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TUNG SOL 12AX7 (NEW)

 
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STEELEFT1



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 44
Location: GRAYSON GA

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: TUNG SOL 12AX7 (NEW) Reply with quote

I bought some of these to try out in my amps. I have been trying to buy some RCA NOS when I can, but they are just too expensive, and the quality seems to vary a lot on what you get. These Tung Sol tubes are pretty good for the price. I got the regular, non Gold version and they really improved the sound of my 68 Twin. I would like to hear comments for others who have tried them.
Lefty
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telemetric



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 38
Location: seattle

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Caution: Controversial Statement Reply with quote

I had a long talk with an electronics expert and he is saying that NOS tubes are a ripoff. The vacuum in the tube is not permanent and the things begin to deteriorate immediately. Ever wonder why old tubes aren't as great as you expect them to be? Paying all that money on Ebay is a waste. The old Mullards, Tung Sol, Telefunkens, etc. are not going to hold up next to the best recently manufactured tubes. Do your research and find the best modern tubes. They will cost you the same money as the Ebay ripoffs and will probably come with some sort of guarantee.
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:50 am    Post subject: "Expert"? Oh, please! Reply with quote

That's one of the biggest crocks of s*** I've ever read. Whoever is feeding you that is some self-professed tube expert who apparently doesn't know squat.

Tube vacuum does not deteriorate unless there's damage (or a manufacturing defect, which would have show up far earlier than now with a NOS tube).

As far as "why don't old tubes sound as good" - USED ones suffer from cathode stripping, which is a primary source of wear. NOS tubes have no such wear, and decently matched will outperform (as has been proven repeatedly) modern manufactured tubes, almost all of which are third-world country produced stuff. Groove Tubes' supposedly "made in USA" GE6L6 is made in China, folks - parts of it made here, and shipped to China for assembly by people making 2 bucks a day. Sovteks, Svetlanas, etc etc etc are firecrackers compared to NOS Sylvanias, Tung-Sols, Amperex, Mullards and the like. The QC was MUCH tighter in the 60's and 70's.

But who said even old pulls don't sound as good as many newly manufactured tubes? On what premise do you base that statement - what testing has been performed to back up the "don't sound as good" statement? What reviews or what published data can you point to?

Quote:
The old Mullards, Tung Sol, Telefunkens, etc. are not going to hold up next to the best recently manufactured tubes


Define "best recently manufactured tubes" - be specific; brand, model, region of manufacture. Define "hold up" - useful life, tonally, what? Define under what conditions of use that nebulous statement was made. Provide references to test results.

You DO have to have a clue, though, even if it is likely accidental - putting a NOS Tung Sol 5881 into a Twin Reverb thinking it's a sub for a 6L6 is a disaster, because the Tung Sol is not rated for the 460+/- plate volts a Twin's gonna toss at it. However, I can't even count how many Sovtek/EH "5881"'s I've replaced because they've gone Vesuvius on the player, or drifted in match within a week.

Post the name of your electronics expert. If you want to raise "controversy" (per your disclaimer) than you sure as heck ought to be naming your source and his qualifications. Let's let him get in some discussions on the amp boards with the makers of boutique amps - or even the guys at Fender, Marshall, etc. Send him over to the Weber board...Ted would be able to charge admission for the entertainment value. Or simply invite him to post his opinions and references here.

Man, it reminds me of a guy known as "Dr. Stereo" on alt.guitar.amps a few years ago - he said the same kind of stuff and was ground into the turf by REAL techs...is your "expert" a former employee of "Rockin Robin" guitars?

As far as tubes on eBay, though, generally I don't disagree. Many are just "pulls". But buy NOS tubes from known sources like Mike Kropotkin (blue strat) or Lord Valve and you'll have no worries AND a warranty.

You didn't need to post the "caution". It's not a controversial statement, it's a completely incorrect one - given second hand from statements allegedly made by an unamed "expert". Here's a suggestion:

Find a new "expert".



