I had this pre for about 4 years. Purchased new. Never replaced tubes, or heard any need to. Loved the pre, ir performed flawlessly and was gorgeous looking, but moved up the food chain.
Well, it could just be the quality (or lack thereof) of the NOS Mullards I have been getting. I think that I will try the Sophia Electric this time; they are half the price of the EAT...
I love the Hovland too; been looking at the Audio Research Ref Phono 2 though, I think it sounds better than the Hovland's internal phono. Curious, what did you move up too?
I had a HP 100 for a year without any problems. I used the stock tubes (Sovteks). I remember the manual stating not to roll the tubes in the Hovland as it would not improved the sound. The Sovteks are known to be very durable tubes and hearty tubes. Maybe the circuit is tough on the Mullards?
If it wasn't for the lack of a remote, I would still have this pre.
I moved up -- and it really was a move up -- to a Wyetech Opal and have not looked back. After rolling different tubes, I now use Sylvania Bad Boys and Russian NOS 6sn7's or whatever the Russian equivalent was and have been very happy. It's the one component I hardly ever think of replacing.