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why are GOOD tubes so hard to find?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sedan_dad, Apr 24, 2009.


  1. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    Columbus,Ohio
    12dw7
    12bh7
    6c4
    Everything I find is garbage.
     
  2. Bassmec

    Bassmec

    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Have you had a look at what JJ tubes call an ECC823 although this designation is not in any valve equivalent list thats what a 12DW7
    sort of is.
    But I would always look for NOS RCA or Mullard, Brimar and Osram.
    Wanna see A slutty old brit tube amp picture:
    [​IMG]
    :bassist:
     
  3. lowend1

    lowend1

    Feb 15, 2005
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    6c4's are notoriously microphonic, but they really don't affect the operation of the SVT as far as I can tell despite being microphonic. As for the other ones, I've had great luck with GE and RCA NOS.
     
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Why?

    Because no one makes good tubes any more. It's just much too small a market, and the market is full of notoriously cheap jerks who don't want to spend money. There's a lot of regualatory and environmental issues in making tubes so most companies don't want ot get involved with the risks for such a small market. And it really seems that the companies that do get into to, in order to keep prices down, may not be the most ethical sorts of firms in the world, so QC is probably not high on the list either.

    jte
     
  6. I find that JJ tubes are the best sounding tubes i've heard in my guitarists rig. definitely made a tonal difference switching from ruby tubes to the JJs. worth the cost.
     
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i have purchased great NOS 12DW7's, 12BH7's and 6C4's from: http://www.tubesandmore.com/

    good NOS tubes will last at least 20 years in an SVT.
     
  8. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    Oh, that's filthy!!! :eek:
     
  9. b_carville

    b_carville

    Jun 26, 2008
    Angela Instruments might be able to help.

    They are expert tube people & usually have great new old stock tubes.

    They are not cheap but there not overpriced.You'll get what you pay for.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    From looking it up on the net, it appears that the ECC823 is a reverse 12DW7, and is very hard and costly to get. I'd stick with the ECC832 or 12DW7 for an SVT.
     
  11. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IME, Angela Instruments is the most rude vendor that i've ever dealt with and i would never recommend them, even to my worst enemy. their customer service is horrible and they have a completely and unjustified 'know it all' attitude. on top of that, they also frequently gouge on shipping fees.
     
  12. b_carville

    b_carville

    Jun 26, 2008
    I've had good luck with them.

    Granted the last time I delt with them was eight years ago.

    The attitude was a tad uppity but not bad.

    Still age hasn't mellowed some of these guys.
     
  13. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    its possible that they didn't have such 'a big head' back then. ;)

    i haven't dealt with them for over a year now and will never again. and more than a few of my friends and fellow bass players have said the exact same thing without me ever bringing their name up. IMO, its strange and rude when a vendor has an attitude and makes you feel like you're wasting their time if you ask a simple question about their products. and they are deifintely not experts. i believe that i have forgotten more info than they will ever learn. :smug:
     
  14. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Angela Instruments is really just Steve.
    The company was named after his daughter.
    The guy is an expert at vintage guitars, basses, and amps.
    Leading expert on old Marshalls and Fenders.
    Used to travel to England regularly to buy parts and hang out at the factory from what I remember.
    Has also got into tube stereo probably 20 years ago, and is maybe a bit jadded and burned out by that supremely anal retentive industry.
    Now designs simple tube stereo amps and sells kits.
    Not making excuses for poor customer serice but I've known the guy for 30 years and deep inside he:
    - knows his business
    - is interested in the best audio
    - opinionated but very educated
    - can be a horses a$$ (but then doesn't this apply to everybody?)
    - I think his oil filled caps are WAY over priced, just my opinion, but at least he put up the $$ to have some new ones made to his specs; not sure that anybody else has done that
    - Must be doing something right, has been in business for himself for at least 30 years
    - Maybe no the best vendor for all

    edit: I posted while you did John; I realize you know you're business but what makes you think that Steve doesn't?
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's why I'm ever so happy to have a great NOS store not 20 minutes away from my house...speaking of which...I need to call him...

    www.vacuumtubesinc.com
     
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    becasue i've spoken with him more than a few times on the phone a couple of years ago and he didn't impress me at all with his 'knowledge'. IME just about everyone that has alot of experience and passion for vintage gear is usually happy to find and discuss any and everything about it with others that share the same interests. in his case, this is definitely not so.
     
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    OK
    While on the subject, I just dug out some old NOS 12AX7A's from approx 20 years ago.
    Can you compare the quality of these National and Phillips ECG tubes to what is available as newly made tubes?
     
  18. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i have found that NOS USA Philips & RCA's generally have a larger sound stage (sound bigger, smoother and fuller) with the advantage going to the RCA's. i never did like GE 12AX7's even back in the day (60's-'70's) when i could 'cherry pick' them. the only GE tubes that i like are their 6550A's. of the new tubes, so far i like JJ's ECC803s's the best (long plates). my favorite 12AX7 in vintage tubes are the long smooth plate Telefunkens. With a close second being Amperex Bugle Boys. Mullard CV4004's sound very nice too. the thing about the old tubes are that they last almost forever, sound great and are usually very quiet (no hiss, hum or undesirable artifacts). most Nationals that i have seen, or still have, are often rebranded tubes made by other tube makers so they can vary in quality quite a bit.
     
  19. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks for the info.
    Any thoughts on Phillips ECG?
    Box says "country of origin stated on tube".
    The ones I have were made in USA.
     
  20. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i like (and have always liked) the philips/sylvania ECG tubes. while not quite as full sounding as an RCA, they have a bit more clarity (are a little brighter). they are still full and round but just a little stiffer sounding.

    i remember back in the late 60's when you could go into a thrifty's or a Sav-on drugstore and test your tubes on their giant tube testers (which BTW really didn't tell you much other than them being good/bad). underneath, inside of the tester's cabinet, they kept their stock of replacement tubes. most of them had GE's in stock, and i purchased an entire set for my '62 blonde showman. the new GE's sounded horrible when compared to the RCA preamp tubes and Tung Sol 5881's that were in it before (even though they were getting pretty weak). but aweek later, i found one Sav-On that carried sylvanias (same as philips). i bought those, and replaced the RCA's and Tung-Sols, and the amp came back to life. much better than the new GE's and better than the worn out RCA's. from then on, i realized that as long as Philips/Sylvania's were available, i would still be very happy with my old fenders.
     

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