I hate tube rolling, but let's discuss tubes.

Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by Marvey, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    17,590
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    1. The Shugang cheapy 2A3b with white or black base for well less than $100 a pair are not bad.
    2. Based on my positive experience with EH 300B, I suspect the EH 2A3 might be quite a good value as well. (I should pick up a pair and try them).
    3. KR stuff lacks availability, is poorly constructed, and is overpriced. Craig lost money on the KR PX-4s because he just ate it on the returns. The story is after Kron died, his wife took over and didn't give a crap. This is just a story though.
    4. EML is good, probably the best of modern tubes, but expensive. I like the EML 2A3 and 300B mesh.
    5. The Psvane replica WE275 is good and sounds most similar to NOS 2A3s. The Psvane WR2A3 is very bloomy.
    My preference on the DNA Stratus has been the EML 2A3 Mesh. Sounds the most neutral with best bass control. If your NOS Miniwatts sound good, just stick with those. They if already work fine, they should last a long time.
     

  2. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Palo Alto
    Now this is what a tubes thread should be like.

    Here's a few more questions:
    A) Do you bother with buying tube testers?
    B) Have a cleaning ritual for the pins?
    C) Do you typically buy double the amount needed by the amp so you'll have backups when they burn out?
     
    JK47 likes this.
  3. dsavitsk

    dsavitsk Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    477
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Home Page:
    I have one. Haven't used it in years as I'd rather test a tube in a circuit.

    Nope.

    Except for new production stuff that is always available, I generally buy in bulk since I am usually thinking about developing a circuit. If I can't find it in bulk, it is probably more than I want to pay. And I don't believe in precious tubes.
     
  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    17,590
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    A) No.
    B) No, except in the case of the MIG-25 vacuum tubes where the filament didn't light up because the pins were rusty.
    C) I used to very early on until I realized that this was retarded. I recite the Ozymandias poem from Shelly to remind myself the impermanence of all things in the material world. I will on occasion get a bunch of toobs at once if they come cheap, and share with friends when they happen to need one. Because sharing is caring.
     
    Maxx134, Wilson, ultrabike and 2 others like this.
  5. JK47

    JK47 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    936
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Next door to "Surf City USA"
    A) Yes if you plan on buying/selling/trading (can return crap tubes with less hassle from ebay sellers), or have OCD (power tube matching, or dual triode preamp tube matching)
    B)Alcohol and $1 brass gun bore brush
    C)Guilty of hoarding vintage tubes that I like...

    The differences I've encountered with tube sellers has been that the good ones will always take care of you, and the shit ones will make your life difficult (that's where my tube testers have helped me huge with ebay claims). Marv's 30% problem rate with tubes is what I've encountered myself (microphonic, poor match, tested weak sauce, etc). Even with reputable dealers I've had problem tubes sent to me, but they either replaced or refunded them without hesitation.
     
  6. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,449
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    I love the feel of tube amps, appreciate the sound, and have had a bit of experience with rolling in my Lyr 2 and Crack + SB. I can certainly hear some difference between tubes, but in essence is tube rolling a manual pinned passive eq that you can physically swap out? I personally have not found one set of tubes to be the end all be all, just all different flavors. Maybe I will have to continue to chase the dragon and find the perfect synergistic pair to match up with each amp to fully become enlightened.

    An analogy someone told me is that tube rolling the audiophile equivalent of wine tasting -e.g. all cabernets are made from same type of grape, but different vintages and vineyard produce difference tasting notes. Some expensive and hard to find are considered far superior to others that are commonly available.
     
    beemerphile and Wilson like this.
  7. Works 4 Me

    Works 4 Me Rando

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Funny you should mention hating 'tube rolling', I'm with you there & I've taken it I even a step further . I'm using tubes that most people might not even consider tubes !

    I know it's sounds like a "Whatch you talkin 'bout Willis !" statement, but I'm using something called "Retrovalves". They're designed fo be used in the Pro - Audio market mostly for Guitar Amplifiers. I absolutely don't like tube microphonics in the slightest, my attitude is if you need to use microphonics to "sweeten up the sound" you need to get better equipment or listening material ! Let me get back to the Retrovalves.

    The insides of a Retrovalve is made under vacuum, but it is not enclosed in glass. It mimics the sound tubes produce as far as capturing the fundamental of a musical note with the warmth of it glass counterparts without adding the "nonsense" at the "top" of the note that is not really part of the musical note as it exists as played.(maybe it exists in Electrically played notes, but I don't listen to that).

    By the same token the music doesn't sound a bit "flat" or "cold" they way SS can sometimes sound. They remind me of the "just right" things in the "Three Bears" story ! Though from what I read on Internet Audio Forums most people seem to prefer the values that the other two Bears seem to like ! As far as I can tell they're only available as replacement for 12AX7 tubes. I had been using 12AY7 tubes but I greatly prefer the Retrovalves. & the price is right at $19 a tube. My modded HD800 don't need to be dumbed down & with these they're not !

    Let's see I can spend $1-300 per tube for NOS that people spend so they can hear the "nonsense" or buy a few dozen of these ! Decisions, decisions

    YMM definitely V on these !
     
    FlySweep likes this.
  8. uncola

    uncola Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    289
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    are retrovalves different than the solid state tube replacement schiit offers for the mjolnir 2?
     
  9. Works 4 Me

    Works 4 Me Rando

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Yup !

    The 'Lisst' SS tube replacements appear to be 'Dedicated' for use in the Schiit amps only. I'm really not sure which specific tube types they would actually be the equivalent of. Someone else will have to chime in on whether they've been able to use them in other equipment !

