JMan

Tube retailers
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:39:11 AM »
Interested in your thoughts/recommendations/cautionary tales regarding online tube retailers.  I know that a couple — Tube Depot and Tubes and More — get lots of love.  Wondering about some of the others and if they are reputable.  I know this must have been covered to death over the years, but my forum searches are apparently missing the magic words, so...

I’m curious about sellers like Vivatubes and Tube Museum, who I don’t see mentioned as much, but whose stock makes them appealing (each for different reasons).  Anybody got the scoop on them?  Any others worth seeking out, or perhaps places that you’ve had a not-so-good experience with?

Also, admins, I’m not sure if this is the right sub forum for this, so please move me if you need to.  Thanks!


ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 04:33:31 AM »
I only buy current production tubes. I get them from places like Tube Town and Banzai Music in Germany. Both provide excellent service.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 08:26:25 AM »
Richard at Leeds Radio here in NYC is very, very good. He's a real, knowledgeable technician with high standards, knows what test numbers should look like, and always sells the good stuff.

He does most of his selling via an Etsy store nowadays, and only lists a small fraction of his inventory. But if you contact him via his website with what you're looking for, there's a very good chance he will have it in his stock.

I've had decent luck with Viva Tubes, but only used them once or twice.

Very often I'm using eBay, but only under certain limited circumstances. Sellers who list specific test numbers and disclose the make and model of their tube tester are often worth taking the risk, if you know enough to properly interpret those numbers.

Sellers who list vague test numbers (in percentages) and/or use emissions testers (or who list no numbers at all) are a hard pass, unless it's something very specific at a very good price and worth taking a risk. Even if they claim "NOS/NIB."

In the year 2020 there's no way to really tell that a tube is truly NOS, even if it's new in box... except in certain rare circumstances (old Telefunken tubes with the box still sealed in cellophane, for instance)

Holger

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 12:20:05 PM »
I only buy current production tubes. I get them from places like Tube Town and Banzai Music in Germany. Both provide excellent service.

Cheers

Ian
I would suggest to try
https://btb-elektronik.de/
To me the best tube retailer, very good quality. Website is in a couple of other languages too.



ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 01:08:36 PM »
I would suggest to try
https://btb-elektronik.de/
To me the best tube retailer, very good quality. Website is in a couple of other languages too.
Thanks for the tip Holger.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 02:42:36 PM »
For modern production types I use mainly Electro-Harmonix UK

They do Electro Harmonix, Tung Sol, Sovtek and Genelex. Minimum order is £100 but they have competitive prices

Here are their contact details

https://www.ehx.com/about/contact

ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 06:01:04 PM »
For modern production types I use mainly Electro-Harmonix UK

They do Electro Harmonix, Tung Sol, Sovtek and Genelex. Minimum order is £100 but they have competitive prices

Here are their contact details

https://www.ehx.com/about/contact
Do you go direct to them or via one of their retailers?

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Whoops

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2020, 12:57:45 AM »
I only buy current production tubes. I get them from places like Tube Town and Banzai Music in Germany. Both provide excellent service.

I also use Banzai for current production tubes.
I never had problems although I'm really not sure if their claimed "matching" is really true.

For tube types that are not currently produced I use Ebay

rackmonkey

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2020, 11:11:38 AM »
I’ve used Vivatubes quite a few times and have never had an issue with them. They tend to send a 25% off coupon on next purchase with every order, so it sort of turned into a self-sustaining thing for a while.

+1 on Leeds Radio.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right.

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2020, 12:25:33 PM »
Do you go direct to them or via one of their retailers?

Cheers

Ian

I deal directly with John Williams / EHX UK. They are based in Swansea





JMan

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2020, 10:56:38 PM »
Thanks for all of your input!  I’ll check out some of these that I am unfamiliar with!

ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2020, 03:20:09 AM »
I deal directly with John Williams / EHX UK. They are based in Swansea
Excellent. Thanks for the tip.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Holger


JMan

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2021, 02:39:02 AM »
Just wanted to thank everyone for your input!  Among some other things, I managed to get the tubes for a pair of LA2As from some really great sellers, including an RCA black plate 12ax7 (and a grey plate for the other unit) that I’m excited to use.

scott2000

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2021, 05:54:28 AM »
  I managed to get the tubes for a pair of LA2As from some really great sellers,

Sweet!....

Any chance to mention who they are?

JMan

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2021, 11:50:21 AM »
Sweet!....

Any chance to mention who they are?

Of course!  Would be kind of ironic if I started this thread and then refused to share that, eh?  ;D

Well, the new production Tung-Sol 12ax7s are just good ol’ Tube Depot.  The GE 6005s are from Leeds Radio (recommended multiple time in this thread), and the RCAs (the fancier NOS 12ax7s and 12bh7s) are from Brent Jessee, who it turns out is actually local to me!

ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2021, 06:06:54 PM »
Of course!  Would be kind of ironic if I started this thread and then refused to share that, eh?  ;D

Well, the new production Tung-Sol 12ax7s are just good ol’ Tube Depot.  The GE 6005s are from Leeds Radio (recommended multiple time in this thread), and the RCAs (the fancier NOS 12ax7s and 12bh7s) are from Brent Jessee, who it turns out is actually local to me!

I second the recommendation of Tung Sol current production 12AX7 tubes, particularly the 12AXWB which I have found to have consistently lower noise and microphonics than any other 12AX7.


Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

mjrippe

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #17 on: Today at 02:50:22 PM »
I second the recommendation of Tung Sol current production 12AX7 tubes, particularly the 12AXWB which I have found to have consistently lower noise and microphonics than any other 12AX7.


Cheers

Ian

Thanks for that, Ian.  I know you don't trust NOS tubes, and have tried all of the modern offerings.  I usually stock JJ 12AX7 but will look into the Tung-Sol.

As for 12BH7 in an LA-2A, I have had issues with the ElectroHarmonix tubes dying early, being noisy, and even having shorts!  For that application I have always installed NOS from the big three (RCA, GE, Sylvania) and never heard a complaint.  Have you had a chance to compare modern 12BH7?

Mike

ruffrecords

Re: Tube retailers
« Reply #18 on: Today at 05:59:38 PM »
Thanks for that, Ian.  I know you don't trust NOS tubes, and have tried all of the modern offerings.  I usually stock JJ 12AX7 but will look into the Tung-Sol.

As for 12BH7 in an LA-2A, I have had issues with the ElectroHarmonix tubes dying early, being noisy, and even having shorts!  For that application I have always installed NOS from the big three (RCA, GE, Sylvania) and never heard a complaint.  Have you had a chance to compare modern 12BH7?

Mike

I only used a couple of 12BH7 maybe 10 years ago when I was struggling to design a tube headphones amp. I didn't like them much at all. I ended up using ECC99 instead - a much better tube all round for my purposes. That particular headphone amp went into the very first tube mixer I built and as far as I know is still working in a studio in Switzerland.

Never used a 12BH7 since so I think your experience is better than mine as far as that tube is concerned.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
22 Replies
9007 Views
Last post January 12, 2006, 03:31:32 PM
by skipwave
4 Replies
2514 Views
Last post March 15, 2006, 01:48:17 AM
by hagtech
2 Replies
1717 Views
Last post June 16, 2006, 08:39:21 AM
by kevinnyc
5 Replies
5056 Views
Last post August 13, 2008, 04:01:02 AM
by clintrubber