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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by golfnut, Oct 18, 2018.
I think they are saying that the stock they have tests out-of-spec.
You might want to contact http://shyboytexrepairs.com/ they had Master packs of Military NOS tubes 6V6GT, 6L6GT, EL84M. Not sure if they still have any left but maybe worth a try.
Assuming it's a fixed bias amp I'd buy a matched quad and alternate pairs, so you have spares that bias at the same point as the running pair.
Again, assuming it's a 2x6L6 amp.
I have the impression that current tube production is less consistent than tubes made when they were the standard and were used by military and medical where lives depended on them.
So swapping a pair of Chinese tubes for a pair of Russian tubes (or for another pair of Chinese tubes) might put your amp way out of bias.
I'd guess that's the issue with those "NOS" Winged C tubes, they didn't want to sell tubes with such extremely different current draw in case buyers just stuck them in and hoped for the best.
But now that those are another new not so old stock collectible item they can put them back on the market, because they promise to be a little better than current production.
I would certainly consider real Svetlana or more recent Winged C to be better quality than anything currently made, but after EHX somehow bought the Svetlana name and started branding non Svetlanas with the brand, it's possible that the old factory eventually lowered quality as they lost market share to the fakes.
When Svetlana seemed to be going under but before they restructured as Winged C, I bought a quad of KT88 even though I've never owned or plan to own a KT88 amp, just because there might not be any more good KT88s made.
Storing and moving them from place to place for 15 years I finally dropped on and damaged it, so I now have a pair plus a spare. Hahahaha hoarding...
I also have the question - what amp? It can make a heck of a difference.
Also - *why* is it time to replace power tubes? No offense, because I don't know the situation here - but far too many players are under the impression that power tubes need to be replaced every year or two because...well, they wear out, right?
Except good ones really don't. Not for decades. However, this does NO go for most new production tubes, most of which which seem to last 2-4 years under regular use.
But there is no "time" to replace them unless the sound has degraded and you have tested other NEW tubes, determining the old ones are failing, or they are out of balance bias-wise.
If it's a good amp - yes. I have installed those in various amps that have been used 3-4 times a week for gigs plus rehearsals and after 10 years or so are just fine. I work on Fender tweeds that still have original power tubes in perfect working order.
I have RCA 6V6's - originals - in my '66 Deluxe Reverb, which is played daily (and has been for years). They're in prefect shape, and have ben tested on a high-voltage tube tester. Original Mullard, Amperex, Philips STR387's - IMO ALL save you money in the long run over replacing new Russian or European ttubes every few years, or Chinese ones every 1-2 years.
That's MUCH less expensive than the cost of new tubes you'd use in their lifetime.
The 5881 will likely work as a 6L6GC replacement, but that's not guaranteed. It's not a 6L6GC in a small bottle. It dissipates 23 Watts vs. the 30 Watts of the 6L6GC. It's plate voltage spec is 50 Volts lower than the 6L6GC's. If used as a direct replacement, the Tung-Sol, Sylvania, and Philips US 5881 tubes tend to last simply because they're tough.
Biased right, and running in a good amp, yeah... they're pretty awesome.
I read that the Philips WGB has GC specs, despite the designation, and can replace a 6L6GC. It's not a true 5881 as far as I've read from experts.
Great explanation @Silverface !
I run into the "it needs new tubes" thing all the time. Last one was a guy with a Bassman 10 he's had since about 1980.
Amps never been serviced and it's sat unused for years. So I tried to explain that tubes might not be a problem at all and I'd be surprised if all of them are bad.
Long story short, you just can't talk to some people.
"You can lead a horse guitar player to water his amp, but you can't make him drink think!"
Ahh yes, the type of person perfectly fine dropping $300 on NOS tubes, but will leave that same amp un-serviced, because of 'Value' **Protip: An amp is worth more when the transformers aren't fried from old electrolytic caps that the user is paranoid about replacing due to 'value' or 'mojo'.**
Pretty sure I've said this once or twice but, I am looking at buying a pair of 6L6 tubes to change out the old ones, to keep the old ones as backups.
