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36 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

These days valves are ONLY made in China and Russia. Any USA (or other country) manufactured ones are all from the past.

There are still tubes made in Japan (Takatsuki), Czech Republic (EML, KR Audio) and Germany (Elrog). Not cheap though.

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1 minute ago, F18 said:

There are still tubes made in Japan (Takatsuki), Czech Republic (EML, KR Audio) and Germany (Elrog). Not cheap though.

Oh right, I forgot about the Japanese ones, and didn't even know about the others! The bulk are certainly from China and Russia though, and of the mass produced ones, Russian ones are better than mass produced Chinese ones as a rule of thumb. China also makes some small runs of much higher quality ones from Ps-vane etc. but usually at a great price premium. Most mass produced Chinese ones are garbage.

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Russia made some very nice tubes.

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17 minutes ago, F18 said:

There are still tubes made in Japan (Takatsuki), Czech Republic (EML, KR Audio) and Germany (Elrog). Not cheap though.

And none of those companies make a 6550/KT88.

According to Jac Music, Germany, KR Audio make valves for the EAT brand, all outrageously expensive, they do make a KT88. But KR valves don't have a good reputation for reliability so I'm guessing that's why the valves that do get through EAT QC are premium priced.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, deanB said:

And none of those companies make a 6550/KT88.

According to Jac Music, Germany, KR Audio make valves for the EAT brand, all outrageously expensive, they do make a KT88. But KR valves don't have a good reputation for reliability so I'm guessing that's why the valves that do get through EAT QC are premium priced.

 

I know they don't make 6550/KT88's but it was response in saying that the Chinese and Russian's aren't the only ones producing tubes still.

 

KR Audio, EML and Elrog - all three don't have a great reputation for QC and reliability with tubes. 

Edited by F18

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My response was for the OP's benefit.

5 minutes ago, F18 said:

 

I know they don't make 6550/KT88's but it was response in saying that the Chinese and Russian's aren't the only ones producing tubes still.

 

KR Audio, EML and Elrog - all three don't have a great reputation with tubes. 

 

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When I ran my VTL monos (16 x 6550 tubes) for many years I found that the Sovteks were very good. I mostly used these. The Svetlana were good as well BUT now they are very expensive. The GE 6550 NOS likewise. Almost prohibitive to re-tube.

 

I have found the Chinese Shuguang Black Treasure series of tubes in other amps and configurations to be uniformly reliable and sounding good. These are premium selected tubes. They make a 6550 but it's a leap to buy as many as you'll need!

 

I do think that VTL sounds great with most 6550 tubes. It is a good circuit design. You might get more 'bang for your tube-rolling buck' by concentrating on the driver tubes; these are often 12AT7 or 12 BH7 in VTL. Here I did find that spending more for NOS RCA tubes (for example) really paid off. Otherwise I would question the widom of lashing out on NOS for 16 tubes; that might add up to some $2,000!

 

I avoid e-bay general sellers of tubes and only deal with specialist tube dealers. You get what you pay for.

 

The VTL house sound is a clean and appealing one to me. The tubes I've mentioned were my favourites.

 

Just my 2c worth.

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Check with VTL if your amps could run KT90s. I had the 300 monoblocks running KT90s in place of 6550s. Had to change the bias resistor only.


Good luck!

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There are some good ebay tube resellers that do test tubes properly with proper test equipment. Certain online e-retailer styled tube resellers tend to ask a crap ton of money for certain tubes you can buy for a fraction of the price.

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