Why Don't Local Audio Dealers Provide Tube Testing Services When They Sell Tube Gear?


For over 40 years I have supported my local audio dealers. I gladly pay more for their expertise and service. Some of my dealers have a store front, and some work out of their home. In either case, I always support them.

I have an "all tube" system, with 19 tubes, including my DAC, Preamp and Amp. Most of my tubes are NOS, and I like to "roll" many tubes. When I need to test a tube, or want ensure that the tubes I've purchased are indeed a "matched pair," I would really love to depend on my local dealer(s) to provide that service. 

For the most part, I have been very fortunate to buy NOS tubes from reputable dealers. Not always though. And when you are buying hard-to-find expensive NOS tubes, you sometimes have to take your chances.

At a minimum, audio equipment dealers should be able to provide "on-site" testing for the tube equipment they sell. Ideally, equipment dealers should be able to do "on site" testing of other tubes as well.

If a local dealer were able to service my audio tube testing requirements, I would seek them out for any new equipment purchases (including non-tube gear). That's part of having a mutually beneficial dealer/customer relationship.
Getting (and maintaining) good testing equipment isn't cheep, but it seems like a good business decision for maintaining and attracting new customers?

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Just a suggestion, with all your tube gear why not buy yourself a (good) tube tester. 
Good luck that will never happen.
Hi Markpao,
Great suggestion. I looked into buying a tester.
As gdnrbob mentioned, they are not cheap to buy and maintain. 

With the various adapters to accommodate 300B, 45 and 9-pin tubes for example, it would cost about $2,000 for a good tester......that also measures shorts and gas leaks.

That may end up being my only option, but I'm still curious to know why dealers can't (don't) provide this service. If they charged $10/tube, they pay for the tester with 200 tubes tested.

In my business, every time I am able to meet a customer, it is an opportunity to sell something. The acquisition cost of gaining a new customer is a lot more than $10.

If a dealer sold me a new $5,000 turntable or cartridge, while I was in their store getting a 300B tested, I guess that would be upside for the dealer.

You know that's a good point you raise there. In 30 years running tube gear I've always had to just order new tubes, because there was no one around to test them and tell me its time to order new tubes. Not to mention the times I've had to research and audition new turntables and other components, because there was no one around with a tube tester to sell me on a $5k impulse purchase. Man talk about a missed opportunity. 
You dont need to spend $ 2K for a good tube tester.

Also I would not assume that an audio dealer that sells tubed electronics knows much about vacuum tubes.