Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by BayouTiger, Feb 23, 2022.
I bet he's second-guessing his decision to set up shop there.
Well... I got a pair of matched KT120 tubes from aliexpress today. It took 12 days for them to arrive. So, this is a viable solution for KT120 users here in North America. The only rub is that these tubes are only factory tested. So for me, I would have to send at least 12 of these, plus my amp to CAT for them to test and install/bias to get 8 good tubes. Which makes these tube twice as expensive from what I paid before the sanctions. KT120 tubes are a new design which means there are not any NOS or Chinese alternatives at this time. This is why these are hard to find in North America. I haven't seen any KT120's for sale from any other country, just China. Of course this could change tomorrow if tube sellers like Upscale Audio get new stock.
Now with the Chinese spy balloon event, more sanctions could be coming. Oh boy.
Of course I could go with 6550's or KT88's but I believe the power output would drop by 20 watts.
Parts Connexion in Ontario is still showing stock as below for a matched pair of tubes ( Feb 13 2023)
Tube New Tung-Sol KT120 (Super 6550/KT88)
USD $174.95 USD $174.95 You Save USD $0.00 (0%)
(CAD $238.69 CAD $238.69)You Save CAD $0.00 (0%)
Excellent point Carmine I can't believe I didn't think of that I've had suppliers discontinuing products as they couldn't find the bottles they wanted any longer.
No they aren't. Thanks anyway.
Sorry, I didn't see your original reply. It's tiny a local stereo shop. He doesn't have a website, but if you want, I can give you his contact info in a PM. I don't know if he can get Tungsols, but he told me several months ago that he could get new gold Lions.
The thing is, you need employees familiar with making tubes, and I don't know where else you'd find them today.
And you would need to source the materials. I'm guessing that they mostly are coming from Russia.
And, the equipment, which again I am going to guess is highly specialized? I doubt if it would be used for anything else?
Because of their military applications, Russia was producing tubes when the rest of the world went solid state.
They have the whole enchilada!
It's the same reason it's difficult for say Apple to move iPhone production out of China.
In addition to employees, most of the components are made within blocks of the huge Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou.
Doesn't seem to be. Matthews bought the tube factory in the 1990s IIRC (and I think he was even doing business there in the late '80s) and he told Fortune magazine last spring that he had no intention of moving shop, both because he had skilled workers in Russia and because the wage structure and environmental regs (or lack thereof), make his production cheaper. He also declined to condemn the Ukraine invasion.
I have no intention to buy tubes from Russia again.
Probably there was no practical alternative.
Agree on not buying Russian tubes. How about using those you already have
I'm able to take the high road because I have 8-10 years of tube replacements. I'd be quite 'nervous' if I did not.
Sounds like you're right. Seems he fits in there just fine, but then you'd have to unless you're prepared to abandon the business. Glad I don't need tubes from New Sensor.
The KT120s in my amp are getting a bit long in the tooth, but still sound fine. Was perusing for a quad set, and noticed the lack of availability and outrageous prices (even more than before)! Doesn't look like Upscale is offering KT120s to folks that haven't purchased amps there (I have not). I do have a new spare set of new 6550s on hand. I may take the power hit (according to Rogue, in ultralinear with 6550s power drops to ~80W vs 100W for KT120s) and they can be biased to the same current. They will sound different though. Paying more than ~$175 for a single KT120 is just too much, unless you guys have found other online sources that are cheaper...
You may want to consider changing your name to "nuts for transistors" then.
Maybe nuts for nuts.
At the risk of being Capt. Obvious, doesn't seem like the tube situation has improved appreciably over the last year. I keep reading that the New Sensor factory continues with production - wonder where they're all going? Prices seem to have stabilized, or even come down a bit from previous highs, but availability is pretty spotty. If China gets itself involved in Ukraine, I wonder what that means for Chinese tubes?
At $450 for 2 quad sets of KT120s from Jim McShane worked fine for my monoblock amps. Now at double that, for me, my humble opinion, and for VTA M-125 tube amplifier, it isn't worth it. With prices going up on everything, I saw the Parasound Halo A21+ available at a good price and pulled the trigger. I'll use the M-125 sparingly and when the tubes finally give up, I'll pack them up and stick them in the attic.
Finally got my set of 1984 rusckie' quads. If this is as close match as ordered, It'll probably take me a long time to finish this.
My buddy is doing a movie in Budapest. Any chance tubes are easier to get there?
I traded my CM3 and my stock of tubes. It wasn’t an easy decision, but under current circumstances I feel it was in my best interest. However it brought me no joy. I will likely buy another tube amp but it won’t rely on Russian tubes. I hope the conflict ends soon and normal trade resumes.
Very likely can I send you my list of requests?
Haha. He’s a tube guy too. I hope he can get his hands on tubes. I’ll order up enough to last a few years. Really look forward to trying different brands to tube roll.
I'm fortunate to have got my back up tubes (including KT120s) at a decent price. But posts like yours make me wonder where my upper limit would be in terms of paying for the tubes.
My system is so dialed in to my tastes it's hard to think of changing directions. I try solid state every once and a while and it ends up freaking me out a bit. I literally start losing interest in listening to my system! I was at friend's last week listening to his system over 100K, and when I got back I wanted to hug my speakers and amps. It all sounded so much better for my tastes. And dialing in the right tube variety is a significant part in that. So if I was looking at double the price KT120s or whatever would I say "Well, now I'll just abandon the sound I've achieved?" and spend a bunch of money chasing something else? Might be just the safer bet to pay the bit more for the tubes (relative to changing amp directions)...
I dunno for sure.
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