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Old 14th October 2010, 02:22 AM   #1
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Default Tube companies

Hello, I am looking for very good tube companies to purchase tubes from.
Also, which manufactures that make very good tubes for electric guitar playing.
Thank you for your time,
Mike
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Old 14th October 2010, 04:22 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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This question is a bit too broadly framed which might be why you haven't gotten a response. Most of the information you are requesting is just a Google search away..

That said I can fill in a few details..

There are only a few modern tube producers mostly located in former Soviet bloc countries and China.

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New Sensor Corp of Long Island City NY manufactures and distributes the following brands worldwide:

Sovtek (their entry level brand) their small signal tubes are commonly used in guitar amps.

Electro-Harmonix is one of their premium brands and are commonly used by many guitar manufacturers.

Svetlana (USA only) these tubes are NOT made by Svetlana SPb in most cases but are a mix of Expo-Pul and one or two other Russian makers.

Tungsol and Mullard (North America only wrt Mullard) are premium brands used by some guitar manufacturers.

All of these brands are manufactured in the Expo-Pul plant New Sensor owns in Saratov, Russia.
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JJ makes types commonly used in guitar and audio amps. Their small signal stuff and 6BQ5 are well regarded - for many QC issues have made their octal based power tubes somewhat risky. These tubes are made in the Slovak republic on former Tesla tooling.
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Sino/Shuguang - Chinese made tubes, their small signal types are often used in inexpensive amps and effects processors. They are quiet, and some people also like the way they sound.
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If this gives you the impression that there are not many tube makers you would be correct.

I have omitted Svetlana SPb because their tubes are not directly available in NA due to the fact that New Sensor acquired the rights to the brand in North America when Svetlana Electron Devices joint venture company went belly up some years ago. You'll see these sold here under the "Winged C" label, in the past they made a lot of higher quality stuff, cannot attest to their quality these days.

I have also omitted specialty makers of DHTs for High End Audio and there are about as many of them as there are of the rest.

In terms of buying your best bet is probably to get them from AES (Antique Electronic Supply) or Jim McShane here on diyaudio. eBay can also be a good source with U.S, Canadian, U.K., German and Eastern European sellers being the safest bets.

Many prefer NOS types made in Europe or here in the USA to current production..

You should also look for some current guitar amp sites and see what people are currently happy with.
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Last edited by kevinkr; 14th October 2010 at 04:27 PM.
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