    As I mentioned ,Retrovalves were designed to be replacements for 12AX7 tubes ! They come in three different ''gain' levels: low, standard, $ hot (which is only high gain). I wasn't too sure about the compatibility of these w/ an Audio amp so I placed them into Novib socket saver bases before plugging them into my Headphone Amp.

    I used the standard gain 'tubes' . They don't run hot like normal tubes & after awhile I decided that I was safe to run them w/o the Novib socket savers in place. I think I'd like to try the lower gain 'Rv' as I'd like a more gradual amount of gain from my volume control..

    Whether or not you decide to try this I would suggest to anyone who hasn't tried the Novib (which is an abbreviation of "No vibration") socket savers, particularly if they are using regular tubes (& especially if they happen to be NOS). I got the Novibs from Tube Mongers.. I feel they're more beneficial to ise than other types of tube dampers I've used.
     
  10. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    625
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Got a Retrovalve and tried it in the Project Ember. No sound at all. Apparently they aren't drop-in replacements for all 12AX7 tubes.
     
  11. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    953
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    Gah, missed this thread last year.

    I've found cleaning pins can eliminate hisses/hums/crackling. I use alcohol and q-tips and it's a bit of a pain in the ass. The q-tips will turn black if you're doing it correctly.

    For really stubborn pins, I make a baking soda/water mixture and then use a toothbrush to scrub the pins clean. Have a towel beneath because wet tubes are extremely slippery. I rinse them in the sink with a towel beneath as well.

    I obsessively collected 6DJ8's for a little more than a year. Never bought a tube tester and only had one Tungsol 5998 that arrived from Turkey with hissing that I couldn't fix. Eventually tested all my tubes and nobody had scammed me, so I personally have no qualms about using eBay.

    I don't roll anymore if I can help it. I do find most NOS to sound superior to the newer tubes. I had a very tough time with Gumbys warmth in the first month I owned it, and tried rolling in the Zana Deux to compensate. In the end, I just forgot about how Yggdrasil sounded and kept the TS driver in.

    I would personally be unhappy having to use different tubes in the ZD. I completely agree tube rolling sucks, but the difference between the Telefunken rectifiers and Philips makes or breaks the sound to me.

    I pray that solid state gear can someday perfectly emulate tubes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  12. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    625
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Tried the RetroValve in the Project Sunrise. It seems that though these are 12AX7 replacements, you can't feed them 12V. At 6V, I could get some (bad) sound out of one channel, at 12V I couldn't get any audio.

    Unfortunately, it seems RetroValves only work in certain applications. Not sure what headphone tube amps they would work in if they don't work in the most flexible tube amps I'm aware of.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  13. bobmysterious

    bobmysterious Rando

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2016
    Likes Received:
    22
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Boca Raton, FL
    So the difference between the Tele EY500A and the stock 6D22S is pretty significant? How so? I've got a ZDS on order and I'm trying to learn as much as I can ahead of time about it's tube complement.
     
  14. zickson

    zickson Rando

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    OP, what're your favorite version of these tubes:

    5U4G
    KT88

    But for rectification, well-designed transistors will out any 5U4G/6D22S/... I guess...?

    Many thanks.
     
  15. Xecuter

    Xecuter Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    330
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Australia
    regarding KR audio decline in quality.

    Joe from JPS posted this today.

    On the subject of tubes, we've been working with KR Audio this year on updated versions of their tubes with improved materials. These will be exclusive to the US market. We will have these new High Performance KR Audio HP tubes at Rocky Mountain Audiofest in our Suite 6000 on the Woo amps.
     
  16. spwath

    spwath Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2015
    Likes Received:
    497
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    my in-14 and in-16 tubes.
    Dont make any sound, but make a pretty display of the time.
    [​IMG]
     
    SKiring, MattRG, Besnia and 7 others like this.
  17. Setzz

    Setzz Rando

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Likes Received:
    21
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Oz
    G'day all

    I'm building a list of international online tube vendors.

    Could I kindly ask where you guys buy your tubes, past and present, local or overseas, and your overall experience with the vendor?

    So far my non-exhaustive, unranked list includes:

    Oceania / Asia Pacific:
    • Evatco (Australia)
    • The Valve Store (Australia)
    • Tube Audio (Australia)
    • Audio Note (Singapore)


    North America / South America:
    • Electron Tube Store (Canada)
    • The Tube Store (Canada)
    • Brent Jessee Recording & Supply (US)
    • Tube Depot (US)
    • Tube World Express (US)
    • Upscale Audio (US)
    • Tubes USA (US)
    • Triode Electronics (US)
    • Antique Electronic Supply (US)
    • TC Tubes (US)
    • Dougs Tubes (US)
    • KCA NOS (US)
    • Hoffman Amplifiers (US)
    • Euro Tubes (US)


    Europe / Middle East / Africa:
    • Dr Tube (Netherlands)
    • NOS Tube Store (Russia and Turkey)
    • Tubes Store (Russia)

     
    zonto, Priidik and sorrodje like this.
  18. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Likes Received:
    614
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    A few from the UK...
    mullardmagic.co.uk
    watfordvalves.com
    hotroxuk.com

    Just got a couple of early 1960s Mullard ecc83 for my Cary. The power on spark scared the crap out of me when I first switched them on... thought they were duds, then I Googled and found it's a unique "feature" of these Mullards.
     
  19. Setzz

    Setzz Rando

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Likes Received:
    21
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Oz
    Thanks mate! Will add to my list.

    Also: "it's not a defect, it's a feature!" Lol
     
  20. Xecuter

    Xecuter Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    330
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Australia
    Pretty much none of those Australian ones stock NOS tubes.
    Tube world express: Brendan was difficult, rude and wanted to convince me to get something I didn't want. He then started poopooing my equipment because i didn't want something he liked.

    Brent Jesse has been hugely helpful over the last few year.

    Not much experience with the others.
     

Share This Page