Your experiences with NOS tubes

solarburnDSL50

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The only NOS tubes I have are some RFT's and a bunch of Phillips Miniwatts, all 12ax7

The RFT's are slightly darker than the Phillips and sound really good in both my amps when I use them

The Philliips Miniwatts win though, they just have a warmth & clarity to them that to my ear sound much better than the RFT's
They have a very musical sound to them and I was lucky to find them at an antique radio shop over 10 years ago in original packaging and appeared unused. A few of them have the Phillips logo on one side and Mullard on the other

I found miniwatts microphonic in V1 unfortunately. They're aggression was great. I agree...these are nice. RFT's weren't the hype others said. They are what a JJECC83S should be. Better but got no boner in my Marshallz which every Tom, Dic K and Harry said they mattered.
 

Adieu

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The longer the tube has been used = the more discolored it is.
Therefore, it is now easy to spot a used old tube.
And now it is easy to tell a real new tube from an old used junk tube.

And
some people will try to sell you garbage, all the time.
You must learn to spot the garbage.

A new tube:
which shows very slight signs of being burned in prior to testing and matching.
Note the very small sign of slight discoloration in just the edge of the silver mirror coating....
This is harder to see, and you need to study it.
The tube lab burned the tube in for probably 24-48 hours before matching the tube.
That's why it developed the very slight discoloration, but just on the edges of the silver.

s-l1600.jpg


This is pretty much the perfect NOS tube.

Price:
US $659.00
Buy It Now



Add to cart



Add to Watchlist

Just one problem: it's priced like a solid used 100w amp
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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Sorry, yes I meant the current production Tung-Sol "reissue" tubes made in Russia for New Sensor.
I just got some old glass and new glass in the mail about a hour ago. Someone in the Origin 20 forum told me to get a JJ803s just to try it. I never liked the short plate JJ at all, but I must say that 803s in the PI slot is a winner. It is REALLY a change from the Shaugang. But in a really good way. I thought it was silky smooth and full. I mean I sat and played a hour just listening. I was quite impressed with that in the PI and the old glass I just got for V1, V2 I am in love with those Westinghouse black long plates and those Sylvanias, grey or black. They just sound so nice to my ear. And they cost maybe 5 bucks more than a new glass tube. I almost wish I had gotten 3 of the 803s JJ so I could see more how they stack up new vs old with what I have. IF this thing lasts in the Pi (suspect it will) it is a real winner. And its funny its got a larger bottle size than the normal JJ ecc83 and its also bigger than my old glass too. It is noticeable. First time I have been really impressed with new glass in preamp tubes. for 15$ I dig them a great deal. It surprised me because it was so radically different sounding than the regular jj ecc83. I dunno. But anyway yea the mullard I had in my Pi slot also flamed out after just a few days. And it did it in a strange way. It was working fine. I shut it off. Pulled it. Rolled it to one of my 6V6 amps and it was DOA. So I dunno of it fried in the Origin 20 or fried in the startup of the small 6V6 amp or it just died for no reason sitting there. I saw nothing burnt or off pudding, but she dead. I would bet the Tung-Sol I have here from 1955 would hold up just fine in there tho. It should its the military variant. I didn't know if I should even try it in the Pi of the Origin since its really a 5751 and not a 12AX7 I would think at Minimum it would decrease output yes? I am not an expert on that slot. I've used them no prob in V1, V2, but I wasn't sure if its really good to use it as the Pi.
20200518_112904.jpg 20200518_112818.jpg Tube porn...
 

johnny q

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I dabbled a bit w/ NOS tubes and the experience was NOT good. I bought a bunch of Jan GE 12ax7s and they were noisy as hell. I also bought some RFT 12ax7s and they made my Marshall sound like a blanket was over the speakers. These were from a reputable seller. A classic case of "your mileage may vary" I guess.
 

