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Old 20th January 2007, 04:48 PM   #1
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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Default Purchasing NOS Tubes

Hey guys, I'm too young to have grown up around NOS tubes, and have very little knowledge of the different kinds and production series. I want to buy NOS tubes, and know that buying from a reputable source is the best way to ensure I get what I expect. However, its at an expense. A high enough expense to preclude me from purchasing this way. I currently have made two purchases on ebay for NOS tubes, and in both cases I'm pretty sure I got what I expected. However, I didn't pay a lot for these tubes, and they weren't particularly collectable tubes. Both were 1970's US made tubes, so I don't imagine I paid too much, but probably didn't get an amazing deal.

Anyone have any recomendations on finding a good deal on NOS tubes, or ways to get into them, so I can begin experimenting for myself, without having to pay the big prices. In the case of my guitar amp I have 8-12ax7's and 4-el84s, with 1-5ar4 rectifier. Replacing all of those with NOS tubes would cost me alot more than I want to spend, especially if I'm unhappy with the results.

My stereo amp contains 2-805's, which are hard to find in NOS form, and seem to really range in price. It also has 2-6l6's, 2-12au7's, and 2-12ax7's. Given the popularity of both the 6l6 and the 12ax7, the prices are quite high for NOS versions, and I don't even know where to begin. Thanks for any insight into this world.
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Old 20th January 2007, 05:54 PM   #2
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Unfortunately, the best attitude towards NOS valves is to look to see what's cheap, then see if you can design something with it. You're stuck because your amplifier uses the most popular valves and the NOS stock has pretty well gone. Worse, there's a good chance that anything that's left will be stuff that was rejected earlier by someone with a valve tester. Despite being someone who uses almost exclusively NOS valves, I'd recommend that you buy current production. I am told that JJ EL84 are good.

I know it's not the answer you wanted to hear, but I think you'll find it's the right thing to do...
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Old 20th January 2007, 06:38 PM   #3
Giaime is offline Giaime  Italy
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You could also try russian nos EL84 (named 6P14P), they sound good and are available from ex-urss countries on eBay.

They're comparable, however, to best current production (as EC8010 said, JJ/Tesla), or maybe a little better. So, if you look for Mullard, Telefunken or Philips sound, you should get a real one, but in those hard times, there are so many people trying to make affairs selling reject tubes as NOS. Pay attention...

But there are also respectable online sellers, with very good services and warranty:
http://www.tubedepot.com/

this is my favourite one
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Old 23rd January 2007, 03:54 PM   #4
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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Thank you all for the response. Your right it wasn't really the answer I wanted, but I understand what your saying too.

I decided to spend more than I wanted to, and I agree that the ones I got are not the best available, but they were, by NOS standerds, pretty cheap. I went to Tube Monger, who I was told is very respectable and has good prices as well. Shipping was overnight at no extra cost, I was shocked and amazed by that alone.

Anyway, I bought a set of ECC82 and ECC83 RFT's NOS, a set of GE Canada 6l6's, a set of "test as new" but used Telefunken 12ax7's, and a set of NOS Tungsram EL84's. I put the EL84's and the RFT 12ax7's into my guitar amp last night and was amazed at how much better it sounded, to me, than the JJ's that were in it. I also have some of the new reissues of the Mullard and Tung Sol 12ax7's, and I really liked these RFT's. I can't say better, but I liked them as being different at least. They were also quieter, the amp makes much less noise than it did, but that could be in part as a result of the EL84's as well.

Late last night after replacing all the coupling caps with Relcap Polystyrene's and the rectifier bridge with IXYS diodes, I then also installed the new 6l6's, 12au7's, and 12ax7's and I was again very pleased. I also reduced the bias for the 805's so I can't say what caused what, given the amount of changes I did all at once. However, the amp is now much quieter, has a smoother top end, yet sounds more revealing. I also found music performances more involving, my attention was grabbed by the music more often than I'm used it. I was very impressed with the improvements made. I plan to do more with the amp's internals over time, but for now, I'm very happy with the tubes.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 06:05 PM   #5
romvise is offline romvise  Italy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Giaime
You could also try russian nos EL84 (named 6P14P), they sound good and are available from ex-urss countries on eBay.

They're comparable, however, to best current production (as EC8010 said, JJ/Tesla), or maybe a little better. So, if you look for Mullard, Telefunken or Philips sound, you should get a real one, but in those hard times, there are so many people trying to make affairs selling reject tubes as NOS. Pay attention...
Thaks a lot, i've seenon eBay an Ukraine seller with this "6P14P-EB" in shop and are exacly the same used in my ampli. How much life they will have?
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Old 23rd January 2007, 06:17 PM   #6
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According to book >5000 hrs.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 07:00 PM   #7
romvise is offline romvise  Italy
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Quote:
Originally posted by pupsik46
According to book >5000 hrs.
Thank you very much!!
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