Bad News Tubes: 3/11/2022

playloud

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EPA regulations made US tube manufacturing too costly to be profitable.

I've seen this floated a few times, but I wonder how much of a factor it really was/is.

I recently heard an interview with the owner of Amplified Parts, and he said there were no serious regulatory impediments to manufacturing old-style can capacitors in the US (to the surprise of the interviewer).

More likely, it's just the cost of labor in the US plus cheaper offshore alternatives that prevents people manufacturing there. Bear in mind, Slovakia is an EU member, so they will have plenty in the way of environmental protections - but the cost of labor is lower (but perhaps not stupendously) than the US.
 

jageya

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meh.....so they will have all these tubes and noone to sell to..lol....its just a passing faze and rusiia will want to make $$ again after this lame fiasco is done
 

Matthews Guitars

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Update:


ATTENTION ALL EHX TUBE CUSTOMERS​

The export restriction on Russian tubes has been resolved for now. We are accepting new orders, processing backorders, and hoping to resume shipping in April. Priority will be given to the oldest orders.

Considering various economic pressures, we must raise our wholesale prices. This price increase will apply to all back- and new orders. Also, there will likely be a further price increase for tubes shipped from our NYC headquarters once the government implements heightened tariffs against Russian goods, akin to the 35% rate Canada is now imposing. Other territories, including EU, UK, and Japan, are expected to follow suit.

For all non-US customers facing such heightened tariffs and with combined Russian tube orders of $3K or more: Consider having our Russian warehouse directly ship such combined orders to the nearest international airport in your country. That will avoid our having to pass along the cost of the heightened US import tariff. Otherwise, you will, in effect, incur a double tariff on shipments imported first to NYC and then to a country with heightened tariffs.

You can cancel any backorder, but we do not recommend this; there is a tremendous shortage of tubes.
 

tmingle

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There are still unexpensive tubes around, at least in Europe. I've been eyeing Psvane tubes for a lil now, price is decent if quality is as well. Anyone who's tried?
Apparently preamp tubes are not that good, but their EL34s should be plenty fine

psvane-el34-hifi-350.jpg
I placed an order the other day & it was cancelled.
 

tmingle

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Amazon. I ordered a quad of GT EL-34's on the same order & they have shipped.
I don't know where these 2 brands are(were) actually made though. The GT's are now out of stock as well.
I have a bad feeling that we are near the end for tubes. Electro Harmonix , etc. will analyze if the ROI of vacuum tube manufacturing is really that great.
I hope I'm wrong!!!
I received the quad of GT's today. $25 a tube.
 

Gunner64

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Panic buying. Tubes are the new toliet paper, as I can't imagine that there has been a simultaneous catastrophic failure of all the tubes across the world causing all the shortage fuss.

I find it hard to beleive that in what, 3 weeks the tube inventory has been consumed due to normal circumstances..panicked guitar players are the worst!..lol.

Just curious, How many rolls of t. p. Do you all got?:D
 

Matthews Guitars

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I got 10 new JJ ECC83s and four JJ EL34s in today's mail. I've got four Shuguang KT66s coming any day now. (Spares for my '69 Plexi)

As for TP I need to buy some. I'm down to my last two rolls.

My tube inventory in total is something close to 500 tubes at a guess. (Just the ones relevant to guitar amps.)
 

Ivan H

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Matching and rating tubes by current draw at idle came about as a sales point to stores and touring bands.. if a tube blew, replace fuce and the tube with one with same number/rating... no need to open amp up to rebias... guitar tech can do that, save on the amp tech for the tour/store... so road manager bought crate of number x (choose your number 1-10) tubes from Grove tubes or a crate from an other brand AND hire an amp tech for the road... and 40 years later, here we are... "ALL tubes MUST be matched!!!.".. Perhaps not...
Early 90s when marshall went to 5881 for 900s, Scandinavian agent also carried sovtek. When we got repairs under warranty in, we replaced the bad tube, not the whole set, unless they were very worn(tube fault under warranty usually happens within first couple of weeks). Never heard one complaint...
J
Mr Aspen Pittman may have been the first to rate tubes on his 1 (soft) to 10 (hard) scale, but the matching of power tubes, as I said previously, goes way back & was done by manufactures way before the advent of touring bands.
My copy of The Radiotron Designers Handbook has a whole chapter devoted to "Matching & the effects of mismatching, push pull, pentodes, triodes". This publication was in print for several decades before Mr Aspen Pittman founded Groove Tubes. Do you really think the engineers & technicians working at the old tube manufacturing plants or their electronics departments, who gave us all those great tubes & audio amplifier designs hadn't realised the value of matching power tubes or the negative effects of not using matched tubes? Hell, they most likely collectively knew more about tubes than we do today. Cheers
Edit:
& yes, way back in the day they were matching power tubes by plate current & transconductance. As I said previously, I have NOS/NIB "factory matched" duets, where the tubes tested plate current as well as the transconductance figures are written on the inside top flap of each box. Cheers
 
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jeffb

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Update:


Considering various economic pressures, we must raise our wholesale prices. This price increase will apply to all back- and new orders. Also, there will likely be a further price increase for tubes shipped from our NYC headquarters once the government implements heightened tariffs against Russian goods, akin to the 35% rate Canada is now imposing. Other territories, including EU, UK, and Japan, are expected to follow suit.


You can cancel any backorder, but we do not recommend this; there is a tremendous shortage of tubes.

quoting/bolding for general commentary-

this says to me

1) "various economic pressures" - iow- they were having big issues before the conflict going on now. Likely due to the supply and demand issues from the last two years.

