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Old 13th April 2016, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Tube manufacturers

Any opinions on the current producers of hi-fi, pentode, beam tetrode power types like these? My uneducated guess says that they're probably all pretty decent. Do any of them significantly stand out above the rest? Are there any that should be avoided?

Tung-Sol
JJ
Electro-Harmonix
Sovtek
Svetlana
Genalex
Mullard
Telefunken
Sino
Shuguang
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Old 13th April 2016, 03:32 AM   #2
ericj is offline ericj  United States
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Tung-Sol, Electro-Harmonix, Mullard, and Sovtek are all New Sensor Corp, presently.

Tung-Sol used to be a company on the east coast of the USA that invented a lot of stuff. Now it's just a brand that New Sensor puts on Sovtek tubes.

Mullard was a british company owned by dutch Phillips that invented a lot of stuff. Now it's just a brand that New Sensor puts on Sovtek tubes.

Nothing wrong with New Sensor / Sovtek. But i don't see why you'd pay extra for a vintage brand label on a Sovtek tube.

JJ is a very decent post-soviet operation that also puts the Telefunken brand on some of their tubes. Telefunken used to be a german company that invented a lot of stuff, but now it's just a brand.

Svetlana is a good post-soviet operation.

Sino and Shuguang are chinese tubes. Opinions range from "OK" to "crap".
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Old 13th April 2016, 04:29 AM   #3
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There are differences among the various brands New Sensor places on the products produced at their Saratov, Russia, plant.

Among the EL34 class tubes currently being produced, the "reissue" Gold Lion KT77 is, arguably, "best". Yes, it's a New Sensor product. As always, YMMV.
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Old 13th April 2016, 06:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericj View Post
Tung-Sol, Electro-Harmonix, Mullard, and Sovtek are all New Sensor Corp, presently.

Tung-Sol used to be a company on the east coast of the USA that invented a lot of stuff. Now it's just a brand that New Sensor puts on Sovtek tubes.

Mullard was a british company owned by dutch Phillips that invented a lot of stuff. Now it's just a brand that New Sensor puts on Sovtek tubes.

Nothing wrong with New Sensor / Sovtek. But i don't see why you'd pay extra for a vintage brand label on a Sovtek tube.

JJ is a very decent post-soviet operation that also puts the Telefunken brand on some of their tubes. Telefunken used to be a german company that invented a lot of stuff, but now it's just a brand.

Svetlana is a good post-soviet operation.

Sino and Shuguang are chinese tubes. Opinions range from "OK" to "crap".
I'm sorry - but that post is full of misinformation.

First off, you are correct about New Sensor owning the brand names for a number of classic US and European tube makers. But they are NOT all "Sovtek" tubes. "Sovtek" is their own brand (as is Electro-Harmonix); and the other brands are NOT all the same tubes as Sovtek branded tubes or as each other. They are different tubes and as Eli said, the differences are audible and measurable. And some of their tubes (especially the Genalex branded line) are widely thought to be every bit as good as the Genalex of old - and in many cases even better.

Second, maybe some here have respect for JJ as a company, but as a vendor I won't sell most JJ tubes due to the poor and inconsistent quality. I will not handle any of the octal base tubes period.

Third, the original "Svetlana" company - Svetlana Electron Devices of St. Petersburg Russia no longer produces glass vacuum tubes. They stopped a couple years ago. There is a Svetlana brand still available, it is another New Sensor company and it is produced in their Xpo-Pul plant in Saratov, Russia.

I agree regarding the Chinese tubes. The inconsistency from batch to batch is also quite frustrating.

Why would someone pay for a New Sensor made Genalex branded tube? Because it is NOT a "Sovtek" it is a superb tube, significantly better than the "Sovtek" for one...
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Old 13th April 2016, 06:42 PM   #5
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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But of course it is NOT a true Genalex, and that's the point.

A "better/improved" Sovtek?
Maybe.

Worth paying extra for the "inscription" screen printed on the glass envelope?

Gimme a break !!!!!!!

This guy is screen printing Mickey Mouse , which of course is absolutely different ...