plexilespaul

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Just pulled the trigger yesterday on strong XF2 EL34 Mullards for my 800
and trying to find some KT66 Gec's for my Vintage Modern which are worth every penny
tone wise !.......I've installed them before in my VM and they are awesome.
those tubes made my 2204 sound godly ...once I changed the tubes to modern the tone was gone. I mean it sounded like a 2204 but the magic was gone. would really like to hear your experience with these.
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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I dabbled a bit w/ NOS tubes and the experience was NOT good. I bought a bunch of Jan GE 12ax7s and they were noisy as hell. I also bought some RFT 12ax7s and they made my Marshall sound like a blanket was over the speakers. These were from a reputable seller. A classic case of "your mileage may vary" I guess.
It totally is. I guess for me its the hunt I like the most. I really like the antique factor. I like having 70 year old glass in my gear. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. But I trade them, sell them, etc. Its just a hobby. I have just a few people I get from on a regular basis. And I kinda wait till they got stuff that interests me. I have bought some very expensive glass, but usually its just 20-30$ is my limit on preamp tubes. I do have some Mullard El34s that are new old stock real deal tubes. But I usually don't spend 125$ a tube. I actually got those reasonable price. Only 2x what new stuff was. I really have a few favorites that never let me down. I really like those Long black plate Westinghouse tubes. They are just great. I also like the Sylvanias and the RCA long black plates. Those rarely let me down. I've been really lucky that I have not gotten hardly any tubes that were microphonic. If I do then I save them for my tube preamps. I have a coulple. One ART and one Behringer. They seem to work fine in there even if they are a bit microphonic. I've found there's 2 schools on old tubes. You got the Hi Fi guys and the guitar guys. And we are looking for different things. What is good for them is like the reverse of what I am looking for, usually. I don't always want a perfect triple gold platinum matched god tube. I just want a tube with some character. Balanced or not. I have found tho the ones I've liked the most and are my favorites are the ones that I have gotten cheaper and not balanced well. I guess in the first slot and second on the Origin Balanced is not really a big deal, At least to my ears. I mean jeez I just think its great I got 5 tubes in the mail box today and really got a decent roll out of it. I really like this one( I always say that). In the GE I have found the best ones to avoid the microphonics are the GE 5 star 3 mica. And they are not that much. Or the ones that say 12AX7A. The JAN ones are for nuclear missiles and I don't think they cared about them being microphonic as they ride a missile. heh. I actually only have 3 GE tubes and I only liked them in my 6V6 gear. But I did like the 5 star 3 mica the best. Sometime you should try one of them Westinghouse long black plates. Kinda sleeper tube. Not pricey. Last forever I'm sure. Sweet sound. My Ken-Rads didn't show. Tomorrow. I am really curious to see what they are like. Those will be the oldest preamp tubes I have tried. I think 1948 is when the 12AX7 was introduced too? I think. So they don't get much older than what I got coming.
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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those tubes made my 2204 sound godly ...once I changed the tubes to modern the tone was gone. I mean it sounded like a 2204 but the magic was gone. would really like to hear your experience with these.
My Mullards are XF4 date code I believe, I'll look, but yea I hear ya. Really when you think about it they aren't expensive if they last 10 years right? I have a set of 4 and I haven't even used them yet. Right now I'm on the new production EH 6CA7's for a while. So many of those new ones do not sound like a EL34 at all anyway. They sound like a 6L6.
 

What?

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My Mullards are XF4 date code I believe, I'll look, but yea I hear ya. Really when you think about it they aren't expensive if they last 10 years right?

Does the old stuff last long with cranked up amps?

Hell, for all I know the Winged C's in my DSL 50 are the original tubes. They were in there when I got it. They do sing, but there ain't no magic in there. An old RCA 7025 borrowed from my twin in V1 right now. I didn't notice any real difference over in that over an old Mesa branded 12AX7 in either my Super Reverb, twin, or DSL. Both sound quiet and clean, but nothing out of the ordinary.
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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Does the old stuff last long with cranked up amps?

Hell, for all I know the Winged C's in my DSL 50 are the original tubes. They were in there when I got it. They do sing, but there ain't no magic in there. An old RCA 7025 borrowed from my twin in V1 right now. I didn't notice any real difference over in that over an old Mesa branded 12AX7 in either my Super Reverb, twin, or DSL. Both sound quiet and clean, but nothing out of the ordinary.
In my opinion yes. They were built better for the most part. I mean you can see it. I think a-lot has to do with what you are playing too. I find much more difference at clean to moderate gain. I can't tell the difference as much at the highest of gains. With stacked OD pedals etc. I can hear the magic going on. But in a way it is whatever you like. I would have to say tho that Overall the old stuff out lasts anything new in tubes. I'd put money on it. I would also bet if you tried a Ken-Rad tube you'd hear a difference. Those to me sound unique. More so than RCA over GE. The ONLY tubes I have had fry are new production. Without exception.
 

