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MechEngVic

NEW or NOS?

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:14 PM, ebrandon said:

I don't have a dog in the NOS vs new fight.

 

As I write this I'm listening to an amp with NOS Telefunken ECC83 & GE 5814 driver tubes, and new Elrog 300B power tubes, and it sounds great!

 

My question is this -- is anyone making great new 12AU7/ECC82/5814 or 12AX7/ECC83 tubes?  I love my Elrog 300B's, but don't know of anyone making similar quality available in new driver tubes.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Its not a fight . We are just calmly discussing the pros and cons of both approaches, from both practical and theoretical points of view.

 

Early Telefunken 12AX7s,  with smooth plates, are lovely.   I don't know enough about NEW current tube choices, to suggest what to try.  They make 12AX7s now with tall plates, gold flashed pins, etc, but as I said, I'm not able to suggest any, cause I just don't know. 

 

I do know this :  There are at least eight steps to take inside of your amp,  associated with its' 12AX7 input stage, that are audibly-beneficial to do.  These are simple "DIY" tasks , while keeping the same basic circuit, to get more fidelity.  This should be one's main approach, and done in total.   It is considerably more effective than tube rolling by itself, and it substantially improves a 12AX7 amp.

 

 Any mu of 100 ( 12AX7, 12BZ7, etc, ) high-gain Input stage is very critical and sensitive to it's implementation.  If we lose any fidelity right there, in that input stage, it never gets "made up", later in the circuit, ..... does it ??  

 

Jeff Medwin

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8 hours ago, ebrandon said:

I don't have a dog in the NOS vs new fight.

 

As I write this I'm listening to an amp with NOS Telefunken ECC83 & GE 5814 driver tubes, and new Elrog 300B power tubes, and it sounds great!

 

My question is this -- is anyone making great new 12AU7/ECC82/5814 or 12AX7/ECC83 tubes?  I love my Elrog 300B's, but don't know of anyone making similar quality available in new driver tubes.

 

Thanks!

 

 

To my knowledge no one is makeing a 12A?? tube that can come close to the tele or amperex or siemens or insert vintage name here.

 

 

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In my experience the last year or so.....NOS or vintage 12AX7 tubes that test new or strong, without a doubt walk all over the new production tubes I've tried. Honorable mentions go the the Psvane Treasure Series and the JJ/TESLA tubes I tried but for me it's Amperex Bugle Boys, Mullard long plates(square getters)and Telefunken smooth plates from here on out.

 

They just have "it". The new tubes....don't.

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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Dang those EML tubes are some kind of pricey!

 

I use mostly old tubes, but I've used new mostly in power tubes. Aster all power tubes wear out but some of those small diver tubes seem to go on forever. Granted I do have some telefunken 12AX7's from a Fisher 400 that on their last legs, but they are an exception.

 

Plus  soundwise for me, it's the smaller tubes that make the most difference, not the power tubes.

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On 9/29/2019 at 1:54 PM, thebes said:

Dang those EML tubes are some kind of pricey!

 

I use mostly old tubes, but I've used new mostly in power tubes. Aster all power tubes wear out but some of those small diver tubes seem to go on forever. Granted I do have some telefunken 12AX7's from a Fisher 400 that on their last legs, but they are an exception.

 

Plus  soundwise for me, it's the smaller tubes that make the most difference, not the power tubes.

 

Always start with the smaller tubes when tube rolling, then the power tubes and lastly the rectifier if your amp is tube rectified. My Yamamoto Amp loves EML tubes and I use both their power and rectifier tubes. This amps smaller (drive circuit) tubes are 717A/VT269 mushroom tubes, so that limits the choice pretty much to Western Electric tubes made in the 1940's. I like the 717A tubes WE made for the US Navy. 

 

You only live once; buy the best sounding tubes you can afford.

 

Wb

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2 hours ago, Wolfbane said:

 

Always start with the smaller tubes when tube rolling, then the power tubes and lastly the rectifier if your amp id tube rectified. My Yamamoto Amp loves EML tubes and I use both their power and rectifier tubes. This amps smaller (drive circuit) tubes are 717A/VT269 mushroom tubes, so that limits the choice pretty much to Western Electric tubes made in the 1940's. I like the 717A tubes WE made for the US Navy. 

 

You only live once; buy the best sounding tubes you can afford.

 

Wb

Good advice Wolfbane. 

 

Think about the gain differences between the Front End of the tube amp ( one, or sometimes, two tube gain stages ) versus the gain of the Finals stage.  The front end can easily approach a voltage gain of 100 times, whereas the Finals stage, a 2A3, 45, 300B etc., has a gain ( mu ) of about 4 times, seldom over 12 times.

 

Wolfbane,  what you also need to " roll " is the PLATE RESISTOR of your input tube stage, as it has a critical result in the final sound of your amp !!!  A Yamomoto plate resistor can very be easily upgraded.   Its just one part.   Same for, say any Inspire amp.  Any amp, built to a price point !!  

 

Audiophiles discuss having a 45 amp, a 2A3 amp, a 6BQ5 amp, but ......about 80% of what we are all hearing...... is the front- end tube type !! 

