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#1
Just curious, but since NOS Valves/Tubes are as awesome as they are, why don't any of the current manufacturers produce exact copies of the NOS tubes we know and love? If they could produce them and sell them for, say, 80% of what they sell for now, wouldn't that be doubly beneficial? They turn a great profit and we get better tubes? Am I missing some kind of info about NOS tubes that makes them unable to be recreated?

I personally think Cath and I should expand Cathbard Amplification to Cathbard amplification and Valves.
Hell, all I would ask is 3 things!
-10% on valve sales of NOS recreations
-Free Valves for Life
-10% off of one of his sexy Jack Daniels 18w Marshalls

#2
because they can not reproduce the quality of the tubes they used to, and there are very few actual tube mfgrs nowdays compared to what there used to be.
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#3
Quote by Robbgnarly
because they can not reproduce the quality of the tubes they used to, and there are very few actual tube mfgrs nowdays compared to what there used to be.


Can't? Really? Or is it more a matter that if they did it would cost a lot more than the remaining NOS tubes?

It would be cool if someone could articulate exactly what the difference in quality is and what's different in today's manufacturing processes that compromises quality...
#4
the diff is the material composition of every little component. The metal is not suplied from the same sorces and in many cases, the original sorces for materials nolonger exists. Yes they could do better with new tubes, but companys are all about proffit nowdays
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#5
It's certainly possible to make better tubes than we currently have. Making them exactly like the old tubes may not be possible for the reasons already listed. Price is the concern. Tubes of that caliber will have a narrow market, i.e. the rich and famous. Your average player couldn't afford them. When they can't sell them by the hundreds then there is little incentive to make them. I'd love to open up a tube factory right here in the US making high quality tubes again, but I'd lose my ass in all likelyhood.
#6
Another thing is that yes some of the tube mfgrs are using the same dye's/machines as the old mfgs did 50 yrs ago. And although they are using the same dyes those nolonger have the same tolerances they one did for the very obvious they have been used for 60+yrs to manufature the same things (parts wear out over time). The Glass is another thing lots of old tubes had a much thicker glass housing back then.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#7
Quote by Robbgnarly
the diff is the material composition of every little component. The metal is not suplied from the same sorces and in many cases, the original sorces for materials nolonger exists. Yes they could do better with new tubes, but companys are all about proffit nowdays


Companies have always been all about profit. If you don't make a profit, you can't stay in business. It's not charity work, and even then you have to watch the bottom line or you lose your supporters.

Quality is an important variable in the equation. Poor quality can cost a company their existence. But sometimes disposable products make sense for consumers. So companies just have to know their markets. Apparently today's tubes are good enough for their mass market and the musician's market doesn't justify the costs of increased quality. At least, not as long as there are still enough NOS tubes out there to satisfy the market.
#8
Quote by jetwash69
Companies have always been all about profit.


Yes, but they also used to put out very high quality products at the same time. Companys wanted their products to last.
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#9
Quote by Robbgnarly
Yes, but they also used to put out very high quality products at the same time. Companys wanted their products to last.


Some companies still do. It all depends on the market. If the companies don't serve their markets, then they won't stay in business. Some markets won't support the quality level you have in mind. Part of it is how much the consumers in the market are willing/able to spend on the quality. Additionally, there are many aspects to quality and the manufacturer's perspectives might have to differ from yours.

Other companies don't want their products to last, but if that's in conflict with market expectations, and neither adjust, then those companies will lose market share.
#10
Quote by Robbgnarly
Yes, but they also used to put out very high quality products at the same time. Companys wanted their products to last.



What a load of "good old days" nonsense!
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#11
you can't do jack shit without a military or aerospacespace contract.
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#12
Tubes are a niche product these days. They are completely obsolete outside of a subset of guitar players and hi fi audio enthusiasts.
#13
I think the fact that NOS tubes are still around shows that there's not that big of a market for them. Think about it, tubes made decades ago, haven't sold for, well, decades.
#14
Quote by AcousticMirror
you can't do jack shit without a military or aerospacespace contract.


this. teflon army.
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#15
Tubes were the pinnacle of electronics back in the 50s and 60s, everything used them from the stereo in your living room, radios in fighter planes and tanks, to the medical equipment that was saving lives across the globe. There was competition between the manufacturers to produce the best tube and contracts to fill out. It was a business.

Nothing uses that glowing glass thingy today, its obsolete 50 times over. There isn't a big enough market anymore with guitarists/audiophiles/radio that could support the needs of a quality tube manufacturer. Besides, there's no chance in hell that you could build tubes by hand with OSHA and the Unions existing.

