Buying Tubes Again; Maddening

Has anyone tried the new production Genalex 'Gold Lion' 12AX7's and 12AT7's? I've been using the pricey Sophia Electric's but they just don't last long enough in my Hovland HP-100 phono-stage to justify the cost (they do sound pretty good though)...
Test on why audiophiles, the overwhelming majority of whom are male, are still using tubes.

A. Tubes sound a lot like boobs.

B. Look at all the pretty lights!

C. I wouldn't know what else to do with all the money I spend on them.

D. I really hate myself but I'm not into self mutilation so I'll buy these things instead.

E. All the above.
Thank you Stanwal.
I would stay with what sounds good unless I wanted even better. How long do they last and how much do you pay for the set? They don't last 500 hours, do they?
While I am a SS user I used tubes when I started; it seems tubes do not last the way they use to; after all the world use to run on tubes and they were not always failing. While some designs do seem to overstress their tubes in an effort to wring the last bit of performance out others use them within what should be consistant with long life. My tube using friends are always complaining about how often they have to replace them so the problem appears to be widespread. Pardon the levity I injected at the beginning of the thread.
Just replaced my beloved Linn Majik 140's with Lipinski 707's. All tube system and never going back to SS. I've never had a problem with the amp or preamp tubes. Everyone should listen to the Lipinski's, their sound is unreal right out of the case.
Test on why Music lovers the overwhelming majority are male, are still using Tubes.

A. Tubes make great music too.

B. Not all Tube amps are costly to maintain or own.

C. Tubes and Boobs are Hot.

D. Cause its nice to still have the choice.

E. All of the above

Just today I had to make the decission whether to buy the longer lasting tube or the better sounding tube. I chose the better sounding tube.
Now what do you call long and short lasting tubes? Just curious.
As for complaining, audiophiles and people in general always find something to complain about.
Tube life is the design of the circuits.
Some products are known tube eaters.. period.
Others, tubes last for many years.
So if your tubes suck for short life, blame the circuit designer.
Every since I went to NOS tubes, I haven't had that problem. There is a thread here someplace that confirms that.
Changing tubes frequently to avoid costly breakdowns and also the cost of tubes was the reason I bid tube gear a found farewell after many years . With the type of solid state gear thats available the last five years or so , plus careful selection I lost nothing in sound quality .
I have the HP-100 also, Stickman... the very unit used by a 'Famous 6Moons Reviewer' and tube "collector"/reseller for about 8 years as the reference. Unfortunately it's packed away for now until remodeling/reconfiguring is completed here, and I can't easily get at it to pop the top. However, it went through rounds of tube rolling by the previous owner -- to his, I'd tend to vouch, very balanced, musical tastes -- and interestingly, he found the cheerfully inexpensive JJ 12AX7's to be optimum in the phono stage, combined with the selected NOS he chose to employ elsewhere inside (which I don't recall, except for a Mullard, I believe, at the phono stage's output). So you might want want to give the JJ option(s?) a try: I suspect the Mullard adds a touch of addtl. warmth to the mix.

All the usual H. Grails were available, BTW. Also, his circumstances meant that a variety of different amps got hitched to the Hovland, which I understand retained a consistent, neutral character throughout. This result significantly influenced my purchase decision, being (I like to think) a practical guy. Write me, if you'd like, but I'd put it at < 50/50 that he'll remember the total tube mix exactly. Caution: this unit has had all the factory upgrades performed (you didn't say in your case), so your Hovland may be a somewhat different beast.
Elizabeth, While various circuits have an effect on tube life some tubes simply last longer than others. While one tube may last only 500 hours another tube may last 2,000-3,000 hours or more in the same circuit. Unfortunately the better sounding tube can have the shorter life.
In general, tube gear just sounds better and more real than SS gear; that's why I still use tubes...

So, no one has tried the Genalex tubes?
Yes, my HP-100 was 'updated' for final status before Hovland quit. I've tried several of the JJ's but the ones I used seemed a tad noisy and not as 'organic' as the Sophia's or the Mullard NOS.

I may just try the Genalex and go from there. The problem with getting NOS Mullards is that you never know what you are truly getting. I have NOS Mullards that came from so-called respected on-line dealers that went way noisy in just a few months...
stickman..i recently tried the 'genalex' 6922 tubes in my preamp and really liked what i heard ..but...i had an acute ground loop issue with them and replaced them .i did like the for the ' tube life ' issue...i recently bought a pair of the new sophia electric 'royal princess ' 300B tubes for my amps and even if they only lasted 500 hrs i would still buy them again due to their superb sound...hopefully they will last alot longer..
Shoot an email over to Jim McShane when you get a chance. He is very knowledgable and provides great service:

I don't think he recommends the Genalex with a phono stage, but he will give you plenty of options. His website is here if you want to peruse his selection first:

I have no association with Jim, just have had very positive experiences. He is very forthcoming with his expertise.
Contact member Trelja for Psvane and Shuguang tubes.

