I have a Quicksilver Line Stage Preamp (12AT7) mated to an Odyssey Khartago Stereo. Overall I like it. Way too much gain but I digress. Weeks after receiving it I rolled in a few different tubes, kinda fun to color the sound signature. I liked rhe RXA black plates I got and those stuck around for more than a year. They started going microphonic and making noises so I ordered another pair (noisy) then another different vendor (blasts of white noise) and another set that arrived today (one is noisy as holy hell and one seems fine).
So where does one order preamp quality tunes that are quiet? Is there something I’m not requesting when ordering? Maybe dump snd go solid state? I’m trying to be humorous because I’m pissed. Ha.
I check my own. I buy in lots and bulk, have for 40 + years. The folks here will chime in on Vendors that will check and MATCH your valves. DON'T pay a lot of money, but don't cheap out.. 12AT7s there is a slough of those around at good prices..and quality matched valves..12AX7s you can spend a few quid, more than 12AT7.
BUT if the shine has wore off... go SS it is easier in the long run... Me I've always used Valves, kind of second nature... I had to be pushed into SS. Its great stuff, though...
Kevin will sort you out. Call rather than ordering and explain your situation. I haven’t ruled out that there could be some other factor at play. I've boxes of tubes that were once enjoyed and ultimately replaced for better and better ones. Most were quiet but you get the odd noisy one. But that's part of the fun.
After many years (20+) trying different tubes my go-to now is JJ from tubestore.com Not because they are the absolute best - although they are better than most I've tried that's just me in my Melody. But I have never had a problem with any JJ tube. Maybe I'm just getting old or jaded or something but with so many other things out there that can make a much bigger difference with nowhere near the risk of headaches of tube rolling I go with the tried and true JJ.
@millercarbon thanks I will look into the JJ’s. I believe the QS came with them and while they did sound good overall they seemed to have a bump in the midrange that my speakers also seem to have. Might be too much but will look.
the odyssey’s are very high input sensitivity -- makes for the need for super quiet tubes if feeding it with a tube pre (or tubes that wouldn’t sound noisy with another amp seem noisy going into it) - klaus’s amps are very nice sounding but they are certainly finicky for a solid state unit
I have that same preamp. I like vintage Ge 12ax7WA/6201 tubes. You should be able to get a matched pair from any reputable seller on ebay for less than 50 bucks!
The GE JG-12AT7WA vintage tube is a rugged, American-made workhorse produced for the U.S. military and used for computers and targeting equipment. This tube is usually very low in microphonics due to its rugged construction. The GE JG-12AT7WA had to work well under arduous conditions and was made with solid support rods and short, gray plates.
@jperry Brent Jesse, VivaTubes and Tubemonger. The first tubes I rolled in were front Brent Jesse, the now dead set of RCA’s and a set of Phillips 7062 which is all I have that don’t make me want to commit murder. Viva took their tubes back and tubemonger blamed it on me so they can sit and spin.
brent is helping me now but this is so maddening. I get like 3 hours on Saturday to relax and spin a few records and this is where I’m at.
+1 about JJ tubes. Swapped them out of both pre and amp and everything was smoother. The JJ tubes which came with the pre were surprisingly cheap. They should be swapped out right away. That said, I think that JJSS49's list of problems besides the tubes is more on-point.
@jjss49 the Phillips in there now are completely quiet. I would add the QS and the Odyssey Candela tube preamp have nearly identical specs according to the website. @yogiboy and testimonials from others persuaded me to go QS over Odyssey. The gain is very hot and I did ask Mike if it could be knocked down and he said his design is not to be messed with. I didn’t press it further. While I like the QS pre, the Sachs SP14 has adjustable gain and asks for input of the amp it will be mated to so I fee like if I go that route at 2x the money then it should match better. I tried attenuators but feel like they quell dynamics a touch (could be placebo). I have a Schiit Sys and pondered putting it between the QS and Odyssey to pull the gain down.