Why produce a tube that will last 30+ years when you can sell inferior ones that burn out in a few years? If everyones amp had quality tubes in them there wouldn't be a market to sell to anymore. Doesn't sound like there's any money to be made in producing top-notch tubes these days.
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#16
Quote by Arby911
What a load of "good old days" nonsense!

No with tubes it does work that way, It works that way with most modern electronics actualy we have become a disposable society. Remember when a VCR cost $600 in 1985? and if they broke you took them to a repair man because they were made to work on so they could be fixed. now your DVD player goes bust, you spend $25 on a new one, because they cost way more to repair than they are worth.

And yes I will agree the NOS tubes (In some cases) were made better because lots were military spec tubes.
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#17
I don't see where there is no market. If there is enough of a market to sell guitar amplifiers that use tubes, then there is enough market to produce the tubes for them. I mean, think about I how many sets of tubes have you bought new versus how many tube amps you've bought new? You've probably bought more tubes than amps. Amps also last much longer and can be made by just about anyone who has half a brain. Tubes have to be manufactured, and with what extra people pay for NOS tubes, you would think they would pay that for high-quality modern tubes. I don't honestly think it costs enough to make tubes that making higher quality ones would warrant prices in excess of NOS prices...especially as avaibility slowly declines. If there was a company here in the States that produced quality tubes, I would support them for sure. I'm not saying the tubes need to last 10 years, but having ones of the same quality as NOS that would actually be in constant production would be nice. If demand for them isn't high enough, don't produce them at a high rate and don't use as many people.
#18
You're missing the point here, even in the 60s guitar amps were a VERY small corner of the tube market. Since everything used tubes at that point (TVs, audio, radio/broadcasting, communications, medical equipment, analog computers, etc) there was competition to produce a high quality tube better than the next guy. If a tube failed then you'd be outta a TV until a repair man got ahold of it, a persons life could be at risk, or even worse a mishap in military communications. They weren't designed for their tone, they were designed to be dependable and last. The tone factor is a by product.

Quote by Blktiger0
think about how many sets of tubes have you bought new versus how many tube amps you've bought new? You've probably bought more tubes than amps.
How many vintage amps and organs are still running the tubes they came with from the factory? If tubes were like the vintage high quality versions then they wouldn't be selling many sets of tubes at all, because they would last forever in the few applications they still have. Music gear was a tiny percentage of sales in the vacuum tube heyday, you're overlooking that point. The music industry alone couldn't support a premium tube industry.
If there was a company here in the States that produced quality tubes, I would support them for sure.
OSHA and the Unions wouldn't ever allow quality handmade tubes in the U.S. again, notice how today's production tubes are in countries with lenient work environment laws.
I'm not saying the tubes need to last 10 years, but having ones of the same quality as NOS that would actually be in constant production would be nice. If demand for them isn't high enough, don't produce them at a high rate and don't use as many people.
Quality tubes will last 10 years or more, those are the tubes that sound great. Cheap mass production tubes burn out faster because there isn't a single industry that demands quality longevity tubes anymore.


You gotta remember the demand for tubes is less than 5% of what it was in the 50s and 60s. Nothing uses them anymore . There's considerably more money to be made in subpar short life tubes today than there is in producing vintage-quality tubes. Why sell somebody a set of tubes that will last 10+ years when you could sell them 4 sets in that same time frame? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to walk in somewhere and buy Mullard-spec tubes off the shelf. It's not gonna happen though, that industry is long gone.
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#19
well to a certain extent that already happens.

really good new production tubes get selected out and are priced higher.

and tube reliability was never really a selling point.

tubes needed to be replaced all the time back in the day.

people are just pussies about their tubes now.
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Last edited by AcousticMirror at Feb 19, 2012,
#20
Here's the thing. Making valves is a highly specialised skill requiring rather expensive machines and highly skilled people trained to make valves. Most of the guys that made those great old tubes have long since retired. That's what JJ found. They bought the equipment off Tesla but Tesla had retired off all the old staff before they sold the equipment. Those guys all took the money and ran and are now sitting back on a rocking chair telling kids to get off their lawn. In other countries the industry just died and those guys are also retired.
But lets just pretend that the equipment could be sourced and some of those guys were bored and came back to work. there's another problem that is pretty much insurmountable. You can't buy the raw materials any more.
Some of the chemicals used to treat valve parts was crazy toxic. These days even if you could buy it the occ health and safety implications would be prohibitive. The JJ ECC803 is a long plate Tesla ECC803 made to the exact same physical construction and even on the actual original machines. They are a good tube, sure but are they a Tesla? No, not at all.
Same with Tesla vs "JJ Tesla" EL34's. It's chalk and cheese. You'l get three or four times the life out of a real Tesla. I pulled some Teslas out of my JCM900 that had been in there for at least 15 years. Apparently the thing was gigged regularly and it does look like it has. Another guitarist in my band then used it gigging regularly with me for 5 years. They needed replacing but they were still working, they'd make fine backup valves for an emergency. JJ EL34's are good but can you imagine them lasting like that?
Now if JJ can't do it using the exact same machines they actually bought from Tesla what the hell hope has anybody else got?
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Last edited by Cathbard at Feb 19, 2012,
#21
jj isn't that good at doing things overall though.

