Discussion in 'Amp Building/Technical/Repair' started by Pstar, Jan 7, 2020.
Any good sources for NOS tubes in Canada ?
thetubestore.com has a section for NOS.
Me.....depending on what it is.
Really expensive, really good tubes.
Same guy, and website isn't updated too often so email him if interested. He is reliable and the tubes are very good.
A top boutique amp builder in New York told me he doesn't buy NOS tubes anymore. He said back in the day tubes were tested before selling them, and some were rejected. It's those rejects that are being sold as high end expensive NOS today. He had enough of them and advised me not to bother with them.
Reputable places will do the testing before selling. They didn't really want me there, because they don't do over-the-counter retail, but I dropped into the Tube Store some years back, before they moved from downtown, and the place was loaded with test gear. They have a reputation to protect. You can trust any NOS tubes you buy from them...and from Richard/nonreverb too.
I've come to this conclusion as well. I really have very little trouble with current production tubes. The last NOS tube I bought (a rectifier) I paid lots of money for and it lasted about 2 months. So I put the current production rectifier that had been in it for 2 years previous, back in and never had another bit of trouble.
I paid some big dollars for a pair of matched 6L6 NOS for an Allen Accomplice I had. I really couldn't hear any difference from current production. I've also played lots with NOS 12AX7's and really not a lot of improvement over current production, if any.
Lots of guys hype the NOS stuff but I think its mainly snake oil. My Tone King sounds great with whatever is in there. I haven't even looked but I'll guarantee their just current production.
Up until last year I worked in Stoney Creek and I'd stop in to the tube store all the time to pick up tubes. I pretty much past right by there so it was convenient. They never made me feel like they didn't want me there. I certainly wasn't paying shipping when I past right by the exit to their store.
I actually have the same experience with a high end audio builder. According to him there are no good NOS tubes left. I generally agree except i know of a couple of sellers who i can vouch for the quality of the tubes or that they stand by them. The guy i mention above is one and the Tubestore is another.
I have audiophiles ask me about NOS all the time, and I usually just stay out of that quagmire.
One thing i do say, is never ever buy tubes off of eBay unless you know absolutely they are reliable. Haven't found one yet though.
And remember - you get what you pay for. With NOS there are no bargains.
Maybe years ago, but not my experience. Last encounter bought 12 quads of nos wing c’s. They were all bad, returned them all. They did not test them ! Have been a repeat customer for years.
Got a small NOS 'tube vault' built up over the past 30-odd years that should last me the rest of my musical life! No need to seek out more, and I'll probably start to cull as I downsize the rig.
Mark Bartel put a bizzarro mix of Voshkod/EH/TAD tubes in the original (handwired) Sky King that is my main amp. I have to say, mine sounds great with the "preferred" series from the Tubestore. And they're a Canadian company. I had one of their AX7's go microphonic on me last year, and they replaced it at no charge. I use the attenuators (dual) on the Sky King most of the time, so I expect to go through tubes regularly. So far, only one 12AXY has crapped out. I have spares on hand for all the sockets, but have been amazed at the longevity of the original tubes.
People claiming all the good NOS tubes are gone are incorrect. There were tens of millions of tubes made in the last 100 years or so and there are still many around if you know where to look. If you rely on the resellers, yes, you're basically going to get what they have left over. Presently, I have around 4000 tubes. Lots of NOS and some pulls. I tend to sell the ones that are no longer in production. I do have some very expensive tubes and would definitely sell them tested....my reputation is on the line.
As for winged C tubes being sold now? I suspect they are the seconds and rejects as all the good ones have been bought up. I wouldn't trust any of them being sold now....regardless where they're coming from.
I started collecting/hoarding NOS/NIB guitar amp tubes in the mid 80's when I was in the Canadian Forces Electronics branch at CFS Leitrim. They had moved to all solid state intercept gear and were literally throwing out boxes of unused tubes. A couple of years ago I sold the Tubestore around 10 quads of NOS/NIB 6L6WGB's Philips/Sylvania and RCA 5881 labled. They tested them and then wired me the cash so they were good. Just previously to that I sold off most of my used GZ34's, 6L6GC's, 12ax7/ecc83 (about 125 mostly Mullard and RCA's) through this and other forums. Used the cash to buy a new Martin D41. I'm going to sell off the tube caddy with around 200 (Mullards, RCA, GE, Sylvania's, Brimars, etc) NOS/NIB 12ax7's and GZ34's (all Mullards) soon. I've sold a handful of the NOS/NIB 12ax7's over the last few years to people on this forum who were looking for NOS and they were all happy. I have 2 testers (a Hickok and a B&K) to put them in (some were also tested years ago on a Mercury tester I had at the time). I also put them in an amp to test for noise/microphonics. I stood behind all of what I sold previously and had only one complaint on a used Mullard GZ34 that I refunded. These NOS/NIB tubes I started collecting prior them becoming scarce and I have not bought or actively looked for NOS tubes in years but I'm sure they are out there. Like Richard said there are good NOS tubes out there if you know where to look.
Apologies for this is a slight derail. Are there simple and dependable methods for calibrating tube testers with basic test/measure equipment? Thanks.
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