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NOS tubes - are they really better than current production tubes?


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Adult speech again.

"I like this very much, I think its better than those. I have many of the ones I like, and the ones I don't like"

Obviously someone to keep away from no matter what the subject.

People that have lots of experience with something are definitely not the ones to ask about it.

Don't listen to people with solid opinions, backed by years of experience, they're {censored}ed up.

I am Bias, NOT biased.

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I know you have experience and I know you have opinions (thats blatantly obvious)
but your complete lack of regard for others opinions and lightning fast decent into flaming people before backing up your opinions LEAVES US with NOTHING
Even if new tubes are the biggest load of {censored} in the world
how can we listen to you about such things
Your such a know it all
Are you the only one earth who knows about good tubes and all the other people posting in this thread are just deaf and {censored}ing dumb who know {censored} about tone and amps.
PS if you were relaxed and posted your opinions and views without flaming and personally attacking people and accusing them of being inept with language and discussion we might listen
You dont even know us.

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I have a collection of almost 400 pre-amp tubes. These include lots of NOS types: JAN GE 5751 (both 1980s production and 1950's "black plate" versions); JAN Philips 5751; JAN GE 12AX7WA; JAN Philips 12AX7WA; Mullard ECC 83; Sylvania 5751s; etc. I've also got most of the new ones including the Reflektor produciton "Mullard" 12AX7; JJ ECC 83S; Sovtek 7025; Sovtek 12AX7A; Sovtek 12AX7LPS; EH 12AX7; Groove Tube 12AX7M; Shuguang 12AX7A; Shuguang 12AX7B; Ei 12AX7EG; etc.

Reliability with tubes was ALWAYS an issue - even in the 1950's and 1960's. That is one of the reasons "solid state" technology became such a hit. I have had new-in-box (NIB) Mullard tubes from the golden era that crapped out after 5 hours. I have others that will probably outlive me. Same for the GE 12AX7WAs, which are my absolute favorite tubes for V1 in my Fender Hot Rod Deluxes.

I test all of my tubes for output and transconductance. I record the values. I'll tube roll and use my ears to tell me what worked best. In a nutshell, I have found good and bad in both the old and new tubes. I have found that the old JAN spec NOS tubes are probably still the best sounding, but you'll find lots of new production tubes that will come very close for 1/3 the price (like a Sovtek 12AX7LPS in V1 of my Hot Rod Deluxe instead of a $40 GE 12AX7WA or a $90 Mullard 4004). JAN Philips 6L6WGBs are my all time favorite power tubes for the Hot Rod Deluxe. SED 6L6GCs are modern production and sell for 1/2 as much. They can make it a tough choice.

Shop around. Listen to your ears. Take the advice of those you trust who have some experience comparing the two. DO NOT BE GUIDED BY HYPE OR SALES PITCHES.

My .02.

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If those clips all sound the same to you, or so close that its not worth bothering with,

then definitely don't bother, you can't discern well enough for it to be worth it to you.

I feel sorry for you, IMHO there's a world of difference. You are missing out, I'm not. Its your loss.

That RFT at the beginning blows away the next few clips.
BIG difference.

Chuck

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I think the jj sounds the worst but not bad at all.
I think it was mainly equal between the rft the groove tube and the bugle boy
My fav was the Gt by far most upper order harmonics warmest to my ear with a tiny hint more bass or low mid push.
And I have studio monitors attached to my PC because its studio setup ,so the sound reproduction is very good.

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What application? Hi gain? hell no, you aren't gonna hear a diff. Anything else, you will hear a diff. Get new production, 1/3 the cost!! x's how many times you gonna replace it, deal with basically un reliable tubes. I don' care what they TEST out at now, ask me in a year.:idea: Re-isuued Mullards:bor: Re-issued NAME. The man that made my amp said "don't get hung up on the NOS thing." OK.....Well, we all make mistakes, depending on YOUR application of an amp. My Telefunkens will not be swapped out. I have 5 NOS MULLARD 12AX7's that will never see my amp. I also have some RCA 6L6 Blackpates. The "Holy Grail" of 6L6's. Must be a reason some"one" labeled it that. And also, why are they sooo costly? Cum on.

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Originally posted by Songman68

Check out these comparisons that Pete Thorn did on 12AX7 preamp tubes. All of them sound pretty much the same to my ears. But you guys listen and make up your own minds. He also has some power tube comparison clips there as well.



http://music.mp3lizard.com/petethorn/



I liked the RFT and Bugle one best, I think. GT was slightly harsher it seems but sounded fine on the "Feel Your Love Tonight" rhythm.