Adrian R

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My experience with vintage tubes comes from buying and using old preamp tubes...all being of a used condition from several different ebay sellers. My experience with them have been very good. I've bought GE, Sylvania, Raytheon tubes all made in the 1950s-1960s...all are excellent and sound better then anything I've heard out there today NEW. The only current production tubes that come close are the Tungsol preamp tubes and the EH 12AX7s..for the money you cannot go wrong with either tube... However, their still not quite as strong ande clear sounding...as for instance as a GE 12AX7. The Tungsol is very strong..but it, along with the Shuguang's have almost as much HP...but harsher sounding... I only use vintage preamp tubes in all my amps except for like the PI slot in which I will use either a Shuguang or EH.

Power tubes I do not have as much experience with exception for two instances, and in both I found the vintage power tube to far out perform ALL of the current production power tubes...

I had just purchased an older DSL 100 in which came with pre-winged C Sventlana EL-34s. Those are probably the best power tubes I have ever heard..with the exception of some old school Tesla EL-34s. These tubes sounded better then the Tungsols, Rubys, Shuguangs, JJs, RI Mullards. (particular BORING tube)

They just *feel* better in your hands..the exude more quality then the new stuff I see today.

This imo is one of the reasons why the older amps appear to sound better then the newer ones..It's the tubes they used!

I have an eye on a quad of Winged Cs..but at nearly $200.00...I'll pass...

It's really sad that we cannot get a tube as well made today as they were just a mere 25 years ago... very sad.
 

DaMose

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With utmost respect to everyone here that has given opinions on this thread I’d like to separate some fact from fiction. To answer the OP questions...YES vintage tubes can do some great things for your amp and sound. They will far outlast any of the new production stuff coming from the big red Russian/Chinese machines these days if the vintage tubes are properly tested and proven to still be able to perform as per the design. TESTING TESTING TESTING....have I said TESTING yet? That is the key to buying vintage tubes. I consider myself somewhat of a tube expert at this point and have been at this for years. I have already made most of the mistakes in the buying and using of tubes over the past decade plus. I have seen or experienced first hand just about every scam the low life sellers out there use. But there are plenty of great tubes still out there available to capitalize on and enjoy if you know what to look for and how to safely buy. FACT..the term NOS has been bastardized by sellers over the years and has taken a foothold in the market place unfortunately. As others have said, only a unused untouched tube can truly be called NOS. However there are lots of tubes still out there that will test in the range of what you would expect a new/fresh tube to be showing. I’ve seen and tested plenty of tubes that were in equipment for years that saw limited use and after being pulled out still test above known actual NOS tubes in my collection. Telefunken ECC83/12ax7 tubes are particularly known for being very strong tubes. FACT..you don’t have to spend “crazy money” to obtain and experience a great set of near new testing vintage tubes. There are plenty of run of the mill tubes from the era like GE, Raytheon, RCA etc. that typically don’t command the high dollars like the European short and long plate tubes that you commonly see selling for over $100 per tubes. Many times paying a little more at the start for a proven set of vintage tubes like GE 12ax7 will actually be cheaper in the long run when you factor in you will usually use 2-3 sets of Russian tubes to get the same life span that you get from the much better made vintage glass. It’s very important to learn the difference between “real testing” and simple emission testing on vintage tubes. You can’t just simply take someone’s word on testing as a rule of thumb. You need to see pictures of the actual tube under test showing the results when buying vintage tubes online such as eBay. If they aren’t showing testing like that without you having to ask then its best to move on if its a seller you don’t already know you can trust. There are great and honest sellers out there and plenty of scammers too. Some of the stuff I’ve seen to rip people off is just unbelievable. A good set of vintage tubes that are proven via quality testing will last and last. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen a pair of new production tubes test as good as you can hope for only to suddenly die within weeks or months of being installed while the vintage tubes just keep chugging along. As far as the question about tubes for PI duty you can’t go wrong with a good tested Mullard. They were specifically designed to handle some slight extra power over a half century ago to give their design a supposed edge in the market place. Therefore they consistently hold up better than other manufacturers tubes in that position by my personal experience. Please see the links to the articles I’ve included For some great basic information and to see first hand the stark differences in build quality over the tubes made 50 years ago compared to the new production tubes that carry the famous names nowadays. They are slapped on inferior tubes just as a sales ploy. Don’t get discouraged about buying old tubes because the reward can and will be worth it. You just have to educate yourself to the potential pitfalls or develop a relationship with a seller/tester you can trust. You can just as easily waste your money on the junky new production tubes with their early failures and repeated need to purchase. Learning to safely buy vintage is definitely worth the effort in IMO. Although they have their fans...I recommend steering clear of any of the Chinese made tubes as they are some of the worst in my experience. They sound terrible and harsh compared to even the most affordable and most common vintage options still available IMO.

