What tubes and where to buy them? Conrad Johnson


I`m from Brazil but currently I`m doing part of my PhD at University of Florida.

Back in Brazil I have a Conrad Johnson Premier 3 pre amplifier and a MV55 power amplifier.

I need to buy a new set of tubes for both, since it`s very hard to find tubes in Brazil.

The tubes they use are:

Premier 3: 2 12AX7, 5 5751, 2 5965
MV55: 2 12AX7, 2 6SN7, 4 EL34

I would really aprecciate some advice on what tubes I should buy and specially where can I buy trustable audiophile tubes, and not guitar amp tubes. I`m looking for a cost effective option because I won`t be able to spend a huge amount of money with that.

Also, I would like to know what tubes should I start changing if I can`t afford changing it all.

Thank you vety much!
Welcome to the US Pedrod45. I have had many excellent tube buying experiences with Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio, located in San Francisco, CA. His pricing is fair and he stands behind what he sells. Here's the web link:

Jim McShane tubes....you can google it - he'll know exactly what you need. BTW, I'm in GNVL too - unfortunately no good place here for choice selected tubes.
You could also just order the proper tube sets from cj.


Tube set for Premier Three: RTPR3

Tube set for the MV55: RT55

Thank you for your response! I`ve sent an email to Jim McShane asking for a quote for the tubes I need. Good to know you`re in GNVL. Right now I`m in Ona, at the Range Cattle Experiment Station of UF doing my research.


Thank you for your response. This was my first try, but the quote they sent me was veeery expensive and only included new reissues. I think I can get better quality tubes and better price if I buy NOS tibes in the right place.

Still waiting for more suggestions, including tube brands and what tubes should I roll first.

Thank you all,

Also Brent Jesse...

On this page he provides info on the various brands and describes their sound. Then click on the various tube types for pricing. He always responds to email questions.
Thank you Lowrider57.

Does anybody know any trustable ebay seller that sells qood quality tubes?
tubesandmore.com or thetubestore.com both are very reasonable and ship anywhere. Most of what they sell is very reasonable and not out of sight.
Pedro45...I really thought that the tubes from cj would be less than what NOS tubes will run you. Your preamp, (one of my favorites BTW) uses (9) tubes and the amp uses (8).

Jim McShane is a great recommendation along with Brent Jesse. I have bought tubes from both of them. My favorite tube supplier is Kevin Deal who owns Upscale Audio.


I think you will find that decent NOS tubes are going to cost you a fortune, but you never know.

Good luck on your search. Tube rolling can be fun, but you can also drive yourself crazy. I'm been collecting tubes for over 30 years and have 4 drawers full of tubes that I have acquired. I've always said that I could probably retire on what these tubes are worth now.
Pedrod45, that is a lot of tubes. Maybe you should invest in a used vacuum tube tester on Ebay. Different tube types last longer than others. ie; small preamp tubes can last for years vs. amp power tubes.
Go talk to Paul at Sound Ideas on NW 13th St. there in Gainesville. He has an a nice selection of tubes and you can discuss your ideas, goals, and budget.

Another possibility is Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Service. You can reference his website for some information, but you really just need to speak to him on the phone. He has great insight to most equipment and what tubes work well. His "perfect pick" tubes can save you some money on very well tested tubes.
Mofimadness, here is the quote that Conrad Johnson has sent me for the tube sets I need: "RTPR3 is $475 plus $19.95 for shipping and RT55 is $340 plus 19.95 for shipping". These are the tubes included: 12AX7 Mullard, 5751 Sovtek, 5965 GE, 6SN7 Sovtek, EL34 Mullard (I believe all brand new reissue tubes).

I`ve already received a quote from Brent Jessee (BTW, thank you Lowrider57 for this recommendation) and that`s what I got:

12AX7 Sylvania or GE 1960s, $30.00 USD each
5751 GE 2 mica military stock $30.00 each
5965 RCA $14.00 each

6SN7GTB General Electric 1960s $50.00 per matched pair
EL34 Groove Tubes Mullard reissue, $60.00 per matched pair

The total would be U$408,00 for all tubes and I believe that the only brand new reissue tubes are the EL34 Mullard`s.

Lowrider, yes, it`s a lot of tubes!!!! I just want to take the chance that I`m here in the US and take some tubes to Brazil, since once I get back there it`s hard to find this tubes and they are even more expensive.

I aprecciate your help guys!
My favorite Agon tube seller is mathieuriverin. Brent Jesse is good but mathieuriverin's prices are better. Good tubes, and best prices. He ships from Canada so delivery takes a couple of weeks.
11-21-13: Bifwynne writes:
I have had many excellent tube buying experiences with Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio, located in San Francisco, CA
I live in the Bay Area and I don't believe that Upscale are in Northern California. They have a 909 area code which is far eastern Los Angeles County and southwestern San Bernardino County.

Cable Company sells tubes. They have a very big selection.
Thank you all for your help. It has been very useful. I`ve already asked for a quote to almost all those folks and web sites you all have recommended me. Drrsutliff and Bifwynne your recommendations were very valuable! Thank you!
Does anybody know if Andy Bowman from Vintage Tube Service is still in business? I`m trying to call him on the phone number that is showed in his web site but it won`t answer.

Thank you!
Pedrod 45: The Tubecenter on ebay. Just had great service from them on 6GK5 tubes for a CJ Premier 14. And yes, Andy is still in business. Spoke to him last week,
Thank you Springbok10!
I would also recommend Brent Jesse very highly.