What is the best place to buy tubes?

What is the best place to buy tubes? I've read several threads on Audiogon listing many tube stores, but where can you get quality? I bought tubes from Tube Depot (listed many times here) and paid extra for matching. Not only weren't they well matched but 1/3 of them were bad, so I suspect the tubes I received weren't actually tested. Then they sent replacements, but half of those tested bad. I bought matched sets from The Tube Store, but they were so poorly matched that the distortion was worse that the old tubes they replaced. I've bought from equipment manufacturers (CJ, ARC) and found they do good testing and matching, but their prices are very high. Is there any place to get tubes that are matched well and of good quality? Thanks.
Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio. I have bought well over $2000 worth of tubes from him over the years and have NEVER had a bad or mismatched one. I am a VERY satisfied customer!!!
Check out AudioAsylum for recommendations.

I'd suggest that Jim McShane would be an outstanding source for both popular tubes, testing, and for followup service.
I bought a set of tubes from Upscale Audio to outfit 2 CJ amps and a CJ preamp and had no problems. Kevin is the real deal!!!
Another vote for Jim Mcshane! I have dealt with Jim for the last 3 years on several occasions and have never had a problem one.
NOS audio vacuum tubes: www.tejastubes.com (save $)
Andy at Vintage Tube Services.
Try Leeds Electronics in Brooklyn, NY. You can find them on the web. What I don't like about Upscale is that they charge more if you didn't buy equipment from them. At least the last time I checked they did.
Nothing but excellent service and tubes from thetubestore.com ... just my experience
Andy at Vintage Tube Services. Great guy, great tubes.
I highly recommend Doug at Dougstubes:


Wow...interesting. I've had 2 JJ Tesla KT88s from the The Tube Store fail at ~400 hrs and ~700 hrs. When I wrote them about the first failure, they indicated expected life was >1000 hrs and I must have gotten a bad tube. I thought it was just my bad luck.

I also paid extra for matching replacements from The Tube Store only to find the "matched" replacement wasn't "plug 'n play" as advertised. Give that biasing is not a big deal on the 502B JoLida, not a problem BUT something other than advertised.

Holos- Thanks for your post. "You don't know what you don't know"!

Order fulfillment from Doug's Tubes was very fast but I can't yet comment on quality.
Post removed 

FWIW my experience with Tesla tubes, E34L, KT 88's and KT90's has been poor. I've had many failures due to quality control and stopped using them - Got tired of having to replace resistors in the amp when these tubes shorted out. I understand my experience is far from uncommon. I also find their small tubes somewhat unreliable, noise wise and otherwise, but their cheap so I still use them when I want their tonal balance.

This quality issue has nothing to do with The Tube Store, although they could just stop selling them I suppose. Jeeze, just a 1000 hour life! No comment on the matching service - if they fail at this, they are not alone! I've gotten some bummers from others as well. Caveat emptor.

This guy has a great website.
I have yet to buy anything from him yet.

I've bought from Brendan at Tube World. Definitely knows his tubes and was very satisfied with my purchase.
I have bought tubes from Kevin at Upscale Audio, Andy at Vintage Tube Services, Ken at Advantage Tube Services, and Brendan at Tube World with good results. Tube World is one of the higher-priced places, but he has an unmatched inventory, not to mention a huge treasure trove of information.
One thing I will say for Tubeworld ... tube descriptions and sonic characterizations are absolutely spot on, in my experience. Prices may be a bit higher than some, but products are exactly as described - Brendan knows his tubes. He and Andy Bowman at VTS are two of the very best.
I'm another one for Jim McShane
Andy at Vintage Tube Services. The Best.
Newbee -
Don't mean to beat up on the Tube Store if it's the manufacturer's quality issue. Also, just to be clear... the expected life/hrs they cited for the power tubes was well over 1000. When writing last night I couldn't remember the exact number so I just wrote >1000. It might have been in the range of 1200 or 1500 hrs. In any case, I expect they were being conservative though, as you can see, 2 JJ Tesla KT88s never made it nearly that far.

I did buy Ei Elite 12AX7s and NOS Mullard 12AT7s from them and those are still working just fine.

The Tube Store order fulfillment service has been great though I was not impressed with their matching service.

I didn't really appreciated that a tube failing suddenly could cause damage beyond a blown fuse. Thanks for the warning.
My vote is for Brent Jesse at http://www.audiotubes.com/
and/or Jim McShane. Both great guys, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.
I have purchased 5 tubes from Brendan at Tube World over the last several years, received what I bought and paid for. Good matched pairs (checked on my tube tester)and no microphonics (7308's, E188cc's and 5751's).
Brandon at TubeWorld is extremely knowledgeable and stands behind his product with a money back guarantee.

So does Brent Jesse at http://www.audiotubes.com/.

As does Dennis Boyle at Chimera Labs who does not have as wide a stock but can often hook you up with great tubes at lower prices. Great guy to deal with.

With all three guys the knowledge and advice is top notch, product is great and packing and shipping are fast.
I have had great experiences buying from Jim McShane and Brendan at Tube World. Both are highly reputable sellers who know tubes.
www.tubemonger.com is my recommendation. Maybe not the source for the overpriced, exceedingly rare, overrated, name-dropping tubes; but, if you like reasonably priced, mighty fine tubes, check it out.
Yes, I forgot about Tubemonger. Very reliable dealer. I bought a matched quad of NOS Siemens E84L from him about a year ago and they are still going strong and sounding nice in my 1959 Pilot 402 receiver. I bought a quad of Penta Labs( cherry-picked Shuguang) KT88 tubes from Dougstubes, and not only does he measure and test properly, he labels each tube with the test results, packs them well with free shipping, USPS Priority, and followed up with e-mails to make sure that I was happy with the tubes. Talk about great customer service!
My vote is for the Tubemonger. I have gotten a number of excellent preamp tubes from them.
The Tubestore always delivered for me, then again I don't go and retest the tubes and rematch them. Seems you have a problem with trust.
Vintage Tube Services

Audiogon member "Jsautter"
Have never had a problem with tubes from
Jsautter or tubemonger.
Andy @ Vintage Tube Services and Brendan @ Tube World. Andy has an amazing knowledge of vintage tubes.
Wow! Thanks for all the replies. There are some great suggestions here that I will try.

I agree that I can't fault a retailer for the bad tubes from a manufacturer knowing that several manufactures of tubes have quality control issues. But I cannot excuse a retailer when you pay them to pretest their tubes only to find that what they delivered is still bad (and probably not actually tested).