https://www.effectrode.com/knowledge-base/mullard-ecc83-12ax7-reissue-vs-original-a-physical-

https://www.effectrode.com/knowledge-base/tubes-the-old-verses-the-new/

Though I’m not affiliated with the above mentioned web site I’ve found most of what the owner has put into his articles pretty much spot on. So in addition to the 2 articles I linked he has several others that are informative for those willing to spend sometime reading. At the very least it will greatly expand your knowledge base going forward into the expansive world of 12ax7 tubes for our Marshall’s Hope everyone is doing well in this crazy world we’re trying to exist in currently and all that I’ve wrote is helpful in some way and maybe prevents someone from getting scammed on the buying side of things. Anyone that has further questions is welcome to message me. If I know the answer I’d be glad to help you and if I don’t know I will tell you that too..Be well friends....DaMose
 
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jlinde1973

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Tubes are like fingerprints. No two exactly the same. Just because one RCA black plate sounds great, the next one may not and keep in mind a tube that sounds great in one amp my not sound the same in a another amp. Rather than hunting for NOS, I buy tubes that read NOS gm levels or higher. I've had great luck buying vintage tubes on Ebay. And do yourself a favor and buy a quality tube tester preferably something that tests transconductance rather than simple emissions testers. My Hickok 533a hasn't let me down in yet. Be aware, tube rolling can be additive and very expensive.
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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Tubes are like fingerprints. No two exactly the same. Just because one RCA black plate sounds great, the next one may not and keep in mind a tube that sounds great in one amp my not sound the same in a another amp. Rather than hunting for NOS, I buy tubes that read NOS gm levels or higher. I've had great luck buying vintage tubes on Ebay. And do yourself a favor and buy a quality tube tester preferably something that tests transconductance rather than simple emissions testers. My Hickok 533a hasn't let me down in yet. Be aware, tube rolling can be additive and very expensive.
Yes I am In the market for one, but I really don't know what to get. Would you say the hickok 533a is decent? I mean I am relatively smart and can figure stuff out. I like quality gear. How much should I expect to spend on one? I REALLY need one as my tube collection is well over 300+ now 7pin 9 pin and octal only tho. I don't have anything that uses the 4 pins yet.
 

