Tubes. Becoming obsolete?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by LGOberean, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I’m not looking for a fight, just information.

    I have read and I’ve heard it said that tubes are being manufactured in only a few places in the world, and that their quality isn’t what it once was. If this is true, it would seem to me a distinct possibility that at some point they will become obsolete.

    So, is it true? Who’s making them? Where? How good are new ones? How usable and/or available are old ones?

    I could do an Internet search to try find this out, but this is a discussion forum, so I figured “Let’s discuss.”
     
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  2. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    They are made in China, Russia, and the Czech Republic. Given that tubes have critical military applications and that environmental protection laws are becoming tighter in central Europe, you work it out.
     
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  3. cmm71

    cmm71 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    China and Russia are the two places still making them. I'm certain someone will have more specifics. As far as their obsolescence, yes, eventually. I think Quliter is looking like my future. It's a well made product out of California that sounds great and stands alone or as a pedal platform. They have my interest. I struggle with digital modelling...I can't stand it.
     
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  4. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Becoming??? :rolleyes:
     
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  5. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Supply/demand. Probably like vinyl records. Will become a specialty business with smaller production and distribution as well as higher prices and wider profit margins.

    Right now there's plenty of inventory of any variety of audio and amp tubes readily available, both new and old stock. I don't see that changing much.
     
  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Not in my lifetime, although a rush on stockpiling and hoarding tubes and subsequent price inflation would probably boost production.:twisted::lol:
     
  7. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Fender tube amp, but I hardly use it anymore. When I practice or play out, which is seldom, I use a Boss GT-100. It sounds good enough for me and it's light and easy to set up. However, I'm very impressed with the sound of the Korg Nutube technology, and I hope Vox continues to make products with them, along with bringing back the quality that was in their earlier products, like Tonelab SE.
     
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  8. 392Hemi

    392Hemi Tele-Meister

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    Tube amps are like internal combustion engines, on there way out. There of course will still be love for both for a while. Resale prices will plummet in the next 5 years.
     
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  9. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Holic

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    There is an untapped market for USA made tubes. Think about it, they don't even have to be better than the alternative. Just make them here and suckers, like me, will pay a little extra for Made in the USA.
     
  10. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    On a related note - what happened with the "NuTube" technology? A couple or three years ago, that was all I was hearing about, but in the intervening period, not a whole lot of movement on that front. AFAIK, the little VOX MV mini amps are the only things these were incorporated in.
     
  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tubes will become unavailable. They're already "obsolete".

    So is my hot rodded 1970 Triumph Daytona. It was radar gunned at close to 140mph comin' off the banking at Daytona.
     
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  12. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    They've been obsolete for decades, as far as amplifying technology is concerned. But they still sound best for guitar (as far as I can tell).

    I like to think of that 50s/60s technology as being a highpoint in guitar sound that came about by dedicated engineers and artisans working with the technology available to them and they then happening to produce instruments and amps that many here consider the pinnacle of electric guitar sound.
    Many to this day try to recreate that sound using that same technology, despite technology having moved on.

    I like comparing that to baroque era violins like a Stradivarius. The artisans of that period with the skills and materials available to them produced what many violinists consider the ultimate violin. The surviving examples are meticulously taken care of, and modern artisans try to recreate those instruments (often with 'obsolete' tools that Stradivarius himself would recognise).

    Tube amps, despite being woefully heavy, finicky and obsolete, just sound 'right' (as far as I can hear, at least).
     
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  13. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    Tubes ain't goin' nowhere. You cannot duplicate the "feel" of tubes with modeling, & never will.
     
  14. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    "“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” One of the all-time classic tech prediction flubs, this quote came from the lips of president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., Ken Olson, way back in 1977."
     
  15. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Afflicted

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    I should probably buy a couple of backup tubes for my Fender Pro Junior IV now just in case.

    It looks like about $50 for a set of (2) EL-84 and (2) 12AX7 from JJ Electronic in the Czech Republic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  16. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are thousands of guys out there sitting on huge stashes of tubes. If there is money to be made tubes will always be available and in production..
     
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  17. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    The little bit I've heard from the Korg Nutube stuff, online, was promising. I also would like to see Vox come back to the larger mfx Tonelab boards. I use a Tonelab EX and now that I'm playing out more regularly will likely buy another this year as a backup. The Tonelab series didn't always get top reviews for effects and usability, but it did for tone. I agree that they sound awesome. I think they are easy enough to use and the tone matters most, to me because most patches are simple enough for most any mfx board to do. However, I prefer to run my Tonelab into the front of a clean tube amp. It sounds a little better to me and I do have tube and solid state amps. I carry a solid state head as backup to gigs.

    As for the tubes becoming obsolete, a whole generation of ppl are now being brought up with very good sounding solid state/modelling amp options. For them there won't be a bias or nostalgia for tube amps so the market will decrease over time...but..the Internet will keep tube hype going too.
     
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  18. 392Hemi

    392Hemi Tele-Meister

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    I still love the sound and feel of an I.C.E. and tube amps. I like the Triumph Twins old and new.
     
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  19. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    Like film, vinyl & tape there will probably always be some demand for tubes ( remember there are still other audio enthusiasts who enjoy tubes) How long new production is a question, but I can remember when tubes were “ going” in the late 70s.. as have most obsolete technology.. as long as some one has a interest and a viable business model, some one will be giving it a try.. I travel to work for Lancaster County Pa. on a regular basis, guess what buggy whips and other supporting firms are doing quite well! Tubes are significantly more intense, but people do even more complicated things every day.
     
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  20. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lots of technologies are described as "obsolete" these days, when plenty of people are still producing, buying, and using them.

    To me, obsolete means extinct. If something has a sizeable niche, it's not obsolete.
     
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