 

Improvements  / optimizations in the first stage are VERY important, to an amp's overall fidelity. 

 

There are many optimizations one can do, and tube rolling is only but one, of several - to get a better result. 

 

If you lose any fidelity in the Front End, it never gets " made up " in the Finals stage !! 

 

Jeff Medwin

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On 9/22/2019 at 7:41 PM, Jeffrey D. Medwin said:

 I feel the original poster is " right on the money".  And what was not said was that the tube manufacturers are also now building for the GUITAR group, so there is much progress and incentive for them.

 

Yes, I can HEAR the virtues of NOS tubes, but that does not make me want to design with them, or use them.  They are impractical to obtain, and it will only get worse into the future.

 

I just designed an amp for my own system using the latest Electro Harmonix KT88, a tube which has been upgraded by EH recently for the guitar boys. 

 

KT88s cost me less than $90 a MATCHED Pair from Antique Electronic Sound.  About a month or so ago,  I A-Bed my new KT88 design, VS the best-EVER-made NOS 2A3 tube : the AVVT Mesh Plate 2A3, ( goes for $3,500 a pair, considered as "the holy grail" in 2A3s ).  The NEW KT88 was able to outperform the NOS AVVT ( which was in an excellent pair of 2A3 amps ). 

 

Of course, this was NOT due to tube differences alone.

 

My point is, if someone is skilled, and has ambition, passion, an experienced DIYer, they can design and build an amp with carefully selected  NEW tubes -  to out-perform any "holy grail " NOS AVVT 2A3 tube.    How ??    Simple - by incorporating design topologies, and thoughtful implementations, using NEW tubes.   

 

IMHO, that makes it useless to LUST for unobtainable NOS AVVT 2A3 Mesh Plate tubes, etc.  Its the dead-end path.

 

With well-thought-out DIY, one is UNLIMITED as to new amp design possibilities they can apply, to improve overall a tube amplifier's performance

 

DIYers can be unconcerned about consumer-appeal considerations and limitations that face manufacturers who have to sell their units, VS:  their competition.  One certainly does not need to rely upon " NOS tube rolling " - as the ONLY means to obtain acceptable performance.  Superior performance can be had using and designing new amp circuits - with NEW tubes !!  Such a thing as TOTAL amp design - exists !!!

 

One must be selective in their NEW TUBE choices however.  Good and poor ones exist.  I used to prefer the sound of vintage NOS Tung Sol 5U4GBs in my two-stage direct-coupled SETs.  Now, I find a $16.00 NEW EH 5U4GB, after a 75 hour break-in, sounds better to my ears. 

 

We are lucky to have new tubes.  We need to exploit their possibilities to the fullest, in the days or years ahead, by incorporating them into very well-thought-out and innovative tube audio designs.

 

Hurrah, to the original poster !!!

 

Jeffrey Medwin

 

 

 

 

I don't know how I missed this comment! I am becoming more and more convinced of exactly what you are saying here. I have been making upgrades to my system and the most significant ones have come from improved circuits, not "better" tubes.

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At times it has certainly felt that new production tubes have not had the longevity of true good NOS tubes.  Not a scientific observation of course.  

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I think NOS can be great if you actually find a NOS tube and its really what they say it is. That's getting harder every year now. I also feel NOS small signal tubes are the sweet spot, power tubes NOS are far and few between ( haha Western electric 300b's at $10k each joke IMO what people will pay for stuff) I have also found new production tubes are getting better all the time. the Genlex Gold lion 300b's are a great tube the reproduction Chines WE 300B are good as well, I prefer the gold lions for the extension in the highs and lows though. 

 

I also agree the NOS rectifier tubes are much better then the new production tubes in my experience. new ones seem to fail far to often IMO then the older versions. 

 

I read somewhere a few years ago one reason (many think or are) the NOS tubes from the 1930-60's are better built is primarily due to the materials used that are banned now due to health reasons in the workers building them. Its very hard to get some of the rare metals and chemicals they used to use that have proven to be unhealthy for both the environment and people.  I like the idea that there was more R&D money years ago for tubes as well. 

 

 

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On 10/15/2019 at 4:18 PM, MechEngVic said:

I don't know how I missed this comment! I am becoming more and more convinced of exactly what you are saying here. I have been making upgrades to my system and the most significant ones have come from improved circuits, not "better" tubes.

 

As of a few years back the designer of the AVVT Tube is either living in Germany or the Czech Republic. He seems to have had his fill of designing audio tubes and moved on to do something else. The early ones were failing with fireworks. Good tubes if you can find a later production set.

 

On 11/11/2019 at 12:12 PM, EMRR said:

At times it has certainly felt that new production tubes have not had the longevity of true good NOS tubes.  Not a scientific observation of course.  

 

True, with some exceptions.  Lots of junk was being sold straight out of China via Ebay. They had warranties that were rarely honoured, plus the shipping cost back and forth to China by parcel post is pretty high. The exceptions are pretty expensive though, come with warranties by some NA based sellers, who do lots of burning in and testing to select the best made 'new manufacture' tubes.

