NOS versus new production tubes

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:09 am

Also, try a 6072/12AY7 in V1 of your tweed Deluxe. This is the tube that was originally used there by Fender, and I like tweed amps best with the proper 12AY7 front end. Just a thought.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by Stratelejazzuar » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:20 am

All of this tube substitution talk reminded me of my 68/69 Princeton Reverb. when i bought it, the seller told me before he shipped:
I HAVE THE AMP RUNNING WITH A 5Y3 RECTIFIER..ITS A SLIGHTLY LOWER VOLTAGE..SLIGHTLY BROWNER SOUND AND JUST A TAD LOWER IN VOLUME..MAYBE 2 WATTS LESS..I LIKE IT THE BEST WITH THIS 5Y3..IF YOU WANT I CAN REINSTALL THE 5AR4 WHICH CAME STOCK AND WILL REBIAS TO THAT. ALOT OF THE PRINCETON REVERBS CAME WITH 5U4 WHICH IS LOWER THAN A 5AR4 ANDHIGHER VOLTAGE THAN A 5Y3..DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU ARE USING THE AMP FOR ANY OF THE ABOVE CAN BE USED
and then
THE TUBES RUN A HAIR COOL WITH THE 5Y3 AND A LITTE HOT WITH THE 5AR4. I RECCOMEND USING THE 5Y3 IF POSSIBLE. IT IS JUST EASIER ON EVERYTHING IN THE AMP..THE CAPS THE TUBES THE TRANSFORMERS. YOU CAN JUST SWITCH THEM OUT..
relating to the OP, if one is going to try changing out tubes (ex. a 5U4 for a 5Y3), is it better/safer/whatever to replace a production with a NOS?

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:33 am

Everything the seller told you is true. I'm not 100% sure I understand the question... but in any case, NOS 5U4 and 5Y3 are so cheap that it's almost a no-brainer.

NOS 5AR4/GZ34 are a completely different story. The best AND most common (how often does that happen?) are Mullards. They're ridiculously expensive. GE made a few. They're merely "insultingly" expensive. I've never tried one.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by Stratelejazzuar » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:40 am

øøøøøøø wrote:Everything the seller told you is true. I'm not 100% sure I understand the question...
I mean, since production tubes aren't made the same as NOS, is it still safe to make the common substitutions to achieve whatever desired result? And if not, then would it be better to make the subst. with a NOS tube?

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:57 am

Stratelejazzuar wrote:
øøøøøøø wrote:Everything the seller told you is true. I'm not 100% sure I understand the question...
I mean, since production tubes aren't made the same as NOS, is it still safe to make the common substitutions to achieve whatever desired result? And if not, then would it be better to make the subst. with a NOS tube?
yes, it's still the same. :)

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by jetset » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:31 am

øøøøøøø wrote: you can get them used, "tests new". I usually do. Used, if they test strong, they can be had for cheaper than a new production tube, and will still very often have MORE life left in them (and better sound) than a brand new new production tube will.
This.

Since we're sharing secrets, here's mine. Everyone makes such a big fuss about NOS. OOS is 95% as good, and still miles ahead of new production tubes Most old audio equipment only have a few hundred hours on them, so the tubes are fine. I have a large stash of pulls from amps I've had and sold over the years, mostly Mullard EL84's and various old ECC83s (Brimar, Valvo, Telefunken, etc.) Pick up an old amp from eBay or Craigslist, play it for a few years, then sell it with "New JJ's!" Keep the good stuff for your keeper amps.

Great thread, btw.

And since there are more millionaires and billionares on the planet now than ever before, it would just take one who was interested in tube audio gear to throw some bucks towards doing tubes right. Does Zuckerman play guitar?

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:35 am

Not to mention how many tubes sat in military gear "ready to go" for decades in peacetime. Eventually that gear was obsoleted, and the tubes were "pulled."

Some places put these in white boxes and advertise them as "NOS." However, even one little mar on the base suggesting it was once installed forces their hand (if they care), and they'll often sell as "used, tests new" for a little bit less. At least this used to be the case.

