Overpriced Tube Amps

I love tube amps, Ive owned many solid state the great ones, Blah Blah Blah. Ive been watching the prices increase on these old designs now 20 year old units going for 50% of original cost rusty old xformers and all. Dont be stupid when purchsing these things. Id love to name brands but i wont. Another thing is the prices some people charge for tubes 100 each? These things cost $3.00 new. I know they can make or break that 4500.00 tube amps sound but come on.
I have a 30,000 system and have yet to spend more then 15.00 each. I dont get it.
I have a 30,000 system and have yet to spend more then 15.00 each. I dont get it.
Either you are purchasing new productions tubes, or you have the ideal tube supplier. Congratulations.

Perhaps you can educate us and help us to do the same.
That was insightful, thanks :eyeroll: But I'll stick with my bose system, tubes = distortion :o)
Those damned Toulouse Lautrec paintings, when he lived over the whore house he would give you one for a good dinner and a glass of Absinthe. Some idiots are paying over a million dollars a piece for these things. When I buy a Lautrec, I don't pay more than $50.00 which is, oh, something more than ten times times what a good meal would have cost him.
It seems as though whenever something is featured in a magazine the prices shoot up. It is absolutey ludicrous! Is this what you're referring to? I can't wait until they do one of those "retro" reviews on my loudspeakers. I'll dump them for 2x what I can get for them now!
Ya know, I was just down at the grocery store buyin' a nice box of Carlo Rossi rose. It gets the missis in the mood, ya know? There was some moron right next to me pickin' out some Chateau Effete something or other, from 1954, he said it was "new original stock" or somethin'. Like they made it, but no one drunk it. Well, if no one wanted it from 1954 to now, why the hell am I gonna' drink it? Hell, I want fresh wine, in a new box, not that old crap. Now get this, he was payin' what, a couple of hundred bucks for his old grape juice. Go figgur. This must be the same guy I read about that bought that $30,000 shower curtain. You think he drinks that wine in the shower? Life's a kick, isn't it?
Dude just chill out and buy used then. There are plenty of great amps anywhere from $700 to $3000. Also by buying used you protect yourself, if you don't like it you can quickly flip it at the price you payed, so it's no risk. Furthermore if you want to come on here and complain you could at least join!
LMAO Viridian!
Thanks Viridian. Two fine analogies, along with a great laugh!
You own 30,000 systems?!

I don't get it either.

Pass the Absynthe.
Aren't you using the Stingray? Is there a SS Stingray version?LOL
PS Personaly I don't mind the distortion,
thanks for the advice mr zappa.
George- I was being sarcastic, I love tubes - it is very hard to pick up sarcasm in text.
Gunbei, it's spelled 'Absinthe', BUT if you have been drinking that stuff, the way you spelled it (only 1 letter off) is pretty good..... ;)
I'll take as many NOS Mullard or Amperex EL-34's as I can for $100- each! How about some Gold Lion KT-88's, while we're at it :-)
I respect the original poster's intent.
Yeah, prices have gotten crazy. But since some fools pay up, the rest of us have to suffer.
Cables are my #1 beef.
Anyway, I would never get into tubes (cept' maybe a hybred tube preamp)as the cost of the tubes will only go ever upward.
Some of the responses are pretty funny though!
I'll stick with my MD20/20 and a George Webb berger, eaten in my American Motors Pacer... thank you.
One of the biggest myth about tube gear is the tube life.
Many folks thought that they need to get new set of tubes every 2 years or so. In reality, if you listen to your setup average 25 hours a week, you probably won't need to replace the tube for at least 5 years. In 5 years, many of us might already sold the amp and try something else.
NOS tubes is like real estate, folks just buy them up so that they don't have to pay premium price for it later.
The question would be: How long do you plan to keep the amp?
As far as for preamp tube goes, they're even less wear. Most of time, you probably will never need to replacement or maybe every 10 years.

I would suggest that tube gear lovers should just go out and get that gear you want. The good old rusted transformer can still function very well. I have gears from the 50's and they sound better than many of the modern gears.

This really shows quality of the good old parts. Why do some folks love good old chevy nova? reliable and can take abuse.
This is America (except for those of you who are not in America LOL). Free enterprise + PT Barnum = high prices whenever possible.

By and large (yes there are a FEW exceptions) availability of used/old/commodity items drives price. Thus diamonds (which are actually anything but rare) are pricey because the cartels weave an elaborate web of deception to convince the general public that they are rare.

The tube amps you refer to have been touted as both rare and superior when in fact they are probably neither. It is all in the perception. If Lautrec had made thousands of paintings how much do you think each would fetch?
No have to shop around for the tubes at those prices.
Ive gotten amperex orange globes at 17.00 each from echoaudio.com Rca Back plate 12au7 for 2.50 each ( killer ) from a private suplier. tunsgram 12ax7 upscale audio for 25.00 a pair, telefunkin 12au7's from curbed console stereo (free) Mullard 12at7's free from a deal,RFT 12au7 germany at 12.00 each,prima 6922 equivlent for 15.00 each RCA cleartops for 2.50each Some microphnic and many others.I did spend 70.00 a pair for a NOS Matched pair of Sylvania 5751 gold brand Black plate USAF in original boxes. Ive never seen another pair of those yet.Equipment that pisses me off VTL, audio research, ect. have had classic 30 60 Vt200, vtl 300, hurricanes, Zeus, v12cary rogue 120 mag, 120 regular, Melos mat400 monos,10 different tube preamps,25 solid stae amps ranging to 12,000 a pair.and am going strong ;)
These posts have been a tour de force for you, Marty! Thanks for the belly laughs!!!

