Stock tubes on expensive amps?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by javierj, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. javierj

    javierj Tele-Meister

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    Hello!

    Hope that you are all doing great!

    So I was curious about the brands of tubes that expensive ''higher end'' amps come equipped from factory. For example, expensive amps like the hand wired version of the reissue Marshall 1962HW ''Bluesbraker'' amp. It does not say any where if this amp comes with ''Groove Tubes'' or ''Ruby tubes'' or Electrohamornix or what brand. It does not say it comes with ''NOS'' tubes either. So I was wondering, it seems like no mater how expensive the amp can be, it could possibly come stock from factory with the same type of cheaper new production tubes as other whole lot cheaper amps. I kind of wanted to know what was all the about.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    Regards,

    Javier
     
  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It's entirely possible a new amp, even a higher end one, may come with the same stock tubes any of us could buy new for moderate prices. I don't know of any new production amps that come with NOS tubes.

    Quite a few buyers end up at least swapping out preamp tubes for something they prefer.
     
  3. javierj

    javierj Tele-Meister

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    Yeah me neither, I don't know of any ''boutique'' higher end expensive new production amp, that comes with more expensive NOS tubes. I guess not even the most expensive ones huh, I wonder what is the reason for that. They are suppose to be the ''Rolex'' of amp makers, who supposedly would not sacrifice any detail of best tones and sound, for cost of production. Because I don't think this could imply, that because those ''boutique'' higher end, very expensive amp makers are using new production tubes, since they are the ones who know better, then we should keep buying cheaper new production tubes for some of us regular not so expensive amps, because that is what these ''boutique'' amps come equipped with. I don't thinks so, right?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Probably tough to get enough of them to meet production needs so the amps are designed and built around what's readily available at reasonable prices.

    I suppose if we were talking about a custom made one off amp a buyer might spec what he wanted and pay for them or provide them.
     
  5. javierj

    javierj Tele-Meister

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    I see, makes total sense!

    Thanks!
     
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  6. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    Consistency, availability and reliability are probably the main reasons.
     
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  7. javierj

    javierj Tele-Meister

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    And so also, if some of those mentioned expensive amps can sound really good with whatever components (tubes included) they come from factory, then maybe one don't need to run and spend a lot more money in expensive NOS rectifier and other tubes, thinking is not fine with what comes stock and equipped with the amp, unless something breaks or fails.
     
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  8. javierj

    javierj Tele-Meister

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    I just say this, because a year ago, I bought a new Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, which is a great sounding piece of equipment and not super expensive as those other amps. It comes with Groove Tubes, a relabel tube company, that picks them out of new production tubes and re label them. So far I have replaced the 6V6GT power tubes, because one prematurely fail after 2 weeks of having the amp. I put in a pair of Tung Sol RI and have been great so far. Then I replace the stock 12AT7 reverb driver tube for a ANOS Sylvania 12AU7, to have more control on the reverb knob and also since it was readily available through my guitar/amp tech. Then I replace the Vibrato channel 12AX7 preamp tube for an ANOS RCA 5751 black plate, just because I wanted a lower gain preamp sound and new production tubes don't quite make true spec 5751 type of tube.

    I am not a NOS ''cork sniffer'', but I do admit sometimes I tend to get carried away by the ''replace just for replacement'' hype. Like for example, I had read somewhere on the internet, that the new production 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube, can short out and take a transformer with it. So that makes you want to think about buying one of those expensive rectifier tubes, even if my stock one is working great. Others also claim that with some NOS phase inverter and rectifier tubes you will get a ''better'' sound (which could actually be directly proportional to the ''cork sniffness'' in your brain). I just want to replace what really calls for a replacement and what would make a substantial difference.

    So if so many amp makers, including the really expressive and high end ones, are using these readily available, new production tubes, which several people so desperately want to get rid off as soon as possible, maybe is not such big of a deal and not worth it buying a $185 NOS rectifier tube just because they say ''it will last more than the amp'' when I can get almost 11 JJ rectifier tubes for this price.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
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  9. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    my budda came with JJ preamps, Sovtec el84s and EH recto. I know its really not a super expensive amp-but its great!
     
  10. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

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    If you're going to mass produce an amp, you need readily available components.
    NOS availability is an issue if you were going to build a few thousand amps.
    Also guys like Dr Z, Marsh, ect, are more concern with, price, consistency, performance.
    Brand name alone is not much of a concern.
     
