Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

How many of us amp geeks.....

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by bigben55, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    ^ I don't completely agree, or disagree. I have a bunch of new and old preamp tubes, and "tube roll" every time I get a new to me amp. The NOS almost always win out. That said, a Groove Tubes premium 12AX7-C beat out several NOS AND is in V1 of my BF Super Reverb. I've bought expensive EF86s that went microphonic in 6 months and EH new ones that didn't.

    So, it depends. But buying NOS isn't just wasting money
    MickM likes this.

  2. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    The issue is tone is subjective, as well. "NOS sound better"
    How? Inherently better?

    I tried some RCA 12Ax7's which are supposed to be pretty good. I thought they sounded dull and lacking gain and harmonic complexity compared to new Production tung sols I had at the time. I had a nice NOS EI and that sounded nice, but pretty similar to the Tung Sols, and the EI eventually went microphonic, as they're known to.

    The differences tend to be pretty small IMO, unless you're going from a worn out and/or failing tube to something new. The difference just generally doesn't justify the cost, IMO.

  3. scottser

    scottser Tele-Holic

    Mar 6, 2009
    IF I had 200 bucks to spend on a tube, it'd be a modern one made to the highest spec possible.

  4. SoulstormTX

    SoulstormTX Tele-Meister

    Jul 14, 2017
    San Antonio, Tx
    I haven't spent that much on a CD, but have on a Vinyl I just had to have. At least it was rare. Only 1000 in existence.
    rjtwangs likes this.

  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    I get great used pulls for about $3.
    6v6's, 5881s and 6L6s for 5, 6, 7 bucks.
    I can afford to buy a bunch and experiment.
    It's not hard to find the old guys with the huge stashes on Ebay and get friendly with them.
    Turns out one is a couple miles from me.
    rjtwangs likes this.

  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    I went through a phase when I was building a few amps and got a bunch of NOS 50's (US RCA), 60's (UK Mullard) and 70's (Tungsram) tubes as well quite a lot of modern ones. Cost me as as much as making the amps.

    It was an itch I wanted to scratch. Was I ripped off a bit? Probably. Would I try again? Yep if I could afford to.

    The 60's mullard long plate 12ax7 is certainly a standout for openness and detail but was slightly microphonic at very high gain. It sounds perfect in a champ style now with a 50's RCA 6v6. It was as much the design as the Mullard brand though I think. Long plate styles simply sound different to my ears. I had other 80's mullard styles that sounded same.

    Modern TungSol and JJs have their differences too so age does not have to be the factor.

    Best tubes I have are whatever Boogie was sourcing from China in the 80's. Many of mine are still going strong in high gain preamps and sounding great.

    Its a rabbit hole and it does not necessarily lead to tone nirvana. I suppose it comes down to how much you want to invest to play around some and scratch the itch.
    Johnson johnson likes this.

  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I was lucky to get a few NOS 6L6 tubes from my best friends stash to swap and try, so I now know what to look for, so I'll be a fleaBay stalker when the time comes again. My other amps seem fine with cheap new tubes. $120 for a CD is bonkers. I'll invest in a tube first any day.

  8. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    Apr 19, 2014
    Too rich for my blood.

  9. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

    Sep 12, 2003
    Evergreen, Colorado
    preamp tubes last me a very long time, I absolutely would.

  10. Il Duce

    Il Duce Tele-Holic

    Nov 11, 2013
    I only have 3 anos preamp tubes that use to experiment with, I think that I paid around $120 for them. They do make a difference. It's cool to try different tubes to see how they sound in different amps, but I don't think that it's worth filling all of my amps with nos/anos.

  11. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2016
    I would never pay $200 for two tubes, but that doesn't mean I don't have a growing collection of NOS tubes, it just means I'm not going to let myself get ripped off in a market where a lot of sellers clearly think they are dealing with rubes with more money than sense. I mean, if you are willing to pay that money for convenience, thats fine, but know that those same tubes can be had for a lot less with some time spent shopping around.

  12. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2008
    if you can afford it, go for it. if you can't, don't. easy.

    play music
    thegeezer likes this.

  13. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    I can definitely hear a more prominent difference swapping preamp tubes than I can with power tubes. Also unless they go micrphonic, NOS will sound good for many years.

  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I would.

    Caveat - I have had a large tube stash for decades and only buy tubes for amps I'm servicing. But I often recommend NOS tubes in that price range...or players. In my experience good US, British and Dutch tubes last years - decades in most cases - longer than Russian, Chinese, new "Euro" tubes. Tubes used as drivers also maintain balance better.

    They end up being cheaper in the long run.

    Add that they almost always provide better sound and IMO it's a no-brainer. Regardless, I still end up installing a lot of Russian and Chinese preamp tubes (I prefer not to install JJ's preamp tubes). I also end up changing a lot of them because of weakness, imbalance or tone. I've never been asked to remove/change NOS preamp tubes.
    thegeezer likes this.

  15. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Not me. I get the sound I want with current production tubes. If a client wants NOS tubes I have them purchase what they want. All the vintage amps have NOS preamp tubes and modern power tubes except for the Gretsch with it’s 6973 power tubes and the Sound which uses 7868 power tubes.

  16. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

    Nope, not on your life. I buy "NOS" tubes at a maximum of what a new tube costs.
    Quite a few advertised NOS tubes are used, just look at the letters on the glass, most have some ink scratched off.
    New, I doubt it.
    AND even though it tests well, most of those tests don't show if it's microphoninc or not.
    I've had a couple that tested well but were useless because of microphonics.

  17. cntry666

    cntry666 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2010
    decatur, ga

  18. BobbyB

    BobbyB Tele-Afflicted

    Ha...I almost did then slapped myself in the face! I feel better now. :)

  19. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    $200 could have me a handwired VHT special 6 amp used, or enough materials to pretty much build a whole amp. Why would I spend that much on tubes? No thanks.

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