I like the idea, I look for tubes frequently at EBAY. The bidding is usually furious at their site when something great is up for bid.
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With all the varieties of tubes and their various operating conditions, this may be a can of worms that Audiogon doesn't want to deal with. I have already seen disputes regarding tubes that were purchased and advertised here on A-gon. As with any other used item, one must proceed with caution when buying a product. I think that is is even more true with used tubes. Sean
I kind of agree with Sean. Tubes are difficult. I've had 2 situations, where I was told the tubes were tested and good (NOS). I tried them--they buzzed very loudly in my amps. In one case I sent them back--no problem. In another, the seller insisted they were good and that it was my amp that was the problem. I have many tubes that work flawlessly in this amp, but these didn't. I'm a complete neophite on tubes--and the first to admit it. I love the sound, but my ignorance in this area means I have to pay retail (or close) with sellers that will take things back with no questions asked. So, I think I'm a good example of why we might want to heed Sean's advice.
There is a lot of mislabeling in the tube market. In addition, they need to be checked if they are NOS and even matched (like drivers) for best performance. I agree that it is risky to buy tubes from ebay or unknown sources. I am sure that some have had great success but I tend to buy from a few known sources only.
That being said, I would still like a place where folk with limited stock could come and have a market because it is needed and I think the bad apples would be identified and disposed of more quickly at a site like this.
Chazzbo is correct, and so is Sean and others who have expressed an opinion here. Tubes are a difficult situation, even with a known seller and a known product.
I have purchased tubes from ultra reliable sources and still had problems. Many of the tubes I favor are nearing the half century mark in age. It is not always possible for the seller, even a VERY experienced seller, to guarantee in advance that the tube will perform as expected. Disappointments with sonic signature as well as differences of opinion as to what constitutes the best sound is another issue all together.
I still like the idea of a tube section as suggest by Slowhand, Perhaps a disclaimer should accompany the ads, or sellers could perhaps qualify the buyer with a question and answer session, much like the helpful threads on those topics here at Audiogon.
I buy frequently from EBAY and have had excellent results. I can often look at the image provided for the auction and in spite of the brand name posted on the glass, know what the tube is and if it is what I want. I understand many buyers cannot do this, and they should be guided as best we can. Satisfaction with the results depend on it.
I agree, there should be a tube section for places to post ads for sale/wanted. As always (on any site), buyer needs to be aware of what they are buying and seller needs to be as accurate as possible. Tubes are a product - no different than any of the others we trade here. Fair and honest dealings are the name of the game with anything, no reason tubes should be any different. It's a significant failing on the part of A'gon that this isn't in place already. Of course, they are pretty slow to respond to requests anyway, to wit: the overwhelming desire by members to have list prices back on the "new today" page, which Agon knows about, yet are still stupidly (IMNSHO) lacking.
Records can easily be inspected for major damage and typically don't cost that much.
In comparison, putting ONE faulty ( budget or expensive ) tube that looks "brand new" into your system can short out power supplies, do damage to other support components within that device, blow up other electronics further down the chain, melt cabling, blow speakers, start fires, etc... If you doubt this, try talking to guys that work on tube gear for a living. This is besides the fact that performance can vary DRASTICALLY from tube to tube that came off the same production line.
If saving a few bucks and buying from an "unknown" source with individual satisfaction / return policies is worth it to you, so be it. The safety of my equipment is not worth pinching pennies when it comes to buying tubes. As such, i typically buy from reputable sources and then have them tested by one of the world's foremost tube experts ( in my opinion ). Luckily, he just happens to live nearby.
After all, tubes are not the sturdiest devices and they do get shaken up in transit. It is QUITE possible for an internal short or open circuit to occur AFTER the tubes were "tested" or "matched". Even if this was done by an expert. Who's fault would it be if you bought something like that off of Audiogon and then your gear went "ka-blooey" ???? As far as the "audiogon advertiser" was concerned, they sent you a known good product that tested fine or worked okay in their gear. It must have been YOUR "faulty" gear that caused the problem. The whole "mess" is now thrown at Audiogon to sort out as names and reputations are smeared. Is that worth $2 an ad ????
Like i and others have said, pay your money and take your chances. If there is enough of a demand for it, i'm sure that Audiogon will respond accordingly. There are enough dealers that sell tubes that commercial interest in such a category might be a money maker for Audiogon in terms of ad's placed and revenue. Then again, would that amount of money be worth the amount of potential hassle and bickering that could arise out of such a category ? Only time and trying something like that out would tell. Sean