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  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    For instance my Tweaker came with twin 6v6 Ruby's and two Ruby 12ax7s and one Sovtek 12ax7. The Ruby power tubes are fine but I replaced the two Ruby 12ax7s with Tung-sols in V1 and V2 which I prefer and the Sovtek PI with a JJ ECC83s.

    It wasn't much money spent and the tonal difference was slight but those are tubes I prefer.
     
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  12. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    javierj, you specifically mentioned two amps, a Marshall reissue 1962HW ''Bluesbraker'', and a Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue.

    Groove Tubes, a company that picks tubes out of new production, specs, tests, and re labels them, is owned by Fender, which is why Fender comes with Groove Tubes.

    Marshall and Fender are both mass production shops, and have to have tubes that are available in quantity and at the right price. If they're trying to hit a $599 retail price point, they can't do that by using expensive tubes. The market is very price-point sensitive. There are many, many threads at TDPRI and elsewhere that ask questions like "what's the best tube combo amp for $399?"

    Of course, your original post asked about "expensive" amps. A DRRI at 1100 bucks may be considered expensive, but in the world of professional tube amps, it's not expensive.

    A Marshall 1962HW at 4 grand, is an expensive amp. I don't know what tubes it comes with.

    But here's the deal. As an amp builder, even a boutique amp builder, you have to realize that different guitarists have different views of tubes. Some may like JJ, others like Mullard, or Electo-Harmonix, or Black Sable or any of a number of other brands.

    So, what would I put in an amp? I wouldn't put a rare and expensive NOS tube in an amp unless it was specifically called for. In my opinion, a boutique builder should state what tubes he uses, and be flexible enough to work with the buyer's tube choices.
     
  13. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

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    Its a mute point. If you are buying a $$custom$$ built amp it gets whatever tubes you want.
    If you are buying a production line amp you get what you get.
     
  14. chrisbacardi

    chrisbacardi TDPRI Member

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    I think it mostly boils down to the vast majority of guitarists being happy with generic tubes. In all the interviews I've read with professional guitarists, I've almost never seen one mentioning needing/wanting specific tubes
     
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  15. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    Some of it comes down to the cost. Buyers at the amp companies will make deals to purchase loads of tubes for batches of amps they are producing. Just like the way car manufacturers make deals with tire companies I suppose. Also, there is the topic of availability in their country, reliability, consistency, etc. Alsi, if you were the person burning in the amps & playing them before they left the factory, you need a consistent sound or tone to reference.
     
  16. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    New production amps, no matter how expensive, will come with Russian or Chinese made tubes.
    That was NOT the case in some of the better vintage amps.
    Many a Marshall was told with TESLA (not JJ) EL34 tubes.

    Steve
     
  17. Strebs

    Strebs Tele-Meister

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    I'd imagine that a factory for the high end amps tests and sorts the tubes and makes sure that they meet minimum standards.
     
  18. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    Its no different than guitar strings really-the factory puts on a set of reasonable quality-usually their brand, and then we switch to whatever our personal taste is.
     
  19. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

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    I wonder. Someone eluded to this earlier but do top end pro acts worry about tubes? Does Joe Bonomassa get on ebay searching for the perfect tubes, or Keith Urban or Tom Petty or Keith Richards or Clapton or Springsteen or John Mayer or anybody? Have they ever built their own amps for that matter, as so many guys here do? It's hard to imagine except in a few cases, but it would certainly earn my respect - the respect I have for everyone here who does such things and shares their knowledge freely.
     
  20. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Afflicted

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    Cheap might not be the best descriptor... I think that's a consumer (especially "guitar player thinkers & tinkerers") urban myth (don't beat me up for sayin it). A tube is a vital but simple and ancient component of the amp. The manufactures just like fender for all those highly regarded vintage amps just used the "cheap sh#t electrical components that were readily available. I bet most of us have spent more time thinking about that than Fender did.

    javierj hit the nail on the head when he commented on the "cork sniffing" that goes on about tubes. You can pay $24 for the Mesa boogie "stamped" version or you can pay $6.95 for the same think from a non boutique supplier. Or, for the extremists you can pay $200 for the "NOS" quality tubes - undoubtedly you will "hear" the difference because otherwise you would know you wasted your $$s!
     
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