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Who is making Vacuum Tubes


mihcmac
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I was curious as to the manufacturing process and found these: The first is in Czech from 1973, but you can see that the process is labour intensive but still needing plenty of dedicated kit as well (the last part shows cathode tubes for old TVs)

 

The next one is small scale production 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzyXMEpq4qw (this one wont embed)

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There's supposedly one other Chinese factory that's making tubes right now.  It's small and they make very high quality stuff that's all rebranded.  The main Chinese factory is the only manufacturer who continues to make improvements to the manufacturing process.  Egnater had 3000 JJ 12ax7's go bad in the field about 6 or 8 years ago.  I can't imagine how much that cost them. 

I always use a Chinese 12AX7 tube in any place where there's an "elevated cathode voltage", which is, in a Marshall, everything after V1 and before the phase inverter.  Otghe tubes are inconsistent.

Fenders don't eat tubes in that way.

Tung Sol 12AX7's are prob the best sounding tube and I use them in V1 of all amps except Marshalls.  I use a JJ for them.  JJ's are Marshally sounding.

Sovtek LPS's are good for phase inverters.

NOS tubes are o.k.  The only ones that are consistently useable for customers' amps are the JAN 12AT7's.  I don't use NOS tubes other than that.  There's nobody to stand behind them.  Except me.  Anybody who uses NOS tubes has to have a tube tester anyway, and tube testers don't always find every problem.  And they don't test whether a tube sounds good, just whether it's shorted and if it puts out signal.  Most NOS tubes have been sorted through many times and most NOS tubes are the rejects from decades of sorting.

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About 4 years ago  my Rivera amp started getting noisy.  Rivera recommended using Russian Svetlana tubes.  I replaced all 4 power tubes (6V6 GTs) and all 5 pre-amp tubes (12AX7s) with tubes from The Tube Store in Canada.  They matched the triode sections very well in the pre-amp tubes.  I remember there was a problem with one of the Power tubes and they replaced it free as they had advertised that they would all match and one didn't.

It has been very quite and worked flawlessly since, although it does not get real heavy usage.

Edited by Twang Gang
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