the new genalex gold lion's are great.

i've used only a few of their power tubes though.

i'll test the rest in 10 years or so when i have to buy new tubes.
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#22
Quote by Robbgnarly
No with tubes it does work that way, It works that way with most modern electronics actualy we have become a disposable society. Remember when a VCR cost $600 in 1985? and if they broke you took them to a repair man because they were made to work on so they could be fixed. now your DVD player goes bust, you spend $25 on a new one, because they cost way more to repair than they are worth.

And yes I will agree the NOS tubes (In some cases) were made better because lots were military spec tubes.


Yeah, I remember how much more everything cost in 1985, and we got paid a lot less, too. According the the Consumer Price Index for inflation, "What cost $600 in 1985 would cost $1199.36 in 2010." Sorry, the calculator only goes to 2010.

Actually, my father's VCR cost him about $1200 in 1982 because it was a fancy HiFi model w/6 heads, and it only lasted about 4 years before he had to pay someone $400 to fix it. He had that thing on layaway for over a year; only high-end boutique retailers had VCRs with those features back then. By 1990 I was able to buy my own to have at college and it only cost $200 (which = about a week's worth of summer work before taxes for me back then). It had all the features and more than my Dad's then dead model had. And it lasted me about another 8 years, after which I replaced it with a $60 model that...you guessed it, had more features. And that one's still going strong after 14 years--just watched my old Mad Max VHS tape on it Friday night

So yeah, I'd rather buy a $25 DVD player or VHS that lasts 14+ years than one for $2674.88 that will need a $784.67+ repair in 4 years. The good old days weren't always so good.

By the way, most Soviet era military aircraft still use tubes, and not just for the radios, but for everything. They figured that tubes were more resistant to electromagnetic pulses from the nukes they were planning on dropping on the West and that the West would use to return fire. Not sure why that would matter when there wouldn't be any place left on earth that wasn't going to be covered with radioactive fallout to land anyway. If you haven't seen Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick, then you ought to check it out
Last edited by jetwash69 at Feb 20, 2012,
#23
Oh well, it was a thought. It just seems sad that the best valves you can buy today aren't gonna be around for too much longer. I vote we just burn everything to do with SS transistors so we can get our toanz back...
#24
OK so now we make NOS equivalent tubes brand new and market them... Who buys them? Very picky guitar players and hi-fi guys? Not if there are still NOS tubes out there for reasonably cheap. How many guys out there will buy a reissue of an amp, when there are plenty originals around for reasonable prices? Not many.

Maybe in ten years or so when NOS stocks are diminishing, but not while they're still around.
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#25
Sure! I take it you are providing the many hundreds of thousands of dollars required to purchase the facility, tooling, and workforce? It should only take around 1-2 years to get everyone trained, complete the appropriate R&D and product testing, and get all the other ducks in a row.

Please have an additional $500k to $750k available for that as well as incidentals.

When do we start?
#26
Quote by Blktiger0
I don't see where there is no market. If there is enough of a market to sell guitar amplifiers that use tubes, then there is enough market to produce the tubes for them. I mean, think about I how many sets of tubes have you bought new versus how many tube amps you've bought new? You've probably bought more tubes than amps. Amps also last much longer and can be made by just about anyone who has half a brain. Tubes have to be manufactured, and with what extra people pay for NOS tubes, you would think they would pay that for high-quality modern tubes. I don't honestly think it costs enough to make tubes that making higher quality ones would warrant prices in excess of NOS prices...especially as avaibility slowly declines. If there was a company here in the States that produced quality tubes, I would support them for sure. I'm not saying the tubes need to last 10 years, but having ones of the same quality as NOS that would actually be in constant production would be nice. If demand for them isn't high enough, don't produce them at a high rate and don't use as many people.


