On average how many hours a week were you putting on the tubes?
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I've never cared/paid attention to tube hours, but the amp /tubes have served me well.
Over the 6 year period there have been random marathon weekends of near 24 hour service, after work, almost daily 2 hour dinner sessions, random times the amp has been accidentally left on weekends(not recommended, of course) and BLAST your ears sessions with friends.
Whatever it equates to, I consider the tube serving it's purpose. I have a daily driver 67 Mac tuner with a couple of original tubes.
USA NOS tubes for the most part are indestructible, but not 100% like anything manmade.
7 years is a long time for any tubes , plus you don’t know how your amp company bias the voltage or run the Ma voltage , power tubes 3-4000 hours
small tubes like Tele , Siemens are 10,000 even bendix, some ge 5 stars are tough military speck, but nothing guaranteed with tubes , todays tubes far worse.
In 2003 I ordered three NOS Mullard CV4003 (12AU7) for the preamp I was building. Average about 16 hours per week for roughly 16000 hours to date and still going strong. I tested all my tubes last month and these three still have close numbers. I have a backup set of Sylvanias that I'm not sure I'll even need in my lifetime. 😀
When you look at it from that perspective, This journey and or hobby isn't really that expensive, When you add up all the hours years of enjoyment you get from a component that you love the sound of, or the synergy of a well balanced complete system, I think it's well worth it,,,,,,,Then again I don't want to pay for any exorbitantly high.prices.
I actually wonder that. Not sure there’s a guarantee of being "NOS", or whether that would even matter except for power tubes. That said, I’ve bought many, many tubes from Brent over the years and I appreciate his service and selection. He’s got lots of really nice exotics you can’t find elsewhere, except for taking gambles on the ’bay. Brent’s tubes always test good and sound great! He doesn’t make mistakes. No bum tubes. He even takes care to generally select clean looking tubes.
"I actually wonder that. Not sure there’s a guarantee of being "NOS", or whether that would even matter except for power tubes."
mulveling- yeah, the "NOS" thing is roll of the dice. With preamp tubes, it may not be such an issue whether or not you're getting a genuine, unused "NOS" tube.
True NOS is something you actually purchased from the local hardware or drug store for $1.87, tossed in a box in storage for the next 60 years, and you "discover" it.
I've been using some 50's RCA 6L6G's (the low voltage coke bottles) also from Brent that were installed just weeks after the 12AUf7's. One just died the other day.
I'm hoping to get another batch from him, and refresh all 8 needed.
I had a pair of 1964 Mazda 6dj8 that came from Brent Jessee and they were matched section, matched pair. They were some of the best sounding tubes I have ever owned. Unreal tone , unfortunately the preamp they went in is tough on tubes so they didn’t last as long as expected but man did they sound good
About six months ago I bought a 12at7 from Upscale, from Kevin’s Stash It was a Mullard 6201 and it sounds incredible.
The above dealers are a safe bet
I have an amp that is a hybrid, It uses both sides of one small signal tube a 6DJ8 on the input (no need to match tubes) and the output uses power transistors. A ridiculously good sound. In this scenario the tube will and does last a very long time and the amp has been powered up 24/7 for best possible sound. Initially I have tube rolled with different brands that have produced dramatic results. It is nice to be able to tailor the sound for my speakers and for my own own tastes.