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Thread: Orange drops or Mallory 150s in 5E3 build?

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    Orange drops or Mallory 150s in 5E3 build?

    Planning to build a 5E3 and curious of your experience and opinions of what caps to use, Orange Drop 715P's or Mallory 150's?

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Theman View Post
    Planning to build a 5E3 and curious of your experience and opinions of what caps to use, Orange Drop 715P's or Mallory 150's?
    Built a 5E3 for a customer this summer, Mallory 150's and we're all happy with the amp including his friends & band members, all of 9 watts @ clip. FWIW speaker was one of my small amp faves, Jensen C12Q.

    One thing I want to try is somewhat smaller signal caps to dry up the low end a bit. Next time...

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    Original amp used polyester and paper caps for the post part, so any polyester cap will be closer to the original sound than a polypropylene cap. In other words, with your two choices, the Mallory 150's are closer to the sound of the original than the Orange Drop 715P. The Orange Drop 225P or the PS series are polyester and will likely sound better in that application than the 715P.

    I have an original 1956 5E3 and all the original Astron caps leaked DC and had to be replaced. I used Mallory 150's and the amp sounds great. YMMV.

    Greg

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    I use Mallorys mostly cuz they're smaller. Only problem is, the endcaps pop off if I'm a bit rough with em - the smallish ones. ODs are a bit more robust, physically. ODs don't quite look as elegant to me on a turret or eyelet board, but they're good for mounting on PCBs. I keep a few on hand, but mostly go for Mallorys. Electronically, I'm a caps-is-caps guy, not too cheap, not too expensive works for me. In a Fender ORIGINAL or CLONE, I'd go Mallory for LOOKS, but if it's a copy, whatever works.

    Justin

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Use both! Or neither! It really doesn't matter as much as many would have you believe. That said...

    In a strictly non scientific observation I've detected some small tonal properties that seem exclusive to rolled polyester caps in BF type circuits and I prefere them at face value. I still use polyprops in my designs and builds because of their superior temperature stability. They de rate less when the amp is hot, so, fewer surprises. With a 5E3, that may likely run very warm or hot sometimes, it might be a consideration.

    The last time I used polyester caps for a build I was appalled by the price of OD's and the 150's didn't have enough over another alternative for their added price too. I used the plain brown Panasonic film caps. They sounded great and I was especially happy about their slightly more compact package which made wiring crowded components on some circuits a bit easier.

    On another note... If brand matters, most "Fender" guys, players and repair techs, seem to prefer the 150's

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    ... I still use polyprops in my designs and builds because of their superior temperature stability. They de rate less when the amp is hot, so, fewer surprises. With a 5E3, that may likely run very warm or hot sometimes, it might be a consideration.
    ....
    I thought it was the opposite, the Mallory 150's can at least handle higher temperatures than polyesters -http://www.cde.com/resources/catalogs/150.pdf -
    but that's maybe not the same as stability?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Theman View Post
    I thought it was the opposite, the Mallory 150's can at least handle higher temperatures than polyesters -http://www.cde.com/resources/catalogs/150.pdf -
    but that's maybe not the same as stability?
    I wasn't talking about the actual rated temperature range. And you'll notice that chart specifies a 50% voltage de rate at the top rated temperature. I don't know why they would even do that.?. And still, not what I was talking about. I was talking about a capacitance value de rate. Polypropylene typically changes value less than a few percent at any real operating temperature. Notice that this spec isn't even noted in the 150 data sheet (I'm no expert but I didn't see it). One of our more tech competent members here is quick to note that if a particular spec for a component is poor the manufacturer will often simply omit it from the spec sheet. One thing I can tell you for certain is that I've heard amps change tone from cool to hot. It's annoying. Especially when you're the designer and you're trying to evaluate what an amp sounds like. So I do whatever I can to make my designs and builds perform consistently from the beginning of a set to the end.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Theman View Post
    I thought it was the opposite, the Mallory 150's can at least handle higher temperatures than polyesters -http://www.cde.com/resources/catalogs/150.pdf -
    but that's maybe not the same as stability?
    Neither M150 nor any type of OD will be challenged by the heat inside a tweed Deluxe.

    What I'd be careful of heat wise, is soldering. I have mangled a couple of Mallorys with too much heat on a lead, close to the body of the cap. Now I use a heat sink, gator clip or whatever I can find, when soldering M150 in close quarters. And try to remember to remove the heat sink when done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Neither M150 nor any type of OD will be challenged by the heat inside a tweed Deluxe.