The RCA’s front Brent a year or so ago were also perfect and run daily since then. The Brimars (Tubemonger) we’re noisy out of the gate. I may put them back in after reading that sometimes 100 hours can remedy noise. The replacement RCA. From Viva were awful from the start. The newest RCA from Brent has 1 tube that’s fine and the other sounds like a 1000ft wave is going to crash through the wall and sweep me out to sea. It drowns out the music. Maybe bad luck? Brent has been very good, Viva took theirs back no questions asked and like I said before, I’ll never do business with Tubemonger again. I sent Brent a video clip (was trying to upload to paste a link here but I guess they are having issues). I often criticize people who gripe about the Care and effort that vinyl requires so now I’m wondering if I’m not cut out for tube gear. Especially as I’m looking to order a PH16 (Don Sachs) to replace my Lounge phono.
Tubes are like taking care of a small child, they give you wonderful moments but need a lot of care. If you want the best SQ, IME, it is still going to come from tube gear, unless you spend the very big $$ and go for top ss. OTOH, if you want greater reliability of the sound and no fuss, and SQ is secondary, then ss is the way to go. BTW, Brent Jessee offers a two year warranty on his tubes, something that I took advantage of when I bought from him, I highly recommend it.
first of all, glad you have quiet tubes in the unit working now... that’s good
second, brent is a good guy, good vendor, bends over backwards to get it right... bear in mind tubes get shipped in little boxes that usps etc love to throw around like nerf footballs... i seriously doubt brent would send a noisy tube on purpose if the customer was buying quiet ones...
viva guys are ok, they are commodity vendors (with decent prices) - they get stuff from tube factory xx and yy and they fill a customer order - but they don’t do extra value-added testing in house - like upscale, brent, andy and jim do in their shops as far as i am aware
Quick silver preamps are known for running bias hot. call Brent Jesse recording ,he can tell you exactly which NOS military tube would be best they are far more heavy duty and will last for at least several years , I hav3 been there done that.
You can go solid state. Then you would be moving from constantly noisy tubes that can easily be replaced with quieter tubes or you can go with constantly noisy solid state devices that can't easily be replaced.
I’m sending one tube back to him. He will make it right no doubt. The nice thing about the Philips is that it rolls a little top end off so there’s less hiss hahaha (my speakers are 99db). I do like the aphillips but the RCA are still my faves. I’m looking into others mentioned in this thread as well.
Very few JAN (military) tubes were electronically any different than the normal tubes in the same family. They will sound the same, last the same length of time and, at best, were specially tested for certain characteristics like shock/vibration.
Can I get an explanation as to why one dealer has better tubes than another dealer presumably from the same manufacturers. My only assumption would be that a set is matched or tested better at one dealer compared to another. Not being cynical. Truly just trying to figure out what the difference is take away the offered customer service.
First and always... Take the tubes out and re-seat them. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
I have a 2 year old Don Sachs preamp...and the tubes got noisy...scratchy sounding. I simply turned the unit off, took all the tubes out remembering their positions and put them right back in. Never had a problem since.
This should be done before assuming tubes are bad.
Next find the offending tube by selectively replacing each one.
Many of these tubes are what are considered 'pulls'. IOW, they are tubes that have been used for years in some piece of gear and have been removed to now be sold as NOS tubes. Nothing wrong with this IMO, so long as the tube is tested and correctly disclosed as a) used and b) tested to be sure it works to spec. I currently have some Telefunkens that are labeled as Dynaco and have obviously been 'pulled' from a Dynaco kit. They sound great, are made by Telefunken in Germany and are perfectly good as to test etc.
... these tubes are what are considered 'pulls'. IOW, they are tubes
that have been used for years in some piece of gear and have been
removed to now be sold as NOS tubes. Nothing wrong with this IMO ...
There is something very wrong with that. "NOS" means "New Old Stock." If the tube is used, it definitely isn't NOS.
Big mistake going Solid state. I am in the process of wrapping up a upgrade on all resistors in my Jadis DPL linestage, The stock Jadis metal oxide are quite good actuallly, But the Takman Rey's are far superior, Huge gains on sonic performance.
