Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by luknfur, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Don't know squat about testers. Looks like it would be a good idea for me to have one given I buy vintage/used tubes which will include power tube in the future.

    I'm basically looking for feedback on a Best Buy rank tube tester. Don't want a Phil Jones priced tester but don't want junk either. Basically something that will get the job done with a decent level of reliability and confidence. Something for common instrument power and pre tubes.

    So make, model, and ballpark price would be good - and other comments that should be considered in buying one.

    Looked in FAQ, did a search and some isolated stuff but no thread specific so thought I'd post one and take whatever heat's coming. If nothing else, maybe this will compile most of the scattered info in one thread.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Well, I've got an old Hickok that was given to me...looking at Ebay, Hickoks in good shape are going for big bucks (too bad mine's in rough shape...) Somewhere I found a site on Hickok tube testers that rated the different models for versatility and value, maybe a google would turn it up. also has a section on tube testers I believe.

    I think in addition to mutual conductance, a good tester should be able to check for shorts between various pins.
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Wow, that appears to be an excellent site! Thanks for the link.

  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Yeh, and definitely agree with the up front warning that the site is not for the faint of heart. That Homer Simpson one looked most on my track.

    Guess this won't be a plug and play gig.
  5. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Be warned.....

    Tube testers normally will find a plain out bad tube.

    They often will not find a better tube, or a slightly worse tube.... The typical measurement is done under conditions which may not duplicate a typical application.

    Normally they will not find noise, unless its bad. Even old type ones with the headphone jacks are not great, because the noise we would be interested in is much less than those will detect (actually YOU do the detecting).

    I've got a couple tube testers. I prefer testing in the equipment, and so does the military.

    Testing in-use is also how Groove-Tubes etc at least used to test. They started out with a bank of actual amplifiers, the ultimate in vendor use-tests... finding noise and gain etc in a typical user circuit.

    Meters etc just won't find most of the problems that actually bother audio folks. It's OK for TV tubes, where the tube works pretty well until its dead or dying.

    Some power tube problems can be discovered, but that "rattling chains" noise typically can't be found. And the tube is operated under far different conditions than in the unit.

    In general, if you have a tube type amplifier, you already have the best possible test rig......

    But suit yourself.
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    There's another one of those warnings.

    Yeh, that's not too far removed from what that link Nashvillebill posted says, although not so directly with a lot more words.

    I'm guessing some guys have testers though and I wonder if they've found them to be of any use and to what degree? So far I've gotten the impression there is potential damage to the amp from faulty power tubes, pre tubes not an issue.