What CJ Pre/amp combo do you have ?
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"Don't get cheap on me now." The quality of the tubes in your tube equipment is likely to be significant so consider some NOS from some of the competent venders/individuals on this site. Small signal tubes like the generally interchangeable 6DJ8, 6922, 7308 last a long time...10+ years are possible. When you divide that out, it's worth a consideration. Amperex (older white label) would be a good choice....read "Joe's Tube Lore"
but, I've heard some good things about the Genalex Gold Lion tubes too.
Well, first off, thanks for responding. I have a C-J Premier 17LS pre amp and C-J LP66S amp. Not that it matters, I also have a C-J EF-1 phono stage. (I like C-J equipment). I have e-mailed and called C-J in regards to tube prices and replacements. No reply. So..... looks like I'm on my own. Also, on the C-J site, they state the signal tubes only last a few years and the power tubes (6550) last longer, "change out every other set". I had been under the opposite opinion, but then again could have been given bad information.
I'm not as savvy as others here about tubes, but also have tube pre and amp and also had trouble swallowing a whole system upgrade cost-wise. The option that worked well for me was to identify which tubes had the highest impact on sound on my equipment, upgraded those first, then the next, and so on.
Search here in the forum who are the good, knowledgeable vendors. Talk to them.
Search the member system pages seeking the same equipment you have and ask them what has worked for them.
As Truman said, don't go cheap. It doesn't mean buying the most expensive tubes, though.
I agree with Marco1 regarding the Siemens made/Telefunken branded 7DJ8/PCC88 at Upscale. Admittedly more expensive than what you're looking at but when I used them in my Premier 16LS2 and Premier 140 they were about as good as you could get without spending way more money and even then, not sure if the uber expensive varieties were really worth it in comparison.
I've seen lots of comments from people that use Andy, Brent, and Kevin. I don't recall ever seeing a bad comment about any of them. I've used Kevin to re-tube my BAT preamp a couple of times. Last time he steered me to the Philips 7DJ8s. They sound WONDERFUL and I don't recall them being that expensive. The point is to buy from someone you can trust. With a preamp as popular as the 17LS they will usually have lots of experience and feedback from customers that you can take advantage of.
I would never buy tubes off of Ebay unless I had a tube tester (and I don't). A short could cost you big in repairs to your amp and the bargain tube won't seem like such a bargain then.
04-03-15: EbmLooks like Ebm got taken to the cleaners buying off Craigslist, Ebay ... LOL!!!
I buy majority of tubes from Brent Jesse. Also use PCX, Upscale and TubeWorld. Once I bought 6H30-DR off Ebay from a dealer in Russia and they were fakes so lesson learned.
Currently my favorite e88cc are 60's Siemen and Telefunken. Both are dynamic, tight imaging, transparent, airy and dead neutral. I also have 60's Siemens grey plate Cca but with current speakers, I prefer the e88cc.
I sincerely appreciate the input and responses received to date. That is what has made this such a wonderful site that I always enjoy working with. I have not really wanted to go the NOS route. I am concerned about purchasing some one elses used tubes. Testing machines just don't exist in every drugstore like they used to!
The choice was either the Electro Harmonix gold pin or Genalex Gold Lion gold pin. Comments well taken with 'don't go cheap on me now' recommendations.
Below is a quote regarding tube life from the C-J website (FYI):
"1500 hours for signal tubes (small ones-6922) and 3000 hours for power tubes (big ones, like the KT88 or 6550).
Are you saying that tubes purchased from Vintage Tube Services (Andy), Brent Jessee, or Kevin Deal (Upscale) that are listed as NOS are used? The first two may carry tubes that have been used but will always say so and will tell you whether they test as new or not.
Of the two choices you list, I preferred the New Sensor "Genalex" Gold Lion. But that is just my taste given a forced choice between the two. My experience has been the NOS last a helluva lot longer than current production and that's based on both small signal and output tubes. There are some times when you get what you pay for. Just my 2¢ naturally.
