AEEM Guide Vacuum Tubes
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For most electronics, transistors have replaced vacuum tubes, but for the most demanding applications, electron tubes still rule. No serious audiophile would trade the richness of vacuum tube amplification for transistor, and professional high power and high frequency applications are beyond what transistors can handle. Unfortunately, the disadvantage of vacuum tubes is that they do not have nearly the life of transistors and require replacement every few years.

To maintain the high quality of an audio system, it is important not to replace expired tubes with just any replacement. Look for

  • country of origin is an important guide for judging vacuum tube quality. Newer tubes come from China, but in general do not match products from Russia or other Eastern Block countries (where they never went out of style) that still make tubes the old fashioned way. Countries advancing into the twenty-first century, like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, have made quality products in the past, but much less so now as they modernize.
  • matching tubes are important for circuits with balanced components. Replacing old tubes with tubes with varying characteristics may multiply rather than cancel their differences

  • new old stock (NOS) are tubes that were manufactured a while ago and have been lying around unused or little used in a warehouse somewhere; accept them only if tested and shown to meet specification before shipping to you

Where Used
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