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  • How Often Do You Clean Your Tube Pins?

    Multiple choices allowed here.
    10
    Before You Install New Tubes
    36.36%
    4
    Every month or so
    0%
    0
    Every two months or so
    9.09%
    1
    Every six months or so
    0%
    0
    Never, ever touch the pins
    54.55%
    6
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
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    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    Most people are probably better off by not cleaning their tube pins other than unplugging them and plugging them back in. That is self-cleaning. Some people do damage to the pins by the methods they use to clean the pins. Some people blow their amps up by using alcohol to clean the pins and not letting them dry before they plug them back in and turn on the amp.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      The reason I raised this point is that recently had a tube going microphonic but for the hell of it, cleaned the tube pins with one of those fiberglass pens followed by Kontak (of course one uses a Q-tip with Kontak so at the end, the tube pins are dry before reinserting into the sockets) and the sound was markedly improved. Far more transparent and revealing.

      I think cleaning tube pins is essentially mandatory if you play with NOS tubes. Some of those tube pins look so nasty. Just be careful not to bend the pins while cleaning. But even new tubes benefit from cleaning. But if hesitant, do what Mark suggest and just move them up and down in the socket.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
        The reason I raised this point is that recently had a tube going microphonic but for the hell of it, cleaned the tube pins with one of those fiberglass pens followed by Kontak (of course one uses a Q-tip with Kontak so at the end, the tube pins are dry before reinserting into the sockets) and the sound was markedly improved. Far more transparent and revealing.

        I think cleaning tube pins is essentially mandatory if you play with NOS tubes. Some of those tube pins look so nasty. Just be careful not to bend the pins while cleaning. But even new tubes benefit from cleaning. But if hesitant, do what Mark suggest and just move them up and down in the socket.
        I don't disagree with your results but I've never bothered with cleaning pins myself, just too many tubes to keep count...
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        Comment


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          Ha! 22 small signal tubes here not counting 16 output tubes. Old days, the ART S3 preamplifier had 10 tubes.

      • #5
        I put never. I re-tube everything that uses tubes every 12-15 months, I take the used tubes and have them tested. Anything that doesn't test close to new gets tossed out. Needless to say, I have several boxes of new testing used tubes just in case.
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        Comment


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          What do you test your tubes on?

        • tom_hankins
          tom_hankins commented
          Editing a comment
          A friend has two Hickok testers. Between them they can test all tubes i use but the power tubes on my BAT amps

      • #6
        Some comments by Andy Bouwman of VTS:

        MINI TUBES: Each pin on miniature tubes (excluding gold pinned tubes) is de-scaled by a time consuming, proprietary process. This descaling is the removal of the layer of VERY nasty oxides (the blue/black scale) left when the high temperature gas jets are blasting the tube during the joining of the base to the bulb and out-gassing. I never will understand the guys who lose sleep for days over their Tweek/De-Oxit/Silver Paste, soaked, gold-plated, wrench-tightened, $5,000+ speaker and interconnects and then plug in tubes with pins that look like they’ve been at the bottom of the ocean for 200 years.

        OCTAL TUBES: Each pin is brass wheeled with the same great care. This is one of the most important noise reducing features of V.T.S. tubes. NOTE: Many octals are very shiny and clean-looking even though they’ve been in a damp basement for 50 years. These don’t fool me either! There is a layer that you can not see that causes much noise, especially with the cheap weak-gripped-third world tube sockets used in most of today’s gear.

        "I know that no one else is doing any serious noise measurements on glass mini tubes because you CAN’T until you clean the pins! You cannot get a good enough connection to the tube with all that scale in the way to even check the noise floor!"
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          Silver Paste? eeewwwwww

        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          I use Gorham silver polish paster or Flitz to clean my connectors. Have for many years. Proof is in the listening. Nothing that I've come across gets the pins cleaner than Ag polish.

          I'm not a big fan of DeOxit and the oily mess it leaves. I think it degrades the sound and personally don't like any cleaner that supposedly improves contact. All in my experience degrade with time and end up degrading the sound. Just want a clean connection here. Years ago, Kontak was a two step process and the second step was a high concentration of contact enhancer that after two months or so always turned into a black, oily, gooey mess.

        • mendel
          mendel commented
          Editing a comment
          Agree with Myles not a big fan of DeOxit myself. I clean the pins of any tube before it goes into any of my equipment. I use a copper wire brush very gently on the pins first, then a Qtip with 99% ISO alcohol. Keep rubbing with a clean Qtip till no more black comes off. Makes a big sonic difference. Even brand new new production tubes need a cleaning to sound their best IMO

      • #7
        Originally posted by mep View Post
        Most people are probably better off by not cleaning their tube pins other than unplugging them and plugging them back in. That is self-cleaning. Some people do damage to the pins by the methods they use to clean the pins. Some people blow their amps up by using alcohol to clean the pins and not letting them dry before they plug them back in and turn on the amp.
        Kalvin Dahl at Audio Research (alas, no longer there) told me they dip tubes in DeOxit then do the plugging and unplugging several times.

