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Where to buy NOS rectifiers? (Read 213 times)
thethanimal
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Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
11/19/20 at 21:55:49
 
As a tube newbie I’m at a loss of where to buy reputable NOS rectifiers for my SE84UFO. Can someone post some links?

It appears that my stock rectifier just died after only a few months. I was going to use that Black Friday coupon for some backup tubes but hear NOS makes a difference for rectifiers.
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Archie
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #1 - 11/19/20 at 22:12:38
 
eBay has been a great source of tubes for me.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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CAJames
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"I've run every
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #2 - 11/19/20 at 22:26:45
 
Agree with ebay. But if you don't want to mess with ebay and just want to get a NOS rectifier that is built like a hammer you can go here:

https://www.surplussales.com/Tubes-Sock-Acc/0-5/TubesListed-5.html

And order a 5U4WG. It will probably outlast your amp.

If you want to get a little fancier I've done business here:

http://audiotubes.com/

https://www.vacuumtubes.com/

And been very happy.
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thethanimal
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #3 - 11/19/20 at 23:42:32
 
With eBay I don’t know how to tell if what is being advertised is legitimate or not. What would I look for?
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Archie
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #4 - 11/19/20 at 23:52:18
 
Figure out what you're looking for and search the sellers.  Look at the feedback.  I've bought scores of tubes from Russian and Ukrainian sellers with great results.  I'm not sure what international shipping is like now though.  There are other domestic tube sellers that I've found on eBay but ended up buying direct through their web sites.  Here is one very reputable seller:  https://vacuumtubevalues.com/  I've bought several quads of power tubes from him.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Archie
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Posts: 2046
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #5 - 11/20/20 at 00:37:54
 
Here is an example of a listing for the rectifier I am currently using in my ZP3 and CSP3.  Not sure it can be used in your amp though.  As I said, look at price and feedback of the sellers.  Sometimes buying more than one at a time gets worthwhile savings.  When I bought this tube type I got a pair.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of-1-pc-5C3S-5U4G-GZ31-1960s-Black-Anode-Svetlana-R...
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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thethanimal
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Posts: 21
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #6 - 11/20/20 at 01:42:12
 
Thanks Archie. The SE84UFO uses the same rectifier as your pre and phono stage. Would you say that tube you linked to was a noticeable improvement over the stock Chinese tube?
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lobo
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #7 - 11/20/20 at 04:54:23
 
I have had good luck with MDB Ventures Vacuum Tubes .
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SE84UFO25,SE84UFO,ZROCK2,Cambridge Azur 851n,Border Patrol SE dac, Betsy Baffles,Klipsch RP280,Mapleshade cable and wire.
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CAJames
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"I've run every
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #8 - 11/20/20 at 15:06:40
 
Yes, I have bought several rectifiers from MDB as well.

http://www.fourwater.com/

I'll also put in a plug for the 5Z3 rectifier. It is the 4 pin version of the 5U4, and typically available for considerably less $$$. Just get a 4 to 8 pin adapter. Seems like even the 5U4 is starting to get bid up.
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Archie
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #9 - 11/20/20 at 16:31:06
 
I haven't used the stock rectifiers in so many years I couldn't say.  But as I moved off of them I preferred everything over them.  I like the RCA Number 80 (needs a pin adapter) and the RCA 5V4GA both of which which can be found cheap.  I have so many rectifiers that I'll probably never need to buy another.  All of these tubes were recommended by other Forum members.  My current favorite is the Svetlana but that could be as much for their amazing construction.  The are full of tiny springs!

I try to stay away from everything Chinese these days including tubes.  The old stock tubes and new Russian tubes have all outshined them in my experience.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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CAJames
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"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 107
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #10 - 11/20/20 at 16:57:29
 
Just FYI/FWIW here is a post from Steve from a few months ago, that perfectly sums up my feelings on the subject:

Quote:
Re: Roll Rachael Roll
Reply #13 - 06/23/20 at 06:08:32
Some great feedback regarding quality tubes...  

The beauty of a tube amp is that you can change the tubes.  You can change the tubes when they grow tired and lazy sounding over time... or you can change the tubes when you grow bored or just want to take a different seat in the music hall so that you can hear the music from a different perspective. So this leads to tube rolling which leads to brands and types... and here is some of what I know that you should know:


Current production vs. New Old Stock. In my experience the only consistently solid tubes on the market today come from Russia. Brands like Mullard, Tungsol, Electro Harmonix, Sovtek, Svetlana. The rights to these brand names have been acquired over the years by New Sensor Corp in the USA, who is predominately a tube supplier for the music industry / guitar amps. They own or partially own factories in Russia.