Sometimes you can get "used, tests new" tubes in white boxes for significantly less than premium NOS tubes in consumer boxes.

But as with everything else regarding NOS tubes, things are getting harder every day.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:41 am

many thanks for all the info :)

I definitely want to be as tweedy as I can get, as I love the organic sound! :-*

I think I'll go for 6V6, as I need lower volume at home at the moment...I see quite a few sellers on ebay uk from the Balkan countries, so I should be able to pick some stuff up in the next few weeks

I must say that the long lasting life span is what has pushed me over the edge...I re-tubed with JJs 6 months ago and they actually went crappy a couple of weeks back :(

I'll report back in a few weeks...I have a tax payment to make in the end of this month, so I can't really spend anything for the next 3 weeks or so, but February should be ok to buy some stuff

I'm actually re-tolexing and re-grillclothing my Tweed Deluxe at the moment, so I might just tie it all in one thread 8)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:44 am

...as a final question, for a Tweed Deluxe, how many of each tube would be a "lifetime supply"?

8 6V6s
8 12AX7s
and
4 rectifiers of some sort?
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:41 am

zhivago wrote:...as a final question, for a Tweed Deluxe, how many of each tube would be a "lifetime supply"?

8 6V6s
8 12AX7s
and
4 rectifiers of some sort?
Of course it depends on your usage patterns and how you use them.

I'd say one good NOS rectifier and a backup is a lifetime supply. Hell, I might even consider ONE good NOS rectifier a "lifetime supply." They just don't fail that much, and they don't "wear out." My 1965 Fender Deluxe is still on its (from what I can tell) original Mullard GZ34. It's had a power transformer fail, and everything, and that old Mullard keeps right on ticking. My 1959 Magnatone 260 still has what could very well be the original 5U4. I had a '59 Silvertone with the original 6X4 rectifier. They just last and last. That's why they're so cheap to get NOS/UOS. I'd get one to use and a used one for a backup. Probably I'd get both of them used. No reason not to, except that NOS are almost as cheap (except for the 5AR4/GZ34 of course).

Preamp tubes can run for a long time, too. If you're hitting the front really hard with a booster, you could theoretically "wear out" a 12AX7 after a long time. However, I've got Mullard, Amperex, or RCA 12AX7s in most of my amps and I can't say I've come even close to one "wearing out," ever. I've had one or two that were "used" to begin with go noisy. Most of mine still sound great to me. I'd say if your amp has two spots for 12AX7, 8 would be a GENEROUS supply. 6 or even 4--two slots plus a backup for each--might be considered a "near-lifetime supply" by me, and I use my amps a lot. However, shit happens, so having a few extra GOOD, NOS 12AX7s around is never a bad thing. They're probably not gonna get any cheaper, so if nothing else, it's money in the bank.

8 6V6s seems reasonable, even generous. 6 might be more on target. A really good set of NOS 6V6 will run for a long time in a tweed Deluxe. Just as a point of reference, about half of the vintage amps I run across from the 1960s still have their ORIGINAL power tubes, and most sound fine. Power tubes can wear out and start to lose performance/sound, but I'd consider myself "set" if I had even 3 pairs to dedicate to a single amp. Your descendants might end up selling one of those pairs after you die. :)

This is just my experience. Although I use my amps a lot and use distortions, boosters, etc. I don't seem to be too hard on tubes. For others it might be different, who knows.
Last edited by øøøøøøø on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:43 am

zhivago wrote:many thanks for all the info :)
I definitely want to be as tweedy as I can get, as I love the organic sound! :-*
Keep an eye out for blackplate RCA 6V6s (or obviously Tung Sol 5881s if you want to go that route), then. Marconi 6V6s sound very similar to the blackplate RCAs and (used to be?) quite a bit cheaper. Brimars are gorgeous... maybe my second-favorite... and those might be more available in Europe.

