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tube dampers - stupid or smart? (Read 743 times)
piezoman
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tube dampers - stupid or smart?
07/15/20 at 05:57:05
 
Hello all,

I've read opinions that are all over the board on these.

I've not used them before.

Any thoughts?

Thanks, Brad
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GroovySauce
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #1 - 07/15/20 at 13:07:26
 
My experience is you need to try for yourself.

You might love them on a RCA 12au7 and dislike them on a Siemens ECC82 (12au7).

I've never tried them on power or rectifier tubes.

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CAJames
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #2 - 07/15/20 at 16:05:26
 
A lot of smart people think they are a good idea, but in my experience I've never really noticed a difference.

The bottom line is it is probably something you ought to try for yourself if you're curious. But there is also a downside to keep in mind, that tubes are designed to dissipate the heat they generate and anything you put on them has got to interfere with that to some extent.
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Archie
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #3 - 07/15/20 at 16:24:12
 
I use this type.  They dissipate heat, damp the tube and can be grounded -- as I do for my lead ZP3 tube.

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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #4 - 07/15/20 at 16:59:27
 
I use Herbie's Audio Lab dampers, the Halo. I used to use them on most every tubes, now I find them most effective on signal tubes and only use them there. They do ot interfere with heat dissipation.

I find I get better "focus" and a tighter, lower bass response. . . to a subtle extent, not huge.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #5 - 07/15/20 at 17:16:48
 

Tube dampers will become more and more important as the gain of the tube increases. Example, a 12AX7 having 3 times the gain of a 12AU7 would benefit a lot more from having a damper. The most common place for tube dampers is in phono-stages and microphone preamps where the circuit has 40~60 dB of gain.  In such a circuit a tubes microphonics can become so pronounced that you can hear your own voice come out of the speaker when you shout at the tube. The same tube that gave you this unsettling experience could have virtually no detectable microphonics in a line level preamp, something that would typically have no gain to just a small amount of gain say up to 10dB.

Steve



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piezoman
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #6 - 07/16/20 at 04:20:00
 
Steve, do you think the gain of the input tube position in a Taboo MK 4 justifies the use of a damper?
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armstdav
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #7 - 07/16/20 at 04:56:22
 
Steve nails it. My experience is that dampers are beneficial on high gain tubes and lower gain tubes that are slightly microphonic. Highly microphonic tubes won't be made usable with a damper; you'll still hear artifacts.

That said, I've tried higher dollar dampers like Herbie's and I couldn't tell the difference from the silicone O-rings I got from Grainger.

My suggestion is start with no damping. If you hear what sounds like ringing, buy a few O-rings. If that cures the ringing, you're done. If it makes no improvement, find better tubes. If it makes some improvement, you might try higher tech dampers, but be very careful.

Experimentation is all part of the fun.

David
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GroovySauce
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #8 - 07/16/20 at 12:48:45
 
Yesterday morning before seeing this post I was already looking at getting a second Way Excellent Mat from Herbie, a thicker one for quick SRA adjustment. I ended up adding 8 tube dampers too † Cheesy

Piezoman, I'll be trying on the input tube of the UFO25th so I'll report back my findings.

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piezoman
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #9 - 07/16/20 at 14:00:31
 
Thanks Groove, looking forward to hearing about your experience.

Brad
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GroovySauce
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #10 - 07/23/20 at 17:22:55
 
I bought a few of Herbies tube dampeners. They arrived last Thursday.

UFO25th I used the Hal-o III on the 6P15P-ebís and an Ultrasonic Rx on the 6922

ZStage, Ultrasonic Rx on the Northern Electric 12au7 (itís a bit taller than a standard 12au7)

ZP3. Ultrasonic Rx on the first two tubes, and 0A3, HAL-O III on the rectifier.

The difference was not subtle!

The density, body and low end just exploded!

First thing I did was Turn the Zrock2 down a little, Also adjusted the gain riding turned the Zstage down and turned up the UFO25th.

The highís truly started to shimmer.

The sound stage goes even further past the speakers.

Didnít know that the background get much quieter.

That is what I noticed almost instantly.

I fine tuned the Zrock2 and gain riding and really enjoyed listening for the afternoon.

Evening came and we cranked up the system while cooking dinner. Well again was shocked. The highs did start to breakup and distort before seeing the meters start to dance. With the tube dampers on the sound was crystal clear and pure with the amp near clipping.

After a few days with them in, Iím a convert. After the major cannot miss it changes Iíve found there is so much micro detail, soft and subtle things Iím picking up now.

I see how some people wouldnít like what they do.

Iím eating my words. My past experience was they added a subtle change to the sound. Now Iím going to try them on and off on every component, and every time I change tubes.

I already ordered more of them so I have one for every tube I have in the system.

TL;DR Major changes, top to bottom I like everything they do. Iím buying more.
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morp
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #11 - 07/23/20 at 22:42:55
 
Wow! Reading this chain makes me want to go get some tube dampeners immediately, and I didn't know they existed 10 minutes ago Smiley
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GroovySauce
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #12 - 07/23/20 at 23:51:08
 
Morp, one of the problems with frequenting the forums is your pockets can get emptied quickly XD.

Herbies offers a 60 return policy if you don't hear a difference. So the risk is very low.

When listening to digital source I took the Ultrasonic Rx from the ZP3 and put it on the Zrock2. Making sure it wasn't touching the chassis. Subtle, it did make a difference.

I also tried carefully slipping off the dampers from the 6922 and the two 12au7s (ZR2 & Zstage) without turning anything off. It's an instantly noticeable change. The HAL-Os on the SV83's I wouldn't even think of hot swapping. Seems the smaller (9pin) output tubes respond well to the dampers. Some day I'll get a quad of the HAL-Os and try them on big output tubes.

One thing to note is, all tubes except the VR are new production. NOS might respond differently.
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piezoman
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #13 - 07/24/20 at 15:28:34
 
Groove, that was all very informative. Thank you!

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morp
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #14 - 07/25/20 at 04:20:25
 
Incredible insight Groovy! I'll need to give them a shot.
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Showme
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #15 - 07/25/20 at 16:55:54
 
Groovy, very compelling, in fact so much so I went for your setup on my ZP3. Herbie should be paying you a commission.
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #16 - 07/25/20 at 19:42:07
 
I can also vouch for Herbies dampers, I've used them for a very long time.

I have the RX on most of my tubes.

When the III's first came out I ordered a full set for my M60 OTLs.

They imparted a metallic sheen to the sound and I returned them for the RX.

Herbie is very reasonable with returns.

I will have to re-visit the IIIs with my SE84UFO25 rectifier tube and SV83s.
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piezoman
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Re: tube dampers - stupid or smart?
Reply #17 - 07/27/20 at 02:46:53
 
Very interesting Derrick, thank you!


I'm all ears on your take on the III's and SEAUFO when you have the time.
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