Rolling Eyes


Last edited by Silverface on Tue May 29, 2007 5:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Drake



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: California

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard some good things about the new Tung Sol-labeled 12AX7s. Lord Valve seems to really like them for sure.


Quote:
I had a long talk with an electronics expert and he is saying that NOS tubes are a ripoff.


My experience has been just the opposite.

Quote:
The old Mullards, Tung Sol, Telefunkens, etc. are not going to hold up next to the best recently manufactured tubes.


Again, not in my experience, nor anybody else's that I can think of - whether people I personally know or have met in cyberspace. And not just the guys with dollars in the game like Mike K or LV (and several others). After weeding out the duds, new and old, the old tubes potentially excel for a myriad of reasons. However, there are some newer tubes that I am satisfied with as well. Horses for courses...
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it when someone plays troll, posts a ridiculous group of statements and then disappears.

I wonder where the "expert" is?

Rolling Eyes
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STEELEFT1



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 44
Location: GRAYSON GA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am certainly no amp tech. Sad because my Dad repaired 2 way radios after his retirement, and use to give me one day service on my amps when they went down. Unfortunantly he died in 1975, just as we began to communicate with each other like adults (after my late teen/early 20's attitudes).
My experience with the NOS RCA preamp tubes is some are really good, but some are not so good, but all are really expensive. Maybe it comes down to knowing which years to avoid (?). I had bad experience with the MESA preamp tubes I oredered. Maybe one out of 3 or 4 being bad. Hopefully this was an isolated occurance.
These TUNG SOL are working really well in my amps, and I am comparing them with good NOS RCA. Time will tell how they hold up.
I am sure power tubes may be a different story. I have a set of original RCA 6L6's in my 68 twin, and they are wonderful.
I ususally retube power tubes with Svetlana or JJ for the sake of economy, though.
Lefty
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mesa used to rebrand Chinese 12AX7's, which were excellent sounding *most* of the time, but often noisy - many rebranders (like Mesa and Groove Tubes) would reject tons of them. I've heard they went to one of the Euro manufacturers, so there's no telling what they are now. I've avoided Mesa tubes due to their insipid matching system and their claim that you don't need to rebias if you use the same "range" of tubes over and over. First, it's technically hogwash as things other than the tubes can affect the bias, plus a "range" is meaningless to amp tone; second, it's just a marketing ploy to force Mesa amp users into using (overpriced) Mesa tubes. I figure if they're using that kind of deceptive (IMO) practice for power tubes, who knows what the deal is with the preamp tubes - so I don't use them either.

As far as things like RCA preamp tubes, you either have to be willing to buy LOTS of them and test them in real-life amp situations, or buy them at premium prices from reputable sources. Luckily, I have enough similar types to last me for years, but it can be a little disconcerting getting hit for $40 or so for a 12AX7 that sold for $5 in the 70's...

It's not really a matter of avoiding certain years - with NOS tubes it's more a matter of buying from reputable sources who test and guarantee them. The nice thing is US and British 12A*7-types that are tested and guaranteed will usually last for a l-o-n-g time - plus provide superb tone. You CAN get a decent sound out of tubes like the late-90's Chinese 12AX7's but they don't hold up very long as a rule.

As far a spower tubes, I have found nothing that holds up or sounds as good as JJ's for 6L6 and 6V6-types. They do a great job of screening and testing their tubes. The EH/Sovtek stuff is inconsistent, and "Groove Tubes" isn't a type - it's a brand; they relabel all sorts of tubes and use the same sort of goofy "range" sytem as Mesa. I love Aspen Pittman to death and he's a great guy - but he's a salesman/marketeer, first and foremost. You have to really research what you're getting when you buy a "Groove Tubes" tube of ANY type.

But NONE of these lose their vacuum unless they are defective or damaged...

Rolling Eyes
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