What is tube rolling?

What is tube rolling?
My understanding is that you try different tubes in one component. Such a Sovtek, Western Electric, etc. seeking the best sound or the individual sound qualities that each tube brings. Or maybe rock sounds better with one and classical with another. Contact mofimadness as he has drawers of tubes that he uses. I guess it is kind of like a chef using different spices and seasonings to individualize each palate. I would like to do it but only have one set of tubes so far.
Theo basically has it right.

It is basically just substituting different tubes from the stock tubes that came with the unit. Typically this yields different sonic results depending on the tubes. Usually better results, but sometimes worse. (Typically, but not always, NOS (New Old Stock) tubes will yield better results than current production tubes, since they were manufactured during the peak days of tube use (i.e. in the '50s and '60s). And, as you can imagine, NOS tubes tend to be much more expensive than stock tubes, (and get only more expensive with time, since they are slowly but surely getting more rare, as the supply is used up).

To get an idea of the sonic differences between tubes, check out Joe's Tube Lore @ Audio Asylum, (to which I have provided a link below).

Joe's Tube Lore @ Audio Asylum

I hope that helps!
I agree.I've never heard the term used for anything different
in audio.
I also agree that you should read, (and reread) Joe's Tube Lore at the link provided. It's pretty much the bible for the different ways tubes sound.

Just remember that the actual component that each tube is used in, makes a BIG difference. I have never found the same tube(s) sound the same in different gear.

I really like the Amperex USN-CEP 6922 tubes in my DAC, but they suck in my phono preamp. Each circuit and the way it "uses" each tube is completely different.
check out sonicfrontiers.com Go to the anthem side of the site and search for "A Taste of Tubes". It will teach you a lot of basics.
One of the oldest of audio addictions in the quest for perfect sound. the addiction is gradual and eventually leads to bankruptcy, but at a much slower pace than power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables!
While others have clearly defined tube rolling, I would like to add the benefit of NOS tubes. The difference in sound quality you will experience is astounding. Unfortunately this may be somewhat design dependant and not 100%. I would recomend numerous specific inquiries before spending hard earned cash'
but why is it called "rolling"?
Because tube swapping, tube changing, tube trying, tube experimenting all sound lame.
What would you call it?
Why is it calling rolling? It's a colloquial term. Why is browsing the world wide web called "surfing"? Don't think about this too hard.
01-20-13: Lupinthe3rd
Don't think about this too hard.

Best advice I've heard in a long time.
Yikes! I had it all wrong. I’ve been rolling new tubes on floor for a while, thinking that would improve their performance.
there are some tubes, like amperex and telefunken that are fairly consistent in there sonic characteristics. in fact i have found many tubes having the same "flavor" or affect upon sound, regardless of the component, which is why i ususally favor the following brands: mullard, rca and brimar.
I thought it was like log rolling but I crushed them all in my bathtub and went back to SS.

All the best,
Jeez I started this thread so long ago I dont even remember it. How did it get revived? BTW-I have a tube amp now and have swapped out the stock tubes for some gold lions and other nice sounding tubes. Massive improvement.
"How did it get revived?"

One day, while waiting for my pasta order to go, I spotted a poster with every type of pasta imaginable represented. When I asked the cook why so many types, he responded: "Centuries of boredom."

All the best,