Someone told me recently, when I was thinking of using tube dampers, that I should not because the concern over microphonics was overdone and that a reasonable amount of microphonics added "air" and "dimension." I would be interested in opinions on this. Thanks.
You can always take them off. I have noticed some hardening and lack of air...but it would depend on THAT tube's condition...so nobody can answer the question for you.
In some positions...microphony is not an issue...and you can put in a microphonic tube and never know it. Other positions...a grossly microphonic tube will howl...or sound so bad you will think you blew a speaker. Tubes with lesser microphony may or may not be an issue. Proof that a smidge may be OK is customers who have bought tube dampers and taken them off because it sounds better. Note that this does not happen with the Sovtek 6922 as it has low microphony.
I wish certain companies would ruber mount their tube sockets. Many times problems like whining and whisting come through the tube pins.
Thanks to Kevin for mentioning the Pins here. I have several VT231 which sound great. However, they are quite microphonic. I tried to use some very fine sand paper to "strip down" the pins and that made them much less microphonic without compromise "air", better than the McMaster Carr silicon rings. Nevertheless, I don't know if that is going to hurt the tubes in a long run. Any idea?
Tube damper can improve the sound of many tubes.While some microphonics can add air, but it usually adds warmth-it also tends to add noise and distortion. Try for yourself and see.
I wouldn't worry about tube dampers unless you are having an audiable microphonics problem. I played around with them a bit and found virtually no change in the music. Then a couple of my NOS tubes developed nasty, bad microphonics - loud, whistly, feedback kinda noises. Installed a couple of McMaster Carr Teflon-encapsulated silicon O-rings (about $3.50/ea), and the problem went away immediately.
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