I've seen lots of comments from people that use Andy, Brent, and Kevin.Agree, and take a look at,
Know a couple of guys that bought from him, and they were very satisfied. Also, he uses what some consider the best tester available, Amplitrex AT1000, for testing and matching.
Very good comments and feed back. Thank you. NOS is just that; NOS. No one 'really' knows where they have been or how and if they have been used. No one knows how many times they were bought and sold through middlemen and liquidators. I agree that any new tube can sit on a shelf for 100 years with no issue, but apply the voltage and the clock is ticking. NOS has been out of production for so long (~50 years) one would hope that those still making tubes have developed some manufacturing advancements to insure better quality control. Once again... Thanks!
If your comfort level requires that you use only new production tubes then that's what I think you should do. There's no sense in destroying your enjoyment of music with worry about what's in the equipment (and don't think I'm being sarcastic because I'm not!). I would ask you though, in these days of planned obsolescence, has improved quality control trumped the quest for the almighty dollar (or ruble as the case may be)? I believe that NOS tubes are, in general, better made than current production because people used to take pride in what they made. In addition, the tube sellers previously mentioned scrupulously test the NOS tubes they sell. I think I would worry more about putting an untested new-production tube in my amp than a NOS tube that HAS been tested but that's just me. In any case, you have a great preamp. Re-tube it and enjoy.
04-04-15: QuincyThat's precisely why I only purchase NOS from reputable dealers.
In order for advancement, you need demand that triggers investment. I think demand for tubes are probably higher ~50 years ago so I doubt any recent break through.
Also some raw materials use to make NOS are ban so new tube quality suffers in terms of SQ and durability.
I've been rolling tubes forever and haven't found many or any new small signal tubes beat a NOS. Now power tubes are a different story.
Hope things are going well for you and your family. I would go with the Gold Lions as I have had experience with both brands of tubes you mention. The Gold Lions are smoother and more detailed with better extension at both frequency extremes. The power tubes are especially very nice like the KT-88's and the KT77's.
If you're going to spend $46 per tube, then I would try some of the NOS tubes that Upscale Audio or tctubes offer. I didn't find the Genalex anything special, and the ones I had were not very quiet. However, this sort of thing is very circuit dependent.
I've been breaking in a quartet of current production JJ E88CC tubes in my BAT 3iX. These have excellent top and bottom extension and a colorful midrange.
I've purchased NOS tubes with success from tctubes, Upscale and Andy's Vintage tube services.
Some tubes I've needed that aren't that easy to find (6350 and 6C33C-B) I've purchased off ebay and audiogon. For those, 've sent them to tctubes for testing and believe me you get thorough test results and excellent personal service.
I tried purchasing some 6h23-eb type 3 tubes from Upscale, their site said to call for that tube because they would only sell them to those with preamps that are tough on tubes like Audible Illusions and my pre, a c-j Classic 2..... four phone calls, no return calls and an email auto reply from Kevin that he was away.....Instead of putting me on hold their secretary just said their salesman were "busy with customers" after I told her it was my fourth attempt at ordering from them......Total bullshit..... I was kind of pissed because I had used that tube before and I really wanted to get a couple before they were gone. On principle I will never order from them again
Really disappointing as I had purchased speakers from them a while back and the service was good..... I ended up driving from the MA / RI border to Audio Visual Therapy in Nashua NH..... they have a decent selection of tubes in stock. I ended up getting a Gold Lion 6922 and picked up a matched quad of KT66 while there. Great tubes, great guys to deal with.
The question is, how do you want to change the sound? Amprex 7308 will open the top and add detail. Telefunkens will make the sound warmer and the midrange really rich. I have Amprex and Philips for my ET 5. Used Amprex in my LP 70. EAT makes a great tube also. Would be most happy to go over all this with you. You can also consider KT 88s for your power tubes. Send Jeff at CJ an email and he can give you some more detail.