Visual evidence Tung-Sol 5998 = Western Electric 421
Aug 7, 2010 at 5:52 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 111

hodgjy

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I was cruising eBay, and I came across this.  This has been debated a lot here, and hopefully this settles it for good.
 
http://cgi.ebay.com/Western-Electric-5998-421A-vacuum-electron-Tube-/310238096979?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0
 
Now, there is no longer any evidence for people to deny the WE 421 was not made by Tung-Sol.  There's no need to dish out $300 on a WE 421 in hopes that it is more magical than a regular 5998
 
Aug 8, 2010 at 9:27 AM Post #2 of 111

Skylab

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I wasn't aware there was even any debate on this topic.  There shouldn't have been!  *ONLY* Tung-Sol *EVER* made the 5998, and the 421A is just a WE rebrand, pure and simple.  Any difference in sound between a 5998 and a 421A is purely due to the age/condition of the tube.
 
Aug 8, 2010 at 10:28 AM Post #3 of 111

hodgjy

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I agree, there shouldn't have ever been a debate. But, there are several posts floating around there (by owners of the 421s, no less) that claim the two tubes are different.  Perhaps they're just trying to justify the money they payed on it.
 
Aug 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM Post #4 of 111

Skylab

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Probably right! I could never figure out why 421A's went for so much, even when it was clear that the tube is Tung-Sol made. But the fabled WE brand does carry a lot of mystique, even it it's JUST the brand :wink:
 
Mar 14, 2015 at 10:08 PM Post #6 of 111

Dubstep Girl

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Lol omg people still think the 421A is better, maybe, just maybe by like 1% (u know, the cherry picked pairs that measure better, if they even did that). i had 421a and 2399/5998 pairs and they sounded the same to me, i tried really hard to find a difference and nothing..

edit: aww just realized thread got rebumped by someone and its 5'yrs old, noo!
 
Mar 15, 2015 at 5:21 AM Post #7 of 111

jhljhl

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Lol omg people still think the 421A is better, maybe, just maybe by like 1% (u know, the cherry picked pairs that measure better, if they even did that). i had 421a and 2399/5998 pairs and they sounded the same to me, i tried really hard to find a difference and nothing..

edit: aww just realized thread got rebumped by someone and its 5'yrs old, noo!


Still relevant. 421a go for a large premium over 5998.
 
Mar 26, 2015 at 6:58 PM Post #8 of 111

hdtv00

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What was the evidence, the link is dead. I thinking about an unbranded 421a from talked about store on here for $180. But if its unmarked and they are the same internals how then can it be even claimed as a WE 421a...
 
Mar 27, 2015 at 4:48 PM Post #9 of 111

hdtv00

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This is what vacuumtubes.net had to say when I asked how they can tell its a 421a and not just a 5998.
"Tung-Sol (and their subsidiary brand Chatham) was the only company to ever produce the 5998 (both the top and bottom getter variants).  You'll see them branded with GE, Sylvania, RCA and every other smaller name out there- but they are all Tung-Sol.
The WE421a is rather similar to the TS bottom-getter 5998.  They sound similar, they look alike, and they have rather close operating specs.  However, the 421a is a vastly superior tube, but considering it's scarcity most people end up with 5998s because collecting a quad of matched 421a is somewhere between unlikely and impossible, and the 'close enough' factor applies."
There was more about history of Western Electric and what not. He didn't answer directly I guess the question but seems to know what they're talking about I guess. I said go ahead and invoice me for it. Time will tell I guess.
They emailed back and explained much further and in detail.
" I'm glad that our reputation proceeds us, but I still like to make sure that we're always known to be on the level.  There is one easy way to identify the 421a over the 5998.  The top mica and support column has three evenly spaced separators in a triangle.
 
(((Sorry for the poor photo.  We really need a better camera in the office...)))
 
The 5998 just has 2.  Beyond etching, printing, boxes and labels- the internal construction can't be faked.  Most of the "421a" tubes on eBay are actually bottom getter 5998s (or sometimes they're even trying to pass top getter variants!).  Ask them for a photo of the top of the tube and most of them just don't answer.
 
The 421a comes with two types of printing:
The first is the well-known heavy yellow paint.  It was an early form of thermographics, and the lettering is raised.  Not just raised a little- but often enough to tell what the characters are without looking at the tube.
The other is blank.  These were left unbranded for commercial sales to radio and industrial manufacturers.  Not flat printing, not printing on the glass, not white lettering on the top of the glass...  they were heavy yellow or blank.  Everything else is rolled on after production.
 
  When you're looking at audio tubes, and especially expensive tubes, you have more than a right to ask about its authenticity.  If it is a tube I can't prove I'll give you my reasoning as to why I feel one way or another, and we can compare notes and research.  We would rather pass on a sale of an iffy than risk that hard-built reputation."
 
Mar 27, 2015 at 6:04 PM Post #10 of 111

hodgjy

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I don't trust the guys at vacuumtubes.net. They have misled me several times. Of course they'll say the 421 is the better tube. They can charge more for it.
 
Mar 31, 2015 at 2:40 AM Post #12 of 111

hdtv00

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So I backed out of that deal and asked for refund which they gave. Notice the top Mica plates, they're rectangle , on every labeled 421A I've seen they are oblong in shape not rectangle. I don't believe they are the same either as this thread implies.

 
This is THE one I really find curious though check it out labeled both 5998/421A..Notice it has the rectangle mica supports, yet labeled as both.


 
But every 421A I've seen looks like this ..Oblong supports.


They can also have round. D shape or I think rectangle getters at the bottom too on 421A's.
 
Apr 1, 2015 at 10:19 PM Post #14 of 111

hdtv00

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Of course it does, they are almost identical near as I can tell. But the mica at top has oblong shape on 421 on every one I've seen. 5998's do not, they are rectangle. It's that middle pic that is so crazy, it's labeled at BOTH. Which is beyond bizarre. Oh damn it there is another difference too I seen listed somewhere about some part being twisted or something but now I forget.
 

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