NOS Tubes. I Swear By Them. You?

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

  1. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    Just throwing this out there.... but ya know that gas seals on tubes ain't perfect, and weren't designed to last fifty or sixty years.

    I don't think any common guitar amp tube can be "gettered" (aka, deal with gas within the tubes). Maybe the 6550 tube, dunno. When you see blue in the tube, that's gas.
     
    Milspec likes this.
  2. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    It might be woth noting that a lot of modern amps run to high of voltage for vintage vacuum tubes. It often shows up in the fine print of the owner manuals which nobody reads.
     
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  3. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic

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    I’m running NOS RCA across the board in my 6G2 clone. Right down to the 5y3. It’s my first time using NOS tubes.

    I’ll say this: I’ve never been so happy with my tone. I suspect it’s a combination of the circuit, the NOS tubes and the speaker. Not sure which of these deserves more or most of the credit.
     
  4. arlum

    arlum TDPRI Member

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    I've never had a Mullard rectifier tube go bad. Im sure they will at sometime or another but it hasn't happened to me. They put out a steady glow through the glass. The sag is almost recognizable between one tube to the next. They just seem to be built to very severe specs. Solid. Well made. Until one fails on me I'm just locked in.
     
  5. Rumblur

    Rumblur Tele-Meister

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    There's almost no such thing as NOS anymore in guitar tubes. If they are true NOS they are either $$$$$$$ or were junk back in the day and put back in the box. I come from the old car restoration industry and NOS there means "it didn't fit in 1957 so they put it back in the box and got another one" as in - avoid it or sell it to some other sucker.

    Tubes made before 1986, all good. Nothing made in Russia or Czech is good. Shuguang from China is IMHO the only good sounding tubes available today.

    One thing a lot of newbies don't understand - there are only 3 plants on earth making tubes. All the 'big names' you see like Mullard and Tung Sol available new are exact same with a different label printed on them.

    What breaks my heart is a lot of people who wouldn't know good tone if it took their head off, are wasting the best tubes on their home bound amps. They aren't making music, they are just feeding these great tubes and amps with a bunch of pedals... basically with the signal chain of today's guitar owners they really couldn't tell a JJ from a Telefunken sonically.
     
  6. Viejo

    Viejo Tele-Afflicted

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    A rectifier tube in a Twin Reverb?
     
  7. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Holic

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    12AX7 Mullard as a rectifier,
    7027 in the other pre amp positions,
    This in a 70's Twin Reverb ?

    -tbln
     
  8. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I've had about a 50% rejection rate with "NOS", "Vintage" and basically old, used tubes right out of the box. I've also received new tubes that had to be sent back.
     
  9. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Rectifier tubes are the only ones that are not built too bad today.
    Actually I like the russian Sovtek ones.
     
  10. arlum

    arlum TDPRI Member

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    Just to clarify ..... I don't use NOS in all applications. For instance I have a Dr. Z Maserati that came stock with an excellent set of Ruby tubes. I've owned that amp for at least six years and I've never had to replace any tubes. I had a Mesa Boogie Mark III for a long time and stayed with stock Mesa tubes. I had to replace the output tubes twice. Because of the "fixed" build of Mesa amps I worried about going rogue. Out of all the current production tubes I've used with good results ....... JJ EL84s for my old 40 watt Marshall . SED "Winged "C" 6L6GC in a couple of Fenders, (these are excellent but I believe that now they're no longer in production) Go figure. My favorite current production 6L6GCs no longer being made. I could just scream. TAD 6L6GC for a 120 watt Peavey amp that had two twelves and, for the life of me, I can't remember its model name. These were not great tubes but they were two steps up from the stock Peavey tubes.

    Sometimes modern amp builds are specifically built around a certain tube and tube brand. Current production Mullard EL34s are often found stock in Cornford and Victory amps that use that tube type. I figure a great builder knows what he's doing and what he's got to work with. I assume his amp design takes into account all the plus and minus properties of the tube he's selected and adjusts his build to bring out the best of the current production tube. This wouldn't effect the modern tube life expectancy. Replacements would be required from time to time but, tonally, an amp built for a specific tube and brand should sound wonderful.

