nice source for RCA 6V6 black plates

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by alexwilds, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. alexwilds

    alexwilds Tele-Meister

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    I just got two RCA 6V6 black plates for $9.99 each from ebay. If you search for RCA Black black plates they cost a fortune. But if you look for FoMoCo (FOrd MOtor COmpany) radio tubes, they can be be had cheap. Evidently old car buffs are not into jacking up the prices for guitarists yet. They are branded FoMoCo, but have the etched stop sign - real deal RCA. Be careful: Ford used Sylvania, GE, and other brands, too.
     
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  2. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Wouldn't want to get stuck with GEs or Sylvanias. That would suck!

    I'm kidding. I'll take Sylvania 6V6s, almost any era over RCA.
     
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  3. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks. I really like the old RCA gray glass black plates. They are not the clearest, and they don't have the most definition, but they get the midrange frequencies just right to complement a lot of Fender amps, and they have really nice overdrive. All the American vintage 6V6's I've tried are good in different ways: Ken-Rad, Tung-Sol black glass black plates, Sylvania, RCA gray glass black plates. In my opinion, most any of the American power tubes from the 50's or early 60's sounds better than anything I've tried from the late 60's and after.
     
  4. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Excellent ideas. One caveat: Automotive (Delco / FoMoCo / Mopar) 6V6s sometimes turn out to be 12V versions. Ask me how I know. :)

    You can have almost endless fun studying tube rebranding, not only for 'non-tube' companies (Ford, Delco, Fisher, Baldwin, Conn, etc.) but also by one tube company making tubes for another. Once you think you know the 'signatures' for American tubes like RCA, GE, Sylvania, you can start on rebranding by and for Philips/Mullard/Amperex and the dozens of other brands and factories they worked with.

    upload_2019-12-13_8-55-43.jpeg

    But to get the best deals, it's important to also learn the 'other' factory codes.

    upload_2019-12-13_8-57-0.jpeg

    And all that isn't worth much without the date codes. These tables come from Brent Jesse's tube store site, where he also talks about the ways that date and 'change' codes varied by company, country, and, well, date... :D
     
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  5. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    thanks for the heads up
     
  6. Snfoilhat

    Snfoilhat Tele-Afflicted

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    When I see the prices and availability of 12VAC filament tubes, I wonder why more of us in hobby/personal use/small-batch world haven't switched over.

    But sitting on my own shelf is this great looking power transformer from a 4X 12AB5 home stereo power amp I haven't gotten around to using.

    I wonder how much noise reduction is gotten from running the most common preamp tubes in their center-tapped, hum-bucking wiring on 6.3V vs their 12V mode.

    I need to accidentally order some old 6V6GTs that turn out to be 12V6GTs o_O
     
  7. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I just tried to find late production "RCAs" on eBay. See... when RCA ceased to exist in the late '80s the Russians jumped on the chance to label their tubes "RCA" unchallenged.

    Come to think of it I have an NIB "RCA" 5AR4 that sure ain't an RCA.

    Also, Raytheon had a hand in grey market tubes in the '80s. They had military contracts to fill. I don't know all the particulars but there are "Made in England" Raytheons that sure weren't made in England.

    Because I have a couple dozen pairs of nice NOS 6V6s ready to go.

    Because my Fender amps don't have a 12.6v filament winding.

    Although... there are Baldwin tube amps that have 12.6V filaments. It drops the filament current when you're running 12.6v to four dozen tubes instead of 6.3v.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  8. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Oh, yeah. You're so right. Tube counterfeiting is amazingly common. I have an "IEC Mullard" ECC83 that says "Made in England", with the proper font and official BVA logo -- but somehow it has East German RFT 'Ninja-throwing-star' micas. RFT aren't considered bad tubes, but they ain't Mullard.
     
  9. JDRNoPro

    JDRNoPro Friend of Leo's

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    Educate me please: what are "Ninja-throwing-star micas"? I have a bunch of Amperex branded 12AX7's I pulled from an old Rauland PA that are stamped made in Germany, and which I believe are actually RFT manufacture. Thanks!
     
  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was once told by an old electronics tube guy (he had a quarter million tubes in his warehouse. I saw them. I used to buy from him) that 5AR4's were european designed tubes and never made in the USA, just rebranded. True? Would that be why some 5V4's are noted for actually being 5AR4's that fit the 5V4 spec?
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm more of a Chevy guy than a Ford guy so I choose Delco branded RCA!
    Then after a few minutes in an amp they go in a box and get forgotten...
    Interestingly AFAIK the 6v6 was developed specifically for car radios, so even though car companies never made them, they were probably the first customer buying them in quantity. Read that somewhere but maybe I'm wrong.
    Where are they now?
    Gone to the crusher or all Americas farm fields to be reconsumed by the earth.

    Wouldn't it be funny if Gibsons were branded Fender and Fenders were branded Gibson, the way tubes used to be branded with the competitors name?

    Wait, that happened?

    Like whoever was it that set up a factory in Japan making Mullard copies that then sometimes got branded GE?
    Sorta like Tokai copies of Fenders later contracted by Fender to be sold with Fender decals in the US.
     
