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  1. #1

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    Default Has anyone tried any newer production tubes that were close to NOS tubes?

    Hello all. As NOS tubes get rarer and more expensive, I've been thinking that there is going to be a point where I'm going to have to start looking at new production tubes for replacements. Has anyone tried any newer production tubes that they felt were as good or close to the better NOS tubes out there? I'm especially interested in 6922, 12ax7, 12au7, and EL34 types or variants. I'm also especially fond of the classic Mullard, Amperex, or Dutch Phillips sound. To me the only newer tube that I found that is comparable to NOS tubes is the Winged C EL34. I'm sure hoping there are others. Any thoughts, opinions, and experiences out there with this are greatly appreciated.

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    I haven't found any that are really all that close to the classics. If they were then the classics wouldn't be in such high demand. I really like the 6L6GC and EL34 SED =C= tubes, but they don't really compare to Mullard EL34's or RCA 6L6's but then I don't feel like dropping $400-500+/quad on used Mullard EL34's or RCA blackplate 6L6's. In that case the cost difference is far greater than the sound difference.

    Signal/driver tubes, I don't bother with current production, haven't found one that is really, really good like and old Amperex or Valvo Hamburg or even some of the early long black plate American tubes. I say why bother at all with current production signal/driver tubes, stick with the classics there is really nothing like them.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Thanks Broc. I haven't really found anything either other than the Winged C EL34 mentioned. For now I'm definitely going to go with NOS tubes, but I can't help but think there will be a time when we just wont be able to find NOS tubes, or at least find them for prices that I'm willing to pay. About $100 per tube is my cut-off point. I keep playing out this Mad Max type scenario in my head, set in the future wastelands with only a select few having the good NOS tubes. The mutant post nuclear apocolyptic audiophiles without NOS tubes or the "forsakens" are constantly hunting down and harassing the "chosen ones" with their stash of NOS tubes. It's a terrible world. I often wake up at night in cold sweats after having this dream, or should I say nightmare? Maybe it's just me :-)

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    Dawgfish,
    I got some Phillip Mini Watts 6922 gold-pins (matched pair) NOS New-in-Box for sale in the F.M.
    Paid $175 never used, only to test in my DAC when they arrived, but I never took the Seimen tubes out of the DAC. So the Philips have about 20 minutes on them. Will let them go for >100
    PS: I'm still kinda new in the hobby, but my wallet has been around the block a couple of times.

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    I'm with Brock. There are no newer production tubes that equal NOS ones for tones, details, resolution, etc. (at least I have not heard any).

    The Amperex 7308 (6922 equivalent) will kick the a$$ of any new production tube.

    The Mullard long plate 12AX7 will kick the a$$ of any new production tube.

    The Mullard long plate 12AU7 will kick the a$$ of any new production tube.

    You get the idea.

    That said, as you brought up, the money you have to spend to get these tubes may kick your a$$.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhart86 View Post
    Dawgfish,
    I got some Phillip Mini Watts 6922 gold-pins (matched pair) NOS New-in-Box for sale in the F.M.
    Paid $175 never used, only to test in my DAC when they arrived, but I never took the Seimen tubes out of the DAC. So the Philips have about 20 minutes on them. Will let them go for >100
    I've been eyeing those. I'm currently running a quad of non-gold pin Phillips Miniwatt 6922s in my Anthem Pre and I love them. They sound better to me than the Amperex (Bugle Boys and Orange Globe), Mullard, and Brimar 6922s I've ran before. I've always heard that the Phillips Miniwatt 6922 sound the same as the Bugle Boys, but I found them to have more top end extension while having the same awesome mid-range. So far they are the best 6922 I've heard. I've got a couple of irons in the fire right now, but I plan on putting some gear up for sale this week. If these are still around in a week or two, their mine!

    Headrott, I've came to the same conclusion, but I just wanted to know if there were any new production tubes out there that y'all may have tried that were anywhere close. It's been my experience there isn't any, but I haven't tried everything.
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 06-25-2012 at 12:07 PM.

