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Tube Quality? Are tubes consistently 'good' or 'bad ' according to brand?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Chiogtr4x, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks, just wondering/curious if there were any absolutes " These____ are always good!", " These___are always bad!" out there.
    And it seems like NOPE.

    The real answer seems to be " you won't know 'till you find out!"

    BTW- This all comes from my head in response to recent tube/amp threads where someone has mentioned, after an experience, with :

    " I will always use (only) tubes X!"
    or
    " I will never use tube X again!"

    Seems to be not that clear, ha!
     
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  2. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    Exactly : not that simple actually... And to add to the confusion : yes, you may be lucky or unlucky... :confused:

    I once found a bunch (circa 10 years ago IIRC) of 6CA7/EL34 and 6L6GC from JJ that were all interelectrode leaky and some even shorted : probably a bad batch that passed over the QC - we returned them, period.

    That said, I barely saw real inconsistencies in current tube production : faulty new tubes right out of the box exists, but stays rare, and faulty recent tubes are often victims of defective, poorly designed or set amps... :(

    -tbln.
     
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  3. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    so, where are those tubes manufactured? Compared to the price that those same tubes can be had prior to the silk screen8ng, Mesa tubes as well as the other rebranded t7bes are more expensive.
     
  4. KyAnne

    KyAnne Tele-Afflicted

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    CCP tubes bad! Other new tubes mostly good!
     
  5. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I use old brit rectifiers so I am lucky . I had eh Jj and tungsol go white on me or get noisy. But that is me. I didn’t know that about Russian rectifiers . Tks
     
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  6. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    The most important thing is to buy tubes from a source that tests them stringently. The vast majority of MB tubes are Sovteks, and the reason that MB tubes are so reliable is because they test them to their very stringent standards. And, we all owe Mike Matthews an un-ending debt of gratitude for saving the Sovtek (Reflektor) factory by buying it and fighting the Russian mob to keep it afloat, since probably 90% of all new tubes come from that one factory, since the Chinese and JJ are the only others left, because EI and Winged C (previously Svetlana) are no more. And, Mike has done a lot to improve the quality of the tubes produced by his company. The excellent quality Sovtek 12AX7LPS with spiral filament, and EHX tubes, as well as the current Mullard, Tung Sol, and Svetlana tubes, are all from EHX catalog, and from the factory owned by Mike.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Haven't the foggiest. Just know he likes 'em.
     
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  8. Geo

    Geo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I recently got some older name brand 12A type tubes that tested strong and great on
    a Hickok. But when in an amp some sounded fine but some didn't sound good at all and were noisy.
     
    Wally likes this.
  9. Cam

    Cam Friend of Leo's

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    My old school trained amp tech buddy who retired, told me words there about, “Tubes are tubes and designed to do what they do. Some are good and sometimes they fail.”
    He is a whatever works guy and not a brand guy.
     
  10. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Most sound fine, some sound great, some are unreliable, some are workhorses. I don’t remember the last time I had to change a tube, but I have a box of them. My favorites were the old ones from the ‘50’s, seemed to sound better. If the amp itself is good to go and you pack it well when traveling, tubes are less of an issue.
     
  11. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    I thought the only point of buying a MB branded tube is if one had a MB amp. They are supposedly screened to be ‘plug and play’ for their amps which cannot be biased.
     
  12. Worrywort

    Worrywort TDPRI Member

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    Hello. I’m relying on what I was told 30 plus years ago about Electronics.
    Tubes are Mechanical Devices, Assembled on a production line just like Cars and Refrigerators.

    Transistors, Diodes etc, are made by the million. They get spewed out and are tested very quickly. For Example a popular transistor will go down four lanes. It will be labelled as BC107, BC108 or BC109. The other 50% will be thrown away.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yes, that is the deal...Mesa sets their amps up for certain performance specs they want for each amp model. Their tubes are specifically chosen for their set up in that circuit. And yes....Boogie amps are either non-adjustable fixed or self-Biasing cathode circuits...or...a mixture of the two. Some very few early ones have a stock trim pot for the bias voltage. I have never encountered a non-adjustable, fixed biased Mesa amp that was set for more than 35% of maximum plate dissipation with the ‘proper’ Mesa tube installed. In such amps, I have never had a problem using other than Mesa tubes because they are set up to that very cool side of the bias range. I like what goes on with warmer than factory plate dissipation in the fixed biased MK amps. Ommv...
     
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  14. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Their tubes are regular current production that they test and supply to specs that makes them work in Mesa amps that have no adjustable bias. Still, they are tested tubes and can be used in other amps too. I have three pairs of MB labeled RFT/Siemens EL34's that I keep to use in my Marshall amps.
    Al
     
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  15. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I knew they could be put in any amp. But they always seem expensive for tubes when I see them for sale. Former lead in my band had a DR and insisted that only MB tubes could be installed in it. However, he also believed tubes needed at least 10 minutes to 'fully open up' tone wise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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