So how much are tubes nowadays?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Willmunny, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Taking my recent acquisition to get checked out.
    20200607_141616.jpg

    It going to be about 50 bucks for service I would assume it would need tubes. Is it considered a good idea to get new ones if you can afford it regardless if they work properly?
     
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  2. RobZ69

    RobZ69 Senior Stratmaster

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    If they work, and sound nice... Why change?

    And on the price: anywhere between €10 and €500. Sometimes even more for rare NOS tubes. Which is ridiculous, obviously.

    Edit: congrats on the amp! HNAD!

    Edit again: on the other hand, if the tubes are really old and possibly likely to fail soon perhaps it's best to replace them now and have the amp biassed while it is looked at by a tech anyway.
     
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  3. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    it is wise to have known good spare tubes for testing and replacement. a tube is like a light bulb, it may burn out now or may live longer than all of us.

    i only buy tubes that have been tested and verified to be in the top of their class from tube experts.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Power tubes on one amp I helped a guy with were $35 each, as the cheapest the owner could find, and he needed a pair of them.
    These were new not special and certainly not NOS.

    You're going to likely need a whole complement of capacitors .. some of those can be $30-$50 each. Get new ones don't even think about messing with NOS caps. And then get them again in ten or fifteen years. The joys of tube amps with high voltages.

    There are only a few factories still making tubes... I think Russia and China.

    One story I heard was back the later 90s, the US captured a Russian MIG fighter plane somehow. When they brought it back to gleefully pick through it and learn all it's secrets they first laughed at it because all the instruments were built with tubes. Everything like a 1950s guitar amp, not a stitch of modern IC circuitry already running everything in the regular world. ... Then one smart fellow said that tubes are not harmed by EMPs like transistors and IC chips on the US planes. So there remain a few sources of vacuum tubes still.


    .
     
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  5. Tsjackson

    Tsjackson Senior Stratmaster

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    I changed mine when I got it, I can’t remember what to off the top of my head but I went for whatever the internet recommended, in the middle price bracket.
    I was told (perhaps wrongly, I still don’t know For sure) that because my musicmaster bass amp is cathode bias I just had to pull the old valves out and stick the new ones in without then biasing the amp.
    I also changed the speaker to an alnico weber speaker which has made What was a very good amp a great one.
    But I still need to find an ‘amp guy’ local to me to do all the clever stuff I’m not confident (or qualified) enough to do my self. Having said that I’ve been using it as my only amp for coming up to 3 years and at gigs and rehearsals it’s on 10 for up to 3 hours and never missed a beat. But I’d rather get all the internals looked at and sorted before something actually goes wrong in it.
     
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  6. 33db

    33db Senior Stratmaster

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    That was interesting enough I looked it up, I wouldn't have thought tubes could withstand the G forces in a fighter.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
    The majority of the on-board avionics were based on vacuum-tube technology, not solid-state electronics. Although they represented aging technology, vacuum tubes were more tolerant of temperature extremes, thereby removing the need for environmental controls in the avionics bays. With the use of vacuum tubes, the MiG-25P's original Smerch-A (Tornado, NATO reporting name "Foxfire") radar had enormous power – about 600 kilowatts. As with most Soviet aircraft, the MiG-25 was designed to be as robust as possible. The use of vacuum tubes also made the aircraft's systems resistant to an electromagnetic pulse, for example after a nuclear blast.[37]
     
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  7. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Any chance of a layman's explanation of bias in context of tube amps? Is it a relationship between the tubes? Should I tell my guy to keep it "factory"?
     
  8. Tsjackson

    Tsjackson Senior Stratmaster

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    I’ve got no idea whatsoever, it might well have a gang of wizards behind the control panel of my amp, it’s magic to me. But I was told that a cathode bias amp is ‘plug and play’ and the other kind needs the bias manually changed to match the *insert clever electronic word here* to the valves. There will 100% be someone on here, or even laying in a gutter somewhere who knows better than I do ha ha.
    What I DO know now is what valves I bought to replace the originals and I found they gave the amp a tiny bit more headroom but still sound lovely and creamy and overdriven when pushed

    Tung Sol 6V6 GT PLATINUM MATCHTED Pair Valves Tungsol Tubes Re-Issue

    and an

    Electro Harmonix 12AX7 (ECC83) BALANCED TRIODES Amp Valve (Tube) EH

    cost me in England £60.

    Mind you check if yr amp Is 6v6 or 6AQ5 as they did two, yours looks like mine so I’d guess 6V6 I think the older ones were the different ones.

    thanks eBay purchase history, I also found out what speaker I put in mine,

    A Weber alnico signature 12s.

    I love mine a lot, have fun with yours
     
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  9. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I assume this means 6v6

    20200612_103241.jpg 20200612_103221.jpg
     
  10. RobZ69

    RobZ69 Senior Stratmaster

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    Biassing has something to do with getting equal (negative?) voltage over some parts of a pair of tubes, as far as I understand it. Don't know which part and I'd have to google the reason it is required. My tube amps either bias themselves (Tubemeister) or are apparently also of the 'cathode bias' variety that need just a matched pair (according to some YT repair guy showing the inside of a Bassbreaker combo).
     
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  11. Tsjackson

    Tsjackson Senior Stratmaster

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    apparently that valve diagram drawing thing isn’t right for some musicmaster bass amps, what do your valves have written on them?

    they also don’t look like a matched pair in the amp, I’d go for a new pair and new pre amp and I’m sure your hear a great improvement
     
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  12. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Would definitely replace, if nothing else to deal with the mismatch in the pair of 6V6's. Lots of amazing NOS out there for surprisingly cheap, and if you're rather spend less, the JJ's are really very good in my opinion. Not quite pure 6V6, a little more power and "girth" if that makes sense.
     
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  13. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

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    ^^^ Yes. Caps are typically the issue particularly if they are original, and ditto on not using NOS. My tech tells me the newer caps last a lot longer than the old style and I'm sure he's right. But it's not forever. Frankly if the tubes work I'd just lay in a couple of spares and run what's in the amp until I had a real reason to change 'em.
     
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  14. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster

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    Change out the caps. Don't touch the tubes if they sound good. "Mismatched" isn't any problem if they sound good and aren't redplating. Tubes of the same type that look different and have different internal construction can be perfectly matched electrically.
     
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  15. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    20200623_140754.jpg
    Just got this back from the shop. I appreciate the feedback that educated me as to the likely issues.
    83 bucks and she sounds great. Just ran my mim standard and modern player tele through it with nothing else. Practically no hum, the pots sound good and the tele sounded better haha.