NOS Tube Buying Advice Sought
Mar 1, 2006 at 7:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

replytoken

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While I rely on The Tube Store for new tubes at fair prices, their supply of NOS is a bit limited. Soon I will be looking to purchase a very small supply of tubes to roll into my soon to be delivered MAD EAR++ (and to act as a supply reserve in case of any problems). There are a very large number of tube sellers on Ebay, and I am sure some of them are very reputable. As I have no intention of "cornering the market" or reselling tubes, would anybody be willing to recommend reputable sellers on Audiogon or Ebay, either as a reply to this message or by PM? Most of the tubes that I am looking for are not big ticket items, with the possible exception of some 5751's that are beyond my budget. I realize that "you pays your money and you takes your chances" when buying from places like Ebay, but I just want to minimize my chances of getting scammed by dealing with reputable people. Yes, Ebay has a rating system, but I have more faith in my fellow Head-Fi bottleheads than I do in Ebay. So this thread does not head down a path that I, and most likely the moderators, do not want to go, let's keep it to positive recommendations. If you really feel that I need to know about a bad experience, then send it via PM or please start your own thread. Thank you for any recommendations.

P.S. Perhaps if we have some consensus on some sellers, we could add them to the one of the sticky tube threads?
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 1:06 AM Post #2 of 10

Csericks

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I've bought a few NOS tubes from Upscale Audio. The tubes have not been cheap but they are always of the absolute best quality. Upscale has a very good reputation.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 1:10 AM Post #3 of 10

JT107

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I bought some tubes from Dale at Radio Electronic Supply.Very pleasant
experience, and the prices were reasonable. I heard about them from Earl,
and he definitely steered me right!
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 2:10 AM Post #5 of 10

aerius

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Quote:

Originally Posted by omedon
How does Radio Electronic Supply work?

Do you just order a tube type and they send you whatever NOS tube brand they happen to have on hand?



I email them first and ask if they have the brands & models I want in stock, then if they do I place an order and type in my request in the comments box.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 3:39 AM Post #6 of 10

nmculbreth

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I'll second the recommendation of Upscale Audio, they're a bit more expensive but they know their tubes and you'll always get what you paid for. Also I've always found Kevin Deal to be really helpful when you're not sure what you're looking for, he does a good job of listening to what you're looking for and helping you select the right tubes.

If you know what you're looking for I'd recommend SND tube sales. I've had really good luck purchasing from them in the past.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 4:18 AM Post #7 of 10

replytoken

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into these dealers. Hopefully, I won't need much tube rolling with the EAR++. It seems as though the 5751 is going to be the one I will probably be searching for. Besides the concern about fake tubes or NOS being used, can a bad signal tube, like a 5751 (or 12AX7), cause any damage, or is the worst being that I just wasted my money?
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 7:08 AM Post #9 of 10

gundam91

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Hey man, if you know where to look, you can still get them for cheap. I've been buying some GE 5-start triple mica black plate 5751s for $5 a pop this past summer. When I got home and tested them on my tube tester, I found two bad ones the first time, and the guy let me exchange them for something else when I brought them back. Look in your local yellow pages, and start calling those electronic warehouses and ask if they still sell vacuum tubes. You will never know what you'll find at your local electronic supply warehouses.

If you want to venture into eBay land, follow these rules:

1/ Know your tube inside out and know every variation out there;
2/ Learn how to spot fakes;
3/ Keep tap of warnings and discussions on Tube Asylum;
4/ Check the feedbacks and also recent sales. Look for dealers that sells only tubes and have thousands of feedbacks. Read at least 20 to 30 feedbacks closely.
5/ Make sure the pictures posted are crisp clear, and you can identify the tubes 100% to be exactly what is described.
6/ If it sounds too good to be true, it IS;
7/ If you smell a rat, let it go. There's always another chance;
8/ Keep bidding under control, know what the going rate is and never, never try to "beat" the other bidder. There's always another chance;
9/ Have patience;
10/ Get yourself a tube tester.

I had been a big buyer off eBay about 6-7 years ago. I've done hundreds of deals on eBay, and have only been duped once. The tubes were exactly as described. But when I measured the tube, they had almost no life left. But I was too busy then and didn't do the testing like 2 months after I had received them.

If all this work is too much for you, pay the premium and buy them from reputable dealers like ATSI, BOI AudioWorks, Brent Jesse, ESRC, Triode Electronics, and Kevin Deal. Some of these dealers charges extradinary prices, but hey there are always people out there willing to pay. But buy up! NOS tube prices have risen over 300% over the last 4 or 5 years.
basshead.gif
Maybe I should get into the tube-selling business. I probably make more money than most of my stocks!
very_evil_smiley.gif
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 1:01 PM Post #10 of 10

JT107

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Quote:

Originally Posted by omedon
How does Radio Electronic Supply work?

Do you just order a tube type and they send you whatever NOS tube brand they happen to have on hand?



Just pick up the phone, they are very helpful.
 

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