Where do you guys buy replacement tubes?

I'm sure it's been covered, but I haven't found it. I'm looking to replace my sons tubes in his amp. We have had some bad experiences to date with suppliers and I would like your recommendations on good suppliers. His amp uses 6336A tubes, a real odd ball, so the supplier needs to cover alot of types I would guess. Thanks for your help, J.D.
I have gotten tubes from Kevin Deal. Can't remember what the name of his shop is though. He is very knowledgable about various makes and models and burns / tests each tube before shipment. This way you know your getting something that works and is verified good before it even leaves his shop. I'm sure that someone else will know the name and number of his business. If not, i'll dig up my receipt. Sean
it's www.upscaleaudio.com - kevin deal is the man for nos tubes
Talk to Kevin at Upscale Audio. He told me all I needed to know about tubes for my unit and shipped me a pair
with no problem. I shopped around first but he was the best in my opinion. BTW, I found out about him here on this site a few months ago.
another possible source : tubeman.com - have heard good things about him.
and JD, DO NOT buy anything from bigpapa39@aol.com. Nothing but excuses. Latest count is 8 complaints to the local detective and mail fraud charges. good luck.
Ram Labs are various brands pre-tested by this company (Ram Labs). There are different levels of quality (and price) based on their tests. They area sold through various outlets including WWW.AUDIOADVISOR.COM
Kev. is to snooty.If you don't mind exposing your genitals / you know / the way the dominate wolf demands of the rest of the pack,you might be happy.( watching to much Discovey ch.)This is not meant in a crude/lewd way. The guy just has to much attitude. But he is the best and has the most access to tubes.If you didn't buy your equipment from him that's not going to help your cause.
ARS, phone 818-997-6279. No web page.
Thanks, Sugarbie. The link you gave even sells the empty boxes. I see a drawer organization project coming.
check out Kropotkin Classic Amplification at www.erols.com/bluestat Better prices for the tubes I was looking for than Upscale Audio and great service.
Andy at Vintage Tube Services is great. He tests every tube before shipping and will give you back your money if you are not happy.
Upscale isn't the only game in town. I've dealt with the majority of dealers listed above, all of which provide the same service/quality as Upscale, at a fraction of the price.Some even have some a better selection of the rare items.
THE PARTS CONNECTION is a good source.Andy at Vinyage is by far a better choice than some of the other above far to mentioned choices.
AvguyGeorge: I recently had a somewhat nonproductive query with Kevin at Upscale in regard to driver and output tubes for my Audion Silver Night 300b amp. I wouldn't say that he was snooty, just that he may be receiving more queries than he can handle (he is probably the only one who answers our questions). He did not seem to be familiar with my amp, which is understandable, and had no "solid" recommendations, though I did get the impression that he took the time to search Audio Asylum and the web for info (which I had already done). The only problem (and it was a small one) that I had was that I twice requested the selling price of his Western Electric 300B tubes, and was eventually told to check the website for prices. Well, unless I missed something he does not have any 300B tubes listed at his site, so I just moved on and purchased tubes to try out from ATSI, and ones that I could identify as being "genuine" from the photos on Ebay auctions. He had some old production 6922's that I would have liked to try, but there was something at his website about not wanting to take credit cards and I did not feel like waiting for a snail mail transaction (this was my choice). I live less than an hours drive from his home/shop and may just make an appointment to pick up the tubes in the future, but for right now am not able to make such a long drive. I will not pass judgment from this one encounter and have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. He may have very well missed my request for pricing on the WE's as my emails are as lengthy as my posts at this site. I am also not interested in purchasing the WE's until I decide if I will stick with this amp and was up front about it. The price would have been nice though because if I decide to keep the amp I will go with Western Electric's for their sound as well as their longevity which some claim can be as high as 40,000 hours. Right now I have a pair of "specially selected" Svetlana 300B's on the way, which if they work out, I will be noting my source for them in the future. The dealer works directly with Svetlana and receives their best production stock. Oh, and I have never come up with Vintage Tube Services before on any of my web searches and will check them out on your reccomendations. In regard to Ebay, I see a lot of stuff that doesn't look right to me in the photos. Like, Amperex tubes that have a red cast to where the pins penetrate the glass and stuff like that. I don't know that much about tubes other than the ones that I have used in the past and these may just be different productions, though they sure look like relabled Tesla's to me.
A good source for regular tubes...mostly non-NOS, but they do have some...is www.triodeel.com. Jim is an honest guy, and they tend to have most types of Sovtek, Tesla, some Jan-Phillips, etc. They do have some NOS tubes too, so you might want to ask them if you're looking for anything in particular. Oh yeah...they even have a lengthy guarantee.
Never had a problem with Ken Chait at ATSI.
Dekay,When I needed to retube my pre,I was told I wouldn't be able to buy any of the good brands because I didn't buy from him. Latter when it was time to retube my Jadis, I thought I would ask. I had no tube preference nor price in mind. I just asked. He wouldn't say yes or no. Said he would call me back in 20 minutes.One day latter,no call back I just went to somebody else. Then he calls on the second day ready to do business.If he was going out of his way to find special tubes/I'd have understood. I was to the point/just asked if he would retube for me.He, up to this point, hadn't said if he would even sell me any tubes.There are some in business who only cater to people whom they feel are big $$ influntial big spenders. And yes when you can't hire qualified people and thus have to run the bus. yourself,well he and Brian have simular practices on how they treat prospective customers. Albert speaks very highly of him. So,I have half of it right. Maybe "I'm" the other half. It would have been a chance to check out his store.I was going to drive out.
AV: I hear you and don't disagree as that easily could have been my take on the situation as well. But as of yet I am still undecided and as mentioned above it's not the only game in town as I had no difficulty locating quality NOS tubes at fair prices.
Andy at www.vintagetubeservices.com lives, breathes and counts tubes when he has a hard time falling asleep! If you want to be stroked-Schmeal Deal is your man. But if you want real experience with that tube order call Andy @ 616-454-3467. You won't regret it.
I agree with Deano and 84audio, Andy is my trusted source of all things tubes. You can't go wrong with him.
I would highly recommend Robert Silk of Silk Electronics. Robert is very knowledgeable, his prices are great, and he will certainly go the extra mile for his customers. I must mention at this point that Robert is a personal friend, but I can't imagine any of you going wrong with his advice or product! Robert can be contacted @ 801-583-6616
Hey Dekay - you are right...I did miss your question about 300B prices. I saw you ask about the 6922 prices, and asked you to go to my website. E-mail is very difficult for this kind of purchase anymore for products like yours. The going back and forth is very confusing, and in fact I have e-mail several days old that is not answered. This is because I won't let an employee answer for me and say something incorrect and potentially damaging to a customers gear. I know that another tube dealer won't do any e-mail inquiries at all...only phone.

