[Harp-L] Re: Tubes

Trust me, no one has spent more time, money and energy working with every  
possible vintage amplifier, tubes, capacitors, transformers, and speakers than I 
 have over the past 20 years. Well over 3000 amps, PA heads, stereo consoles, 
old  film projectors, anything with tubes in it, I tried for harp. After 
buying well  over $1000 worth of vintage preamp tubes, many military 5 star GE, 
Tungsol,  Sylvania, I found that most importantly the base amp is doing all the 
work.  Plus, with older tubes, you have issues with oxidation, microphonics, 
and no  warranty from the supplier. So I took a beating, still have many left 
if someone  wants to go that route, I test in amps first. So far everyone has 
talked about  putting these power tubes and those in an amp, no talk about 
biasing, one of the  most important aspects of how the amp will sound. If you 
don't have a bias pot  and just a pair of tubes in, you don't know it they are 
closely matched, not  just milliamps, but all aspects of the tubes, and then what 
milliamps they are  being run in. With a class A amp you don't need to worry, 
but the bigger amps  are usually class A/B, and I have own personal opinion 
on biasing that differs  from everyone else, so I won't even get into it. I use 
Electro Harmonix  preamp tubes, I have swapped in NOS's, and the amp sounds 
the same, I don't need  any extra warmth from my 410, it naturally has it from 
my unique PIO capacitors,  tube setup, bias, and custom output transformer and 
power. Sometimes with the  most difficult of tubes, the 12AT7, I will use 
Groove Tubes, or if I can find a  stock of 5751's, even better. But consistency 
and availability are my concern.  The rectifier in my amp is an EH, I have had 
no issues, no other rectifiers of  same value make any change. And then for 
power tubes, I use the Groove Tube GE  copy, again, consistency, availability. 
On top of that, they match them in all  aspects of the tube, then grade them 
from 1 - 10. 1 is very distorted, to 10,  high test for guitar players. I use a 
middle of the road 5 - 6 grade, what is  nice about this system is when you 
need new power tubes, you can order the same  grade, and will be within specs so 
no new bias is required. Yes, I have NOS  Tungsol 5881's that I bought for 
$160 a pair, matched at 450 volts from a  reputable seller. JJ Tesla's I have 
tried, I not extremely excited about them or  any other brand one can get 
consistently. Chinese I would not consider. I need  to think about longevity, no one 
ever has complained about the tone of my amps,  because I work from the 
inside out. Whoever says they can hear the difference  between a Sylvania and 
tungsol or whatever other brand, every NOS tube is  different, they have two halves 
per tube, you are talking about apples and  oranges, not two exactly matched 
tubes. So as far as NOS in my amps, I wasted  way too much money trying to go 
that route and nothing really changed. In a  normally sucky stock Super 
Reverb, it can use all the help it can get, so I  would agree with doing whatever 
you needed to for that. If you want to spend  $100 for a telefunken or amperex 
preamp, be my guest. These military GE 5 star  double getter tubes are 
supposedly in the top of the line category. I always  keep a small stash of NOS, just 
in case someone really wants them. But they are  expensive, buying off ebay 
you might as well play Russian Roulette. As usual,  none of my explanations are 
simple. Once you have spent 20 years of your life  searching for tone it 
requires background and what I use now, and why. When I  first started, the 
military released Millions of the 6l6WGB Philips power tubes,  now to find a good 
pair you have to pay top dollar, and then you need to rebias  your amp. They do 
not have the same output as a big bottle GE either. 
And that's just my system. Sonny Jr. - If anyone wants NOS Tungsol preamp  
tubes, 12AY7 (6072) or 12AU7, either GE 5 star of tungsol, let me know. I would  
part with a pair of my NOS never used Tungsol 5881's also. 

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