Tube Tips/Tricks for beginners - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > Amplifiers > Tubes / Valves

Tubes / Valves All about our sweet vacuum tubes :) Threads about Musical Instrument Amps of all kinds should be in the Instruments & Amps forum

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 16th November 2012, 02:05 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Default Tube Tips/Tricks for beginners

Hello everyone!

I recently acquired a few vacuum tubes (~6 ECC81/ECC82) and decided to make a tube amp. I have a solid background in electronics but have never worked with tubes before.

I've set my sights on a simple 5 Watt amp with pre-amp, equalizer and output stages and am really excited to get started (and just picked up a copy of Morgan Jones' book.) But, nothing beats learning from experience and I know you guys have plenty of that!

So, what advice would you give a beginner like me?
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 04:06 PM   #2
DF96 is online now DF96  England
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2007
Read MJ's book.

Use Google (other search engine are available).

Don't believe everything you read.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 04:22 PM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
diyAudio Moderator
SY's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chicagoland
Blog Entries: 2
What Dave said. I'd only add, "Don't be afraid of blowing up a few components."
A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it. - Mencken
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 05:22 PM   #4
diyAudio Member
yagoolar's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Mazowieckie, Jozefoslaw
Send a message via ICQ to yagoolar Send a message via Skype™ to yagoolar
Keep one hand in a pocket while testing a device with HV on
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 06:47 PM   #5
diyAudio Member
kstagger's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Grand Rapids
way back in the mists of time (1989), I started with a Dynaco 70 amplifier. I had a coupling cap lead break and had to replace it myself. My source for tubes couldn't always come through, so I rewired the 7199 socket to use the more common 6U8A.

My first tube preamp - a Dynaco PAS, I found the schematic and figured out how to bypass the tone controls.

Long story short, it helps to first modify/fix existing gear to gain an understanding on how they are built. It was a few years of playing around with used vintage stuff that I decided to build my own. A kit is also a good place to start.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 06:49 PM   #6
TheGimp is online now TheGimp  United States
diyAudio Member
TheGimp's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Johnson City, TN
Read the safety and on line tube theory threads at the top of the thread list.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2012, 09:16 PM   #7
rmyauck is offline rmyauck  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Look at George Anderson of 's offerings. He has 3 boards, with 2 SE one of which takes DHT tubes and a EL84 PP board which can be had with parts for $100 less tubes, transformers, and enclosure Chassis.

You can pick the Output Transformers to your budget and sonic qualities you desire.

He has a form here and there is lots of help from him and others.

For the popular EL84 PP amp or any other PP EL84/7591 amp add Dave Gillespie's EFB mod for improved tube life, sonics, and power.

  Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2012, 03:34 AM   #8
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Monroe Township, NJ
You're getting reasonable advice. Naturally, I'll grind my own axe. A triode wired "El Cheapo" yields approx. 6 WPC and uses the 12AT7/ECC81 as the splitter/driver.
Attached Images
File Type: gif EC big.gif (38.8 KB, 200 views)
Eli D.
  Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2012, 03:39 AM   #9
rmyauck is offline rmyauck  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Eli I forgot about that amp! You should say that Jim McShane offers a kit of parts for it, less transformers and chassis!


  Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2012, 03:51 AM   #10
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2010
Location: was Chicago IL, now Long Beach CA
I've been out of the tube world for 40+ years, just getting my feet wet again. Just figuratively..avoid wet feet and high voltage.

I finally just got an old analog-movement VTVM. I'd advise to get one sooner than I did.

I finally put two leads and alligator clips on a resistor to drain power supply caps. I'd advice to make one sooner than I did.

I finally made a jig to hold a chassis and be able to filp it while running. You don't need one of those right away.

Pick up some wooden or plastic chop sticks for poking around.

You'll find yourself collecting resistors in a whole new higher range.

Enjoy! The best part is that things don't blow up in a femto-second like some solid state components. First they glow different colors, maybe even arc, and you still might salvage the expensive parts.
  Reply With Quote


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Breadboarding/Prototyping - How to and Tips/Tricks Steven-H Tubes / Valves 60 26th August 2010 03:37 PM
Transformer Flux Band Tips and Tricks? dsavitsk Tubes / Valves 3 28th January 2010 05:17 PM
Tube kits for beginners SY847 Tubes / Valves 6 5th December 2006 07:06 AM
Couple of tips/tricks peace brainerd Everything Else 0 10th April 2006 04:57 PM

New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:38 PM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2015 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2015 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2