Decware purchases it's Russian tubes direct from Russia in bulk with the exception of the larger output tubes (EL34/KT66/KT88) which are current production branded tubes imported into the USA. All of the the Russian tubes that we purchase direct from Russia are N.O.S. Russian Military Grade tubes. Many of them have Gold grids, thick glass, high G ratings for missile use, and longer life, in some cases 10,000 hours.  These are ultra-hi-end tubes in disguise and have always been.   To hear how good these tubes are you have to install an American New Old Stock rectifier tube.

My experience with Boutique Chinese brands is mixed. The sound is good, the reliability and or consistency is ridiculous. I have been purchasing samples of these fancy tubes as they come out over the past many years and I have an entire collection of crippled tubes. Even KT88's that cost $1600 a quad drifted out of usable tolerance within days and had to be replaced.

New Old Stock is the real deal. Those who like to push the envelope of what is possible with their amplifier will often go down this path with no regrets. For one thing, the tubes not only sound better, but often last longer, in some cases like with rectifier tubes up to 10 times longer.

Rectifiers are a subject all in their own. Russian rectifiers are acceptable, everything else is a no-go from a reliability standpoint with some rare exceptions that are very pricey. My advise to all Decware amplifier owners is to find yourself a New Old Stock 5U4 or a 5R4 that has never been used and comes in it's original un-molested box. Consider the current production rectifier tube we ship with the amp the best sounding and most attractive  option that will last long enough for you to find a real N.O.S. replacement.

Finding N.O.S. tubes is easy, even on eBay there are millions. Since you only need one or two you will have more to choose from than you know what to do with.  Finding quantity of these tubes is another story. If Decware could secure reliable inventory of 1000's of N.O.S. rectifiers, it is an investment we would gladly make but in 25 years is has yet to happen. Because we can't find N.O.S. tubes in large quantities, even batches of 100 would be gone in less than 30 days, we feel there is no point in even trying.  

For the customer it is easy, just find a N.O.S. 5U4 tube on eBay that is unused, and in it's original box for $40 and it could easily last for 10 years or more and sound better the entire time.

As an amplifier designer, it is possible to create circuits that baby the rectifier tube by limiting inrush current, using smaller capacitors, running higher voltages with a choke and so on.  Correctly done, this can make a Chinese rectifier tube last the full rated 500 hours or more.  The problem with this is that it changes the sound quality of the amplifier well outside what we find acceptable.  So, we have to make a choice, do we design tube amplifiers to baby the crappie rectifier tubes being made today, or do we design amplifiers to use REAL tubes.  Of course the answer has to be REAL tubes, because we make real amps.
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Archie
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #11 - 11/20/20 at 17:09:34
 
James,

Good stuff!  One thing I'd challenge though is the need to buy NOS in the original box for $40.  There are plenty of great RCA tubes for cheap that don't have boxes but still seem to be NOS.  Of course, the NOS Russian tubes don't ever come in boxes, in my experience.  I'm not trying to quibble here.  I'm just saying that with relatively low risk, "NOS" tubes can be had for cheap.  I rarely even look for those special NOS tubes that are considered the best of the best though.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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CAJames
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"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 107
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #12 - 11/20/20 at 17:27:09
 
I totally agree with you, that's exactly what I do. But, that requires a level of shall we say, comfort, or experience, with tube buying that not everyone has. IMO, and don't mean to come across as a snob or judgmental in any way, if you are asking a message board for advice on buying you first NOS tube you are least likely to have problems if you follow Steve's advice. Or the link in my first post where you can get a NOS milspec 5U4 for $35 that will probably last a lifetime.





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Archie
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Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #13 - 11/20/20 at 17:30:02
 
Good point!
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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thethanimal
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Posts: 21
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #14 - 11/21/20 at 19:13:09
 
CAJames is there enough room for that 5U4WB in the Zen amp? It looks huge.

I ordered a 1955 RCA 5U4G that tests NOS off eBay, but since I’m hating sitting around with no music I figured I’d order a second as backup or to just learn about differences. I like the idea of the 5U4WB being milspec. That website is also offering a 5U4GB Phillips NOS that’s milspec and normal sized. Any thoughts on the differences?

Thanks to everyone for all your help! I also spoke with Steve on the phone on Friday and we told me what was posted above from another thread. Seems like that ought to be in the manual.
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CAJames
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"I've run every
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lane."

Posts: 107
Re: Where to buy NOS rectifiers?
Reply #15 - 11/21/20 at 21:57:59
 
The 5U4WG is only a little bigger at the base than "regular" tubes, and not as big as the "coke bottle" ST shaped rectifiers. I don't think there will be any problem at all.

Regarding the Philips rectifier, I don't have any experience with that exact tube, but Philips ECG has a terrible reputation for audio and my advice would be to steer well clear of them. The other 5U4GBs on that page would be a much better choice IMO.
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