It's a tough one, guys. I started at 6AM, did not take a lunch break, and it's now 11PM (and my other half isn't pleased)

A good example is a gentleman (no doubt a nice guy) that wants me to describe the sound of several 12AX7's that he may buy one of for his made in China headphone amp. I type like a sloth. And have never heard his unit. So if I don't have solid info I'm not going to B.S. someone and make it up to sell a tube. Just like your amp. I have re-tubed the Audion, but have no feedback from customers, and have never heard one. So what am I gonna tell you?

Then there is the guy that wants info on re-tubing something he MAY purchase someday. The other guy that sends me 18 e-mails for one tube purchase. Then the pictures people e-mail me (without asking) of their bad E-bay deals and want me to help them "make their case" or tell them if they got screwed. It is difficult to know who is calling or e-mailing bored from work and who really needs help.

We have a retail location for equipment here, and sometimes I have someone standing in front of me that has driven hours, or even flown in to audition equipment. If I am direct on the phone at times, it's because I am under pressure at that moment to keep my promises to people, and frankly I get too chatty. That is different than being "snooty" as another called me. I dig the hobby, and my customers.

Then remember...there are two sides to every tube sale. It takes many hours to track down some of this stuff. We won't hit 100%...nobody does. So it goes.

P.S. - we take all credit cards...I don't know what you meant by we don't...maybe I missed something.

P.P.S. - the reason it's so busy is because tube gear is in the most exciting period I have ever seen in my 24 years selling hifi for a living. We are truly in a period of creative thinking and fun stuff. I used to get into the "it ain't like the good old days" mode but not now. It's more fun than ever.
Thank you for your perspective Kevin
What a fantastic set of posts. I just want to thank everyone who took the time here to try and help me. I have tried all the sites and have found I must really call these folks to get a proper information. I would incourage all to visit some of these sites. There is a great deal of history and theory on a few of the sites that became a wonderful education for me. Thank-you again to all, and please feel free to use this post to further list suppliers, or to discuss results of certain suppliers. Thank-you Kevin for your input, I think you taking the time to post shows how much you do care. I hope other suppliers will take the time to promote them selves or to help solve problems. J.D.
Kevin is a straight up guy and did allow a return of unused tubes when an amp aquisition fell through for me. I will continue to do business with him as I believe you can't put a price on having confidence in what you are purchasing.His recommendations are excellent as well.
I hope I don't give the wrong impression. If you call a typical tube store, the owner, let alone anyone else, will not talk to you about what will sound best. Ther are a couple botique dealers that will, but they don't have the stock we do as it is a side job typically.

