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Trusted source for NOS tubes Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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loji's Avatar
 

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Trusted source for NOS tubes

I'm looking for some NOS or very excellent condition Telefunken ECC83/12AX7 tubes ..

These are probably the most commonly faked tubes due to their high price ..

so.

Where is a trusted place to purchase?

What to look out for .. I see tons of pictures, but many are so hard to view, or don't show a good angle.


Or better yet ::: anyone in NYC/Brooklyn area?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Why?

They will not sound any better than current production. You will just pay a lot of money for nebulous mojo.

Cheers

Ian
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Well I think calling it "nebulous mojo" is going a bit far . . . certainly there's considerable variation in gain, transfer function, and microphonics between preamp tubes of the same general type. This means that most circuit topologies are capable of showing differences in both audible and measurable performance between different manufacturers, batches, eras, and individual tubes.

I do think that there are many choices of excellent current-production 12AX7s available, and if you or your vendor is selecting/grading/matching each individual tube, then statistically you'll be able to get more consistent results with new over NOS/used simply because there are so many more available. On the other hand, production methods and tolerances for all thermionic devices were indeed better in the mid-20th century, simply because so many industries relied upon them. But of course . . . what these parts have been through in the past 50-60 years is the unknown part of the equation, and that's why the real-world benefit of NOS tubes is a hard thing to put a price tag on.

As far as the classic "flat-plate" Telefunken goes . . . they were an excellent, long-lived, and very consistent product, and they do have the most cachet among NOS 12AX7/ECC83s. I used to have a coffee-can full of them, pulled from mid-century commercial gear scrapped in the 1970s and 1980s, and I used them in vintage audio restorations throughout the 1990s. I'd weed out the substandard ones with a tester, then select tubes based on what produced the most balanced measured performance, the goal being to meet manufacturers' original specifications. I can promise you that the flat-plate Teles were NOT a standout performer in every circuit, or even most circuits. In fact, I only remember a few instances where they were clearly superior much more pedrestian NOS offerings . . . usually there were several good choices, and occasionally even a new-production type was the best (though there were far fewer back then). But if I was working on a piece with substantial collector appeal, preference went for the Telefunkens purely to increase resale value.

I do agree with Ian in that it's hard to recommend paying current market pricing for NOS Telefunkens purely for performance reasons. Maybe for i.e. an original, pristene Marantz 7C this might make sense if originality was a huge part of the goal . . . but it sounds like you're not super-experienced with the NOS tube market, and this is a recipe for getting burned. If you're after sonics, then it makes far more sense to buy from a reputable vendor that performs their own QC and matching, be open to many options based on availability, and be ready to try more than one type to find what you like. To this end, I've had consistently good experiences with Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio, and know several other people who have as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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drezz's Avatar
For NOS tubes contact BOWIE on this forum. He's your man...............
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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gyraf's Avatar
I would trust Billington in the UK - they're about as legit as it gets, when it comes to esoteric tubes...

Jakob E.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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ruffrecords's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkus View Post
Well I think calling it "nebulous mojo" is going a bit far . . . certainly there's considerable variation in gain, transfer function, and microphonics between preamp tubes of the same general type. This means that most circuit topologies are capable of showing differences in both audible and measurable performance between different manufacturers, batches, eras, and individual tubes.
.
I think in the context of NOS Telefunken tubes the phrase 'nebulous mojo' is spot on. These tubes sell for insane prices based solely on the on the unsubstantiated hype that they will sound better than any other tube of the same type. In my book that is both nebulous and mojo.

Cheers

Ian
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Many of the NOS tubes still remaining for sale are rejects. Back in 1995 Rode Mics bought the last large batch of GE 6072 5 star tubes, 50,000 of them. All were tested and all but about 5k of them were sold back onto the market.

Without a noise test and curve trace you can't trust it's going to be a good one. I can attest for the sonic reputation of a well working Telefunken smooth plate 12AX7A tube, it's another class.
Old 5 days ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 

I just recently bought a set of NOS to try to solve noise on my ADL600 & went with Brent Jesse at BRENT JESSEE RECORDING HOMEPAGE.

First I replaced the stock Ruby 12AT7s on the inputs with a pair of Telefunkens. It brought noise floor down dramatically but still a little hiss so I went back to him and got two pairs of Amperex Bugle Boys to replace the stock Electro-Harmonix 6922s.

I asked Brent to recommend me choices in the sweet spot where the price starts to jump for limited sonic returns & those are where I landed. I paid the extra $10/tube for him to match the pairs on his curver tracer.

Now the box is very quiet. I don't do the wine-tasting adjectives so I can't put words to the other differences the NOS tubes made but overall the ADL is now my first choice pair of mic amps on most uses (over GRs, Fosusrite Red, & AEA).
Old 2 days ago
  #9
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