I find the 12AX7 to be a terrific value in the context of NOS pricing.

Jim McShane is terrific. Another is Andy at Vintage Tube Services. I once bought a tube from him, got rid of the gear, never used the tube then called him up 3 months later asking if I could trade the tube in for another. He said no problem. Whether he's always so accommodating, I'm not sure, but he's definitely a great guy and has been doing this a very long time. First rate and full of integrity.
Well, as they say, YMMV... I would think that the whole mix can interact in sometimes unpredictable and funny ways, particularly in regard to things like an "organic" character. I never heard anything about unusual noise levels with the JJ's in circuit; I can't at this point speak directly on the matter -- haven't heard it yet. Good luck, and let us know what worked if you find the key.
I used the Genelex reissue 12ax7 in a preamp and phono preamp, and they worked fine. Good enough. Still better than SS. No, not quite the equal of fine NOS, but better than Sovtek/EI, which sounds strident in my gear. I got tired of obsessing about and paying for NOS tubes. This way, I can also use tube amplification for the tv, with no worries - which sounds great.
I would try a different phono stage. If tubes are properly respected by the designer they should last a long time.
Sounds_real_audio, Can you please explain how a tube is properly respected by a designer?
I've recently begun using some of the Psvane 12AX7s, which are about the same price as the Genalex 12ax7, despite the fact that their EL84 is twice the price of a Genalex EL84. Anyway, my initial impressions are quite positive indeed, although I'm still in the first 100 hours of burn-in. About to drop in a pair of Psvane 12AU7s...
I'm going to try some of Jim McShane's recommendations and also a set of the Psvane. Both are reasonably priced.
Sounds like an excellent plan - will be very curious to see how the Psvanes stack up again's Jim's recommendations.
Tubes without real names cant win and an true tubes addicted knows what I am talking about.
You can't go wrong with Jim McShane. BTW, in my CJ PV-15 pre-amp I'm using the Genalex 12 AX7's and 12AU7's, but Jim says I was lucky that they are running so quietly. He says he would not recommend the gold lions for pre-amp phono stages, but that if they sounded quiet then I should leave them in. They do. I did.

Jim sold me 2 quads of EH 6CA7's for my JWN tube amp. He says they are a close second to the gold Lion KT-77's. They sound quite good and I have had no problems with them. Of course, with Jim Nicholl's circuitry, the tubes in his amps generally last a long time anyway.

"Sounds_real_audio, Can you please explain how a tube is properly respected by a designer?"

A well designed tube amp/preamp does not burn through tubes. Tubes really can and should last a long time.

selecting a tube is a nuisance, because there is no substitute for listening to the tube. all of the suggestions will not help until you hear the affect of the tube.


what ss amp are you using and why ?

did you select your amp because it's interaction with your speakers provided a sound which was close to the performance of some tube amp? or did the speaker perform very differently after you inserted the ss amp ?
I got my first SS amp in 1963 and never went back; I don't want it to sound like tubes but like music. The tube amps I used were mainly Dynaco but I have occasionaly tried out others over the years and have heard quite a few on others systems. My CJ 350 or Meridian 605s have excellent bass, good but not bright highs and a transparent midrange. I usually find tube pre amps too bright and lacking in bass and detail; I have not heard the AR Ref series or top CJ pre amps and they are out of my price range anyway. But I recently compared my MF Kw line stage to a $6k tube one and the consensus was that it was better. My Spendors could be driven by tubes but my Gamut would be difficult for all but the biggest tube amps and they take a lot of power and go below 3 ohms. I simply like the sound of SS better but have no problem with anyone who likes tubes better; apparently some took my humor seriously. I do have a problem with some designers; they do fail to respect the tube as mentioned above in that they use it outside the range in which it will have a normal life span. I don't care how good it sounds, if it is not reliable or requires constant retubing then it is not a good design. It is like a car that can go 0 to 60 in three seconds but will not go over 500 miles without breaking down.
Most of the NOS tubes i see on Audiogon are used up BIG TIME.Let the buyer beware!!A tube thats new should test at 100 to 115 not 75 thats garbadge.
The number of new tubes being manufactured today is way up from where it was 20 years ago. If we only buy NOS tubes, the prices will increase exponentially as the supply disappears. If we try and buy the best of the newer manufacture tubes we will provide an incentive for manufacturers to keep improving their products and we will have a source of high quality tubes for as long as we're a market to be served.