I have not wanted to give up helping every customer myself....but I think it's silly to think someone else here can't do it. But the challenge is...none of the fine folks that work here know the sonic changes that occured in, say, an Audio Researh SP-9 MKI, vs a MKII and MKIII. I happened to live through that stuff.

We will become a smidge more "automated" via on-line ordering for the experienced tube-head. That should help. I just don't want people to think we are too busy for personal attention. That's what it's all about. But it's customers first. They deserve that. If a guy buys an amp on Audiogon and can't figure out how to use it, he should call the seller or manufacturer. I would never ask another dealer to take care of my customers questions.

I would like to add that the order that I placed with ATSI went smoothly and that the tubes were well packed and promptly shipped (they sound good too). I also made an Ebay purchase from a dealer (user name Roytang) that is new to Ebay and as of today has 15 positive feedbacks. Roy is located in Hong Kong and accepts PayPal. The tubes were excellent NOS Sylvania Gold 5687's (and sound really good as well), they arrived almost as quickly as my domestic (continental USA) purchases. Also thank you Kevin, for taking time to comment (I once had a job with the phone company where I took up to 115 phone calls a day and know where you are coming from).
Hello again:

I would like to add another source that I used recently for Svetlana 300B tubes which is (http://conusaudio.com). The tubes are specially selected stock (not branded for export) that the dealer received directly from Svetlana and they come with an 180 day warranty. For those of you that are concerned with the past reliablity issue of Svetlana tubes (as I was) there is a brief summary at the website of what went wrong during the production period in which "those" tubes were manufactured and it is a must read, IMO. I now have over 100 hours on the Svetlana's and they are excellent in my setup, smooth and "natural" sounding, yet detailed (very musical). Conus carries other tubes as well and Euguene, the owner, has been a pleasure to deal with.
Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Services. Top notch.
This would be for Kev: Ok you have a one man buisness/and thus have little or no time for customers/ or just the ones of your choosing. Fine!! A merchant with not enough time to care for me /but has plenty of time for the chat room to defend his policies/ gimmme a break. Good buisness choice!!If you were a tube buyer you'd be put off by just such a merchant/I'm sure!! AS a sorta local buyer I partly was looking to check out your store. I have spent nearly 10k since that time.(Remember,I was going to bring my amp in) Snooty/ indifference/ don't got the time??? all the same to me. Hire some help,make life eaiser for yourself. Reminds me of the tv ads;"get on the net and appear 20xs larger than you are". What's the sense of attracting more customers than you can service??
Kev. what ever happened to "the customer is always right?" This is supposed to mean even if you are not in agreement.
Kevin returned my phone call, listened well, and proved to be one of the best retailers I've encountered. On top of it, Kevin really knows what he is talking about. That doesn't happen by magic; it takes time and work. I hope other people recognize the value in that. I think Kevin's approach of handling customers directly is reasonable and commendable given his rare knowledge.
avgeorge, I have no idea what you are talking about...unless you are the guy that a few months ago wanted to bring in his amps, have me install a "few different types" of power tubes, bias them, hook them up to speakers in my sound room so you could compare. I can't do that.

And for you to assume anything about my business is a bit much.....I spend more time with customers than most anyone.

I have a few employees. Some of you have met them or spoken to them on the phone, and they work very hard to keep people happy in a business where customers get a smidge "obsessive". I "get it" of course as I am one of them. An audio nut since I was in the sixth grade.

We are hiring more people even as we speak....and that takes more time. But I would still have a hard time letting go of the one on one with the people that I have so much fun with.

Ask the guy that was here Monday for FOUR HOURS with his brother listening to Avantgardes with a full BAT system, then compared it to a full Cary, and bought nada. Plus it took an hour to set up what he wanted to hear. No pressure...no stress.

Customers is always right? Puhleeze.

Think about that if you are the NEXT customer in line who wants to get his gear runnning again and we have twenty minutes to get it out Fed Ex overnite. We go through that a few times a week.

I would rather take that extra time to turn the lights off in a dark room to look for glowing screens of 6550's in our burn in rig so I don't blow up some guys amp. It takes time to do it right, and I won't compromise. If I lose some biz....so be it.

I don't want all the business. I would rather work with people I enjoy and give the best quality. If it isn't meant to be George...the good news is you found somewhere that did it for you.

