kubi

    The fair and beautiful North Rhine-Westphalia
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« on: July 09, 2004, 04:55:45 AM »
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« Last Edit: August 01, 2009, 09:28:28 PM by kubi »
Darius Kubarth
www.kubarth.com


mcs

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2004, 07:17:59 AM »
Quote from: "kubi"
Mullard: Expensive NOS tubes, but powerful and good.

When you look for "Mullard" tubes, remember to look for Philips, Miniwatt, Valvo, Mazda, Adzam, Pope etc. also. All these brand are/were owned by Philips, so all the tubes are more or less the same. You often find Philips tubes branded Mullard and Mullards branded Philips etc. You have to look at the codes etched in the glass to find out what you actually have.

Also remember that many manufacturers sold rebranded tubes.

And the fact that a manufacturer makes a good ECC82 doesn't mean they make good E88CCs...

Best regards,

Mikkel C. Simonsen

OldHouseScott

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2004, 08:20:53 AM »
FWIW, Groove Tubes is making a 12AX7M that is supposed to be a reproduction of the Mullard. Have heard good things about it in guitar amp context, but don't know about its suitability for other purposes. About $22 US which is double other manufacturers new offerings, but I suppose significantly less than NOS or even used Mullards.
OldHouseScott

"We put a little quality in everything we build..."

clintrubber

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2004, 12:10:41 PM »
from Kubi:
Quote
When I first visited this forum at RO I asked just this question, yes it was my very first question. Today I know myself.
This is a very subjective list of my experiences with ECC8x tubes:
Mullard: Expensive NOS tubes, but powerful and good.
Telefunken: Don't know any better ones, but very expensive, too.
Siemens: I know only the EF86 from Siemens and it's very very good!
Sovtec: Don't like them at all. Sound terrible to me.
JJ/Tesla RedLabel: Very affordable and very good! I like and use them most.
Of course there are many more brands, but these are the ones I used so far.


Hey, you haven't encountered some Philips miniwatt tubes ?

(Just taking the opportunity here to promote some Philips stuff - as in the other thread about dig.att with the TI-stuff etc  :wink:  ... Hey, I haven't seen any TI-tubes yet !  :wink: (please prove me wrong, it'd be interesting))

Bye & have a good weekend all,

   Peter

dmlandrum

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2004, 03:05:40 PM »
So you recommend the JJ/Tesla tubes? Those are what I'm thinking about ordering for my G9 preamp when I get to building it.
Darren Landrum

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

dmlandrum

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2004, 03:31:52 PM »
Yeah, I wish I could afford Telefunkens, too.

Actually, I was going to buy a Telefunken EF86 for the G7 mic, when I get to building it. I'm going to go as no-compromise as possible on that sucker. :green:

I was back in Colorado Springs (about a 4.5 hour drive), where there is a surplus shop called OEM Parts. They have two boxes full of used and NOS 12AU7 tubes. I grabbed 8 GEs, and none of them worked.  :sad:  I also looked for some EF86 and 6386 tubes, but no luck.

(EDIT: I guess I should point out that OEM Parts has a tube tester. I never purchased any of the bad tubes. In fact, I didn't purchase any at all. :sad: )
Darren Landrum

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

PRR

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2004, 04:35:18 PM »
> What brands

Don't worry over-much about brands.

Big brands like Cunningham/RCA made tubes for 50 years in dozens of factories, through war and peace and changes of markets. You can't assume that they kept top-quality in every factory all the time.

Big brands always had a low-price line for radio repair with 10-day warranty, and a high-price line for military/industrial customers who logged every tube trouble and squawked about excessive failures. Because the two types were sometimes made on the same factory lines, it isn't easy to tell them apart now that you no longer get them from the factory.

There were 700-900 "common" types and no Brand actually made all types; everybody bought from other companies so that they could offer a complete list of types. If they really cared about their Brand they would try to get appropriate quality (and price!), but sometimes they had to take what they could get. All early 7591s came from Westinghouse, even though you hardly ever see one with Westinghouse's brand.

For most of tube history, the racket was all about not losing money. Most of the time there were too many factories and they had to under-cut each other's prices to keep going. 5-tube radio makers would eat poop to save a penny per radio, because radios were all the same and prices rules sales. TVs were only slightly different (with 14-20 tubes, you could not use crap tubes or your DOA rate would kill profit) but still very price-driven.

RCA thought they had a solid tube business in the 1920s, but then Cunningham out on the west coast was making a LOT of better tubes cheaper.... RCA finally had to buy Cunningham's butt (made him a VP of RCA) and his factories (which became the main RCA factories), and even then had to leave his name on the tubes. There was a similar trend in the 1950s as the Japanese shops grew big, but they were not open to a buy-out. The big US brands had to cheapen their low-price tubes to keep the factory working, and later ended up re-selling Japan tubes under their own brand.

Some "bad" brands were not all bad. "Realistic" (Radio Shack) didn't make their own tubes (they may have had shares in some asian tube plants when the tube racket was fading). Most of their tubes were lowest-bidder. But (especially when tubes were fading) sometimes the lowest bidder was a high-quality maker who had excess inventory that they could not unload. I've had some very good "Realistic" tubes, as well as some junk.