I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that you don't have an MBA...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#27
Quote by Arby911
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that you don't have an MBA...


I'm going to go on a limb here and say that I never claimed to have one or to know anything about this subject at all. I was basically asking a question and got my answer.

I'm going to go out on a second limb here and sya that you are a cocky, know-it-all bastard that thinks he's witty and clever.
#28
buy more genalex tubes.
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#29
Apparently Genalex EL84's don't like being in a cathode biased amp which basically makes them useless.
Can't say I've had much experience with the gold lions tbh. Must get some of their 12AX7's one day and give them a run.
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#30
no el84s like being in any amp.

Jumping on dat gear sig train.
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Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
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#31
EL84's are great, you just don't like power amp distortion.
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
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#32
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
PRS Hollowbody II / BKP Warpigs
Strandberg OS6T / BKP Aftermath
Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
Skervesen Raptor 7FF / BKP Warpigs
Skervesen Raptor 6 NTB / BKP Juggernauts
Hapas Sludge 7 FF / Hapas Leviathan
Anderson Baritom / Motorcity Nuke BKP Sinner Anderson H2+
Warmoth Baritone / BKP Piledriver
Ibanez Rg2120x / BKP Nailbomb

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#34
Quote by Blktiger0
I'm going to go on a limb here and say that I never claimed to have one or to know anything about this subject at all. I was basically asking a question and got my answer.

I'm going to go out on a second limb here and sya that you are a cocky, know-it-all bastard that thinks he's witty and clever.


oh oh oh. i am one of those two.

Quote by Arby911
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that you don't have an MBA...


+1 i finished up in the previous fall semester. i agree with you.
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Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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Last edited by trashedlostfdup at Feb 21, 2012,
#35
Quote by Blktiger0
I don't see where there is no market. If there is enough of a market to sell guitar amplifiers that use tubes, then there is enough market to produce the tubes for them. I mean, think about I how many sets of tubes have you bought new versus how many tube amps you've bought new? You've probably bought more tubes than amps. Amps also last much longer and can be made by just about anyone who has half a brain. Tubes have to be manufactured, and with what extra people pay for NOS tubes, you would think they would pay that for high-quality modern tubes. I don't honestly think it costs enough to make tubes that making higher quality ones would warrant prices in excess of NOS prices...especially as avaibility slowly declines. If there was a company here in the States that produced quality tubes, I would support them for sure. I'm not saying the tubes need to last 10 years, but having ones of the same quality as NOS that would actually be in constant production would be nice. If demand for them isn't high enough, don't produce them at a high rate and don't use as many people.


probably less that 10% of the US play guitar, i am talking full demographic. of those people just plug and play and don't really know or care enough. there are quite a lot of people that use solid state amps as well and it sounds good to them. then you have the tube amplifier business, i think maybe 1 in 5 know the difference of an EL84 and a EL34, or don't know the difference between electro harmonics and JJ. NOS prices aren't as bad as you think depending on what you want. yea you can dump over a grand on a NOS quad of EL34's, but they aren't the only NOS EL34's. most people get an amp and if it has a problem bring it in and get what ever tubes the shop has. around here people carry a lot of MEsa (which is a rebrand, i don't remember who they are rebranding now) and Groove tubes, which are a mixture of multiple manufactures and you have to read that specific box to tell what it is from a product code.

i don't see it happening. i would love it. but its not realistic.
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Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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#36
Again, this thread was mostly me wondering why nobody tried recreating old NOS tubes. I got my answer, and now know why. Obviously if it was a plausible idea, someone would have cashed in on it by now.
#37
Quote by Blktiger0
Again, this thread was mostly me wondering why nobody tried recreating old NOS tubes. I got my answer, and now know why. Obviously if it was a plausible idea, someone would have cashed in on it by now.


They are. And they're mad expensive for the aforementioned reasons.

http://www.euroaudioteam.com/

EDIT: The guys who used to make tubes for Mullard also reopened the Blackburn factory after it ceased to make CRTs a couple years back. They failed miserably. The tubes were supposed to sound killer but were also prone to be extremely microphonic right out of the box. And they were $80 a piece. Not EAT prices but way more than I've paid for anything NOS.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Feb 21, 2012,
#38
Blktiger0, people HAVE tried this. I suggest you google "techtube blackburn".
#39
Quote by Blktiger0
Again, this thread was mostly me wondering why nobody tried recreating old NOS tubes. I got my answer, and now know why. Obviously if it was a plausible idea, someone would have cashed in on it by now.


there you go.

http://www.euroaudioteam.com/en/eat-ecc803s-cool-valve-000009.html
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