I'd say take all res in the quicksilver and swap out to Takman Rey's, start with main res 1st. Richard swaped out in stages, Will post a YT vid shortly showing off this upgrade. If you can, go with Tele 12AX7 vs the RCA blackplates. also upgrade your interconnects to navships. Recap with Mundorf EVO SG or Supreme EVO SGO.
Tube Depot is fine! Google is your friend! Here ya go!
As tubes wear, some problems can come up. One of the most common symptoms is a ringing sound. This is usually due to the tube becoming microphonic. Like its name suggests, a microphonic tube is picking up sound and amplifying it.
Dual triode preamp tubes like the 12AX7 really have two separate tubes inside one glass envelope. When the plate current draw of each triode is the same (as evaluated by our VTV testers), we refer to that as having balanced triodes. These may or may not also have the same gain on each triode but are still considered balanced.
12AX7 tube is a high gain dual triode tube found in many tube amps. Because of the high gain, the 12AX7 tube is often used in the V1 position of guitar amps, which has a lot of effect on sonics. It is the tube that defines the sound of your amp in a big way.
@ gochurchgo. Very easy solution. Go Here http://tubeaudiostore.com/ , and look up your tubes. There will be three grades. Standard, Low Noise and Super Low noise. the SLN tubes are one in ten. Each tube is individual tested and a label with the important specification is placed on the side of the box. The SLN tubes are expensive but the SLN 6922 I got were an easy 10 dB quieter than the one ARC supplied with the phonostage. I am on my second set now and they are just as quiet as the first. Basically you now exactly what you are getting and pay for it. Roger Modjesky created this process. He passed not long ago but his business soldiers one probably in the hand of his employees who really liked him alot. Several are contributors on this site. Everything else, all the NOS stuff included is a crapshoot. IMHO these people with their NOS tubes and Tube rolling are insane. Perhaps it is the tube rolling that made them insane. Many give up in frustration and switch to SS if they have any money left.
By wary of any tube seller that uses the term: "NOS in white boxes". Much more common with JAN tubes that were bulk packed, this term usually means that the tube tests as NOS and comes in a white box. Not the same thing.
Brent Jessee sells high quality tubes. The catch is you must request noise testing; it's $10 per pair I believe. Depending on the circuit in your component you may need to use low-noise tubes. I only buy noise tested NOS tubes.
Andy at Vintage Tube Services includes testing for noise and microphonics, Upscale does as well.
Thanks. But like at Tube depot, they have an incremental charge of $4 for "Low Noise & Microphonics" which based on your description would seem to be binary or incompatible....? Is this a good option to choose ?
And next, when we use the term quiet or noisy are we talking solely about the hiss in the speaker drivers ? Really a nob question 😞
" By wary of any tube seller that uses the term: "NOS in white boxes". Much more common with JAN tubes that were bulk packed, this term usually means that the tube tests as NOS and comes in a white box. Not the same thing. "
Help me understand why you think you need to be wary of NOS in white boxes from reputable tube dealers. I’ve had a NOS NIB RCA 12ax7 fail, and just had a New Production Psvane KT88 NIB fail after 300 hours. Any tube can fail regardless how they were packaged.
As far as the QS is concerned, my previous was a Schiit SYS. So while I think the QS sounds good I don’t have any frame of reference. The high gain of the Odyssey made the Sys seem logical (though it was a stop gap). The SYS. Worked well and sounded fine. In the Odyssey forums it seems most pair with tube preamps and I wanted to get into tubes (the QS is my first piece of tube gear) so I guess I’ve been lucky until now. I would like to make my next purchase a tube phono stage and maybe even add a tube amplifier as an alternate. But maybe I’m not ready or have enough electronics knowledge. I suffer from anxiety while also working 1 full time and 2 part time jobs. So when I can’t just take a couple hours and spin a few sides I get nuts. I’ve been lucky up to this point so I’ve leaned a lot. As an aside, anyone who upgraded from Quicksilver line stage I’d be curious as to what you upgraded to.