NOS Tubes. I Swear By Them. You?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by arlum, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Tele-Meister

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    I've got a NOS Mullard EL34 that I bought years ago in an electrical shop that had just never sold it (JK Morgan of Llanidloes, Powys). I kept it because it only cost me a few quid and I thought that an application for it would come along at some point. I still have it, but my dog chewed the box...

    If anyone can tell me anything about it I'd really appreciate it.

    Mullard 1.jpeg Mullard 2.jpeg Mullard 3.jpeg Mullard 4.jpeg Mullard 5.jpeg
     
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  2. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

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    I love NOS tubes, too.
    There are many good/popular brands for each type, but my preamp tubes tend to be GE and power & rectifier Sylvania no matter what type for my Fender BF/SF amps. I almost always kinda felt they are more musical, quiet and consistent for Fenders. Now I'm very happy with a JAN-GE 12AX7, a Sylvania 6V6GT and a Sylvania 5Y3WGTA on my '66 Champ, and a JAN-GE 12AX7, 2 Sylvania 6AQ5's on my '72 Musicmaster Bass Amp.
     
  3. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    it depends. if NOS are weak, no. also depends upon the amp. i use NOS in my 66 deluxe reverb but JJs in my vox ac15c1 that didn't seem to like even NOS 7189s.

    play music!
     
  4. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    I hate being fussy, but I agree with most of the posters here and rely on NOS, mostly, and some used -- rarely new. I have lots of experience with trying tubes in numerous amps, and I consider myself to be an objective judge because I honestly don't care what I run as long as it sounds good. It's not as though others see your tubes! I am constantly yanking stock 12AX7s for being noisy and brittle sounding. I often play at low volume and hate having my amp sizzling away. I replace them using trial and error, and the tubes that end up installed are almost always NOS. I'm a good tube shopper and don't dump $$$ on the collector-type tubes. Brimar, JAN Phillips, the occasional RCA, etc. work really well. Ditto, power tubes. I* have tried all the (fake) reissues and see nothing to commend them at all. I favor EL84 amps, and those "Mullard" and "Genalex Gold Lions" are, IMO, really crap. Because NOS EL84s are so expensive, and the really good ones are hard to come by, I sometimes go with JJ current production simply because they do not sound genuinely bad like the others, and they have tended to be quiet and plain-sounding. I can't say they add anything, tonally. Lately, I've come up with some good Psvane preamp tubes (Chinese, "boutique") which have been terrific, but I think they are mostly just really select production tubes, and you're at the mercy of dealers as to what you may really be getting, price, etc. But the ones I've used have been really good in my rig. If I were just starting out now, I almost certainly would go SS and build my rig accordingly, as I see no reason to believe that tube makers will do anything but churn out crappy tubes that they try to market in some nifty way that doesn't change the low quality of the items themselves. Time for some Telefunken "reissues" (= fakes) for sure. Can't wait. ZZZZzzzzz.
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sweet, the dual getters (little halo rings in the top) indicates an early more desirable vintage.

    IIRC this is XF-2, and you should be able to find a faint etched code on it somewhere.
    Edit: Might be XF-1 I can't remember all the codes on all the tubes!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  6. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's

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    Rectifiers, yes. Older 5Y3 especially are so much better than modern. Everything else...most customers don't want to pay the prices it would be. If I find some for myself that's fine, but I don't seek them out on purpose.
     
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  7. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Tele-Meister

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    I've just had a look and it says Xf1 on it. Thanks for the info!
     
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  8. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    NOS will always be my preference.
     
  9. Rick330man

    Rick330man Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the right NOS tube will make a difference for the better in the right amp.

    In my Hot Rod Deluxes, I went to JAN Philips 6L6WGB power tubes years ago. The SED 6L6GCs were a close second. I've got stashes of both. The difference between those power tubes and let's say JJ 6L6GCs or Shuguangs or Sovteks can definitely be heard. It is not to say that the latter sound terrible.

    Similarly, I am a big fan of the old 5751s for use as a primary tone generator (V1 tube). The GEs, JAN Philips, RCAs and Sylvania are some of the best sounding V1 tubes I have ever used. The 1980s production GE 5751 is a greater phase inverter.