Also, I highly recommend sourcing an RCA 6072/12AY7 for V1. The 12AY7 is a microphone tube, and was used in a lot of hi fi gear, so they're just as expensive as 12AX7s. Real sought-after. But to me, that IS the "tweed sound."

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by jetset » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:30 pm

Great info here. Any advice for V1 choices for brown/blonde Fenders?
-J

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:48 pm

The alpha and omega for me for 12AX7s in tweed, brown, and blonde Fenders are long plate RCAs. They were (to my knowledge) the original tubes that shipped in these amps, and to me they just sound "right."

That said, I have a "silvertone" labeled long-plate Amperex in my '61 brown Super-amp. It's the best sounding tube I've ever heard in that position.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:03 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
zhivago wrote:...as a final question, for a Tweed Deluxe, how many of each tube would be a "lifetime supply"?

8 6V6s
8 12AX7s
and
4 rectifiers of some sort?
Of course it depends on your usage patterns and how you use them.

I'd say one good NOS rectifier and a backup is a lifetime supply. Hell, I might even consider ONE good NOS rectifier a "lifetime supply." They just don't fail that much, and they don't "wear out." My 1965 Fender Deluxe is still on its (from what I can tell) original Mullard GZ34. It's had a power transformer fail, and everything, and that old Mullard keeps right on ticking. My 1959 Magnatone 260 still has what could very well be the original 5U4. I had a '59 Silvertone with the original 6X4 rectifier. They just last and last. That's why they're so cheap to get NOS/UOS. I'd get one to use and a used one for a backup. Probably I'd get both of them used. No reason not to, except that NOS are almost as cheap (except for the 5AR4/GZ34 of course).

Preamp tubes can run for a long time, too. If you're hitting the front really hard with a booster, you could theoretically "wear out" a 12AX7 after a long time. However, I've got Mullard, Amperex, or RCA 12AX7s in most of my amps and I can't say I've come even close to one "wearing out," ever. I've had one or two that were "used" to begin with go noisy. Most of mine still sound great to me. I'd say if your amp has two spots for 12AX7, 8 would be a GENEROUS supply. 6 or even 4--two slots plus a backup for each--might be considered a "near-lifetime supply" by me, and I use my amps a lot. However, shit happens, so having a few extra GOOD, NOS 12AX7s around is never a bad thing. They're probably not gonna get any cheaper, so if nothing else, it's money in the bank.

8 6V6s seems reasonable, even generous. 6 might be more on target. A really good set of NOS 6V6 will run for a long time in a tweed Deluxe. Just as a point of reference, about half of the vintage amps I run across from the 1960s still have their ORIGINAL power tubes, and most sound fine. Power tubes can wear out and start to lose performance/sound, but I'd consider myself "set" if I had even 3 pairs to dedicate to a single amp. Your descendants might end up selling one of those pairs after you die. :)

This is just my experience. Although I use my amps a lot and use distortions, boosters, etc. I don't seem to be too hard on tubes. For others it might be different, who knows.

good to know 8)

thanks for all your help, Brad!! :-*

I only use the Klon (as you all know), to get some nice gain going...I think I should be a-ok...I do have my early ZZ Top/Cream/Led Zep moments, but actually lately I'm more alt country and early blues and R n' B, than anything else heavy on the amps front end.

I must admit, I'm kinda looking forward to trying some NOS tubes out... :)

just one more last question: :)

what do you mean by V1?

(seriously, I've no idea which tube position that is) :-[ :-[ :-[
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:22 pm

"V1" or "valve 1" is the very first tube/valve in the amp that signal hits. In your case, it is furthest from the rectifier tube-- on the opposite side of the chassis. It might be a 12AX7 in your particular amp-- in the original 5E3 Tweed Deluxe it was a 12AY7.

This tube has special importance because, since it's so early in the chain, its character has major influence-- every subsequent stage of the amp is amplifying that tube's character, in addition to your guitar signal. I hope that makes sense.

Can't wait to hear what your reaction is to trying out some nice tubes in your amp.

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