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Tubes. Becoming obsolete?

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

  1. Teisco88

    Teisco88 TDPRI Member

    Jan 16, 2020
    Tehran- Iran
    Every time someone brings up this topic, I order more tubes, it gives me anxiety. Jokes aside, I think the tube market is pretty healthy for now, and it is mostly thanks to us guitarists. I think they'll be around for as long as we are. I stockpile them nonetheless, and not necessarily NOS tubes.
    In terms of quality, I think the current production tubes are very good and that's what I tend to stock. I have NOS Brimars, Mullards, RFTs, Sylvania and lots of NOS Soviet tubes I got for cheap back in the day. But what I buy the most are cheap Shuguangs and JJ's. I use them in builds and repairs, and I've never had one fail on me for years. But I've had expensive NOS tubes fail on me. New production tubes coming out of China are more rugged, they have thicker glass, more mica holding everything in place which makes them less microphonic, no filament flash, they can take more punishment and they sound very nice to my ears.
    Back in the day, tubes were made for all kinds of applications, but these days they are made only for audio, and guitar amps in particular. A tube guitar amp is a very hostile environment for tubes, and companies understand that and base their specs on those well known failure points. It's not just tubes, I think new transformers form Canada and Europe are good too and so are the capacitors. I buy lots components, I think this is the golden age of electrical components of all kinds. Modern manufacturing technologies means old components can be made cheaper and with higher quality.

    But don't take my word for it, I'm just a hack.
  2. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

    Sep 4, 2019
    Bay Area, California
    Back in the 70's I was a keyboardist and dragged around a Hammond and Leslie cabinet, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Mini-Moog and a Twin Reverb. All heavy stuff to drag around. Then as synthesizers got better and started making sounds similar to Hammond Organs and Fender Rhodes and Clavinets --- People said those old instruments were obsolete and got rid of them cheap so they could carry lightweight synth around instead. Just listen to the music of the 80's and 90's with those Yamaha DX7 and Roland and Korg cheesy pianos and organs to hear how bad they really sounded. (but we thought they sounded great at the time)

    Anyway everyone sold off their Rhodes and Clavinets and MiniMoogs and Hammonds for cheap money. Then one day people realized the synths sounded like crap and started paying big bucks for old Rhodes and Clavinets and MiniMoogs. Even Hammond/Leslies got really expensive again for awhile.

    Now Hammonds and Leslies are going thru another wave where new lightweight clones sound "just like the real thing" and the prices are plummeting on Hammond organs again. I have a real Hammond and Leslie (several actually) and they are great but I sure don't drag one around to shows - the new clones do sound really good. Good enough anyway.

    Maybe we're there with tube amps --- but I don't think so. I fully expect tubes to stick around for awhile. I'm not quite so thrilled with my tube amps in summertime (no air conditioning at my house) but today I'm loving basking in the glow of my tube amps while I practice guitar and the cold rain pounds on my windows.
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