What does it mean to have your tubes matched and your triodes balanced? I noticed that some online tube sites will do this for a fee but does it really make a difference in how the tubes will function?
Tubes vary even in the same batch, from the same company. The vacuum tube is an old technology, and most are made overseas at this point. You want to get them matched, so they all run at near the same specs. They are all involved in amplifying your sound, so you want them all close to eachother for efficiency reasons and because you want them all running similiar for you amp's circuit. You want them close for biasing reasons too. When they say a balanced triode, they are talking about a preamp tube. A/B amps run in what's called a "push pull" design, where the power tubes operate in pairs. There is one preamp tube at closest to the power tubes that is called the phase inverter or driver tube. It's regulating the voltage across those pairs, so you want it balanced an each side, so it doesn't throw off the push pull.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool." - W.S.
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