        I clean tubes when I clean cables and posts. Kontak works well for both. I use a small foam tipped swab and a cloth. Don't forget the power cords.

        Comment


        • #8
          There is in many ways two lines of thoughts in our audio connections. First off the trade I am on gives me thoughts that it's needed in all of our connections not just our pins. Oxidation takes place on most all metals some much worse than others. Our audio is very low current so this really matters in some regards . In the end something that is almost free and easy prevails as worthwhile to do. As for sound Improvment any that makes us nuts loose some Schell is a good idea
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          Comment


          • #9

            #6.1

            tima commented
            11-15-2016, 01:28 AM


            Silver Paste? eeewwwwww

            #6.2

            MylesBAstor commented
            11-15-2016, 09:41 AM


            I use Gorham silver polish paster or Flitz to clean my connectors. Have for many years. Proof is in the listening. Nothing that I've come across gets the pins cleaner than Ag polish.

            I'm not a big fan of DeOxit and the oily mess it leaves. I think it degrades the sound and personally don't like any cleaner that supposedly improves contact. All in my experience degrade with time and end up degrading the sound. Just want a clean connection here. Years ago, Kontak was a two step process and the second step was a high concentration of contact enhancer that after two months or so always turned into a black, oily, gooey mess.

            Not that kind of silver paste!

            Eeewwwww goes to the silver paste sold a few years ago (Lloyd Walker's SST and others) to enhance tube pin contact and other electrical connectivities. The stuff could migrate and create connections where none should be. Amp makers warned against it.

            Whenever I use Kontak, it evaporates before returning the tube to its socket.

            Comment


            • mendel
              mendel commented
              Editing a comment
              I think Walker SST is a very good but misunderstood product. It is easily removed from any conection with 99% ISO, and in my opinion offers big improvements in sound quality if used properly. Less is more! People get in trouble when they put to much on. An extremely thin coating works best. And it is not a free ride. I believe it degrades slowly over time, so ever year or so I clean all the contacts with ISO and reapply the SST. Luckily, a bottle is a several lifetIme supply if used properly.I use it on speaker connections, interconnect connections, on power cord blades and most importantly on the pins of my phono cartridge where it makes a major difference. Anyone using a phono cartridge should try SST on the pins if nowhere else and here the difference it makes. I do not use it anymore on tube pins as it is too much of a pain to clean it out of tube sockets but never had any problems with migration.

            • MylesBAstor
              MylesBAstor commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks! What sort of sonic changes do you hear?

            • mendel
              mendel commented
              Editing a comment
              In my system, I find the SST contact enhancer makes the sound more transparent and less "electronic" sounding. More details in the music are easier to hear, and the sound becomes more dynamic in the sense that while quiet details seem more apparent, loud passages seem more powerful. Very easy to hear the differences IMO. I am sure other contact enhancers have similar effects but have only tried the Walkers.

          • #10
            mendel
            #9.4

            mendel commented
            11-19-2016, 06:41 PM


            In my system, I find the SST contact enhancer makes the sound more transparent and less "electronic" sounding. More details in the music are easier to hear, and the sound becomes more dynamic in the sense that while quiet details seem more apparent, loud passages seem more powerful. Very easy to hear the differences IMO. I am sure other contact enhancers have similar effects but have only tried the Walkers.
            Thanks for that.

            I think it does work, bringing a connection closer to one that is hard-wired. And as you noted, it does require regular reapplication. I'll speculate that for many manufacturer's it's use voids any warranty. So, if there is value in a warranty, maybe hold off until that expires?. Tempting but I choose not to take the risk. YMMV

            Comment


            • mendel
              mendel commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for your reply tima. While I certainly understand your position, I feel the risk of SST has been exaggerated. If you put some on your speaker banana plugs, is your cable company going to void your warranty?
              Problems started, I believe, because this stuff makes such a noticeable difference that people were opening up their amps and other electronics and actually treating connections inside the equipment (and putting on to much on top of that). I do not recommend using it on tube pins or internal equipment connections.
              Try it on the pins of your phono cartridge. Your phono cartridge manufacturers will never know (a little ISO will wash off any evidence in about 10 seconds) and I'm pretty sure your cartridge won't blow up. This tweak is more audible than any tube change or cap change or fuse change I have made. Right up there with a cable change in my system.
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