    What I'd be careful of heat wise, is soldering. I have mangled a couple of Mallorys with too much heat on a lead, close to the body of the cap. Now I use a heat sink, gator clip or whatever I can find, when soldering M150 in close quarters. And try to remember to remove the heat sink when done.
    What type of heat sink do you use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    What I'd be careful of heat wise, is soldering. I have mangled a couple of Mallorys with too much heat on a lead, close to the body of the cap. .
    You have 10 seconds bud.
    Starting....Now!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Theman View Post
    What type of heat sink do you use?
    Alligator clip. Not the tiny ones.

    Jazz I see they "allow" 10 seconds, I try to get the heat on & off it faster than that by far. Not-hot-enough irons ruin parts, but you know that.

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    I guess the trick is to get the pad/ terminal hot & then the lead.

    I add solder to the pad first & then continue the alteration, back & forth with the iron.

    I put that "10 second" up kind of as a spoof.
    That really applies to machine process I would imagine.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    On that time note... I've only had trouble with things that dissipate the heat well to start with. Like pot cases (@#$%). My current method is to score the case where I plan to solder (in two directions) and make sure the wiper isn't on an end. With my iron set to 775*F I press the flat side of the iron tip to the scored spot and then press the solder to the both tip and case. Once the solder melts I pull off. Most of the time it welds. Sometimes it doesn't. I'm open to any better methods anyone here uses. I've ruined a few Alpha pots just soldering the lugs in good time.

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    Supporting Member epis's Avatar
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    Hi guys,
    I just wanted to share with you my 40 years of experience with soldering.
    First, you need proper tools. Weller stations are the best. Do not try to solder pots casing with cheap 15 to 25w irons.
    Prepare the surfaces on parts as it's needed, score the pots casing (just size of the future solder point is needed) Zinc coating on the casing doesn't help.
    Attach the wires, component legs to the soldering post, eyelet, pot's lug. I like to make the hook at the wire end, push it in the lug and tighten it with needle-nose pliers.
    Apply some rosin flux (I prefer liquid, but paste works well), just a drop, you don't want it to drip inside the pot. It doesn't matter if you're gonna use solder wire with rosin core or not. For non lead soldering wire this is a must. Do not use plummer's acidic paste for this.
    Now clean you soldering iron tip and melt on it some solder, make a nice drop, right size isn't gonna fall of the tip when you put it upside down.
    This drop will help fast heat transfer to the parts. Press the tip to the point you want to solder and at the same time add more solder wire if it's needed.
    When the solder flows nicely and spot is shiny, you're done. If it takes more then 2sec to make it nice, you need to improve your technique.
    When I'm soldering pot's casing, I like to apply solder first to casing, just to prepare nice spot for added wire later.
    I'm using same technique, scoring the surface, adding flux, when applying the solder, I do back and fort ironing moves with soldering iron tip - do not push on it to much (again adding solder wire at the same time, as much is needed), that helps solder to flow and attach faster. It shouldn't take more then 3 to 5 sec. to do it.
    Next step is just to solder you component leg or wire to that prepared spot.
    About the heat sinks, most components in tube amps have a left length of legs more than .5" and there is no real need for heat sink, but if you like to use it, best thing is hemostat. I use it only for Ge transistors or diodes. (sometimes)
    Well, that's about if, feel free to correct me, ask if something's not clear. I wish you all Happy New Year, best regards from Ottawa

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention the back and forth motion. I do that. I guess it makes itself obvious with experience since we both picked up on it.

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    I've posted here before about heat sinks. When I got back into building, I used them for about everything except resistors and wires. Now, after a few years, I'm still likely to use a clip of some sort on expensive e-lytics and pots, things like that. Sometimes not. I have found that since heat sinks conduct heat so much better than the device I'm trying to protect (well, duh!) I actually spend more time with the iron on the joint, a realization that has me using the sinks less and less.

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    Yup. A good, hot iron, a clean tip and rosin core lead solder are wonderful things.

    I heat sink more on old amps than I do when building. Old components REALLY hate being overheated and old solder joints, especially pots and eyelets with five component and wire leads jammed in them, can be REALLY stubborn to melt. I always hit them with fresh melted solder right away. Never just jam a dry tip onto them and hold for effect. As noted, the melted solder at temp conducts heat into the joint MUCH faster. I don't have a desoldering station but if I ever get back into some of my shelved projects I plan to get one. I think it causes less damage to desolder some of that old stuff and move to fresh solder than it does trying to work the old, grainy, smelly original joint with flux. I'm talking about mods too. Where you might be remelting the joint a couple of times while attempting to jam components in and out of the crowded hole. That first time on a blob of old solder it's always a good idea to heat sink old caps and CC resistors. CC resistors can take a lot of abuse but old ones can drift and stick that way when you really heat 'em up. Since I started my electronics avocation by modding old amps I really wish I'd known then what I learned along the way. I'd have done a lot less damage

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    Why not use polyester orange drops

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg View Post
    Why not use polyester orange drops
    Those are good too. And about as similar to the old Mallory OD's as you can get now. Too expensive IMHO, but read my last observation. If it's what you want, it's good that it can be had.

