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NOS Tube Observation

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  • #16
    Originally posted by mep View Post

    Funny you are focused on the vacuum, because that is probably one of the easiest steps in manufacturing vacuum tubes. It is one of the most critical steps obviously because without a proper vacuum, the tube will never work correctly. [/QUOTE

    Hi Mep, I'm not really focused on any one thing

    I gave 3 rational points of why tube construction may have varied over time and why we may be able to hear the differences based on these points. We agree on the tribal knowledge skill part .. Vacuum is easy ---agreed. It is not necessarily done properly is one part of the equation. Its also the easiest part to defy. Metalurgy and material science may be compromised because of ignorance.

    Eric Barbour was employed at Svetlana as a US based tube design engineer/consultant in the late 90s- early 2000's he probably knows as much about modern tube production in the West as anyone in the world. He specifically wrote articles on this very subject --- I wasn't there nor do I have a background in chemistry or metallurgy but I have read his writings and enough sunk in with my career in engineering to accept those reasons stated as part of the equation. I don't have time to look up his writings now however, here is a interview that basically states that tube production has gone to hell in a hand basket because the low cost driver is musicians, Eastern Production values and ignorance.

    You may have a better theoretical background in production , chemistry, physics or other discipline to specifically point to other reasons. I gave 3 not focusing on any one in particular. BTW noise can be a function of any one of poor tolerance, bad materials or bad production techniques.

    Cheers and have fun.
    I think we agree on everything except vacuum being an issue with today's tube production. Maybe it's more of a problem than I realize, I just personally haven't had issues.
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    • #17
      I think a key point was touched on earlier; what is the important market demographic for today's tube makers? When Garrett Hongo visited KR, it was apparent that the audio(phile) was its market. For most today, it is likely the musical instrument makers. Neither group is likely to have the influence over the quality of the product that the 1940's - 1970's militaries did.


      • #18
        Does anyone have a scientific reason for this? My conversation with Tech would indicate a company could make an exact replica of any tube. If its exact and science is predictable and repatable, I see no reason outside

        1 lack of desire
        2 market does not want it

        that they are not made.
        At nos prices today, is there not enough profit ? That is probably the driver.

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        • #19
          It would seem to me that there is no reason why someone couldn't reverse engineer any of the great old tubes and, if they cared enough, could reproduce the best of these tubes. This would require the metals being available in exactly the same formulation as the original metals. Using computer controlled production equipment they could recreate the great old tubes exactly the way the originals were.

          If someone really cared they would be able to evaluate all of the parameters that made up each of the great old tubes and tell which parameters created which characteristics in the tubes. It would allow the creation of excellent quality tubes based on the great tubes from years ago. If they compiled all of the individual parameters from all of the super tubes from years gone by they could create new super tubes that could possibly outperform the great tubes from long ago.

          After all it isn't magic. It is engineering.

          Life is is just samples thereof.

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          • rbbert
            rbbert commented
            Editing a comment
            My guess is the costs associated with the process you suggest are felt to not represent a reasonable return on investment for the resulting end product.

          • EdAInWestOC
            EdAInWestOC commented
            Editing a comment
            I am sure the costs would be high but look at what people are paying for premium NOS super tubes. If those tubes could be reissued with performance equal to the originals, the manufacturer could charge premium prices for the copies. I am not suggesting that they could charge the same prices that the super tubes get but they could charge more than the generic tubes are getting.

            There is money out there to be made and I believe people, like us, who value the best sounding tubes, would be willing to pay more than is charged for the generic reissues. I know I would be willing to pay more for super tube reissues. I am certain manufacturers of tubed based gear would love a great new supplier who produced something like I suggest.

            I have been buying all of my tubes from Upscale Audio for years now. I know I can get them for less elsewhere but I don't want the BS associated with cheaper tubes. Each and every tube I have purchased from Upscale Audio has been perfect and performed flawlessly.

            That is an example of a dealer who charges premium prices for the best quality tubes. There is a market for high quality tubes.

            Yeah its all a dream but its possible.

        • #20
          I think that’s it exactly - the level of tube production in its heyday just isn’t reasonable to reconstruct / reproduce now. It was highly refined mass production. Now it’s a cottage industry, and I’m not sure tubes really lend themselves to that.
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          • #21
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
            Why does it always seem that the best NOS tubes always seem to have more sense of space, solidity and information than current production tubes? That’s assuming are real NOS and not NOC.

            Even the earlier Russian 6H30-DR’s are better than the current EB. The new 6H30s are no supertube.
            I couldn't agree more, I'm doing a shoot out of 6X4 Rectifier tubes in my Lamm Lp2 Deluxe now that my new cart is installed. The old Tungsols and Mullards have space and a more emotional connection, Vocals are more forward and I need less preamp gain. They have the "magic factor" The 70-80 GE/Phillips have slightly more sparkle and dynamic swing, more prevalent drums, less captivating but no less than spectacular vocals, less euphonic with bad recordings. Initially they grab you but you tend to turn the volume down not up like the Mullard, and Tungsol's. Syvania seems to split the difference. I also use old WE417's which smoke the new tubes, and midrange Amperex's(my fav for 7308's). I never expected a rectifier to have such huge difference on sound, its like a tone control almost, at least in my system.


            • kcin
              kcin commented
              Editing a comment
              Part of this difference amongst same tube types is voltage drop and impedance differences amongst the samples of rectifiers.

            • Bill Hart
              Bill Hart commented
              Editing a comment
              Same result here using the Allnic phono about which much has been written on rolling the rectifier. I think kcin's comment about voltage drop is relevant- Myles wrote at length about this a while ago somewhere- the sag or lack of stiffness to the power supply that gives those guitarists that 'crunch' when recording using small instrument amps (particularly when overloaded on the input) and turned up to '11' is not what we want as audiophiles. You are right, it is like a tone control, finding that happy medium is somewhat subjective.

          • #22
            Remember, 90% or more of tubes purchased today are for guitar use. These users just won’t pay the high prices that would be required to re-engineer NOS super tubes. The high end tube market is tiny.
            Myles you are right on the mark. Some new production tubes are good, but when you compare them to good NOS there really is no comparison.