Often when I buy or receive old tubes, pins on the tubes are oxidized. Big issue with oxidation is that it prevents pins making good contact with the socket. Because of that in the worst case, tube would appear to be completely dead or it will make strange noises during playback. Fixing this issue is quite simple. Just pray pins with DeoxIt D5, wipe in with a cloth and the problem will be solved in the majority of cases. If that don’t help, sometimes using a small screwdriver and cleaning pins one at a time to remove junk off the metal. They spray with Deoxit again to ensure that what ever is left is dissolved.
A lot of questions have been asked about when a tube is made, so here you go, a quick guide on how to decipher the date codes.
There is a lot of discussion about Black vs Gray plates tubes. Some people believe that claim that black plates sound better is just a myth created by tube vendors to increase prices, some people swear by black plates in their systems.
So what’s true and what’s not.
Fun article about Globe vs Shoulder type tubes with great tube pictures 🙂
And here we go again – tube matching, this time preamp tubes – the topic will never end, but I hope to bring some clarity to it
There is a question, does one size fits all? In tube world – it’s not all but you might find treasures in places where you don’t expect.
Let’s consider a very simple case of 6BQ5 or EL84.
Some of you might have been asking the same questions as I did – Does tube rectifier change sound? How effect does it have on a sound?
To test this, I put together an amp that takes 5U4 rectifier, but could be easily be replaced with 5Y3, 5Z3, 5AR4 and of course solid state rectifier.
Ones and for all, I proved to myself at lest that RECTIFIERS DO CHANGE SOUND! Keep in mind that I was one of the biggest doubters.
What?! How?!?! Why?!?!?!
Buying tubes on Ebay could be a lot of fun, but at the same time is very complicated and very frustrating (based on the personal experience), because you never know if the tubes you are going to get are going to work or last beyond a week or a month.
There are steps that you can take to avoid fraud and enjoy the newly acquired treasures for a long time:
- This one goes without saying – check feedback!!! If you see that there are complains, the price is irrelevant – you will be toughing away your money.
- Make sure that the seller allows returns – a lot of sellers don’t take returns on tubes, which doesn’t make sense. All the risk is then on you. Ebay has an idiotic policy that it doesn’t evaluate “subjective” statements like “Strong” or “Weak”, so the seller can claim the tube to be strong, but you get a weak tube and good luck to you if there is not return policy. You are stuck with a fantastic and very expensive piece of junk.
- Buy from a reputable dealer – get your tubes from a reputable dealer that specializes in tubes. Yes the price is a bit higher, but the tubes that you buy would last 2-3x longer.
- Check test results!!! – no test results, no purchase. Don’t buy tubes that just state that they test good – that’s garbage. If seller tested a tube and states so, there must be test results listed. It gets very complicated here since different testers how different test results. Try to get tubes from a seller that has transcondactance tester – usually stated in millimho, micromho or gm. Emission tester is just no good – I have a lot of tubes that test 95% on emission and are practically dead. Look for names like Hickok, B&K, TV, Western Electric.