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    Replaced the Orange Drops with Mallory 150's today. Got a better tone; there was a touch of harshness before and it's gone now. Also, the big Orange Drops tended to vibrate more when cranking the amp; there was a rattling noise when strumming certain chords as they picked up the frequencies.

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    OD's rattle in that amp because they are the wrong form factor! I de-OD a lot of mullet modified Fender heads and combos, those .22's in a Bassman head that get mounted spreadeagle style then hung upside down can rattle, create microphonic effects as you mentioned, and break. I wouldn't put radial caps in that amp, wouldn't put 150's in a radial PCB Booger app either. Not saying I haven't done my share of mullet mods but its been since before CD's came out

    no human on earth can tell the difference between cap brands, flavors or colors in a double blind test. You should select parts by values, ratings and form factor, not to mention using a known reliable manufacturer.

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    Senior Member Pedro Vecino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone View Post
    no human on earth can tell the difference between cap brands, flavors or colors in a double blind test. You should select parts by values, ratings and form factor, not to mention using a known reliable manufacturer.
    I read that 12AX7 sound the same, capacitors sound the same... I wonder what's next: mahogany and ash?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Vecino View Post
    I read that 12AX7 sound the same, capacitors sound the same... I wonder what's next: mahogany and ash?
    Everything sounds the same... If you measure it right. Example: If you "look" at the measured sound wave of a cheap overseas made acoustic guitar and a pre war Martin D28 you'll "see" that there is no significant difference between the two. therefor they do not sound significantly different. Period.


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    For sure! At night all cats are gray.

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    These sound better than anything else I've tried in effects, the 200v ones should work in a 5E3.http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/449/pfn-205882.pdf They don't seem to be available single anymore

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    I'm not talking about measurement, talking about a double blind test. I'll say it again, there's no human on earth that can tell the difference between different style caps of the same value in the same circuit under the same conditions in a double blind test. I've done the test, routinely show people when setting up their amps that they can't tell the difference. By conducting a double blind test. Prove me wrong. Try using the scientific method rather than internet bs and marketing hype.

    Tubes are devices whos characteristics are highly dependent on their mechanical construction and definitely have different behaviours, even inside the same bottle. There is huge variability in the same brand of NOS tubes up to 20% +/- in characteristics vs nominal "bogey" tube values. Thats when we could get good new ones from US manufacturers.

    The out-of-spec ones sometime were destroyed, sometimes sold to a different vendor and relabled. (groove tubes) So, to say one " brand" sounds good is a statement bourne of ignorance and inexperience.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone View Post
    I'm not talking about measurement, talking about a double blind test. I'll say it again, there's no human on earth that can tell the difference between different style caps of the same value in the same circuit under the same conditions in a double blind test. I've done the test, routinely show people when setting up their amps that they can't tell the difference. By conducting a double blind test. Prove me wrong. Try using the scientific method rather than internet bs and marketing hype.

    Tubes are devices whos characteristics are highly dependent on their mechanical construction and definitely have different behaviours, even inside the same bottle. There is huge variability in the same brand of NOS tubes up to 20% +/- in characteristics vs nominal "bogey" tube values. Thats when we could get good new ones from US manufacturers.

    The out-of-spec ones sometime were destroyed, sometimes sold to a different vendor and relabled. (groove tubes) So, to say one " brand" sounds good is a statement bourne of ignorance and inexperience.
    I appreciate that. Enough that I don't worry about what brand of caps I use very much. And I agree that if you change a cap of measured value in an amp that no one can hear a difference. BUT...

    What if you change ALL of them? Or the most critical ones like the first coupling cap and the treble cap? Because I've done that experiment. Let's assume for the sake of argument that there could be two identical amps. All component values measured, etc. If you built one with 715p's and the other with 150's I believe I could consistently differentiate between the two. The difference isn't the sort of thing that will make or break your tone. That's just silliness. But I think most players would demonstrate a preference dependent on tastes and amp design. Not a good/bad difference. Just a difference. And for certain designs certain things certainly sound more "correct". If that constitutes better or worse is up to the player.

