Why Can't Modern Tube Manufacturers Make a Proper Tube?

Current tube manufacturers, at least the ones I have tried should be utterly ashamed at their ineptness, apathy, ignorance, or whatever it is that makes them seemingly unable to make a tube properly.

And I never knew what I was missing before I tried reclaimed tubes from the 1950's, an era where people build things instead of ruining things.

The present manufactures are said to have the actual machinery to make tubes for which they have examples in hand and schematics on file, but they just can't do it.

Is this a case of Idiocracy? Are people just stupid today? The world and all creation do follow the 2nd rule of thermodynamics so I guess this is the case.

Listening to Black Plate RCA’s and Mullards in my system, even for a short time made it glaringly obvious that modern manufactures are embarrassingly inadequate. There is absolutely no comparison.

Why can't modern tube manufacturers make a proper tube?

1. lack of IQ?

2. Apathy? 

3. Lack of Materials?

4. Lost knowledge? 



Anyone else here old enough to remember the TV repair guy coming a couple times each year to  replace tubes in the TV?     And I have yet to have a tube go out in my amp with new tubes.    Hmmmmm.....


""Perhaps you should not obsess over your tubes quite so much and get out and meet some younger folk?"""


🤣 I don't think I obsess over anything. That's funny...a bit peculiar, but funny. Thanks for the advice. I'm going to do that right now. 🙂

I imagine myself sitting in a dark machine shop stroking my tubes never stepping outside but to take parcels from the youngerish mailman then sleeking back into the shop.

Excellent tube ar being made in China - I recently picked up a set of KT88s and auditioned them against a set of Gold Lions a couple of years old,and some NOS unused Gold Lions.  The new Chinese tubes sounded better....

Of course a lot of crap gets exported too.

Here are the substantial and probable reasons why they were better constructed.

1. Maybe they weren't. Let's not create a historical story based on conjecture. We don't know the mfg and distribution processes well enough to compare accurately.

2. Tubes in pre 70s mfg were produced in greater quantities and were tested, when needed, more thoroughly before distribution.

3. The testing process wasn't exhaustive, but it was done.

4. Cost of materials to mfr tubes like those of the past, for the reasons previously noted in this thread, may be cost prohibitive.

5. The only reason why they MIGHT have been better quality...


No one is dying today if their audio components fail to work or sound bad. Well, maybe some neurotic audiophile. If a rocket, battleship, airplane, or medical equipment fails, people die. Period.

That's it.

I remember going into your local drug store and there you would find a RCA tube tester and underneath it would be where they held the RCA tubes.I worked for HL Dalis back in 1970.They sold electronics equipment and parts to every tv -stereo tepair shops from NYC to NJ,Conn and all of Long Island.We sold all types of tubes and TV screen tubes and some of them were big and heavy.I was and inventory ckerk making 0ne dollar and hour ,$40 a week,lol.I was 18,lol.