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    Shuguang Treasures and Psvanes.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Thanks F1, how would you describe their sound?

    dhart 86, I sent you a PM. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Shuguang Treasures and Psvanes.
    As good as Sylvania GB 5751's or long plate Amperex foil D getters or Valvo Hamburg tubes? I don't believe it and that's why I haven't spent, what I feel, is a high price for a Chinese tube. Maybe I'm wrong, but so far all other current tubes are are 0 for 20, so I have a hard time believing that these can achieve what the classics can, when nothing else has so far. I am very skeptical, but have been known to be stubbornly wrong.

    Anyone want to loan me a pair to try?

    I know you like the Ei's Jesse and I really don't think they are too bad, but certainly don't compare to the above mentioned. I suppose if all old stock tubes disappeared tomorrow then I'd have to look at it differently.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Shuguang Treasures and Psvanes.
    +1

    There are also Genalex, Tung Sol, SED, Mullard reissue.
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    And these all sound as good or better than Old Stock classics? I doubt it very much. In the case of Tung Sol SED and Mullard reissue, it's not really close. SED's being my favorite if cost is an issue. The Mullard reissue was pretty average as are all the Tung Sol reissues. I would take a 1950's Sylvania JAN CHS 6SL7WGT anyday over a Tung Sol reissue. The 1948 Tung Sol 6SU7GTY runs circles and embarasses the reissue Tung Sol.

    EH, Ruby, JJ are all very, very average with the exception being the early JJ E34L which is actually quite nice. The JJ 6V6 doesn't even begin to compare to the RCA gray glass black plate 6V6.

    I think we are loosing sight of the original post, which tubes of today sound as good or better than old stock tubes, the answer is none. Some are certainly respectable and I'd even say we have some better offerings than we did just 5 years ago, but nothing compares. Of course there are average sound old stock tubes too, so not every old stock tube is a winner.

    If you are comparing what I call the "classics" of that era vs. tubes of today there is no comparison.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Another thing I was pondering the other day is many of these so called rare tubes are very plentiful on Ebay. Sure the cost has gone up, but anytime you log on you can find Mullard or Telefunken metal base EL34's, or Mullard metal base 5AR4's or Telefunken ECC803s, or Mullard Ecc83 long plates or Amperex Ecc83 long plates or Valvo 6201 gold pins, etc, etc, etc. The only tubes I can think of that don't come up often are very limited production like the Mullard 10M series or original Genelax tubes. It seems everything else is available at anytime if one is willing to pay. Personally some of these "rare" tubes are priced too high considering they are always for sale, IMO.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Not being into tubes, I am wondering if these old tubes are fresh, never used. Or, are they old tubes with burn-in time? Maybe the new tubes need a few years of burn-in to reach optimum sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    And these all sound as good or better than Old Stock classics? I doubt it very much. In the case of Tung Sol SED and Mullard reissue, it's not really close. SED's being my favorite if cost is an issue. The Mullard reissue was pretty average as are all the Tung Sol reissues. I would take a 1950's Sylvania JAN CHS 6SL7WGT anyday over a Tung Sol reissue. The 1948 Tung Sol 6SU7GTY runs circles and embarasses the reissue Tung Sol.

    EH, Ruby, JJ are all very, very average with the exception being the early JJ E34L which is actually quite nice. The JJ 6V6 doesn't even begin to compare to the RCA gray glass black plate 6V6.

    I think we are loosing sight of the original post, which tubes of today sound as good or better than old stock tubes, the answer is none. Some are certainly respectable and I'd even say we have some better offerings than we did just 5 years ago, but nothing compares. Of course there are average sound old stock tubes too, so not every old stock tube is a winner.

    If you are comparing what I call the "classics" of that era vs. tubes of today there is no comparison.

    H9
    To me and some people I know. Yes they do. They didn't work out for YOU on YOUR gear, but they worked out for me on some equipments where they performed as good as NOS. A friend of mine wants to sell me his pair of slightly used NOS Mullard XF2 EL34 after he bought the Gold Lion Reissue KT77. We're using the exact same amp.
    You also brought up Ruby, EH and JJ. I did not say anything about those on my previous post.
    I don't think we're losing sight of the original post. Dawgfish asked which current production tubes comes close to NOS and I listed mine.
    Last edited by organ; 06-25-2012 at 04:06 PM.
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    One other thought.