    And I just don't believe that Groove Tubes buys lots of "out-of-spec" tubes for relabeling. Other than the same min/max everyone else gets. It's very accusatory and slanderous. Maybe you could provide a link that supports your position on this. You obviously developed this belief because of SOMETHING you read, heard or experienced. For my own experience, and supported by most of the lit available on line, rebranders distribute tubes that have been tested for their own criteria of relative worthiness. Tube sellers that DON'T rebrand, however, seem much more likely to just flip product without such testing and culling. Ergo the lower price, lesser warranty and higher failure rate that I think many here have bemoaned. JM2C on that.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro Vecino View Post
    I read that 12AX7 sound the same, capacitors sound the same... I wonder what's next: mahogany and ash?
    Mahogany and ash are naturally grown, living products, and have a lot of variation as all biological stuff (include Humans in there).
    Yes, they are VERY different.

    Tubes parts are machine made but they are still hand assembled, including spot soldering of tiny parts, winding of fine wire around metal posts, and although close enough to be used in the same circuits, do have some differences, large enough to be audible under some circunstances.
    They are SOMEWHAT different.

    MODERN capacitors (won't vouch for obsolete types made by semi automatic machines which still had some operator influence or could get out of alignment) are made by incredibly precise machines (think NASA , no kidding) , with incredibly uniform materials, checked many times along the path.

    This is the fully automatic, self controlled capacitor machine EPCOS/TDK uses, same as used by all major makers because not doing so is commercial suicide
    PLEASE click the detailed images to fully open, they are larger than screen size:



    This is a closeup showing, among other things, the "plastic"(ugh!!! ) film used as dielectric.
    Your choice, of course, it can also wind mojo full *paper* caps if you wish. Poor performers but that's not the point, huh?
    Not in the brochure, but I guess you can even load it with silver foil and beeswax impregnated silk, to make $150 a pop Japanese High End caps , condom rubber for sexy caps, thin rawhide for Cowboy caps and so on:



    The only human intervention,*after* they are made, is picking 1 in 10000 to measure, check in all ways possible, just to make sure the machine is still making them as programmed.



    By the way, that's "a sweatshop in INDIA" .
    As you see the poor exploited Indians (same as Koreans or Chinese) are getting the despicable Tech jobs, while the really good ones (such as in serving people in Mc Donalds, flipping the burgers, etc.) were left behind for privileged American Workers.

    My point?
    A cap is a cap is a cap (if modern, of course) .
    To be more precise: a uF is a uF is a uF .

    read the cap making machine brochure:
    http://www.koem.com/product_pdf/FilmCapacitor.pdf
    they can wind plastic (polyester/polypropylene/you_name_it) or paper , in *any* diameter up to 6" (150mm) , so now you know who actually makes those expensive Solens or Mundorf or any other magic caps , they are all made in the same machine, same materials, simply in larger than usual values.

    Of course, you can make them long and thin, short and fat, radial or axial, it's just a different program fed to the machine.

    You can also cover them in any material you want, any colour, print whatever you wish ... inside they are all the same, if same specs.

    I dare say they also sound the same

    * Almost forgot: one machine version can wind non inductive caps, how's that?

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  29. #29
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I think we need to agree to disagree on this one Juan There are subtle differences in performance due to dielectric material and design that I do think make themselves apparent the bigger picture of a high gain guitar amp. Similar to my acoustic guitar analogy above. Of course, it could be effectively argued (and Stan certainly would ) that there really isn't a significant good/bad difference between two such guitars if both were set up for top performance. Just a small difference in tonality for better or worse in either guitars case and, of course, a huge difference in price. A lot like capacitors

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    Caps are like water, they are all the same right? I've never tasted any water that was any different from any others. I guess it's because my tastes are such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone View Post
    I'll say it again, there's no human on earth that can tell the difference between different style caps of the same value in the same circuit under the same conditions in a double blind test.
    That is your opinion and you are fully entitled to it. It may even be true but good luck proving that one. What was your sample size again?
    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone View Post
    tubes... to say one " brand" sounds good is a statement bourne of ignorance and inexperience.
    And if someone who has repeatedly experienced one brand sounding better than others (due to better QC, lack of microphonics or noise or whatever), that experience is not valid? Borne of ignorance?
    I'm not one for the golden ears mojo stuff, but your statements are completely over the top.
    I would have thought the same about resistors, until I read RG's excellent study. Then I realized different compositions may react to certain dynamic factors in different ways. Maybe not enough for most people to notice, but possibly enough for some people to notice. To deny even such possibility would be just plain foolish.

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    That must be the machine all those lousy caps are made on. I'll bet the thing damages the metalized layer of the film in the process of winding the cap.
    Anything to made a buck I guess...