    For reverbs, I usually will go with a JAN Philips 12AT7. It outlasts the current production 12AT7s in that particular role. Some folks also like these for the phase inverter.

    I'll use a good NOS tube in the key position(s) and decent new production tubes in cascading gain stages.
     
  10. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    For a valve as good as any NOS EL84, seek out the 6p14p-EV or -K
    Even the plain 6p14p is a fine sounding, near unkillable, envelope of joy. To my ears anyway. Current production Soviet EL84 examples are very good. JJ are very good. The stuff that came from the Soviet factories is a level of earcandy higher. At low volumes, meh, nothing in it, but get your amp sounding mean, and the valves from the Komrads sing a delicious tune. Even with the rise in prices as vendors realise the potential, they're a bargain. A tenth the price of a decent NOS Euro/American, and every bit as good.

    I have some NOS Jan Sylvania 6V6GT examples from 1944-1946 and, in my Champ(s), the 1950's production of the 6p6s is their equal. I don't know if I'd trust them in higher voltage applications, but in Champ-a-likes and sub 350V amps, they're fine.

    Two examples of NOS tones and sturdiness without the nuisance charge associated.

    For the 12AX7 market, the Japanese valves are superb. They don't crop up that often, but when they do, they're worth hunting out. The factories were set up, and the products identical to the Western companies that did the setup. Want European or American quality and sounds?, look for Toshiba or Matsushita. They're essentially the same. Snobbery keeps the prices down for now.

    I have NOS and new production valves, and NOS doesn't always win. The lower the valve count, the more likely I am to fit something pre-decimal. One thing seemingly all my NOS 12AU7 examples do though, which worries me every time, is heater flash. The long plate JJ ECC802 doesn't flash, and sounds every bit as good as a 60's Mullard.

    I prevaricate.
     
  11. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Holic

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    The NOS tubes can be premium and can be the worse - even right out of the box.

    I mean : NOS doesn't imply good. Depending on :

    - which factory or country built them,
    - the era when they were produced,
    - the way they have been stored through the years,
    - the grade of production (public, military, industrial),

    A NOS tube / tube batch can go from premium to nearly dead. I'd say that - if not tested properly - NOS tubes can be an ugly "trap".

    I bought many tube stocks when they were still forgotten and affordable for a student, when tube production had become marginal, nearly abandoned. But when checked on tube-testers and tested on amps :

    [​IMG]

    I had bad surprises ! I notably remember a 1958 batch of 50x Sylvania JAN-6L6GAY that were unusable, because prone to immediate thermal runaway (red plating) due to gas.

    -tbln
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  12. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Holic

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    The EL34 was originated by Mullard and Telefunken, IIRC. Like the EL84, they were designed for Hi-Fi application.

    Your Mullard seems to be in good condition. But only a datasheet test would tell the truth...

    -tbln
     
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  13. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I became interested with NOS tubes after getting my first tube amp. Not knowing how much they are, one day i did try to search for it. Shocked at prices.

    spending 100-200 a pop on a vintage NOS, for a 200 dollar amp (Peavey Classic 30), And this amp has 3 12AX7, and 4 EL84’s, I was like. Okay, I’ll just stick to JJ’s.

    but then again, I dont know much on the inner workings of a tube amp for now, id just spend money on repros that doesnt need my arm, or liver. Lol
     
  14. Apache Snow

    Apache Snow Tele-Meister

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    I got JJs put back for my tube amps and when I get tired of chasing tubes I got the old tone master. Yippee.
     
  15. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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  16. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Tele-Meister

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    Just Xf1 as far as I can see.
     
  17. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Meister

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    Swear by them until they fail, then swear AT them!
     
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  18. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

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    Yes and no , I swear by NOS 5y3. That made the biggest difference to me in terms of satisfied with feeling and hearing a change for me.

    I really like the RCA 6v6s I have too but I have tried a lot of different 12ay7s and interestingly enough I like a new JJ the best. I guess you just go through good and bad batches of any brand
     
  19. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Watch this space...

    https://brimaruk.com/menugbvp/great-british-valve-project-2/
     
  20. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    Tube was made by Phillips in Holland, June 1961 or 1971 judging by that code, nothing else?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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