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I traded with a friend and on my end I recieved an Audio Research SP16 pre-amp that I love. No ever owning a tube piece before I was unprepared for how excellent my records and CDs would sound -
My question is how do I Know when it is time to replace the tubes? Between it's previous owner and me, the current tubes have a lot of hours on them, though how many I can't say. Is there some auditory sign that the old tubes are shot, or do they just quit?
You should be able to get a very long lifespan out of your current tubes, as the other posters here have said. I totally agree. Pre-amp tubes outlast power-type tubes by a long shot. You can rack up years and years of useage on these types.
Replacement of the tubes is not necessarily "tube rolling." All tubes have their own sonic signature, some slight and some obviously different from other ones. You can change brands and sub-types to find the tubes that sound the best to you. Quite a few people prefer the sound and quality of NOS tubes to new manufactured ones.
The tubes your preamp requires are a very common type, and there are many different possibilities to try. There are plenty of new 12AX7 types being made, and also a good supply of new old tubes still around. Try different brands such as RCA, Siemens, Telefunken, Mullard, Amperex, GE, Phillips.... and different types such as 12AX7, 5751, ECC83, 7025, 6681... you get the picture- the options are aplenty.
Preamps, such as your Audio Research, use tubes that have very long life cycles. If the sound is good, there is no need to replace the tubes. If you begin to hear roll off on the high frequencies and slow warm-up (to decent sonics), then it's time to replace the tubes. The good news is that replacement of preamp tubes is very inexpensive. Enjoy your new preamp.
and/or is increasingly noisy. Tubes are failing when the balance changes and one side becomes more prominent.
Is that what "roll the tubes" means. I always thought it meant, "hit you stinking pig, give me you money!". I just had a tube go bad in my amp and the only indicatioin was that I had to keep turning down the good side because the bad side keep getting lower. Cheers.
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