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I suppose the same could be said for the EL34 AKA 6ca7 made in the USA but really not the same tube at all.
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ford had more European partners than other US car companies AFAIK, some being pretty surprising like the Mercury Capri V6 being the same casting with two extra cylinder pairs as the first gen Saab V4 in those funny aero Saabs that also came with a three cylinder two stroke. But IIRC the only Euro made 6v6 was a Brimar?
    The same Ford/ Mercury/ Saab block also went into fork lifts but I'm not sure what brand. A branch of Euro ford I guess.
    Decades later when Ford bought Volvo they were sorta smart enough to not start putting Ford parts in the upmarket Volvo product, but oddly put complete Volvo drivetrains in one of the little econo Ford cars for a while.
    Contrastingly Mopar put Chinese made Chrysler parts in Mercedes cars during their tenure as steward of a finer brand.
    AFAIK GM only contracted with Euro builders to have the Opel and Opel GT built for sale by and branded Buick.

    I liked both the Opel GT and the V6 Merc Capri I owned, for what they were at the time; closer to real sports cars than Murica ever managed to build.

    The Capri came with the GM designed McPherson Strut front suspension, a 1930s (?) American design that GM never though was good enough to put in a car until AFAIK BMW liked it and used it with great success long after copyright or whatever protections had expired.

    Industrial design and brand swapping makes for interesting history.
     
  14. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    My 1971 Pinto had the english Ford 1600 cc engine. Great engine and car. That engine used ball rocker arms like the Chevy small block V8's. Then they went to a US designed POS engine after... 72?
     
  15. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's the other way around. GE and Sylvania made "5AR4s" maybe not as good as Mullard but likely better than your modern crap. Pretty sure some of the Sylvania 5AR4s are 5V4s. The GE 5AR4s are more like European tubes.

    RCA couldn't be bothered. They just slapped an RCA label on Mullard 5AR4s.

    ...so did just about everyone else.

    While we're at it there are Hitachi and Matsushita 5AR4s. Pretty sure the Matsushitas were made on the same type of tooling as Mullards.

    There was a '40s Buick draped over the foundation of an old barn next to a farmhouse a few towns over. Farmhouse is still there with a tree on it, holes in the roof. The Buick is gone...

    It's my civic duty to look into every old bone of an antique car as well as to certify that dumpsters and demolition containers don't contain anything good. The Buick was draped over the barn foundation due to typical Rust Belt rust. It was missing its bottom six or eight inches of sheet metal. Its rusty frame made it unsuited and unsafe for corn cruising decades ago. It lurked there with all its glass broken out and its four doors open.

    Still, duty called...

    Someone made it easy for me. Its radio was smack dab in the middle of what was left of its front bench seat. Said radio contained a matched pair of the nicest smoked glass Tung-Sol 6V6GTs I've ever seen.

    The Tung-Sols went into a tweed Deluxe replica. The old Buick likely went into the stadium for the Beijing Olympics.
     
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  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    My buddy builds hot rods, he's mostly into Buicks. A couple years back it was a 20's Buick rat rod with a total rebuilt nailhead in it. Now it's a 30's long Buick 2 door sedan. Also with a bigger nailhead in it. he's meticulous. If the tire doesn't sit looking nice in the wheel well, he'll spend weeks changing the chassis /axles to get it to sit right visually!

    I picked up an antique tube radio at an estate sale maybe 10 years ago. I opened the back up and there was an envelope stuffed in there. Inside the envelope there were two antique signed car titles. One was for a 1925 Buick and one was for a 1937 Pontiac. The titles back then were the size of a post card. My buddy keeps trying to get that Buick title from me. I guess I own two cars I can't find now!
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Meanwhile all the ancient shanty towns in China that were demolished for the Olympic stadium construction (leaving residents homeless) donated 100+ year aged instrument lumber for the growing Chinese violin making industry.

    Hats off to you for your archival stewardship preserving history, two tubes at a time!
     
  18. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    You're right, pics might help here... this shows the micas somewhat in profile.

    IMG_1443.jpg

    Looking at all those factory codes might almost make ya hope the tube was *not* authentic. Mine, of course, had no factory or date codes...
     
  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Man, I have a hard time identifying tubes from memory. This thread made me take a look at some...again....and now I know for sure that I will be able to identify a smooth plate Telefunken 12AX7!!, lol......I mean, the plates are smooth! Even I can see that. I will keep my eyes open for that ‘throwing star’ thing as above....that is hard to forget. I get the Amperex square or diamond on the bottom of the glass....just looked at it. I don’t know if I will remember that or not. The Millards are at times easy to identify. RCA Blackolate 6V6’s....I have some....not a pair to be made out of the whole bunch. They are good for single-ended....or....would anyone put a bias balancing act in a DR just to use mismatched tubes?? That is a consideration.
     
  20. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    That US designed POS went on to have a very long life. In production at least into the 1980s maybe the 90s. It was definitely better than GMs US designed iron head, recycled beer can 4 cylinder, the one used in Vegas.
    When Ford did the Pinto engine they ran into trouble with the cam followers wearing during testing. The fix was a new oil specification that went across the board with all the oil companies at the time. The API spec was upgraded from SD to SE around 1971.
    If GM ran into trouble with the Vega motor during testing, like excessive oil consumption, they didn't care and put it into production anyway. What the heck maybe it'd last until the things rusted out with the new water born paint system. In the rust belt it almost worked.
    Probably the reason people call the Pinto 2.3 a POS is so many of them were running well into the 80s and old. The Vegas were pretty much all crushed by then from rust or had the engine swapped out. At 55 I'm just old enough to remember driving both cars with the OEM drivelines. The Pinto was far and away a better car. The Vegas kept the mosquito population down. Drove one in high school and seriously that was a car was one where you filled the oil and checked the gas! It had 40,000 miles on it when the old man bought it.
    Anyone that calls the Pinto or its motor a POS never compared one to a Vega. :)
     
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