    I know some of you use your tube gear a lot more than I do as mine is used in a secondary rig (Dared pre being the exception) so I can sympathize with the high $$$ of old stock tubes if you use them up vs. myself who might out a total of 60-70 hours a month on my tubes and many times I am rolling the signal tubes so spread that out over 3-4 pairs and my tubes don't get the hours some of yours do. So I can see the need to find less expensive alternatives, especially at the power tube position.

    I have enough tubes to last the rest of my lifetime for all my tube gear, with the exception of power tubes. I have enough excellent sounding signal/driver tubes and rectifiers to last the rest of my lifetime and priobably another lifetime at the rate of 60-70 hours per month. Once I build the AI-1 and start periodically using the new integrated in the main rig, that might change. But honestly it's been almost a month since the main rig has been powered up.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by organ View Post
    They didn't work out for YOU on YOUR gear, but they worked out for me on some equipments where they performed as good as NOS. A friend of mine wants to sell me his pair of slightly used NOS Mullard XF2 after he bought the Gold Lion Reissue. We're using the exact same amp.
    You also brought up Ruby, EH and JJ. I did not say anything about those on my previous post.
    I must be special then, because not one single current production tube ( SED =C= being the exception) compares to a classic of the same version. Granted I haven't heard them all with the Psvane being one of them (again who wants to send me a pair ). Even rectifiers, not a single one I've tried equals or even comes close Brimar or Mullard made rectifiers from the 50's and 60's and I've tried a lot of them.

    Again I do respect that you and others have found current tubes that you like. For me I haven't found anything current beyond the power tubes that I like as good or better than old stock tubes. I suspect as soon as I buy a pair of RCA blackplate 6L6's the SED =C= will no longer find favor .

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  17. #17

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    The thing I really like about the NOS tubes that I mentioned (Mullards, Phillips Miniwatts, Amperex, might as well put RCA and Sylvania Black and Gray plates in that mix also) is the lush midrange. I've found by trial and error that is the sound that my aging ears prefer. I've heard some newer production tubes that may have the sweet highs, controlled bass, and large soundstage, but I haven't heard any yet that had that sweet mid-range of the classics. For those of y'all that have tried the newer production tubes (besides the Winged C EL34 which do have that midrange) are there any out there that have that lush midrange, or at least a midrange that is close to it? That's really the sound I'm looking for. I fully do plan on trying some different new production tubes sometime or another, but if there are any out there that have that midrange I'm looking for, I would like to narrow it down to those.

    So far my experience has been closer to Broc's with the newer production tubes, but again I haven't tried everything out there. Far from it, my budget just will not allow it. There is a large part of me that thinks I should just buy up a reserve of the NOS tubes just to have as spares for now and in the future. I'm one of those persons who does put a lot of time on my tubes, for better or worse but I think mostly for the better! Thanks for all the replies so far. Keep 'em coming.......
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 06-25-2012 at 04:25 PM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    There is a large part of me that thinks I should just buy up a reserve of the NOS tubes just to have as spares for now and in the future....
    That's what I've been starting to do and will continue to do.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  19. #19

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    I have a small reserve, probably enough to last me for the next couple of years at my current listening rate, but outside of that, I'm pushing it. Looks like I need to do some more hoarding. LOL.

