes!!!! I found all of them in spades. Back to old v new tubes. The guys that sell them will give you test results. Tha
  6. Z2112

    Z2112 Gold Supporter

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    Dec 24, 2012
    I agree with others on here. Save your money for other things.
    I have a good friend that is very well versed in building and repairing amps and has boxes of nib vintage tubes.
    I built an Allen Accomplice 40 watt amp kit. He invited me over so we could fire it up together.
    The kit came with tung sol 6l6's and EH 12ax7's .

    Spent most of the day playing it and rolling tubes. He has a lot better ears than me.
    He would have given me any tube that I thought made an improvement.
    Left with the original kit tubes intact except a vintage 12AT7 for the reverb. To our ears it slowed down the reverb and smoothed it out.
    Thumpalumpacus likes this.
  7. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    Jul 26, 2015
    NorthernGuitarGuy, since you're in Canada, PM me if you are in need of any NOS or ANOS tubes. I have a local guy who has pretty fair prices. I've pretty much filled my lifetime supply so I can share the info :naughty:
    northernguitarguy likes this.
  8. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Apr 11, 2014

    If the NOS coveted tubes get cost prohibitive (And no doubt, they will) Look into new Genalex Gold Lion EL84s and 12AX7s. If you need more than one EL84, at least you can get them matched and balanced. I doubt you'll get that with coveted NOS. There are premium priced tubes, but not insane like what you're hoping for. They bloom real nice and you'll never look back. Probably not a Metal tube though.

    Hope this helps!
    rockinlespaul likes this.
  9. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Thank you, my friend!
    yamariv likes this.
  10. akuster777

    akuster777 Member

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    Sep 8, 2016
  11. needlespauls

    needlespauls V.I.P. Member

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Not to be difficult, but I slightly have to disagree on a specific topic in your post. The Orange Tiny Terror. I had one, thought it was a great little amp. I had a Korean version I recall. Stock tubes. Sounded really good. I lucked into a vast supply of old pulls from a ham radio guy. Oh my god the difference in changing the preamp tubes to old old RCA’s that tested off the charts was in-credddddible!! To the point of no return. Sounded so much better. Later sold that a key city 20 combo. The stock shaugang 12ax7b’s sounded great in that amp. Tried my rca’s, Westinghouse, ge’s Etc and it actually didn’t sound as good. So on that not I then also agree. Some amps work better with certain tubes.
    Classicplayer likes this.
  12. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    Feb 5, 2013
    I haven't been a part of this discussion but this post just sounds rude.
  13. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    Aug 12, 2007
    I found a decent place, thanks Rudi.

    Until I decide what to go with, I went ahead and picked a few things from my dwindling stash.

    I went with two JAN 12ax7s and a old Mullard 7025. Went with a matched pair of nos Tesla's and a EH for the rectifier. It was all I had. I'm very happy with the results.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
    RAG7890 likes this.

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