Tubes ordered

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by J Bird, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    For the last several days, every bit of my free time has been spent burrowing down the great tube rabbit hole. I made my mind up ten times, ten different ways. In the end, I didn't get any NOS gems, only new stuff.

    First off, the little guys: a jj 12au7 because I hear good things and I will use it. Also, three tung sol 12ax7 because it's been a while, too long, without. No Genalex gold today, maybe next time.

    Next up is the big boys. I went round and round and finally decided on the jj 5881. Compared to a 6l6gc, they can handle the high plate voltages while offering a reduced watt output. I got a matched quad to replace the 20+ year old jj 6l6gc in my 135w Twin Reverb.

    And, before I load those up in my TR, I'll be trying them out in the old Supro Thunderbolt that just got out of the shop. I hope this will help inform me as to whether to get a pair of NOS tung sol 5881, also known as the 6l6wgb (RCA, GE, Sylvania, etc.) for the Thunderbolt.

    Not that I really want to spend a bunch of money on two tubes, but if I like the results, I'll spring for an (A)NOS 6l6wgb matched pair.
     
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  2. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Synchromatic

    813
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    I can relate to the rabbit hole. It's mind-numbing and fever inducing at the same time. For a while I was using Ken-Rad NOS 6V6's in my Epiphone and I really liked them but my amp kept eating them. Got the amp fixed and just left in there whatever the tech installed. However, I just installed some new ones in my recently acquired Magnatone Varsity Reverb. The tubes it shipped with died. It had Gold Lions in it and while they sounded great, I've since read that they shouldn't be used in cathode biased amps. I then bought some JJ el844 which are a lower output option that I thought might be cool since they break up a little earlier. One red-plated after 6 weeks. The Tube Depot sent me some replacements and they immediately started making some awful noise. I sent those back and opted for Tung-Sol 7189's. Digging them so far.
     
    J Bird likes this.
  3. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    I've got some old tubes floating around. I don't really use them. There are some really good options on the new market. JJ and Ruby are always good bets.

    Just for kicks, get your hands on a 12DW7 and try it in different positions. It's basically half 12AX7 and half 12AU7 and can be super cool, depending on how the gain stages in your amp are set up.

    -m
     
    J Bird likes this.
  4. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    It is not always known, but the Chinese Shuguang tube factory was set up in 1941...

    I still have a 80 rectifier in its original black and red carton box saying "Shuguang - Nanking - Made in the People's Republic of China" - Oh, I should retrieve it and take a picture ! :rolleyes:

    Probably from the 50s Mao Zedong forced industrialization era : " the big leap forward"... o_O

    A+!
     
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  5. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Ha ! I got it... Here it is : :D

    [​IMG]

    ;)

    A+!
     
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  6. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    I'll keep an eye out, thanks.

    Yep, I've had power tubes go rattling on me, darn combos and their vibrations. I try not to hold it against the manufacturer or the model, it happens.

    One big takeaway for me is that it's inaccurate to make sweeping blanket statements about companies, factories and countries of origin. Tubes might not be overbuilt like in the old days, but there are still considerable efforts being made to refine and innovate. Strange, considering that it's a dinosaur of an industry producing, in effect, some of the finest buggy whips this century has ever seen.
     
  7. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
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  8. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Synchromatic

    813
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    I'd never consider myself experienced enough to negate brand and I sure hope I didn't come off that way. If anyone took it that way, allow me to clarify -- I think my experience with el844's leads me to believe that they aren't a good match for this amp is all. I've had JJ's in my other amp and was fine with them.
     