I've recently sold off all but one tube amp as thats all I need for the gigging I'm doing. I'm going to dabble in digital or possibly a solid state amp for a second amp. But right now the amp I have I bought used and I have no idea how long the tubes have been there, how much they've been played, etc. They sound fine so they'll likely do fine as backups for now. And I'll put the fresh ones in there. If they make a difference fine, if not I'll know they're fresh and when they went in.
Then there's the type of person that likes to create more questions rather than just answer the one that got asked.
Amazing, isn't it? Players who even "glance" at vintage oriented websites or mags can't be finding that kind of info, so I don't get where that stuff even comes from. And some get downright mad at the suggestion that the caps with the crusty white snot pouring out of 'em not only *need* to be replaced, but are a major reason the amp sound like crap.
" No they're not! And replacing them will ruin the value AND the tone! Replace the tubes - that's all I want you to do."
I have a nine-word final reply to those requests (usually after prolonged explanations of why it's a bad idea. And why the LAST 3 techs he tried said the same thing: "Sorry - no. And I have no referrals for you".
Yes, I have noticed that when one asks questions of experienced mechanics, plumbers, AC/heating techs, computer geeks, lawyers, accountants, or even amp techs one will likely get a full explanation of the entire equation concerned with the question. I personally like that. I find it educational.
If someone wanted to retube an old amp with questionable electrolytics, I would suggest that the amp needs to be serviced before installing new tubes. If they demanded that they did not want to do anything but put tubes in the amp, so be it. They could buy the tubes and install them with no guarantees on the tubes or the amp. That caveat would be in writing with two signatures so that we all understood who was taking the risk and who was responsible.
If that caveat spoiled them on doing business with me, so be it. That is less trouble for me in the long run....and the amp is their concern in the ultimate assessment.
I just saw a post in another thread that is more than applicable here....a paraphrasing of an old, old saying.....
You can lead a guitar player to an amp, but you can’t make him think.
And to the question in the OP...I like JJ 6L6’s,. I always buy burned in tubes, and I don’t see failures. When biased ‘correctly’, they have good low end, sparkling highs, and musical harmonica. The only modern production 6L6 that I like better is the now out of production Winged C. Ommv.
My amp is a few years old so doesn't need a cap job. Questions of "do you really need a tube change" are really not relevant questions. I simply asked "best current production 6L6". How does "do you really need a tube change" even really relate. My post never suggested that I needed a tube change. Geez getting opinions around here really seems to be challenging at times. I spend more time having to explain my motives than getting opinions. Which is all I was asking for.
Once again "I NEED BACKUP TUBES" so I'll put the new tubes in and keep the old ones for backup. The old ones are fine. MY CAPS ARE FINE. I have a gig today 2 to 6 and a tube failure is more likely than caps going bad. Now that I've said that I'll probably blow up the amp.
Not current production, but if your amp runs at less than 375 Volts, consider the Russian 6p3s as an alternative. Other than those, JJ.
The Russian valves begin compressing earlier than the JJ ( to -my- ears ) and don't so much sparkle as round out highs. Barking good mids though.Very smooth.
Some folk have run the 6p3s at Fender voltages with no issues. Others have had fireworks. They will need biasing!.
No worries Golfnut. You often get more information than you maybe wanted when asking a question here. But in all fairness you didn't mention the amp was only a few years old in the original post.
Without that little tid bit of information we simply don't know what amp we're dealing with or it's current state of repair.
So to answer your question.
JJs are pretty good.
Sovtek 6L6wxt+. Heavy duty and long lasting!
One of the winged.
Forgot which Sveltana or non-Sveltana
they change names
When Mike Matthews got the rights to the Svetlana name in North America, the real Svetlana (Svetlana Electronic Devices) changed their name to SED, the initials of the company name. They were never labeled Winged C, that is just a nickname the internet people used to describe them because of their logo, which is a C (actually a cyrillic S for the company name) inside a circle. It was confusing back then, as the SED tubes were still labeleled Svetlana in non-North American countries, it became too complicated. They eventually stopped manufacturing audio tubes at all, so the only current manufactured Svetlana audio tubes are the New Sensor ones, which are not manufactured by the Svetlana factory. I think it is a travesty that Matthews got the rights to use the name, as the original Svetlana company is really called Svetlana Electronic Devices, it's ridiculous that they were not able to use their own name on their products.