2) They are going to increase the wholesale prices, and it includes all existing back orders. That is another sign they were already in some serious financial trouble. FWIW- Eurotubes honored the prices from when I ordered.

3) They will have a further increase, something akin to 35% because of increased tariffs. They would only mention a %, if it's a number they are considering. And that's a wholesale price increase.

New Sensor retailers are about to get bent over on pricing, and they are going to be passing that on to consumers- they have to in order to make the margins they need to stay in business. I'm guessing we will see at least a 50% price increase, and possibly 70% or so when (if) they start shipping again and the tarriffs are in full effect.

If shipping doesn't happen in April and JJ is running fairly strong , they will definitely be hit with the cancellations of backorders. And frankly, if they see a sizeable # of backorders get cancelled or partially cancelled (which could very well happen if retailers can't weather their increases) that may be the nail in the coffin for them.
 

Springfield Scooter

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Mr Aspen Pittman may have been the first to rate tubes on his 1 (soft) to 10 (hard) scale, but the matching of power tubes, as I said previously, goes way back & was done by manufactures way before the advent of touring bands.
My copy of The Radiotron Designers Handbook has a whole chapter devoted to "Matching & the effects of mismatching, push pull, pentodes, triodes". This publication was in print for several decades before Mr Aspen Pittman founded Groove Tubes. Do you really think the engineers & technicians working at the old tube manufacturing plants or their electronics departments, who gave us all those great tubes & audio amplifier designs hadn't realised the value of matching power tubes or the negative effects of not using matched tubes? Hell, they most likely collectively knew more about tubes than we do today. Cheers
Edit:
& yes, way back in the day they were matching power tubes by plate current & transconductance. As I said previously, I have NOS/NIB "factory matched" duets, where the tubes tested plate current as well as the transconductance figures are written on the inside top flap of each box. Cheers
Did Groove Tubes manufacture tubes, or simply relabel them?
Aspen Pittman knows more than I ever will about tubes!
But I honestly do not remember "matched" tubes until the mid-1980's.
Maybe they existed, but I sure dont remember worrying about matching them back then.
To this day, I attribute power tubes, as being a key factor, in 2 similar vintage Marshall's sounding different.
But its very seldom , that I get to A/B 2 different vintage Marshall amplifiers these days, unless its a you tube video, so who knows.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Matching power tubes was done in order to keep the distortion products down to a minimum. That's important for a stereo system or other high fidelity reproduction system, but a mismatch between tubes in the output stage of a guitar amplifier will add harmonic character to it that's part of the sound you may be seeking.

As long as the tubes aren't TOO different, tube matching isn't strictly necessary for a guitar amplifier.
 

Springfield Scooter

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Matching power tubes was done in order to keep the distortion products down to a minimum. That's important for a stereo system or other high fidelity reproduction system, but a mismatch between tubes in the output stage of a guitar amplifier will add harmonic character to it that's part of the sound you may be seeking.

As long as the tubes aren't TOO different, tube matching isn't strictly necessary for a guitar amplifier.

I agree with this 100%, and would further add, that in some cases, mis-matched tubes MAY provide a "better" sound than a matched set would provide.
 

Springfield Scooter

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Wow, glad I stocked up, this sucks in more ways than one!

OLD news now....There is now a more positive reply!


Here is the most recent news:


ATTENTION ALL EHX TUBE CUSTOMERS​

The export restriction on Russian tubes has been resolved for now. We are accepting new orders, processing backorders, and hoping to resume shipping in April. Priority will be given to the oldest orders.

Considering various economic pressures, we must raise our wholesale prices. This price increase will apply to all back- and new orders. Also, there will likely be a further price increase for tubes shipped from our NYC headquarters once the government implements heightened tariffs against Russian goods, akin to the 35% rate Canada is now imposing. Other territories, including EU, UK, and Japan, are expected to follow suit.

For all non-US customers facing such heightened tariffs and with combined Russian tube orders of $3K or more: Consider having our Russian warehouse directly ship such combined orders to the nearest international airport in your country. That will avoid our having to pass along the cost of the heightened US import tariff. Otherwise, you will, in effect, incur a double tariff on shipments imported first to NYC and then to a country with heightened tariffs.

You can cancel any backorder, but we do not recommend this; there is a tremendous shortage of tubes.
 

Ivan H

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Matching power tubes was done in order to keep the distortion products down to a minimum. That's important for a stereo system or other high fidelity reproduction system, but a mismatch between tubes in the output stage of a guitar amplifier will add harmonic character to it that's part of the sound you may be seeking.

As long as the tubes aren't TOO different, tube matching isn't strictly necessary for a guitar amplifier.
There's a bit more to matching power tubes than just distortion, but yes, a slight mismatch can add to the harmonic content of the output. Whether or not this is pleasing will be dependent on the exact extent of the mismatch. It's generally accepted that up to about 5mA is ok.

The effects of mismatching are more serious with power pentodes than with power triodes & class AB1 (our guitar amp output stage's) are more sensitive to mismatching than class A1 push pull.
We all understand that in class AB1 (push pull) we match for quiescent plate current, but to fully grasp matching we must understand transconductance, as it is derictly related to the power output of each valve, & so must be matched too.
Transconductance is the ratio of a change in plate current to the change in voltage at the control grid responsible for it.
The advantage of Class AB1 operation (greater power output than Class A1 push pull, though at higher distortion) will only be obtained in proportion to the balance achieved in the power amp, so, power tube quiescent plate current, power tube transconductance, & signal input voltages. The OT design comes into play too, but this & the signal input voltages are power amp "design" features.
So with overly mismatched power tubes, as well as the amp humming excessively etc, it will not produce the design intended power output (sound weaker than it should), proportional to how mismatched the tubes are. Cheers
 
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