    For those who don't believe NOS is still available check out Brent Jessee's site. No They're not all NOS but, he will tell you the truth up front. True NOS will be sold as such. Lightly used tubes will be noted in the tube description. I've bought multiple tubes from Brent and every single one is still in use.

    www.audiotubes.com
     
  11. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Whoa. NOS tubes can sound good? Who knew.

    Seriously, though, we are no longer doing the amp world a favor by increasing the NOS mystique. We see posts all the time from someone saying, "I just saved up enough money to buy my first tube amp. Please tell me which magic NOS tubes I need to make it sound good.” Even smart guys who say, "Please suggest some decent current-production tubes?" are quickly swamped with sniffers saying, "They all suck equally."

    My grandfather traveled a lot in France in the first half of the 20th century. He knew all about wine, knew a '45 Haut Brion from a '55 St. Julien, that stuff. You can still buy old, sound wines from those years. And I bet they taste good. But if I tried to go out and use what he tried to teach me, I’d quickly go broke.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    bobk, 57fenderstrat and radiocaster like this.
  12. mojavedesert

    mojavedesert TDPRI Member

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    yea my mistake, I'm not an amp builder, I'm a player. I meant V6, the Phase inverter, which is an easy swap. My amp is the 135 watt version so that's, four diodes in a square.

    From Fender mods (as explained)
    ""V6 – 12at7

    Phase inverter tube. This tube is used by both channels and a part of the power amp section of the amp. It plays an important role for the clean headroom. If you seek maximum clean headroom make sure you have a new and fresh tube here. If you want to lower the clean headroom you may use 12ax7 in this position.""

    MY amp is still very clean and I haven't even had it loud enough to know where it distorts and I'm playing in a 3000 ft space
    I leave the master on 10 and 4 or 5 on the Vol. dial. It's really warm and full sounding now.

    (it sounds pretty good with the master lower, it's increadibly powerful with only two tubes, leagues more power than a princeton.)

    I use to play a 70's non-reverb princeton in the same space, on 10 vol. and it was still not really loud enough, I don't use a pick, just fingers + telecaster, no pedals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  13. Viejo

    Viejo Tele-Afflicted

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    I save NOS for vintage amps or accurate clones. They were designed for the sonic character of the old tubes. I also use a Brown Box to run vintage amps at the wall voltage the were designed to use. Most modern amps have been voiced to use the new Soviet and Sino tubes.
     
  14. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    So I’m rich? I have a bunch of 6v6s a few 6L6s and a bunch of preamps & rectifiers all bought from non guitar sources. They are fun to pop in a single ended amp on occasion , but as mentioned we are getting down to the cull.. mostly I like the boxes, and play on a couple of SS amps.
     
  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm a believer. A close friend of mine sold his last twin and had many extra NOS RCA 6L6GC tubes that he gave to me to try out in my Champ 12. Out of the bunch, I found a magical one that when it ever dies, something inside of me will die too.

    Another example is a fellow TDPRIer mailed me a bunch of 12AX7 tubes to try in my Fender Greta 2W amp. Not expecting much, but holy crap, tubes can make a huge difference in bringing out the best in an amp.
     
  16. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    Sovtec 6L6WXt+ are the best 6L6 tubes I've tried; very long lasting. Blanket statements are tomfoolery.
     
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  17. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    So you had an amp with problems, you shotgunned the tubes and replaced the speakers, and the fact that the amp sounds better now is because NOS tubes are magical?
     
  18. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I love my Mission 5E3 the way it is. It still has the tubes that came with the kit ten years ago. EH 12AY7, EH 12AX7, 2-JJ 6V6s, and an NOS JAN Phillips 5Y3. Bruce at Mission told me the NOS rectifier was necessary because current production rectifiers made the B+ voltage much too high.
     
  19. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Bought a new set, had them tested, bad.
     
  20. LPTyler

    LPTyler Tele-Meister

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    I wasn’t a believer in old tubes until I got a box at an auction. It had some nice RCA 12ax7s and they transformed my 5 watt Milkman. My wife could even hear the difference one tube made. I sorted through them and found the one that sounded the best, installed it and saved the rest. I’m too cheap to get true NOS, but I do believe in the quality of good vintage tubes!
     
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