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Tubelab Discussion and support of Tubelab products, prototypes and experiments

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Old 2nd March 2018, 04:58 PM   #1
Zap is offline Zap  United States
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Default SSE Rectifier Tube (5AR4)

I'm back again to inquire what everyone is using these days as a rectifier. I bought a matched set of Tung-Sol tubes to run, the date code is 2013 but I purchased it in early 2015. It ran fine in my old amp before the PCB burn, and was transferred to the new one where after a few months (a few days ago) it would arc-over upon start-up but then quit almost immediately. I would say it probably had about 2 years of service running a few hours or more most days.

Is this a good lifespan, or did I get a questionable quality tube, or any other commentary here? Any other opinions on the TS 5AR4? Putting it in my tester, I get a lightning storm on one section when I go to check emission, so I'm guessing it is toast.

I'm trying to decide if I should buy another, try a Telefunken 5AR4, or something else entirely.

In the interim, I threw my backup Sovtek 5AR4 into the amp so I can continue to run.

For that matter, is there a quality difference between new tubes from eBay sellers, Amazon, and other online retailers? I'm curious if the higher prices are for better product or if that is only wishful thinking....
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Old 2nd March 2018, 09:52 PM   #2
mkane77g is offline mkane77g  United States
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SSE Rectifier Tube (5AR4)
sound wise IMO it doesn't make a difference. I use GZ 34
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Old 3rd March 2018, 02:01 AM   #3
PDL is offline PDL  United States
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I'd stick with the sovtek.
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Old 4th March 2018, 03:04 AM   #4
pitchinwedge is offline pitchinwedge  United States
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So rectifier tubes donít make much difference in sound? How about between the SS and tube option?
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Old 4th March 2018, 01:33 PM   #5
pblix is offline pblix  United States
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I can't tell a difference. I prefer a stiff PSU, hence I use SS. I'm also known to hold onto my money. A lot of 1N4007s in my builds - I've been lucky so far. They get the job done for cheap and are compact.
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Old 4th March 2018, 02:21 PM   #6
PDL is offline PDL  United States
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Indirectly heated rectifiers like the 5AR4/GZ34 are easier on power tubes due to their soft start characteristics.
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Old 4th March 2018, 03:14 PM   #7
pblix is offline pblix  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDL View Post
Indirectly heated rectifiers like the 5AR4/GZ34 are easier on power tubes due to their soft start characteristics.
I keep hearing that, and it may well be true. At the same time an awful lot of equipment, PA, HiFI, instrument and industrial back towards the end of the tube era used SS rectifiers as they became available. So question is, did they do that knowing that tube life were significantly limited or is the problem exaggerated?
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Old 29th March 2018, 07:46 PM   #8
michaeljessen is offline michaeljessen  Denmark
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Try a Gz34/5AR4 Genalex Gold Lion U77.(40$) Listen to classical music... It is airy, 3-D sound. Transparent and detailed with a heavy touch on the piano. The bass is power full and exact. particularly in combination with Telefunken diamant button 12AT7 / ECC81 from the 60` (50-80$ on e-bay new). In a tubelab SSE it is fantastic.

My Gold lion last now for 15 month. I think it sound much much better as the SS
In the Tubelab SSE. I think the SS option is far flatter in presentation as the rectifiers.
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Old 30th April 2018, 11:42 PM   #9
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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SSE Rectifier Tube (5AR4)
OK, keep your eyes peeled for Matsushita 5AR4/GZ34 rectifiers with a seam across the top of the glass.
These were made in a plant set up by Philips in Japan.
SURE you could spend $65 any day of the week and snag one.
BUT, be patient and you will find them in the $45 range as well.

These are my favorite in my SPP.

I had immediate arcing of my Russian (JJ) 5AR4 one time I switched the power off and then back on again too soon.
Since switching to the Matsushita "Seam Top" I have not had this issue and I prefer them over any other rectifier.
I have seen them branded as Hitachi as well.

Last edited by Einric; 30th April 2018 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 1st May 2018, 03:51 PM   #10
akimmet is offline akimmet  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pblix View Post
I keep hearing that, and it may well be true. At the same time an awful lot of equipment, PA, HiFI, instrument and industrial back towards the end of the tube era used SS rectifiers as they became available. So question is, did they do that knowing that tube life were significantly limited or is the problem exaggerated?
I am certain the problem is greatly exaggerated. Especially since most directly heated rectifiers heat up far faster than the rest of the tubes anyway. So far I haven't read anything other than speculation about cathode stripping on anything smaller than transmitting tubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Einric View Post
I had immediate arcing of my Russian (JJ) 5AR4 one time I switched the power off and then back on again too soon.
Since switching to the Matsushita "Seam Top" I have not had this issue and I prefer them over any other rectifier.
I have seen them branded as Hitachi as well.
Switching off and back on again quickly is very abusive to vacuum rectifiers, especially to indirectly heated ones like the 5AR4/GZ34. Doing that can kill an old 5AR4/GZ34 too.
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