  9. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    No, not taken that way at all. We're on the same page, completely. I was just reiterating.
     
    oneforsorrow likes this.
  10. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

  11. Mark 6120

    Mark 6120 Electromatic

    89
    Nov 5, 2020
    DFW
    Hcsterg, that 80 is basically a 5Y3 with a different (older) base.
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I've got a much simpler method that takes 5 minutes :D

    I just email Doug from https://www.dougstubes.com/ asking him for tubes recommendations for specific tubes for specific amps in specific positions. Within a few hours he replies with great suggestions. I take his advice, buy his cheap tubes and live happily ever after ;)
     
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  13. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    Sometimes the unorthodox or unusual selections are the right selections. None of the tubes in the clean channel of my 6505+ are the usual suspects, and as a result I get a far better clean than most people using that amp. Not saying it's bad to look for input from experienced guys, but there's nothing wrong with experimenting - preamp tubes are not terribly expensive, for the most part.

    -m
     
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  14. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    If you’re in Washougal, you probably know about Eurotubes. But just in case: eurotubes.com
    Just south of Portland.

    Note: I’m not affiliated in any way except as a happy customer.
     
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  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    True - but I'm not suggesting people should not experiement with tubes.
    In fact the only tubes I've swapped in the past 20 years in 6 different amps have been experiments - none were forced.

    When I email Doug from Dougs tubes I tell him what the amp is, what tubes are in it now and ask him for suggestions that'll deliver a specific tonal outcome I describe to him.

    He never suggests the most expensive tubes, never the same tubes as what the amp maker uses stock and never all the same brand either. And all his many suggestions over past 15 years have been both spot on and cheap.

    Dougs tubes has the advantage of stocking a wide variety of different brands plus NOS stock. Others like Eurotubes only sell JJs, which may, or may not, be best suited to your specific amp and your tonal desires. Very unlikely that having the same brand tube in every position will be optimal imo

    I benefit from Doug's experience and knowledge in knowing what tubes in which positions will deliver my specified outcome. The trick is knowing what outcome you want.

    Btw - he's never once suggested an NOS tube to me even though he stocks lots of em :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
    J Bird likes this.
  16. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    The most NOS bang for your buck in terms of tone has become power tubes if you can find them reasonably priced. I’ve got a few ANOS with documented test numbers that have been great - got an RCA EL84 quad a few years ago that sounds killer and a couple of Tung Sol 6L6 pairs that are great. Then I bought a pair of modern Tung Sol 6L6 and was amazed at how good they sound. But the ANOS are audibly better sounding and I expect will last longer. But are they really worth the extra? Eh...

    But I don’t see any real reason to buy NOS preamp tubes unless you want a long lasting phase inverter. Modern preamp tubes sound great while all the great sounding NOS ones are snapped up by now and any that are left are unreasonably priced. I have a whole collection of NOS Amperex, Mullard, GE, RCA, Tung Sol 12Ax7/AT7 etc. that I got years ago when they weren’t off the charts in price. All well made, long lasting tubes. But most are either microphonic in V1/V2 or just don’t sound as good as the modern ones. I could sell them for a very tidy profit today.
     
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  17. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    I don't worry so much about NOS or really most other qualities in a PI, but I usually look for matched triodes. There are those who swear it matters and those who swear it doesn't, but in my experience it's the only variable that makes a notable difference in my amp's PI position. What's really fun is reamping a DI track, swapping tubes without touching the settings or mic placements so you can really hear the differences in a somewhat objective way.

    -m
     
    J Bird likes this.
  18. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Yea, matched triodes comes first for me. I assume it evens out the lifespan of your power tubes as well?
     
  19. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    Probably. I don't blow through power tubes, even though I pushed that amp hard for a long time...I swapped the factory tubes out for a matched set once but can't remember if I switched them back. Anyway, PI is the only spot where I worry about matched triodes - gain stages aren't so funny about that and sometimes do better with mismatched triodes. (Kinda circles back the the 12DW7, which is half and half 12AX7 and 12AU7....)

    -m
     
  20. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    The jj 5881's are working out quite nicely in place of my old jj 6l6gc's in the Thunderbolt. Count me a satisfied customer (of aes tubesandmore).

    Yep, that's where I got the jj 6l6gc set for my TR back in the late nineties. I just am not in the area for long enough, these days, to make the trip to his studio/house.
     
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