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I have a JL Hood book here where he briefly discusses his short career as a consultant for a company that made plastic film for packing, packaging, kitchen wrap AND capacitors. At the time (as it is now) polystyrene and polypropylene were the film caps of choice for higher quality, but still affordable audio products. The polypropylene film came in several grades with the highest grade being intended for capacitors. All of the capacitor companies used a lower grade to save money on the premise that none of their customers ever heard any difference between the highest grade and cheaper grade film.

    He does also note, though, that he thinks it's reasonable to assume there is some good reason that listener preferences tended toward the polypropylene product in general. And then he goes into all sorts of yammer regarding dipole charging and alignment for different dielectric materials and notes that polyester is a poor performer. He also states outright that just because there isn't a hugely significant test difference in cap performance that listener preferences must exist for a reason and shouldn't be dismissed.

    That isn't to say that I'm all in this camp. But definitely a little. And I also think that any difference isn't better/worse as JL Hood tried to categorize it. WRT guitar amps, and their purpose as sound "makers" rather than strictly amplifiers, it's just a matter of personal preference. I think it makes good sense to try and match a cap type/construction when cloning for this reason. But I wouldn't get too hung up for a new design. And I don't. In other words, it would seem silly to me for someone to plainly state "I prefer the sound of polyester capacitors." because any influence the cap type does have is interacting with many other, and more influential aspects of design.

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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    Groove tubes and other resellers at the end of the tube production era had no stock to select FROM but the leftovers from outside edges of the tolerance bellcurve. All the good ones, the middle 5-10% went to military and large manufacturers still using them in huge quantities. Thats a simple fact of supply and demand and simply how manufacturing works, then and now. It's not slander to say that GT bought the fringe tubes and graded them, thats why GT made up the grading system, to turn that into a selling tool. Good for them, they had the best tubes around for many years. Used them a lot back then, output tubes were hard to find in matched sets, which was generally more important.


    In one of those Popular Electronics from the 50's from the link I posted, there's an article about dud tubes and old tubes commonly being relabled, resold or turned in for warrantee claims. It was a multimillion dollar industry and a big concern to the major manufacturers of tubes. So, some of those old tubes you buy on Ebay may be relabled duds from the 50's!! So there's no telling whats on any tube just by the label.

    New tubes mfrs simply have no quality control, they sell everything. The vendors and end users have to find the middle 20% and the bell curve is much flatter, meaning many fewer tubes are close to bogey of a given run.

    And on coupling caps, my opinions are not opinions, they are the results of carefully conducted double blind tests with musicians over the last 35 years of doing this stuff. Double blind tests under controlled conditions. It is just science at the most basic level. It doesn't cost anything but less time than I spent writing this post. I know science scares superstitious people, thats ok.

    Post less test more.

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  35. #35
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I somehow dismissed that you were speaking about a specific era for GT. And I actually agree that many of the NOS tubes relabeled were indeed A LITTLE off spec. If they weren't functional they would have been destroyed. GT still tested them for some level of relative goodness and gave performance descriptions with their relabeled model number. I know that happened because even GT eluded to all this at that time. Though I can't remember where I read it. So, sorry for that. You're mostly right then since that statement applied to a specific era and circumstances. I also think it's possible that GT developed their grade number system from testing those tubes. In the end though it was just used as a marketing ploy. They already had the numbers measured for each tube, why not use them? Good call IMO.

    Just to be clear on it, the modern game has changed and is quite different. As you note, many modern tubes are out of spec. and sold like that from the manufacturer without excuses. The new game from relabelers is just to try and scrable up enough close to spec. tubes to be turned at a profit and cull the grossly bad ones. This use to be the case with non relabeling venders. But now, IME, those vendors just flip product leaving it to the consumer to make a claim whenever a grossly bad tube is received. Blessedly there are still a couple of vendors that will do additional testing and culling for an additional price. This actually makes sense for players and small time builders because it allows one to buy what they need for a given project If you only have one or two a year the added expense is small and the service saves a lot of time and trouble on our end.

    Regarding your carefully conducted experiments... Good for you. My results are different from yours. This is where you say "Good for you." right back at me. Then we both move on with those things our relationship can support. 99% of the time, when people openly disagree it isn't because they want to learn from the ensuing discussion. They want to change the other parties information. Well, if both disagree-ees are doing this it's plain to see the futility. So let's have the good sense to keep relationships limited to what they are capable of providing. Doing otherwise only alienates people from each other further and then nothing happens. And there's nothing to be learned or gained from nothing.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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