NOS versus new production tubes

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by Ex Lion Tamer » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:14 am

bdm wrote:if nothing speaks to the quality of vintage tubes then check this...

i've been steady gigging with a DIMED mid sixties silvertone 1482 for the last 5+ years on the original power and rectifier tubes and have had zero issues whatsoever! 45 year old tubes pushed to the limit and still giving the goods!

meanwhile i'm on my third modern production power tube in my mercury so far this year!
I don't want nitpick, this is a subject I don't know very well... But I think that's probably not a proper comparison. Your Carr and your silvertone probably have different circuits, different plate voltages, they're biased differently, etc.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:00 pm

Brad, I don't mind you writing books .... in fact UI wish someone had have "instructed" me 10 years ago when I was first buying (guitar) amps about the pros and cons of modern manufacturing styles a verses vintage (tag/rivet board). As well as the advantages of NOS valves/

As I think John mentioned earlier many guitarists (professional included) have no idea about amps, about valves or even how the whole thing works. But they do know when they get the sound they like. The guitarist I record with is like that ... has no idea about electronics but works on getting "that sound".

So I just did a blind swap test with him using various NOS and modern 12AX7s (probably went through 20 or so) and eventually we came down to 2 particular valve types ... both being NOS. Then when he chose the one he liked the best after playing a bit with each, I then did a blind swap test with 3 valves of the same type.year of manufacture that he liked, And in the end he said all three were perfect. I then told him they were the same 12AX7 valve (actually it was a JG 5751 but that doesn't matter).

The weird/strange thing is that the typeof pre amp valve he chose as his prefered valve was the same type I had selected the previous day when I was sorting out what valves to use in the blind swap test. I had thought/hoped that the NOS mullard 12AX7 would be the best, but in the end it wasn't the valve that produced "the sound".

Like wise with power valves ... if you know your amp well enough and play it a lot, then you'll know when the sound is best. For me that is 1960s NOS GE 6V6GT , closely followed by RCAs.

In the end it is down to the sound.
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by jgs61 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:25 am

Yeah, I think it's good stuff. Now I actually know a little about microphones. It makes sense compared to guitars.

200 to 500 hours is such a huge gap compared to 10,000 hours. That's kind of hard to believe. I'm not saying I disagree, but it's just shocking. My Samamp has Tung Sols in it and I've been running them consistently for 3 years. Just recently I have noticed a few weird little tones every now and then when I crank it. It's very subtle and doesn't happen often, so I've kind of ignored it. I'll probably try swapping out the 6V6s with some NOSs and see if it still happens.

Still, with that kind time gap NOS is sort of a no-brainer. It makes me wonder when if the NOS supply will ever dry out.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:20 am

It will dry out. For some types, it's already done. Especially the microphone tubes.

Try finding a V14M used in the U47. You can easily pay $2,000 and end up with a tube that's too microphonic and/or noisy to use in an actual microphone. You can pay about $600 for an AC701K used in the Neumann M-49, and only have a one in three chance of getting a usable tube. And the odds for both are going down, as the 'rejects' are getting re-sold while the good ones are getting selected out, to the point where your odds of getting an unusable one are far greater than getting a good one.

Prospects for making new tubes up to the standard of old aren't so good.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:07 pm

øøøøøøø wrote: and I'd love a spare Mullard GZ34 (all 3 of mine are currently in use in amps), but those are ridiculously expensive now.
Brad I picked up 4 NIB BOS Mullard GZ34s in the past 6 or 8 months (one in an amp already, one for a project and 2 spare back ups just in case) Two were from a guy in russia and two were from a guy in Turkey. They went very cheap on ebay and after I won both auctions I asked each sellers (who both sell lots and lots on NOS valves on ebay) why did he think they sold as cheaply .. both said it is because people in the USA don't bid on auctions outside of the USA....

Yeah this is somewhat of a sweeping statement, but there are the occasional great buy in some strange "foreign" (to me at least) countries. We all need to be watching the not so usual locations to get the valves we need

I also recently picked up 2 NIB NOS very early 60s Mullard EL34s from Finland. Cheap, quick delivery, friendly. The guy in Finland said I was the first Aussie he had ever communicated with .... he was my first Fin ... as they say..


Also when the Mullard factory in Sydney finally closed sometime in the 80s, one of the state science museums wanted to "collect" the old machinery from the Mullard plant, they were even willing to pay and have the machines shipped at their cost. [there's quite a lot of science museums which house old vintage machines here in Oz] The museum was told flattly by Mullard "no". When the bulldozers went in to flattern the mullard factory, they destroyed all of the machinery as well and it was sold to Japan as scrap steel.
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by jgs61 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:35 am

sookwinder wrote:The museum was told flattly by Mullard "no".
Did they give a reason for this? I can't imagine it would be that big a deal if the museum was paying for everything.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:55 am

really interesting info, sookwinder. The story about the Mullard machines is unsurprising. Big companies make weird decisions, sometimes.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:14 pm

From what i read the reason Mullard didn't let their sydney plant equipment be accepted by the museum was almost "out of spite" for the fact that the plant had to close.... I read a page some years ago by a guy who had worked at the Mullard plant and it seemed that the Mullard management had the attitude that if they could not use the equipment (to make money) then no one can use the equiment for anything.

Funny thing is when I started my first job after receiving my physiscs degree in 1983, the company I started with were just moving into a larger facility. It was the old (no longer used) Dunlop tyres test facility, which Dunlop had removed all their equipment etc. But as we walked through this shell of a building you could see where they have deliberately used chainsaws or gas axes to damage or destroy items (such as fume cupboards, industrial enamel sinks etc) so the new owners could not use them... very strange attitude
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by budda12ax7 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:36 pm

This is a GREAT thread.....

