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Anybody buy alot from Tube Depot?? Other recommendations?


doomsdaymachine
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I've bought quite a bit from them in the past 6 months. They ship like lightning, and because they can ship from a warehouse in the south, I get everything in 2 days, for $4.95. To me, that's great! Also, I always get a 5% discount, with promotional coupons. Also great!

 

However, they state "standard test included" with preamp tubes, but never label what they tested at? And, on power tubes, you don't get a choice of early distortion, medium, late, etc. You get what they give you.

 

I've NEVER had a problem with Eurotubes, and if I want JJ's, I usually go there. But, he charges $8.50 for shipping, and the box arrives with $4.95 postage on it? I never had a problem with Doug's tubes either, but his attitude has gotten so shitty, I've stopped buying from him. Lat time I asked him for recommendations for preamp tubes for my 6505, and his response was "maybe you need a new amp"? WTF? :mad:

 

Anybody have others that they can recommend? I've spent over $1000 on tubes in the past 4 years!!

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Yeah Tube Depot is very accommodating. Just specify what you are looking for and they'll get you tubes that match. I usually just get what I order, but one time I asked for something specific and they did it. I just put what I needed in the message box during check out.

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I have bought from Tubedepot and from Valvequeen. I'll probably be buying from Valvequeen again here soon as I want a few new preamp tubes. Both have excellent service, and Laura/Valvequeen was extremely helpful answering my noob questions on different tubes.

 

Both are highly recommended.

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Remember there are only 5 companies making power tubes at the present......so no matter who you buy from, the tubes are coming from one of these:

1. Sovtek from New Sensor Factory in Russia (Mesa relabled, Electro Harmonix relabled, and some Groove Tubes relabled)

2. Svetlana from the New Sensor Xpo Pul Factory in Saratov, Russia (Svetlana brand, reissued Tung-Sol, reissued Mullard and the reissued Genelex Gold Lion)

3. S.E.D. Winged =C= from the Sevetlana Electronics Division Factory in St. Petersburg, Russia

4. JJ Electronics in Slovakia (All JJ Electronics brand tubes)

5. Shuguang in China (Ruby relabled, Sino relabled, and some Groove Tubes relabled)

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  • 8 years later...
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From TubeDepot,

Ordered a set of different parts required for building my amplifier.
Paid for two day FedEx shipping and received a receipt including only "subtotal, shipping fee, and total".
Products did not arrive for a week and sent an email asking for status. TubeDepot never replied.
Products did not arrive after three more weeks and sent an email asking for status. TubeDepot replied with one line stating that "one of them items included in my order was backordered".
Products did not arrive after another month and sent an email.  TubeDepot never replied.
After more than 50 days, since paying for a premium 2-day shipping, TubeDepot sent shipping receipt.
My order included many items totaling several hundreds of dollars but the entire shipment was delayed due to one item.
The item was not indicated "out of stock".  Tube Depot never notified of "backordered" status until I sent second inquiry a month after order date.  TubeDepot delayed the entire "2-day shipping" for 2 months due to one small item from the order.

I switched to Antique Electronic Supplies and Parts Express until I finished prototype.

Since starting a business, I switched to CE Distribution for manufacturer/reseller discounts.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I did business with them for several decades and never had a problem. This was Pre pandemic however. The covid situation has devastated the tech business just like all others, maybe eve more so.  I'm in that business and lost my job all due to the fact so many business are shut down.  Even before I was laid off all my vendors contacted me to let me know normal service would be slowed dur to reduced manpower.  

Tube Depot - Tubes and More - Antique Radio Supply and Parts Express are all reliable companies and have had excellent customer support in the past.  Best Tube choices have nothing to do with these warehouse vendors so long as the tubes are new and they are shipped without incident.  Different manufacturers have different tube quality of course and finding sets that match your gear can take allot of trial and error.  Some of the comments made in this nearly 10 year old thread are quite amateurish.  The one post that asks about how tubes are tested and questions why tubes are sold with different breakup levels was the funniest.  Most tubes test good or bad. The quality is based on mechanical construction.  The construction is engineered into the design its not tweaked to give you hot vs soft tubes.  There are companies like Groove tubes which sort tubes and separate them into categories of Hot Medium and Clean but that's simply a matter of taking advantage of having a wide quality tolerance. Its not like they purposely make different tubes which are clean or hot.  

Most pros will simply chose tube types based on experience. You get to know how tubes sound in different amps and Gravitate towards one depending on what a customer wants.  Last time I bought tubes I tested around 5 different sets of power tubes and a dozen sets of preamp tubes to find tubes that sounded best in my vintage Bassman amp.  Amp circuits can vary quite a bit so the the quality of sound you get from any particular set of tubes can vary allot as well.  Trusting other peoples opinions beyond a certain point is therefore quite useless unless they have the same amp as you do and all the other variables like the speakers paired with the amp and even the instruments used and musical preferences all come into play with what someone might consider best.  Example, someone who uses pedals may need a solid clean amp tone compared to someone who gets their drive by saturating a preamp tube in a drive channel.  "Best" tubes are therefore completely subjective but you can still learn much from others. 

I use preamp tubes in allot of different pieces of gear so I have collected and tried many different types of preamp tubes over my lifetime.  Out of the new tube types commonly sold, JJ's are solid but unimpressive. They produce allot of midrange amp may be good in an amp that needs a midrange boost on a drive channel but they lack sparkle and jangle for clean tones.  Sovtek has 4 or 5 different types. All produce lack luster results.  I used Groove tubes for years in my Bassman and they are actually quite good.  Quite similar to the Vintage RCA tubes U used to use.  same with the power tubes.  I got 20 years out of a set and they were still  fine when I decided it was time to upgrade.  There are a couple of different Chinese factories that make tubes but since they will brand tubes with any company logo for a price, knowing which company actually manufacturers them is difficult.  Marshall, Mesa Peavey and many other amp manufacturers have their stock tubes made in China or Russia and branded with their names. 

On top of that you have companies like Ruby tubes which buy budget tubes from China. They test the tubes to get bias matches then brand and box them with their own labels.  I tried a set based on a friends recommendations and was bitterly disappointed.  Not only was the sound quality noisy but the tube elements started arching out shortly after power up. Given the fact the tubes originated in China, were shipped to another factory which handled them for testing and packaging, then they were sent to another on line vendor for sale to customers, then that product was shipped to a customer in a small box thrown around in plane and delivery truck, I wasn't surprised the elements were mechanically weak by the tine I was able to try them.  Dealing with a vendor who handles tubes are the time is far better as is dealing with non branded tubes. 

Anyway, I could have gone with the same Groove tubes on my Fender.  Its what Fender uses on all their amps since before they bought that company.  I did try the JJ power tubes and again was unimpressed.  I got good results using their EL34's in my Music Man amp. They were one of the only brands that could handle the higher plate voltages those amps use, but now that companies are making the 6CA7 tubes again I use the correct tube type in that amp now. I went with the ElectroHarmonix tube in that amp and was so impressed by its sound I tried the same brand in the Fender as well and got superb results. The tone is clean and unmuted, and  they give you at least a 20% perceived boost in volume and tone compared to others like the Sovtek and JJ's.  Even in starved voltage circuits they do extremely well.  

Like I said, results will depends on the type of amp you use.  If I had a bright amp with fingernail on blackboard tones like My buddies Peavey amp, I'd want to try different tubes to reduce that edge before messing with the circuitry. Trying different speakers is another good option because its impact on tone and gain can be much more acute.  Plus its allot easier and less risky compared to messing with things like tone stacks and tube biases. 

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