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Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

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Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by joeinid » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:56 pm

Just curious where everyone buys their tubes .....
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by admin » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:25 am

I have bought from thetubestore.com, ebay, craigslist, Conrad Johnson themselves, and some from a person I talked with on a forum site....

I think that is all that comes to mind at this point.
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Current Conrad Johnson Equipment in System: Evolution 2000, PV-12L, and D/A-2b.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by joeinid » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:39 pm

Pretty much the same experience as me. I'll have to price out tubes from CJ regarding the ART monos vs other sources.
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by alexwu21 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:12 am

In Hong Kong, it is even more difficult to buy good tubes... sigh....

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Ray » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:15 am

I've bee using tubestore and tubedepot.. Obtw I have settled on Gold Lions for GAT.
...too much trouble finding Finding reliable NOS tubes.

Looks like KT 120s are around $45 each. No too bad. Not sure how much CJ KT 120s would cost.
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by joeinid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:41 am

Ray wrote:I've bee using tubestore and tubedepot.. Obtw I have settled on Gold Lions for GAT.
...too much trouble finding Finding reliable NOS tubes.

Looks like KT 120s are around $45 each. No too bad. Not sure how much CJ KT 120s would cost.
I've been using them both too. CJ would probably be twice the price. I do understand they do extensive sorting and testing. Not sure though. I'll send an email and find out.
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Good Dog Jocko » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:02 pm

This is my personal general opinion regarding buying tubes.

1) Buy from Conrad-Johnson if you want the exact tubes your recently designed C-J tube amp was designed around.

2) Buy from Andy Bowman of Vintage Tubes Services if you want the absolute best tubes that your older gear was designed around. If your amp uses vintage tubes even though it is modern construction, this still applies. His tube testing lab and knowledge is unsurpassed in the entire world.

3) I have used Watford Valves in England and they are one of the very best large volume tube suppliers.

As far as Tubestore and Tubedepot and other such online sources go, they have about zilch in NOS tubes and mainly sell new production. I have gotten matched pairs where one tube is much more microphonic than the others. They mainly just match on gain factor. Andy Bowman matches on that plus microphonics/noise. He matches for noise and grades the tubes whether they can be used for Linestage, High Output Phono or Low Output Phono use. Your price is determined by the noise/microphonic quality of the tube, and he sells lightly used tubes with at least 90% of their lifespan remaining at greatly reduced prices. A good way to get high quality NOS tubes at current tube production prices.

I would consider eBay a better place to sell tubes than buy them. NOS tubes have been picked over by the knowledgeable people and most of what comes off eBay is noisy/microphonic junk. You can buy tubes at hamfests because ham radio guys are packrats that often have excess stuff to sell. They are much cheaper than audiophile tube sources, and what does not work out for you can be sold on.....you guessed it.....eBay.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by arnel » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:11 pm

I recently scored a CJ preamp, PV-3. The seller told me he had it serviced at the CJ factory and they did a full tube replacement. When I got it I found it odd that each tube came from a different part of the world.. I would have thought they would be matched, but each tube was from a different manufacturer. I don't know much about tubes but I've read tube matching can be beneficial. Then again I'm sure the techs at CJ know what they are doing. Has anyone had tubes replaced by CJ themselves and experienced this? I sure hope I placed them in the right sockets.. if they were expertly placed that is. Three 12AX7, all made in different countries, and a single Sylvania 12AT7. Hard to mess up the 12AT7 I suppose.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by jbot5000 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:25 pm

the tube dealers I've come trust have been jessi brent, tube mongers, and the tube maze store on ebay I've had to learn the hard way the whole way but after years of learning what the tube should look like inside and out from the manufacture and the other companies they might own or set up I've got a little comfortable going back to ebay where NOS tubes can be a nightmare but the brokers i mentioned above are awesome and down to earth and not afraid to answer questions but id email jessi brent if you have a lot of questions he hasn't said it yet but i think at times i might have talk to him a little more than he wanted oh and they have great prices for the service and if anyone wants talk tubes I've got more resorces on facts and history

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Billy Budapest » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:24 am

I like http://www.vacuumtubes.com for NOS and used, test new tubes. I'm currently using Telefunken 12ax7 and 12au7, RCA 5692 red base, and Siemens (RFT) EL-34 in my CAV-50.

