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rare tubes to look out for

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was at my local electronics surplus store and went in the back, where i had never ventured, and found an entire wall of bins with thousands of tubes. They are from the mini size like in my millett, to the big ones you see in old radios or something.

I was wondering if any are worth any money or are particularly rare that I should look for their model numbers? Most are in old looking boxes, and different brands like GE and RCA and more.

*Thanks!
post #2 of 26
I dunno since I haven't gotten big into real tube amps, but how about a Western Electric 300B?
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
I dunno since I haven't gotten big into real tube amps, but how about a Western Electric 300B?
damn! ill look out for that for sure, what if i found like 10 of them for a dollar each
post #4 of 26
youd have to send me one even if I have absolutely no use for it. Ill just look at it and imagine how nice it sounds. hahahha
post #5 of 26
I'll take any 12ax7s you could find cheap, if your looking to buy and then turn for a small profit.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phergus_25 View Post
I'll take any 12ax7s you could find cheap, if your looking to buy and then turn for a small profit.
yeah ill be looking for that if requested, and i want some alternatives for my millet. please keep the suggestions coming, and thanks.
post #7 of 26
The tubes you'll want will depend on what you're going to do. You could find tubes like the following.

For Millett Hybrids, you could look at:
12FK6, 12FM6, 12AE6, 12AJ6, 12FT6. All are space charge tubes, but you may need to tweak some resistors to get all of them to work optimally.

Preamp Tubes:
(noval, smaller 9 pin tubes)
12AT7/ECC81/E81CC/ECC801
12AU7/ECC82/E82CC/ECC802
12AX7/ECC83/E83CC/ECC803
12B4/12B4-A
5687
6085/E80CC
6DJ8/E88CC/6922
6CG7/6FQ7

(octal, larger 8 pin tubes)
6F5/6SF5/12F5/12SF5
6SL7/12SL7
6SN7/12SN7
6J5/12J5


Power tubes, there's a ton -

Triodes:
45/145/245/345/45A (*45)
52/VT-52
2A3/6A3/6B4G
211
300A/300B
6K6
PX4
845
1623
1626 (VT137)
6CK4
6C33C-B
6AS7/6080
6336
6528

Pentodes:
6AV5*
6AQ5/12AQ5 (Low-mu 6BQ5)
6BQ5/8BQ5/10BQ5/EL84/6P14P
6CK6 (EL83/6P15P/SV83, EL84 w/different pinout)
6550/KT88/KT90
6L6/807
EL34/KT77
6P3S/1625
6V6
12L6/25L6/50L6

Some of these may be categorized incorrectly, but at least it's a starting point.

If you find any of the tubes listed above cheap and NOS (new old stock), PM me and I may be interested in 'em!
post #8 of 26
what 12au7's do you have?
Which ones would be better than the JJ ECC82 on the SOHA? I want more warmth
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
i havent gone out and looked or bought any yet, but thanks for that list motherone, greatly appreciated. Are the only tubes that'll work for the millett made by GE?
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherone View Post
The tubes you'll want will depend on what you're going to do. You could find tubes like the following.

For Millett Hybrids, you could look at:
12FK6, 12FM6, 12AE6, 12AJ6, 12FT6. All are space charge tubes, but you may need to tweak some resistors to get all of them to work optimally.
I got two 12AE6a tubes, and I was wondering if I could use them, since they have the a at the end. One is Olson, and the other is GE.
post #11 of 26
You might want to look for telefunken or amperex bugle boys. These are considered premium NOS tubes. I want to get some bugle boy 12au7's for my SOHA.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by XFxGeforced View Post
I got two 12AE6a tubes, and I was wondering if I could use them, since they have the a at the end. One is Olson, and the other is GE.
According to some, the 12AE6A is actually preferred. The original 12AE6 is much older and may not test out as well. With quality brands (GE), however, I've noticed no difference.

The thing you want with the Millett is two tubes of the same brand and vintage. Matching is not an issue - you're essentially doing "matching" when you bias each tube separately. However, the sound quality - things like bass response, highs/details, and soundstage - resides within brand and vintage. So you want two of the same kind, period.

That said, Olson was more than likely made by GE, but it's probably not the same vintage or quality. Most of my GE's have top getters, but the Olson's have side getters. They probably won't sound the same.

I don't want to be discouraging, but after finding a couple of old electronics and antique stores with tube stashes myself - I doubt seriously that someone (many someones) hasn't picked out all the good stuff long ago. Millett tubes are an exception - perhaps no one but a Millett builder puts any value on those tubes.

A quick check of the brands and variants for the 12AU7 will tell you if someone's picked through the good stuff already - GE, RCA, TungSol of 12AU7, 5814, 6189, and 6680. If you find few of those or mostly some JAN's, the stash has already been pilfered. You may score some 5963's which are good for the SOHA and mostly won't work in a commercial amp using 12AU7's (it has lower voltages).

I've had more luck sticking my nose in the stash of a real tube dealer:
Tube Depot in Person.
They buy so much from independents, estates, and stores like the one you've discovered, that they often have so many they haven't had time to categorize all of them according to brand and demand.

Motherone's tube list is really great for reference, anyway, though. Good luck.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by headphonejunkie View Post
I want to get some bugle boy 12au7's for my SOHA.
Aint that quite an overkill for SOHA? I have the impression that SOHA wont benefit much from a "boutique" tube.

Of course, if you want to go maxxing everything out...
post #14 of 26
I did not know that. Maybe I better save my money then. That stinks.Why wouldn't a boutique cap work? I would think it would be better.
post #15 of 26
The SOHA does show significant variation between tubes; it's definitely a rollable design. In fact, the SOHA probably shows more differences than other amplifiers because of its strange operating point, which sits outside of the 'design range' of the 12au7.

That said, I don't know if it's worthwhile to invest significant amounts of money into boutique tubes for a SOHA. Part of this is personal skepticism; while the 'desirable' euro-manufactured Telefunken or Amperex tubes definitely have excellent build quality, I think most reports of these tubes sounding better are really just the consequence of price-placebo effects and advertising hype. Even if I were take reports of a tube's goodness at face value, the strange operating point probably renders any ranking at normal voltages moot.

My suggestion for tube rolling? Keep the pricing sane and experiment. For the price of a single NOS bugle boy I've gotten about 25 12AU7's and equivalents via lot buys on eBay. My favorite is an unremarkable-looking late 50's GE gray medium-plate 12AU7A bought for $3.50. I haven't compared it to an Amperex, but it at the least beat out a Mullard CV4003 mil-spec, another very well-reputed tube.
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