Some random thoughts for Tube newbies

There has been a lot of requests for tube recommendations for specific components. Many of the responses are generic, and some are specific to the component by folks who actually have it and have tried the tubes in it that they discuss. That's all fine and good. Tubes do have a generic and house sound that can be described by experienced tuboholics.

However, for folks seeking advise on what tube to use on a component they not only need to consider the "source", i.e. the experience and the component of the person making the recommendation, but the type of speakers and sonic preferences of the recommender.

For example I have an all tube system and I recently changed out my speakers. The new speakers have a different sonic signature but my sonic preferences have not changed, so to get the tonal balance (but improved in other aspects)that I want I ended up making multiple changes in the small tubes in both my DAC's and amps to find that tonal balance. Now if I told you that tube A in component B sounded tonally balanced when my old speakers were in place I would now tell you that perhaps that same tube was a bit bright or not as smooth.

The moral of the story for the newbie to tubes is to try to avoid buying tubes based on consensus but to get as much specific info about the recommender as possible before you pull the trigger. Especially on expensive NOS stuff.

Any other thoughts on pitfall's for tube newbies?
Newbee's advice is excellent. Another thing I might mention is that, while I do like the NOS tubes, particularly for their longevity and the fact that my Jadis equipment was originally designed when they weren't NOS, don't automatically dismiss the tubes that come with your equipment, particularly newer designs. Give the equipment some time to break in and get used to the sound before you do any tube-rolling. Many newer designs were "voiced" around tubes that are available today, and can actually sound better with the tubes they are supplied with (a friend of mine found that out with a Cary integrated, where he was disappointed in the sound when he put in the NOS tubes for which he spent a pretty penny and wound up staying with the stock tubes). So be patient before you start spending on the expensive tubes, they might not always be a sonic improvement.
maybe consult the manufacturer for advice. Chris Johnson was very helpful when I recently purchased a SF Line 2SE. I am sure most of the other tube equipment manufacturers would be pleased to help folks choose the best tubes for their components, or is this too simplistic of an approach.
Not too simplistic Mitch2,damn good advice.That being said with most systems theres about 6-10 variables,source,wires,amp,preamp,speakers,iso-devices,etc.Now throw in a tube equation in the mix and you can double all possibilities.Way over the head of a rookie and it will also tax a vet according to this site.Unless a newbie is told in advance his/her quest will take months and cash[read turnover/tube-rolling etc] to achieve contentment,your thoughts are a place to start for the ecstasy/torture to begin I reckon.Were all in this together,I'm pullin for ya,Bob
great advice guys,seems like the more i research tubes the more confused i become,kind of like when i decided to research cables for my system,,,,,
Good thoughts. Consult your manufacturer. They have 'voiced' the units and quite likely have tried various NOS tubes and settled on their favorites...Also, let the tubes break in before any tube rolling...Having said that 'system' balancing is a fine art requiring patience AND your own ears, so roll away if you like (with tubes, cables, ERS cloth, AC conditioners, etc :)....with a WARNING, some tubes sound great on some recordings and other tubes sound great on OTHER get the picture...
Avoid purchasing tubes manufactured in the Dominican Republic.

No matter how much money your friends offer you, don't put your tongue on a hot rectifier tube for any lenth of time.

Change your underwear and socks daily.

How often do underwear and socks require biasing?
Depends on the amount of leakage. You can buy equipment that tests for this phenomena.
How often do underwear and socks require biasing?

Depends on the amount of leakage.

I spring the extra $ for the black ones for that very reason. NOS Calvin Kleins are superior in every respect to anything being made currently. You'd have to spend at least three times the $ to equal the performance. I bias my own tube every so often, but always prefer to let my wife do that as she is much more skilled at it than me.

I understand that there are many professionals that will bias your tube for a nominal fee...............
I understand that there are many professionals that will bias your tube for a nominal fee...............

Yeah, and just look where that got Hugh Grant! Problems always arrise when your tube needs more frequent biasing than your partner is willing to attend to and your tube gets overheated....or maybe you just prefer a specific biasing technique that your partner doesn't go for, like our pal Hugh!

Yet another ninja attack from the Angora Kaftan...