I didnt really think the "real" Mullard one sounded that great :confused:

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Also, the power tube comparison was cool and I didnt notice very much difference between them except for a tad bit of bass more or less here or there. I liked the mix of "Mullard/Tesla" the best, but like I said if I didnt know there was different tubes I probably wouldnt notice.

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man, there are some real dicks in this thread. I can get good tone from JJs, Sovteks, Telefunkens, Mullards, etc. I'm not gonna pay 5 times more for some infinitesimal difference in frequency response. I'm pragmatic, I've tried all sorts of tubes, and I don't find the difference dramatic enough to justify NOS, I'm not gonna pretend to hear something I don't. I deal with tone, not mojo.

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I have a small stack of NOS tubes in my top desk drawer. I love the way they sound. They generally stay in the drawer.

I have Sovteks and various Chinese tubes in my Marshall and my Bogner (and in my gig bag as spares). They stay in there for club gigs and rehearsal. Practice aint' worth burning $$$, and the drunks at the bar can't tell the difference over the noise from the pool table, anyway.

Studio time is when I swap 'em out for the absolute best (IMHO) tone. Putting noise on tape is the only time I think it's worth using up a limited resource (NOS tube time).

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Ya there's some slagging going on here for sure, why all the acrimony?

I did that 12ax7 clip- sorry about the damn fizzy breakup, it's my mic pre crapping out a bit, don't know why I didn't notice at the time.

Anyways, here's my .02...

The differences you hear on the clip are somewhat magnified in the room, and of course there's the "feel" factor, the way the guitar responds in your hands when you are playing these different tubes...

The NOS stuff (ESPECIALLY the Bugle Boy) is more exciting, lively, gives you a bit more of everything it seems. the differences, however, I would not say are like night and day. The differences between the JJ and the Bugle Boy are akin to changing from a fairly dead set of strings to a new set- everything just sounds a little more present, clearer, more harmonics, maybe a bit more gain.. it's just BETTER. BUT- in my experience- you aren't going to make a great amp out of one that sounds like total crap with a tube swap (assuming that all the tubes are functioning well!)...

I think it's worth it, especially in amps that don't rely on tons of front end gain (i.e. Fender, Marshall, Vox designs) to get some nice nos preamp tubes... RFT's are still cheap, and the Bugle Boy tubes can be had reasonably cheaply if you get used/testing as new pulls off ebay or something. Might cost you $100 to retube a Marshall, but they'll last a long time and it's probably a better investment than a new pedal or pickup or whatever. BUT- I haven't tried the new Tung Sol or JJ 803 tubes yet, and lots of people seem to dig those, so I dunno, maybe they are a good way to go. MORAL- try it for yourself, like I did. Blow a couple hundred bucks and then you'll know. No substitute for 1st hand experience!

Power Tubes... not as big of a deal in my opinion, allthough the differences are similar- the old stuff sounds better, but actually the new JJ E34L sounded really close to some of my NOS stash, and there's great 6L6 and 6V6's being made (SED, JJ) and those new JJ KT77's look pretty promising. So unless you are talking the very reasonably priced Siemens EL34's (still can be had for $60/pair) which do sound really great, don't worry too much about it... $350 mullard 34's aren't going to make a night and day difference between SED's or JJ's in my opinion. Are the mullards better, yeah, but they are just getting too expensive.

Having said that, I do have a pair in my Emplexador :) Cause I'm nuts.

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Thanks Sean, yeah it's like I was saying- imagine your strings were quite dead, and you changed them mid gig- you'd sure notice a difference, things would seem much better to you, but would the other band members notice? Or the crowd? Maybe not. But to you, there's that extra clarity and it just feels better to play.

Believe me, I go round and round about this stuff- I'm a pro (play with big time big shot rockstars for a living :) and I weigh these factors all the time- in a concert hall/arena, is anyone going to notice wether I'm using NOS tubes once my guitar has passed through an SM 57 and is tucked in a mix dense with other stuff??? Will it make me play better if I hear a bit of a difference onstage, and isn't that what I'm up there for ultimately anyway, to have a great time? What am I saving my NOS stash for, when I'm 85 and can't play out anymore, I can look at my tubes sitting on my mantle?

I digress...

For recording, it's a no brainer, iit's better to have everything maximized obviously...

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