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Tube Limbo

I've been in 'tube limbo' for almost a year and finally got out of it today as I had some time on my hands.

Tube Limbo is the state where you know you really ought to service your tube gear but don't want to be bothered or have to spend more money over something that is just going to burn out again anyway.

1. Well, my Anthem 1 tube amp has been going strong for a couple or four years or longer (I don't use it very much for various reasons though). I figure that I really ought to bias those tubes or, at least, check the bias. Well, all very consistent at 23ma, so I re-biased them for 25ma which is what I did the last time, so they may have lost some bias over the time.

After years of EL34 failures, I got tired of buying new sets of tubes and just reused what I had and also fixed a bad socket (six years ago, let's say) that cost me many a tube. Anyway, these tubes are the survivors and may be up to twenty years old, but were out of service at times when I re-tubed. One tube manufacturer on one side and another on the other side, so I couldn't tell you which manufacturer is better.

2. Pre-amplifier is next. I stopped using tubes altogether because the tubes weren't lasting as long as I hoped they would. Sounded pretty crappy, but sometimes you don't realize it because it happens gradually, although the constant hiss seems to creep up very suddenly that you just start noticing when the music stops. I don't think I got more than two years and I don't fire up the tube gear that often, although the preamp did get headphone usage every week. I stopped using tube gear for almost a whole year while I experimented with various solid state headphone amplifiers.

So I reused some of the previous batch of tubes and I probably got lucky. Still some background hiss but it is now lower and that THREE-DIMENSIONAL soundscape is back ;-) I'm so happy! They are all EH 6922, although I replaced a gold pin pair with a normal pair. I think the gold pin ones were cryo-ed and I blame that for their quick failure to being noisy, but I don't really know. Anyway, back to business now. Solid State really still is no match to tube gear, at least for how much I'm willing to pay.

I may have to buy new tubes the next time tube limbo strikes again.

Edits: 04/30/17

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Topic - Tube Limbo - jedrider 22:33:48 04/30/17 (9)


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