"NOS" preamp tubes...worth it...or all hype?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by V-Killer, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. V-Killer

    V-Killer New Member

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    The head is a '77 2203. Have the standard JJ's in there now. Early metal era tones are had easily with a ts-9 or od-3 a bit bright though (V30's)....but am I missing something with such a bland current production 12ax7??
     
  2. Stringjunkie

    Stringjunkie Well-Known Member

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    I've recently found RCA 12ax7a preamp tubes to be delicious. I bought 7 more on the 'bay. Don't know much about the rest of them, but yes there IS something there.
    I'm sure a local pro will pipe up on here shortly. Good luck!

    Edit: and I liked CP JJ tubes in my Marshall's first
     
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  3. big dooley

    big dooley Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    people who'll say you won't, will get flamed
    i had the honour of messing around with a rarely used telefunken and 5751's from general electric to lower the gain a bit and imo it aint worth the outrageous amounts of cash you have to pay these day for some of those legendary brands... JJ's are great, reliable and they're cheap... if i want fresh tone i'll strap some new strings on my guitar
    each to their own
     
  4. Stringjunkie

    Stringjunkie Well-Known Member

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    Definitely the prices at the dealers are crazy, but you can find some deals on EBay. That being said these were my first NOS tube buys and I'll probably get hosed..
     
  5. Username2

    Username2 New Member

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    I have paid the money for new in the box Mullards and RFTs and even GEs. The construction detail and microphonics are better then any new production tube I have bought (specifically speaking of the three I listed). However, looking at the bottom line any tone gain that is noticed does not justify the $200 extra cost per tube.

    Personally I am very satisfied with the new production TAD 7025-S tubes and TungSols, either will give your amp a very good sound. So no, not worth it IMO.
     
  6. Username2

    Username2 New Member

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    I agree with BD here, except for the JJ thing, those sound like my x-wife.
     
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  7. Marshall Mann

    Marshall Mann Well-Known Member

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    I can speak from experience and say that you will never know unless you try some your self. It's very subjective and It depends greatly on your ear, the tube it's self, the amp your are using and what you want.

    I personally hear a difference between NOS and new tubes (I do agree 100% with Dooly that JJ' s are great CP tubes and I use them often). I have never personally paid an exorbitant amount of money for NOS (seldom more than $30 each on the high side) and I literally have hundreds in the collection at this point. The tricky part is buying from a reputable source. Aside from the tone differences, almost all of my NOS tubes seem to hold up far better than any of the CP tubes I own or install for people. I regularly test the tubes I have in my amps to see if they are fading over time. Most of the NOS tubes I am using stay exactly where they are. Many of the CP tubes I have tested degrade noticeably over a shorter time.
     
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  8. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    NUKE-You got screwed if you paid "$200 each" for Mullards, RFT's and GE's.

    There are only a few NOS tubes (12AX7 variety) that command over $200 per tube. (Mazda Silver Plate, Telefunken ECC803 and early Valvo slant getter to name a few.)

    I've said this many times about NOS or vintage tubes.

    1. Better vacuum pulled on tube. Promotes longer life.
    2. Better (toxic) chemicals used to coat the anode, cathode and plates.
    3. Better, more precise parts and the assembly of these parts.
     
  9. mickeydg5

    mickeydg5 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I tend to agree with the lower pricing information. Some nice old stock preamp tubes can be found for under $30. And some good old stock power tubes can be had for a little more than current production prices. But try both current production and old stock if possible. Just watch the $$$ when buying. It is always good to have a collection and backups anyways.

    V-Killer, check out the preamp and power tube threads under "Marshall Amps" for some reading.
     
  10. Username2

    Username2 New Member

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    Yea I know, they were Mullards10M Master Series. But I did because I knew for certain that they were new and never used. I only bought 2. :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. mickeydg5

    mickeydg5 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Wow, 10M's are some nice tubes.
    I would have trouble with the prices for a guitar amplifier though. I know, you got to try them at least once. :)
     
  12. thrawn86

    thrawn86 Well-Known Member

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    I hear a difference between NOS and CP tubes. I believe in NOS. I started by garnering a quad of Blackburn plant Mullard EL84's for my power tubes. Upon installation and rebias there was a marked difference, especially in saturation IMHO. Soon thereafter I added a quad of NOS tubes from Marty to the amp, of a High-Gain package variety......also an improvement, especially in lower-volume applications.

    My thoughts are this, for your amp: Since you're getting more from Power tube overdrive, have you thought about getting NOS Power valves? I agree with the above posters who say that you shouldn't shoot the works either way, but maybe just look into some quality CP for your preamp.

    Again, not an expert, just a user.
     
  13. diesect20022000

    diesect20022000 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    they're not worth the exorbitant prices no. if you can find them in or around the new/cp price range then yes they're worth it as they do sound better and feel better by a SMALL margin. Marty's got good prices.
     
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  14. thrawn86

    thrawn86 Well-Known Member

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    Word :applause:
     
  15. 50WPLEXI

    50WPLEXI New Member

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    Buying NOS tubes off of eBay is a huge crap shoot, I'd never take the risk. If you have to cure your GAS for them, go to a reputable dealer.

    That being said you can get some great sounding tubes for a lot less. New Tung-Sol, or Mullard re-issues are nice 12ax7's. Winged "C" are great power tubes.

    I personally wouldn't spend a dime on J.J's. Very harsh sounding all around. This is just my .02$ but you can save some money, and have great tone.
     
  16. plexilespaul

    plexilespaul Well-Known Member

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    from my experience yes there is a difference..the question is it worth the extra cash...well no if you have to shellout more than twice a current production tube price.
     
  17. Australian

    Australian Green Beret VIP Member

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    Werd!! NOS mullard in V1.
     
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  18. Lowlife

    Lowlife Well-Known Member

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    The fact they the old ones tend to last twice as long as CP tubes makes forking over some extra cash worth it. And yeah they sound good.

    As an example I tried a bunch in my phase inverter, CP and vintage tubes, the winner was an old Raytheon 12BZ7, but the clear second place which sounded almost the same was a JJ. the rest NOS and CP where far far away in terms of how good it sounded.

    So the difference might not be so big between old and new, but it pays to have a lot of different ones to roll, even if they are CP.
     
  19. Rocktane

    Rocktane Well-Known Member

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    I paid $40 for a pair of 1961 NOS 12ax7's and they work great. I like them better than the CP tubes I have used. However, I wouldn't pay say.... twice what I paid (for example) for these same tubes.
     
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  20. bulldozer1984

    bulldozer1984 Everybody's Favorite Member VIP Member

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    Yeh I don't think they are worth a lot more money. I don't notice a big difference in tone so if you can get em a little bit more, then get em. If not, don't waste your money
     

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