This is a no-nonsense site. Just read his disclaimer:
Audio People Please READ! There is no way I or anyone else can tell you how any given tube will sound in your equipment. There are too many subjective variables for me or anyone to tell you unless they have your equipment and your ears. You need to try different types to see what you like best. I know that I would sell more tubes and make more money if I did, but I'm not in the business of pedaling B.S.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by tubegroover » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:29 am

Having used tube gear exclusively for the past 25 years and having purchased from virtually all the known tube vendors and other sources I agree with good dog Jacko, Andy Bowman and Vintage Tube Services is the best in the business for both testing and his overall knowledge with fair pricing. You just won't do better even when purchasing his used tubes. He is also willing to talk your ear off about the different characteristics of any tube and manufacturer and will steer you in the right direction. I have a Hickok 533 tester. After purchasing tubes, at a minimum I test for transconductance, tube life and shorts. I also look for obvious use and condition. it's better to be safe in going with a reputable tube vendor and to know that Andy is the best, period! Another good way to purchase is directly from the manufacturer which will be comparable to what you'll pay from Andy.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by joeinid » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:48 pm

The Tube Store now lists tube sets for Conrad Johnson. Makes life a little easier. Two levels to choose from.

http://www.thetubestore.com/Shop-by-Amp ... hnson-Amps
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by admin » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:28 pm

joeinid wrote:The Tube Store now lists tube sets for Conrad Johnson. Makes life a little easier. Two levels to choose from.

http://www.thetubestore.com/Shop-by-Amp ... hnson-Amps

That's really cool. I hope they expand those sets into some of the more "vintage gear". Would be nice to have options for my Evolution 2000, PV12, and D/A-2b.
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Current Conrad Johnson Equipment in System: Evolution 2000, PV-12L, and D/A-2b.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Wildcat » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:27 am

I recently bought a NOS matched pair of Mullard M8080/CV4058 tubes from a UK seller on eBay. I purchased a matched pair in March from the same seller, and one of the pair went bad (it started making a rustling noise). Long story short, with my more recent order, they shipped another pair to take care of the bad one I had. They were just a little more pricey than buying a quantity of them in bulk, but I have no way to test and match them. Other than the one fluke tube, they sound really nice.
C-J PV-14L/C-J Premier 11/Vandersteen 2Ce

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Kyrlos » Wed May 31, 2017 2:28 pm

I buy them from either thetubestore.com or Upscale Audio.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Wildcat » Wed May 31, 2017 3:14 pm

I should add: I ordered a full set of tubes for my Premier 11 from Upscale Audio about a month ago. I asked about the 5751, and they recommended *not* using anything else in its place (like a 12AX7), and also mentioned they had no NOS options available for that tube. But, I did get the Brimar 6CG7/6FQ7, and used KT120s for the power tubes. Prices were pretty much the going rate for these tubes, and they shipped quickly.
C-J PV-14L/C-J Premier 11/Vandersteen 2Ce

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Bill Stevenson » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:28 pm

I buy most of mine from Jim McShane and a few from cj. CJ wants approximately 2X the price of anyone else.

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Big Dog RJ » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:24 am

G'day cj maties,

Thought I'd add a few notes here since I recently ordered tubes. Well all of a sudden about two weeks ago, the output of one channel became dull. very low output as if the sound was muffeled. anyway it turned out to be one of the 5965 tubes also known as a 12AV7. This is a special nos low gain tube that cj uses as the phase inverters on the cav45.

Talk about special, I searched low & high across the Aussie outback for this tube and no one had it, let alone even heard of a 12AV7! 12AX, AU ... yes but not AV. so it seems I had no option other than to order from cj. The tubes arrived last wed and cost me $100 just for a pair!
Anyway after a bit of huffing & puffing I managed to get the cost down to a fairly reasonable price. Fitted them in and wow what a difference! I guess this is where cj knows there's stuff and where to source rare nos tubes.

The sound is extraordinary and I replaced both channels. This goes to show the price paid after all is worth it. Another good thing is I need to replace just a handful of tubes when required rather than a bank of tubes like those larger amps... Having only 3 smaller ones and a pair of output tubes per channel definitely makes life easier in the long run...

Aus is such a great place down under, and no one has heard of this tube, made me wonder what a rare sound cj is after in their new designs.
cheers, RJ

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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Joe Appierto » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:04 am

Hi RJ,

Glad you were able to come to terms with c-j and that the result was such an improvement. I am not at all familiar with this tube type but a quick search on the Internet brought to light that The Tube Store also stocks them. At a price of USD7.95 each it might be worth a shot? They also stock the 5965 at the same price which is described as "The 5965 tube is a robust US military upgrade for the standard 12AV7 tube type. Replaces all 5965 tube and 12AV7 Tube Types."

Regards,
Joe
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Re: Where do you buy your tubes? From Conrad Johnson or ....

Post by Coppy » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:57 pm

Hey Guys,

I've had good luck with TubeStore, TubeDepot, and Upscale Audio. Both new and NOS. Just got eight GL KT88s from Music Direct of all places. I do other business with them so went for the discount. Matched and sound good so far... two days. Of course c-j, and you know they check them out.
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