So why don't you give that dealer a plug here now? He deserves it and I applaud him.
P.S. George.....that was not meant to say that you are not a nice guy or anything like that. I was speaking in general terms when I said "people I enjoy". I've read some of your comments and you appear to be a dedicated audiophile. Sorry if I put you off on the phone somehow. Nobody's perfect.

Thanks for keeping it professional, Kevin.
Have to agree with Kevin about "the customer is always right." It's a fine ideal, not always practical. My guess is that most people who've dealt with the general public know what that means. A short and sweet explanation is that there are way too many egocentric types out there. (Gee, that came out nicer than expected!)

My experience with Kevin's company has been limited to a few calls about tubes. Sometimes I received a response, sometimes not. I certainly do no hold that against him or his firm as my need was as much for advice as to buy a product and was stated as such.
Well, Kev.promise I won't add more fuel to the fire;and I won't. The guy in the first sentence of your last response.......... That wasn't me. I don't doubt that there are probably toooooooo many of them tacky folk,that make it tough on the rest of us. I actually had such a friend; he was an embarrassment to go "shoping" with. Every time I put something up for sale I meet "this guy" you're talking about.
Ditto fpeel regarding the outdated notion of the customer *always* being right. Separately, my experience with Kevin (I've preordered a CD player from him) have been fairly good (my only complain being that it would be nice to be emailed about expected delays to shipment). While he is not lightening quick in his responses he does seem to care about the customer and insuring that people get what they want. He's never come off as snooty to me. Coincidentally I was about to ask him for recs on replacing tubes, but I think I'll wait till things calm down a bit over there.
No need to worry about it being to busy if there is something you need...that's not where it's at.

The delays are not happening much anymore except for odd stuff. The things we do every day go out the door pretty quick.

I just made an agreement to have the best talent in the industry custom make a new tube burn in rack and matching fully regulated test rig.

What we have now is good, but we actually use power amps to do burn in before matching, and sometimes the amps blow up (better mine than a customers)and I have to perform surgery to fix them. Then we use a pre-heat rack before testing the tubes one at a time. The new rigs will burn in 20 at the same time, then the test rig will have 20 at a time getting up to operating temp while one is being tested. Super cool.
Kevin, what do you mean "the amp blows up"? I'm wondering if that isn't what happened to my sons amp. What would I look for? Thanks, J.D.
Kevin,Puleeze, was that an "infomercial"???
"the amp blows up":tech jargon for "it broke down", which could be anything (blown resistor, capacitor) and might be
something simple or serious. It's really not possible to
try and diagnose stuff online without more details than you
are giving (and possibly some details you might not be able
to give without some experience working on tube amps).

BTW, you can buy brand spanking new (they still make them)
Cetron 6336A or 6336B from Richardson Electronics, but they're not cheap...$141.00 list. A better idea for this
tube type (or other weird industrial tubes) is try
Fair Radio, www.fairradio.com , they've got new 6336B's listed for $30 each, which is a heck of a deal.
Yes, you can replace 6336A with 6336B.

Oh, yeah, Kev, you might talk to your Fedex rep, I don't
know if they can do it where you are at, but we managed
to get our Fedex Express pickup pushed back to 7PM, which saves a lot of last-minute hustling...if you ship enough
Fedex Express they ought to be giving you a discount, too.

Uncle Ned
here the last pickup I can grind them for is 4PM. We are at the top of the street right below the entrance to Mt. Baldy. I know they pick up at the larger drop off points near Ontario Airport by 5PM.....

Don't forget we lose a couple hours on you Ned. My driver was late yesterday, here at 6PM...and here it is 6:53AM in California, and the package will be delivered on some island in Florida within a half hour. I don't know how they do it.

I don't know if I really believe Richardson is making 6336A or B....not that they would ever ever mis-represent ANYTHING...what with the great job they did re-releasing the Amperex Bugle Boy using the original burn in racks from Holland and all.
Yeah, it helps that we're not far away from O'Hare airport, which of course is one of Fedex Express' major dispatch points. We switched to Fedex Ground from UPS because the Fedex Ground guy picks up here about 3 hours later than UPS guy will.

Yes,Richardson really does/did make Cetron 6336's..like you said, there's plenty of other stuff they don't make that they relabel and sell as Amperex & National, but
not in this case. I'm not endorsing Richardson, mind you. Besides, it's kinda silly for him to be paying $141 for 6336's when he can get Tungsols from you for $40 or Cetrons from Fair Radio for $30!
Yea...they may say it...but I don't believe them if they say they do. Just my opinion, mind you. If they did not do enough volume to keep the GE 6550A line going after they bought it....who is buying all these 6336A? Why would anybody make that tube?

It's like that Mu 6900 deal. I don't buy that deal either.