Click the image to open in full size.

screen printing "Tungsol" or "Genalex" is a much smaller image ... besides that, same thing.
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Old 13th April 2016, 07:24 PM   #6
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I have full respect for mr mcshane, but i have since 4 years another view of JJ production.
I do not know why, maybe it's since i get my tubes straight from the factory. Fact is that over 570 tubes sold 4 have been returned by customers during my 6 month warranty period, in addition i have reclaimed 4 with various problems ( 1 lost vacuum, 1 glowing g2, one filament gone).
I have no figures for other brands so i cannot compare, but i do not complain either.
A clue might be that none of the octals i have received had "unnaturally small pins", and
i seem to get current production ( and not old stocks), i noticed that 6550 no longer had
aluminium bases, which happened 1 months after the production changed to black bases.

It's very easy to get a bad reputation, that comes fast. To get a good reputation one needs to make no mistakes during a prolonged period.

Another clue to good quality is that the so called telefunken( that is a brandholder of the name) actually rebrands JJ tubes only and have already got a good reputation.

Thanks for the opportunity to speak, i'm happy with my small and distant part of the globe and market of tubes, i have no plans competing with any of you, on the contrary we have only to gain from an open exchange of experience.

Keep up and enjoy the music, that's the reason we do what we do!
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Old 13th April 2016, 07:47 PM   #7
ericj is offline ericj  United States
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The question was about "manufacturers" not brands. there are only, what, 5 manufacturers in that list?

It might be fair to say that a Genalex "reissue" tube is as similar to a Sovtek as a Voskhod 6n14p-ev is to a Voskhod 6n14p.

Adding extra letters or numbers is clearly not as reliable of a marketing scheme as is buying the name of a deceased tube maker about whom there are many good things said.
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Old 13th April 2016, 07:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMFahey View Post
But of course it is NOT a true Genalex, and that's the point.

A "better/improved" Sovtek?
Maybe.

Worth paying extra for the "inscription" screen printed on the glass envelope?

Gimme a break !!!!!!!

This guy is screen printing Mickey Mouse , which of course is absolutely different ...

Click the image to open in full size.

screen printing "Tungsol" or "Genalex" is a much smaller image ... besides that, same thing.
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. There are significant build differences. And no, it is not a "genuine" Genalex, but it performs as well or better. So what is the point?
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Old 13th April 2016, 07:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericj View Post
The question was about "manufacturers" not brands. there are only, what, 5 manufacturers in that list?

It might be fair to say that a Genalex "reissue" tube is as similar to a Sovtek as a Voskhod 6n14p-ev is to a Voskhod 6n14p.

Adding extra letters or numbers is clearly not as reliable of a marketing scheme as is buying the name of a deceased tube maker about whom there are many good things said.
Except I'm not describing a marketing effort, I was describing the real world performance of these tubes. And the letter codes are as legitimate as adding JAN or "W" letters to US made tubes, the suffixes you described are Russian military or commercial designations that have been around for a long time.

Really, there are so truly fine tubes being made in Russia now - if you choose not to use them that's up to you. But you'll be missing some excellent products if you do. I'm saying this as a guy who started out handling ONLY NOS or good used tubes.

I have no desire to argue about this or about poor JJ quality, so this will be my last post on the subject. Think whatever you like.
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Old 13th April 2016, 07:59 PM   #10
ericj is offline ericj  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McShane View Post
Except I'm not describing a marketing effort, I was describing the real world performance of these tubes. And the letter codes are as legitimate as adding JAN or "W" letters to US made tubes, the suffixes you described are Russian military or commercial designations that have been around for a long time.

Really, there are so truly fine tubes being made in Russia now - if you choose not to use them that's up to you. But you'll be missing some excellent products if you do. I'm saying this as a guy who started out handling ONLY NOS or good used tubes.

I have no desire to argue about this or about poor JJ quality, so this will be my last post on the subject. Think whatever you like.
I'm not disagreeing with the point about them being different and/or better.

The question was about manufacturers. Brands are not manufacturers.

Buy anything that Polaroid made recently?
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