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    I assume you are talking power tubes? Strong signal tubes should last 5000-10,000 hours, with exceptions of course as I'm sure some designs are harder on tubes than others. Old Mullards live forever as well as their rectifiers. I can get by with SED =C= power tubes, but they have gone way up in price. I bought a strong used quad of 6L6 SED =C= for $71 and then another quad from the same seller, same test numbers for $51. Now that's a deal!!! A quad of new run about $150
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Well that being the case it looks like I have a few more years left in the reserve. That's good news! I'm not too worried about the Winged C EL34s as they are still in production. I picked up my first matched quad of new Winged C EL34s for $55 including shipping. They are in my amp now and sound great. I haven't seen anymore come up around that price however, so it's good to see there are still some deals on these out there. There's no way I can afford some of the NOS EL34s, but I sure would love to try some if the right deal ever comes along.
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 06-25-2012 at 05:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Shuguang Treasures and Psvanes.
    Not a fan of Gold Lions?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    The thing I really like about the NOS tubes that I mentioned (Mullards, Phillips Miniwatts, Amperex, might as well put RCA and Sylvania Black and Gray plates in that mix also) is the lush midrange. I've found by trial and error that is the sound that my aging ears prefer. I've heard some newer production tubes that may have the sweet highs, controlled bass, and large soundstage, but I haven't heard any yet that had that sweet mid-range of the classics. For those of y'all that have tried the newer production tubes (besides the Winged C EL34 which do have that midrange) are there any out there that have that lush midrange, or at least a midrange that is close to it? That's really the sound I'm looking for. I fully do plan on trying some different new production tubes sometime or another, but if there are any out there that have that midrange I'm looking for, I would like to narrow it down to those.
    For EL34, the Mullard re-issue and JJ E34L (but I would avoid JJ power tubes until they improve their QC). I've never had issues with their signal tubes. For signal tubes, the JJ ECC82 and ECC83. Very similar sound to Mullard. The Tung Sol reissue 12A*7 series is somewhere in between.
    Last edited by organ; 06-25-2012 at 05:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    I'm not too worried about the Winged C EL34s as they are still in production. .
    They've been out of production for at least two years now.
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    Thanks for the recommendations Organ. I've got a new pre coming in tomorrow with some JJECC83s as well as some RCA Blackplates and Sylvanias, so this will be a good oppurtunity to compare. I thought the Winged Cs were still in production, or at least the SED version of them and not the original St. Petersburg produced ones. I'm running the SED Winged Cs and like them. I would love to try the originals.

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    A new pre with tubes ready to roll. That's nice. Just be sure to give them at least 20+ to 50hrs of burn in before final comparison.

    The SED and Winged C's from St. Petersburg are the exact same thing. Back in 2001 or so, New Sensor (makers of EH, GL, Mullard, TS) purchased the name Svetlana Electron Devices from the original SED =C= and began making their own SED brand of tubes which are completely different in build and sound. That's why the orignals are now known as Winged C.
    So if your SED says "made in St. Petersburg", you have the original. If it says "made in Russia", you have the New Sensor vesion.
    This stuff can get confusing sometimes.
    Last edited by organ; 06-25-2012 at 07:03 PM.
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    Thanks for the info. I have the New Sensor versions it looks like. I'm going to have to try some of the originals. I should have been more clear, I've got a new for me pre coming in ;-). It's a YS Audio Symphonies + R that I bought used from Wally of Underwood HiFi. The JJs are supposed to have about 30 hours on them while the RCA and Sylvania Blackplates are unused NOS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Shuguang Treasures and Psvanes.
    Agreed, and adding Gold Lion. I've used many tubes in all three lines, and they are all great. Premium new tubes are not a replacement for the best NOS tubes, but they are a great option, especially when you consider price, availability, and warranty. Plus, if you like them, you can by another set for the same price from the same retailer; say that about NOS tubes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I don't believe it and that's why I haven't spent, what I feel, is a high price for a Chinese tube.
    Funny stuff coming from a guy using a $400.00 Chinese pre amp.....just saying.

    Don't be surprised if you find out one day that some of your prized tubes were actually made by Shuguang.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish
    Thanks F1, how would you describe their sound?
    Perfection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Face
    Not a fan of Gold Lions?
    I haven't tried any, but have read very good reviews of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post

    Don't be surprised if you find out one day that some of your prized tubes were actually made by Shuguang.
    That one hurts Jesse, I know every tube I own like the back of my hand and can recall most brands and types by looking at the plate structure and tube codes, etc. I have spent exhaustive hours over the past 3 years learning, learning, learning. I can assure you no Shuguang tubes here, other than those that shipped with the units.

    As far as the $400 pre-amp comment, I won't comment. Until you hear it, you can assume whatever you want. I don't take this hobby lightly and if it wasn't cutting it; it wouldn't be here. Is it a Joule Electra? No, it sure isn't but you'd be surprised how good it does sound.

    Good day......................I said GOOD DAY!

    You enjoy your Psvane's and Ei's and the like and I'll enjoy my Mullards, Valvo Hamburg, Amperex, Sylvania GB's, RCA long plates, Mullard GZ34 rectifiers, etc.

    Right now listening to 1961 Valvo ECC83 (Heerlen Holland large O getter) and 1960 Mullard ECC82 (Mitcham short plate) and it's getting to the point where the Cowboy Junkies are not only in the room but making the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 06-25-2012 at 08:35 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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