By the way, anyone remember George Wendt doing the Meister Brau commercials? Kind of like what Marty just put out there, only the company was actually serious. Still, when old Nahhhmy is your pitchman, you can get away with a lot.
I think the original poster is right, but is position is not acceptable in these pages. I think he is wrong though on the actual prices for decent tubes. Dealing with power tubes (namely 6550s)local dealers do want something like a $100 CAD/tube while reputable dealers such as thetubestore.com will sell you matched pairs for around $56.00 USD. These days the CAD is worth about 0.86 USD.

So basically what you have is roughly $100. each vs. $32. each in CAD.

I don't think that three times the price is warranted.

I know audiophiles like to pay wasy more to get a rush, but my stingy nature prevents it in my case.
In 1968 you could be a nice Cadillac for about $5000. Nobody bats an eye at $50,000 for a nice Cadillac now.

A Marantz, 7C, 9 and 10 cost you a cool $1600, another $700 for the Dayton-Wright ESLs, $200 for a turntable with arm and cartridge and $200 for a decent tape machine (unless you got a pro model in which case it was $1500!). Total with cheap tape deck: $2700.00

Inflation has devalued the American dollar well over 10-1 in the last 40 years. If you had to buy the same stereo today: $27,000. That's with no performance increase over 1968! $200 30 watt/channel recievers were available in the US in 1968 and were that way until 1988- we grew up thinking audio is the one thing that is cheap. Good audio is not and never was.

In 1970 a 6550 retailed for $15.00! Enjoy the cheap prices we have on tubes today- it will not last forever. It should be no surprise that an NOS tube could cost $100 or $150. Think of the American labor that goes into making an American-made output transformer and see if you can even build one for less than $100 (not sell- build!) that has any performance or power handling ability.

The 'audio costs too much!' mentality is entirely unrealistic. It ignores the real world we live in- unless you want to complain that *everything* costs too much and then I'm with you :)
Inflation has nothing to do with comparing current prices of two readily available products. I think you miss the point.
I think you are right :) nevermind....
Ralph, you are right, and so is Pbb! You are correct in the inflationary aspect of various products (excluding cyclical booms & busts...and one should be VERY careful if planning to buy real estate now!) Pbb is right concerning the whores who will exploit the currency exchange markets, to rip off consumers

Here is a link for a currency converter, which will give you close to real time exchange rates, for currencies worldwide. This is the average exchange rate. Don't forget that there is a bid and ask price; if you want to BUY currency, you will pay the ASK price [higher]. If you want to SELL, you will pay the BID price [lower].
tubes can last for many years, but their actual performance is a bit like a bell curve.
Hello, you guys that Ask why you would spend extra on Vintage tubes ,I consider pennywise and pound foolish .I am not saying to go out and buy the rarest
tubes in their class,you can find that a lot of U.S tubes are very good ,and less money than the European tubes .
for output tubes these new TJ mesh plates from China ,are very good for modern tubes .in some respects you get what you pay for . Please remember ,unless the modern tubes are very tightly quality controlled and using the best materials ,
like the Tj tubes they are mostly Junk .The russian tubes there is no quality on main stream $15.00 tubes, average at best .
in the 60s they used better metals, coatings, tighter vacuumes and tubes and grids were checked at every 50 ,in many places , the PQ tubes screened in every phase.before transistors this was their lifes blood.also please remember the triodes matched in some to within 2% compared to most of todays
junk at 7-12% , even matched today only stays that way for
a 100 hours before it drifts.A true Audiophile will spend more. This is why they sound better, and last longer.for you can hear the difference in detail for sure.
also IN Rectifier tubes put in todays model ,than put in a MUllard, Amperex, or WE, when you turn up the volume everything stays in place and lasts for years.
the modern day bunch loose composer,and in a few years they blow up. you may have a valve amp ,untill you are willing to make a few hundred dollars minimum investment ,
which is minimal, in the sonic rewards you get in return
then you will only read about the sonic improvement
they can make, 25 years later ,and I wished I had bought all the now vintage tubes I would be using , if you can afford it,buy em you can't put a price on sound quality!
I've been fooling around with hifi equipment for 40 years, listened to my father's tube equipment growing up and have had a lot of pretty good solid state equipment since. Few years ago I bought a PAS-3 preamp for $75, beefed up the PS, upgraded a few components. The sound was so much better than any solid state equipment I had, I got hooked.

Yes some of the vintage tube equipment prices have skyrocketed, but there are still a lot of excellent deals out there. Same with the tubes themselves. It helps if you look at it as a hobby, know you will spend time researching, trying different tubes etc. That isn't for everyone, but if it is your thing, at least in my experience the payback is there. As for other people that don't want to spend the time, or the money, there is good solid state equipment, and matched with the right speakers I'm sure they will be very happy with the sound.
fzappa5, remember two things-supply and demand and inflation. A tube that cost $15 in 1950 would cost just by way of inflation, $124, Then WE 300B tubes were widely available, but now many have worn out, been broken, and even discarded into the trash. The old WE300Bs are clearly superior to new production 300Bs even those by Westrex.

Stop whinning and live with what you can afford. Many will pay what it takes to buy old tubes and some to buy old equipment.
Zappa left the building over 8 months ago, folks.
I hope this doesn't mean what I think it does.