 

1 hour ago, Glen Newdick said:

I think NOS can be great if you actually find a NOS tube and its really what they say it is. That's getting harder every year now. I also feel NOS small signal tubes are the sweet spot, power tubes NOS are far and few between ( haha Western electric 300b's at $10k each joke IMO what people will pay for stuff) I have also found new production tubes are getting better all the time. the Genlex Gold lion 300b's are a great tube the reproduction Chines WE 300B are good as well, I prefer the gold lions for the extension in the highs and lows though. 

 

I also agree the NOS rectifier tubes are much better then the new production tubes in my experience. new ones seem to fail far to often IMO then the older versions. 

 

I read somewhere a few years ago one reason (many think or are) the NOS tubes from the 1930-60's are better built is primarily due to the materials used that are banned now due to health reasons in the workers building them. Its very hard to get some of the rare metals and chemicals they used to use that have proven to be unhealthy for both the environment and people.  I like the idea that there was more R&D money years ago for tubes as well. 

 

 

 

Many of us stocked up several years back and have good supplies of NOS tubes. Billions of tubes were made, but most since the 1950's were made for TVs and not audio. I believe that you are correct; many of the type of materials used into the 1980's are not available for use now. Especially in the EU, Japan and NA.

 

Wb

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On 9/26/2019 at 8:06 PM, seti said:

 

This sounds like a problem with amplifier or speaker design and or pairing or major room problems. I've run old ST and Globe 45's and 2a3 mono and biplate without any of these characteristics. If this was the case I would never run a 45 of any type. Glad I haven't run into these issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to be be cheeky, but to my best knowledge, there was absolutely no problem with the DC amps, the speaker, or the room.   ' Just the opposite occurred.

 

My system performs now at a level where it can mercilessly expose the flaws of the Type 45 ST tube itself, easily, and precisely - just as it was described above !

 

I subsequently sold-off my entire TYPE 45 ST collection on eBay.  YMMV, fine with me !! 

 

Jeff    

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The late tube guru Alan Douglas, described the 2A3 as two 45 tubes in one bottle. I believe that is exactly how this tube was originally developed. Almost twice the output of 45 tubes in SET amps but without the detail and sparkle of a good 45 tube in my Yamamoto. Great for listening to Rock but not as good sounding for more complex Jazz, piano and guitar instrumentals. 

 

That said, I’ve only briefly heard one pair of new NOS RCA monoplate 2A3 tubes in the Yamamoto. The dual plate 2A3’s are more common with RCA having made most NOS 2A3’s.

 

Wb

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On 11/28/2019 at 11:20 PM, Wolfbane said:

The late tube guru Alan Douglas, described the 2A3 as two 45 tubes in one bottle. I believe that is exactly how this tube was originally developed. Almost twice the output of 45 tubes in SET amps but without the detail and sparkle of a good 45 tube in my Yamamoto. Great for listening to Rock but not as good sounding for more complex Jazz, piano and guitar instrumentals. 

 

That said, I’ve only briefly heard one pair of new NOS RCA monoplate 2A3 tubes in the Yamamoto. The dual plate 2A3’s are more common with RCA having made most NOS 2A3’s.

 

Wb

 

 

You are correct. 

 

Dual plate ( bi-plate ) 2A3s are at best, mid-fi in performance.  A single plate 2A3 version will outperform them, IF they have a linear "harp" filament structure , because it avoids a filament emission in a "Vee" or a " W " shape - an uneven  / non-symmetrical  ( non-linear ) emission source.   

 

The flaws I hear in a ST 45 DHT triode will not be determined properly in any amp such as an ordinary Yamomoto A-08.  I know this from doing direct amplifier comparisons - with an friend's A-08.  Our listening was done with his A-08, in 2015, versus a substantially higher-performing amplifier circuit, as described on this Forum in the KT88 thread.

 

One can review that two-amp commentary, in the May 8th post on page 8, under the paragraph entitled " Clue Number five ". 

 

                                              https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/182623-kt88-direct-coupled-design/page/8/

 

Have a great Black Friday shopping day !! 

 

 

Jeffrey  Medwin

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On 9/25/2019 at 8:16 PM, Wolfbane said:

What amp?

 

I have both the EML 45 Meshplate Balloon tube version and their Solid Plate 45's. Both sound better in my amp than a variety of NOS 45's I've tried. I don't think you'll have trouble hearing the difference between the EML and NOS 45's.

 

Wb

 I used EML solid plate 45's in a Jeff Korneff amp and could not go back to NOS 45's.

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On 9/26/2019 at 11:14 PM, ebrandon said:

I don't have a dog in the NOS vs new fight.

 

As I write this I'm listening to an amp with NOS Telefunken ECC83 & GE 5814 driver tubes, and new Elrog 300B power tubes, and it sounds great!

 

My question is this -- is anyone making great new 12AU7/ECC82/5814 or 12AX7/ECC83 tubes?  I love my Elrog 300B's, but don't know of anyone making similar quality available in new driver tubes.

 

Thanks!

 

 The Psvane small signal tubes are excellent in the right circuit. 

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