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Choosing Valves / Tubes

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amey01

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Hi there,

I have a bit of low-level valve equipment that uses ECC88/6922 and 12AX7 valves and the time has come for new ones. The equipment I am talking about is a preamplifier and a Musical Fidelity X-10D.

How do you choose from the wide variety available - what is good, what is not? My local audio shop is able to supply Electro Harmonix, but there is so much else out there that I wonder whether this is the best choice.

Any ideas?
 

aliveatfive

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There is so much out there that it is hard to make an informed decision without spending lots of money. From what I've read (and listened to) this I can tell you: for the 6922 series of tubes, the Amperex "Bugle Boy" is supposed to be a great one. For the 12AX7, the old German Telefunken was the one to beat. The trouble is, as these get to be more and more scarce, their price goes up commensurately. Let us know what you find.
 
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Robin

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Audiogon...

amey01 said:
Hi there,

I have a bit of low-level valve equipment that uses ECC88/6922 and 12AX7 valves and the time has come for new ones. The equipment I am talking about is a preamplifier and a Musical Fidelity X-10D.

How do you choose from the wide variety available - what is good, what is not? My local audio shop is able to supply Electro Harmonix, but there is so much else out there that I wonder whether this is the best choice.

Any ideas?
amey01,

Mark Newbie suggested keeping an eye on "Audiogon" for some excellent deals on valves / tubes. He is quite correct, their are some excellent deals on valves / tubes from the common place to the very rare like the Bendx Red Bank tubes. Some folks here even use and highly recommend Russian valves / tubes as well. As of yet I haven't taken the pluge into tube as of yet but I plan to in the future. Best of luck in your quest though.
 

tonyc

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amey I 've had good luck ordering from parts connexion (www.partsconnexion.com). I have successfully used NOS Siemens, Mullards, and Brimar. Make sure you order matched pairs or you can wind up with a channel imbalance. Bugle Boys are sometimes available, but VERY expensive. They will also help you decide on appropriate substitute tubes if you want to roll.
 

aliveatfive

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Another possibility: thetubestore.com.

Also try googling Triode Electronics in Chicago. Both sites are nicely done and have lots of information.
 

twich54

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Love those Tubes !!

welcome, I have personally dealt with vacuumtubevalley.com (Charlie Kittleson), Doug @ dougstubes.com, or try tubedepot.com.

I recently "rolled" in some Mullard CV4024, vintage 1990 into my Jolida 302-B.
 

Jeff Zaret

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amey01,

I think all the advice so far is excellent. I would start with Musical Fidelity and call or email their technical support people. I would find out what they recommend and what the unit design was around. Tube/valve technology and production has changed over the years. I believe that some of the suggestions are good here, so far, and that any reputable place such as the ones mentioned will help you achieve the sound you want.:D

One of the reasons there are many different/ similar tubes which serve the same function was that in the "old days" electronics were designed around a tube/valve characteristics to create a desired sound. By changing the tube/valve you change the way the electronics function and ultimately the sound. This is not a bad thing but you have to realize you need to replace with similar characteristics. With NOS tubes/valves you pay a premium for them because they are not made and in a small supply. The down size to this is the next time you look for the same or similar tube/valve it may not be available or be very expensive. These are choices we make with our wonderful hobby. :rolleyes:

To clarify a few things; the "Russian" tubes people usually refer to were the Sovtek. The original Sovtek is not in business and was bought by Electro Harmonix out of New York, USA. Amperex out of Holland(?) who made excellent tubes in the 40's and 50's actually had a manufacturing plant in New York(?) because they made a lot of tubes/valves for the US Military and could not by them from a foreign manufacture. So they opened a plant in the US.

Just a brief little lesson and there are many other things too but I am tired. LOL

Good Luck and let us know what you decide

Jeff :cool:
 

amey01

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Jeff Zaret said:
amey01,

I think all the advice so far is excellent. I would start with Musical Fidelity and call or email their technical support people. I would find out what they recommend and what the unit design was around. Tube/valve technology and production has changed over the years. I believe that some of the suggestions are good here, so far, and that any reputable place such as the ones mentioned will help you achieve the sound you want.:D

One of the reasons there are many different/ similar tubes which serve the same function was that in the "old days" electronics were designed around a tube/valve characteristics to create a desired sound. By changing the tube/valve you change the way the electronics function and ultimately the sound. This is not a bad thing but you have to realize you need to replace with similar characteristics. With NOS tubes/valves you pay a premium for them because they are not made and in a small supply. The down size to this is the next time you look for the same or similar tube/valve it may not be available or be very expensive. These are choices we make with our wonderful hobby. :rolleyes:

To clarify a few things; the "Russian" tubes people usually refer to were the Sovtek. The original Sovtek is not in business and was bought by Electro Harmonix out of New York, USA. Amperex out of Holland(?) who made excellent tubes in the 40's and 50's actually had a manufacturing plant in New York(?) because they made a lot of tubes/valves for the US Military and could not by them from a foreign manufacture. So they opened a plant in the US.

Just a brief little lesson and there are many other things too but I am tired. LOL

Good Luck and let us know what you decide

Jeff :cool:

Thank you everyone for you great advice, and Jeff too - this is the sort of info I was after - who makes what and why are they preferred. I will certainly try to call MF and see what they recommend.
 

Spike

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DTB300

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Steve Daigneault said:
i love andy at vintage tube services. excellent product, totally trusted seller, and reasonable prices for what you get.
Vintage Tube services
I agree too. Andy is a great person to deal with. The only thing is (and this is very minor), if you are in a hurry for your tubes, then Andy might not be for you. He is a one-person operation and things take time. But what you do get is an excellent, great packaged, well tested product, at a great price. I highly recommend trying out his products.

Dan
 
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