DaMose

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It totally is. I guess for me its the hunt I like the most. I really like the antique factor. I like having 70 year old glass in my gear. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. But I trade them, sell them, etc. Its just a hobby. I have just a few people I get from on a regular basis. And I kinda wait till they got stuff that interests me. I have bought some very expensive glass, but usually its just 20-30$ is my limit on preamp tubes. I do have some Mullard El34s that are new old stock real deal tubes. But I usually don't spend 125$ a tube. I actually got those reasonable price. Only 2x what new stuff was. I really have a few favorites that never let me down. I really like those Long black plate Westinghouse tubes. They are just great. I also like the Sylvanias and the RCA long black plates. Those rarely let me down. I've been really lucky that I have not gotten hardly any tubes that were microphonic. If I do then I save them for my tube preamps. I have a coulple. One ART and one Behringer. They seem to work fine in there even if they are a bit microphonic. I've found there's 2 schools on old tubes. You got the Hi Fi guys and the guitar guys. And we are looking for different things. What is good for them is like the reverse of what I am looking for, usually. I don't always want a perfect triple gold platinum matched god tube. I just want a tube with some character. Balanced or not. I have found tho the ones I've liked the most and are my favorites are the ones that I have gotten cheaper and not balanced well. I guess in the first slot and second on the Origin Balanced is not really a big deal, At least to my ears. I mean jeez I just think its great I got 5 tubes in the mail box today and really got a decent roll out of it. I really like this one( I always say that). In the GE I have found the best ones to avoid the microphonics are the GE 5 star 3 mica. And they are not that much. Or the ones that say 12AX7A. The JAN ones are for nuclear missiles and I don't think they cared about them being microphonic as they ride a missile. heh. I actually only have 3 GE tubes and I only liked them in my 6V6 gear. But I did like the 5 star 3 mica the best. Sometime you should try one of them Westinghouse long black plates. Kinda sleeper tube. Not pricey. Last forever I'm sure. Sweet sound. My Ken-Rads didn't show. Tomorrow. I am really curious to see what they are like. Those will be the oldest preamp tubes I have tried. I think 1948 is when the 12AX7 was introduced too? I think. So they don't get much older than what I got coming.
Are you familiar with the rare Bendix Red Bank tubes? They were the finest vacuum tubes ever made and very special indeed. JAN is actually just prefix for any tube that was military supply. The Bendix tubes are the real deal rocket tubes. Every tube was built like a tank with only the very best components used. Special high temp Nonex glass, ceramic heaters, ceramic disks used in place of the typical mica wafers, each tube had a designated amount of G force it could endure and maximum altitude it could be flown to. Each tube with a minimum 10,000 hour service life. Some of the coolest tubes you’ll ever see. If you have 6V6 gear you should check out the Bendix Red Bank direct equivalent the 5992. The greatest 6V6 ever made! The electrons in the tubes glow blue when working and looks really neat. They will cost you but you will get what you pay for and a unique sounding 6V6 different from all the rest. They also made another tube the 6094 which can be used as a direct replacement for EL84 tubes with the correct pin out adapter in place which I use myself in my 6BQ5 amp and will never look back.
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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Tubes are like fingerprints. No two exactly the same. Just because one RCA black plate sounds great, the next one may not and keep in mind a tube that sounds great in one amp my not sound the same in a another amp. Rather than hunting for NOS, I buy tubes that read NOS gm levels or higher. I've had great luck buying vintage tubes on Ebay. And do yourself a favor and buy a quality tube tester preferably something that tests transconductance rather than simple emissions testers. My Hickok 533a hasn't let me down in yet. Be aware, tube rolling can be additive and very expensive.
Yea, and RCA made a crap ton of variants and models for 3rd party vendors, OEMs etc. I don't even come close to having all the flavors. But jeez one of my sleeper classics is that Westinghouse long black plate with the yellow lettering. Just outstanding. They just keep going forever. And they are not expensive. This tube is a great example of what you can get for same price as new stock if you look around. I paid 17$ for this Cunningham (RCA) Coke bottle 6V6. The difference in sound quality on the little 5 watt amp it goes in is just obvious. Compared to the Ruby that came stock, which I kind of like because they have been tough tubes, this tube just has so much more going on. 20200519_114637.jpg 20200519_114647.jpg 20200519_114656.jpg 17$ with free shipping. I just wish EL34's were as plentiful as the 6V6 is. More tube porn...
 

bradley Thomas Wilson

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Are you familiar with the rare Bendix Red Bank tubes? They were the finest vacuum tubes ever made and very special indeed. JAN is actually just prefix for any tube that was military supply. The Bendix tubes are the real deal rocket tubes. Every tube was built like a tank with only the very best components used. Special high temp Nonex glass, ceramic heaters, ceramic disks used in place of the typical mica wafers, each tube had a designated amount of G force it could endure and maximum altitude it could be flown to. Each tube with a minimum 10,000 hour service life. Some of the coolest tubes you’ll ever see. If you have 6V6 gear you should check out the Bendix Red Bank direct equivalent the 5992. The greatest 6V6 ever made! The electrons in the tubes glow blue when working and looks really neat. They will cost you but you will get what you pay for and a unique sounding 6V6 different from all the rest. They also made another tube the 6094 which can be used as a direct replacement for EL84 tubes with the correct pin out adapter in place which I use myself in my 6BQ5 amp and will never look back.
Yea, I am. I WISH I had one. I damn near got one but missed it. I was just hunting for one for my little Sawtooth 5w. If you can find them they are spendy. Wow I gotta check that other tube out too. I really don't mid spending 100$ on a single tube if its the right tube. I mean I have quite a few amps and I am still relatively young and I like to have a stash. I would like to get to the point I can have enough for a lifetime for any amp I have. Dreams. The old tubes just last. Period. I have some favorites in the new production and yea they have gotten better for sure. I think even in the last year or 2 they have gotten better. I remember back in the early 2000's eek. I remember people telling me that I might as well sell my tube stuff and go new wave. I freaking hate solid states for the most part. Fine if you want to mic up and project, but for guitar tone they fall flat as hell. 6094 eh? I gotta check that out. So its not the same pinout as el84 but its a direct drop in ? Or what are you saying exactly. I have adapters that are unglued so I can change pinouts to whatever I want. I found a Ebay guy that has them in 2 pieces and you just do the pinout direction yourself and then snap it back together. 5$ each....
 

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