New vs NOS

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basicbill
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New vs NOS

Postby basicbill » Sat 10/16/10 10:08 am

My past experience with tubes suggests NOS tubes sound rounder/smoother than the new stuff.I have some Saratov EL-84'S from sarg. right now, very warm and round.Do they JJ's sound more edgey??
my previous exp. is mostly with pre-amp tubes.
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Postby dotfret » Wed 10/20/10 10:14 am

There's not much choice in new valves today, anyway - there are Chinese factories making stuff that doesn't interest most guitarists, the ElectroHarmonix factory in St Petersberg makes most of the modern production varieties, and JJ is the only other factory making new valves. Apart from those, the Ei factory has been threatening to restart production for a long time, but it hasn't happened yet.

In an 18watt, you generally find that NOS valves sound smooth in comparison to the ElectroHarmonix products, but JJs also sound smooth. I would expect the JJs to sound a little brighter than those russkis you bought, but the JJs probably won't last as long - the Russkis were routinely tested for a 3,000 hour service life. Lots of people find JJs have a pleasant sound and good reputation (although I have heard people complaining about the JJ version of the EZ81).

It really does depend on the amp design, whether you can tell the difference in a modern amp. A (pro) friend of mine bought a far-east built Bogen a while back, and it says in the manual that using NOS valves will only improve the sound. We tried a lot of NOS valves in it. We tried old Mullard, Brimar, Ei, Raytheon and Sylvania 12AX7 and Mullard EL84 - all pre 65 (except the Raytheons). We could not see any significant difference over the Chinese valves it came with ...
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Postby tubeswell » Thu 10/21/10 7:31 pm

dotfret wrote:(although I have heard people complaining about the JJ version of the EZ81)...
...and their 6L6CG

(The 6V6S is quite reliable tho, but hardly related to 18Wers)
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Postby CurtissRobin » Thu 10/21/10 8:01 pm

tubeswell wrote:(The 6V6S is quite reliable tho, but hardly related to 18Wers)
An 18 watt amp with 6V6 output tubes sounds mighty fine.

KennyO
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Postby tubeswell » Thu 10/21/10 9:45 pm

Well I was pulled up a little while back for bringing non-18W amp discussion here, so I was playing it safe ;-) but you raise a very valid point
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Postby hotair » Thu 10/21/10 10:38 pm

CurtissRobin wrote:
tubeswell wrote:(The 6V6S is quite reliable tho, but hardly related to 18Wers)
An 18 watt amp with 6V6 output tubes sounds mighty fine.

KennyO
Since I have a number of NOS 6V6's and appropriate transformers, any specific design that sounded good?
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Postby zaphod_phil » Fri 10/22/10 6:22 am

All the different Marshall 18W amp variants sound great with 6V6s. Take your pick. Just change three resistor values to accommodate the 6V6s and away you go. Be prepared for quite a bit more bass.
Well I was pulled up a little while back for bringing non-18W amp discussion here, so I was playing it safe ;-) but you raise a very valid point
This is still an 18W amp discussion. You are allowed to change the amp's power tubes, and there's nothing new about running 6V6s in a Marshall 18W. Same with EL34s or 6L6s for that matter.
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Postby dotfret » Wed 11/03/10 6:48 pm

O Yez - got to admit that my 18 has Elpico written on it!

I just read what I wrote - and the picture is not complete, ElectroHarmonix are getting valves made in Saratov, too, although I'm not sure if they have bought the factory. And there are still valves coming out of Voskhod, but nothing to interest the 18W community.
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Postby apexjr » Sat 02/05/11 12:14 am

What I have heard is that the NOS tubes were able to use metals
that because of the EPA and other units of the goverment are not
able to use.
Antimony, Mercury, and other hazardous metals that are not used
today...
Makes a better Tube... The good old days

Steve
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dotfret
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Postby dotfret » Wed 02/09/11 7:39 am

Antimony still has some uses in semiconductors, and does not present a hazard when enclosed in a glass envelope. Mercury is in just about every low energy light bulb you see ...

The real hazardous material in old valves is Thorium. I have never got to the bottom of how it was used, but it appears to be part of the "black magic" cathode coating.
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Postby zaphod_phil » Wed 02/09/11 1:06 pm

Thoriated tungsten was used for the filaments in directly-heated high power valves, such as would be used in radio transmitters. I haven't seen any evidence of thorium being used in cathodes of lower power radio and audio valves. I do still wonder if it might perhaps have been used in directly-heated rectifiers, such as 5Y3s or 5U4s.....
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Postby CurtissRobin » Wed 02/09/11 3:00 pm

Thoriated tungsten increases the electron emission of cathodes by a LOT! If ya want high power ya need plate current and plate current comes from cathode current. That's a lot more important in high power transmitters than in audio.

KennyO
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Postby dotfret » Wed 02/09/11 3:37 pm

We've had this discussion before, Phil - you talk to too many people!

It's in the COATING, not the alloy. Beyond that, I have never found out much info. Even when you get a detailed description of the coating process, it comes under the category of "traces of other chemicals" when the coating composition is described.
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Postby nite-spot » Sat 03/26/11 4:11 pm

hi folks,

i bought on ebay an old mullard ecc 83, and this makes an explicit difference in sound compared to new tungsol (pretty good too), J.J or TAD.

for outputstage i like the new j.j el 84, nos brimar seem to be damaged, so i don´t know.

from a oldstyle radio repairshop i got some old telefunken and valvo.

i`m curious, how they will sound in my ceriatone 18 w.
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Postby zaphod_phil » Sat 03/26/11 10:27 pm

Old Mullard ECC83s are my favourite preamp valves. The new (fake) Russian-made Mullard ECC83/12AX7s also have a very sweet tone, but don't sound much like the the real ones. Valvo and Mullard are also very similar, as they were both part of the Philips group. Sometimes you find Valvo valves with production codes showing they were actually made by Mullard in England. I've never tried Telefunken ECC83s, but I've heard that they sound amazing.

In modern production, the fake Russian-made Mullard EL84s also sound really good. JJs are good too, although to me they lack some character. You should try to see if you can get some Saratovs. Or else convert the socket connections for EL83s, and use NOS EL83s, which are much easier to buy at reasonable prices. Oops, I maybe shouldn't have said that!
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