Maybe some more insight here..

As pointed out in the thread "re tubing" became popular in the 80's when people started "re tubing" Marshall JCM 800 heads with the then new and popular "Groove Tubes"....

This became the "standard" sound that was accepted...everything else was measured by that sound...
As people became more aware of gear...people went back a generation to the 70's and 60's to see what was in those amps.....
Well...those amps were still around...as we went into the 1990's Mesa Boogie's became popular with the "Rectifier" series....these amps had the ability to switch tubes in and out..(I think they sound like poo)...BUT tube knowledge was born into the common guitar population....


My Case is this....I bought a JMP 50 watt Marshall that sounded very good...somebody put Groove Tubes into the pre-amp spots...it sounded good, because that sound was the "Standard" sound found on many cd's from the 80's and early 90's....BUT....

I purchased some RCA Black Plates 12ax7's and some Mullard 12ax7's from the late 60's and early 70's as NOS tubes...

That amp just came alive...it was a HUGE difference in sound...deeper, thicker, ....it was unbelievable...

Yes...cables, pick ups, all that other stuff matters in the sound chain, but the NOS made a big difference...

Another Point....I purchased the first or second run of Budda phatman tube overdrive pedals....it came with Groove Tubes..two 12ax7's....it sounded very good, but ...

I dropped the two RCA 12ax7's into it and the sound became so big and beefy....just with the pedal on a the clean channel....

The problem is that companies that produce modern tubes...such as Groove Tubes and others use the name Mullard on their production tubes....



I will give up my secret tube places....Brent Jessie.com...I bought tons of stuff from this guy...

My super secret tube spot....Darcell Tubes in El Monte Ca...this guy has a warehouse full of tubes in boxes...he will let you rummage through and pick some out.....I DO NOT WORK for these places either, but they got good stuff...

I think for a reasonable investment in tubes your amp will sound huge...it's funny because everyone has no problem dropping 170.00 bucks for a Mastery Bridge...

My two cents...

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:35 pm

more gold from Oliver Archut:
For the last 25 years I am collecting and hunting down historic tube making documents, like blue prints, chemical compositions, production manuals, test apparatus, etc. etc.
I also spoke with most of the tube engineers that were working in germanys tube factories, and I am still in contact with the ones that are still alive (no to may left)...

Making a tube is not a problem, Chinese, Russians and other companies prove it, making a high quality one that is equal to the historic counterparts is very difficult to nearly impossible.

There is no tube manufacture currently making a tube that is usable as a replacement for vintage equipment, nor useable for modern high quality tube design.

The reason why is quite simple, the entire supply structures are gone!
In 1960 "Hoesch Metal Werke/Metal Works" in germany made approx. 200 metric tons of clad aluminum nickel steel needed for the plates of receiving/audio tubes.
"Plansee" in Austria made approx. 250 Tons of support wire alloys, etc. and so on and so on.
That's a lot of raw material for a electron tubes that weigh in the best case 45 gram.
In 1960 these materials were easy to get a hold off and fairly inexpensive.
Today hardly nobody needs those alloys, and quite rare to start with, you still can custom order them but so the cost is about 100 times higher than in 1960.
There same is valid for all other materials...

99% of all tubes in production, use substandard material to start with, plus various problem with the structural support, etc.

A few years back I supplied some in production pre amp tubes to retired tube engineers for evaluation.

All what I got back was, "Those tubes would have never passed the QC, the list of problems is to long..."

There is a very nice web-page about the vintage RCA works http://www.vintagetubeservices.com/page14.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
the same sophistication applies to the historic Telefunken and Philips/Valvo/Mullard works...

Best regards,

...and a GOLDEN quote:
PS We do not live in the audio dark ages, it is more like after the atomic price cut bomb(s) were dropped, and we are in a nuclear audio winter...

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by Brock the Mod » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:48 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:PS We do not live in the audio dark ages, it is more like after the atomic price cut bomb(s) were dropped, and we are in a nuclear audio winter...
:whistle:

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by budda12ax7 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:36 pm

That's why I am dusting off my Fender Cyber Twin....who needs tubes when I can have midi and amp modeling... :-/

Image

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:09 am

I've been away from the computer for the holidays, so returning late to the thread,

great info from everyone...I just checked with Nik at Ceriatone, and it seems my 6L6 Deluxe will also run 6V6s, so I might look into getting some NOS tubes to see what the fuss is :)

the extra life is really appealing to me...JJs aren't really that cheap in Europe, to be honest, and the pair I bought a while back feels a bit lifeless lately.


so I think I'll put some 6V6s in my Deluxe...I'm mostly playing at home lately anyway, so reducing the volume would also be great ;)

any particular ones I should look for brand-wise, and even numbers-wise?

I find tube numbers confusing! ;D

it seems that say 5AR4s are tha same as GZ34s...?

is there something similar with 6V6s?

and what about pre-amp tubes? Are there quite a few that have different numbers, but are essentially the same?
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by PaulDesmondTutu » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:40 am

Sorry to post a bit off-topic but I heard an interesting story the other day. One of my drummers is a real tube fanatic and told me how Russia still, even after the collapse of the Sovet Union still continued the research in tubes, unlike the West, but kept it quiet during the Cold War. I'll have to ask him about the name of the tube but they seem to have developed it so far to overcome the usual downsides of tubes being unreliable and weather sensitive etc. Don't quote me on that. If anyone is interested I'll ask him tonight.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by budda12ax7 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:59 am

I have the RCA black plate 12ax7's....nice tubes...not totally expensive......well worth it..

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