And finally: if a specific brand and construction is widely accepted as "very good", someone is making fakes. Tubes were never retail-labeled on the factory lines. Several reasons: if the workers knew what they were making, they could steal and sell them. Another reason is that the same basic tube can be sold under several tube types (and several prices) depending some on testing but a lot on how many orders you get for each type. Because there is no permanent type-tag on a tube, it is very easy for someone to rub-off the retail markings and print-on a "more desirable" marking. A lot of mediocre TV tuner tubes got re-labeled as 6DJ7 when 6DJ7 was "in". Now about any brand and type may be counterfeited onto any tube that may "work" in most sockets. Mullard and Telefunken usually -were- very-very-good tubes, but today you need to be a real geek with a strong magnifier to be sure you are getting genuine Mullard or Telefunken.

Know your dealer. An honest dealer won't sell you a bad tube, or will make-good if he's been fooled.

Try lots of "ordinary" tubes. "Sound" wasn't a design goal, and sound depends as much on the circuit conditions as the tube, so an "unknown brand" may work very well in your circuit and not in someone else's.

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2004, 04:47:57 PM »
I'd have to second the "know your dealer" concept.

Maybe it's due to my natural laziness that I haven't figured out exactly how to detect a genuine valve in most cases (I reckon I can spot a re-brand 6386 9 out of 10 times, but that's purely down to time spent chasing them, as well as the fact that the re-brands are often so easy to spot in this case) but my moral has always been to only use established dealers. Just about all the dealers I use have been in the business upwards of 30yrs or so, and they wouldn't stick around too long if they fobbed off clients with fakes.

Dealers such as Chelmer or Billington have never let me down, and they have an amicable exchange policy if one tube proves particularly noisy or microphonic.

I haven't tried them yet, but I've heard glowing (no pun intended) reports on Edicron valves of late, anyone tried 'em? Edicron prices are v.good.

Justin
Prepare yourself. You are about to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament.

dmlandrum

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2004, 04:51:11 PM »
Thanks for the info, PRR.

The thing is, this knowledge just complicates things further. I don't have the option of buying 30-40 tubes in order to pick the best-sounding 4, so I have to trust that the retailer selling them to me knows what they are doing.

I was going to buy them from Antique Electronics Supply, at http://www.tubesandmore.com . Are they one of the good retailers?

I also found these places:

http://www.vacuumtube.com/guitar.htm
http://www.audiotubes.com/12au7.htm

Anyone have any experience?
Darren Landrum

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

neilium

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2004, 05:23:32 PM »
I've had ok luck with Antique Electronic Supply (tubesandmore.com). The thing to keep in mind with them is that you need to be specific. They list pretty good prices on their tubes, but if you request a specific brand or a highly sought after tube, like a Mullard 12AX7, their price isn't any better than anyone else's.

It's very much a warehouse; you order a part number, they put that part in a box and ship it to you. Unless you're specific, they're going to ship whatever, as long as that number matches.

The thing AES is great for is stocking really obscure stuff. If you're a fan of octal signal triodes (like the 6sn7) and you can wire your stuff for 12 volt filaments, you can get 12sn7s from them for a third of the price of 6sn7s.

Also, they have a lot of lesser-known subs and near equivelents. I've had good luck ordering 5751's from them. I've gotten RCA's and GE's, and they sound real good in guitar amps in place of 12AX7's (less gain, though.) The 5814's and 6189's I've gotten from them have worked very well in place of 12AU7's.

They currently have 5687's on sale at $2.00 a pop. This is a really good tube similar to a 6dj8 (though not swap out compatible). A lot of hifi guys like it, but don't hold that against it.

-neil
BODY MASSAGE!!! http://media.ebaumsworld.com/gijoebodymassage.mov (>1 meg download)


mcs

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2004, 05:42:14 PM »
Quote from: "Consul"
I was going to buy them from Antique Electronics Supply, at http://www.tubesandmore.com . Are they one of the good retailers?

Yes. They have a huge inventory of parts, and they won't sell you fakes. But if you order a 12AU7, you will just get a 12AU7 - not a specific brand.

Another place you could try is Triode Electronics http://triodeel.com/
Ned knows what he is selling...

Best regards,

Mikkel C. Simonsen

dmlandrum

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2004, 05:49:49 PM »
Cool! Thanks, guys!
Darren Landrum

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

OldHouseScott

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2004, 07:10:01 PM »
If you are a fan of JJ's, like I am, Bob at www.eurotubes.com has good prices and great service. Only sells JJ's though.
OldHouseScott

"We put a little quality in everything we build..."

phonodj

Significant differences between tube manufacturers..?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2005, 10:14:48 AM »
hey kubi wo kaufst du deine röhren in deutschland.
ich wollte mir einen g9 bauen.

hast du auch einen typ zu den kondensatoren.
ich wollte wima mks -2 nehmen