How Long Do Amp Tubes Last?

How do I know if my amp needs new tubes?

A: These are the most common signs that tubes need replacement: Excessive noise (hiss, hum) including squealing or microphonic tubes.

Loss of high end.

A muddy bottom end; Sounds like there is too much bass and note clarity is lost.

Erratic changes in the overall volume.

The amp doesn’t work!.

What can you not do with a tube amp?

Never, never, never run the amp with no speaker plugged in. This can cause major damage. Do not flip the power switch off, then back on rapidly. This can cause power supply damage.

How much are old radio tubes worth?

Radio restorers are always on the lookout for 01A tubes ($10-$15) used in most 1920s radios. These tubes also used the numbers 201A and 301A depending on the manufacturer. Other early tube numbers to watch out for are 45 ($50-$70), 50 ($200+), 245 ($100+), 250 ($250-$350), WD-11 ($50-$135), and WD-12 ($30-$50).

Do vacuum tubes go bad?

About the only thing that can go “bad” with a tube over time is the loss of its vacuum, but well built tubes can hold up for 50 years, and because of the vacuum, the components inside don’t really deteriorate.

Is it OK to touch vacuum tubes?

It is OK to handle ambient cooled vacuum tubes with bare hands, IF THEY ARE COOL, and skin oils will seldom cause a problem, even if it chars.

Do 12ax7 tubes need to be matched?

Having the two sides matched perfectly is not necessary. On the other hand, power tubes are not self biasing, and sometimes it is best to have tubes that are matched for certain parameters in order for your amp to work more efficiently, and to produce cleaner tone.

Do power tubes affect tone?

It has no effect on the sound. This phenomenon only happens in a tube with better-than-average vacuum (pure). Therefore, the tube is actually a better-quality tube!

How often do amp tubes need to be replaced?

You can expect a conventional amplifier tube to have a service life ranging up to 10,000 hours. Tubes with military specifications are built to last up to 100,000 hours.

How much does it cost to replace tubes in an amp?

EL84 aren’t much more. If you just get run of the mill stuff it will be cheap. Once you start looking into NOS tubes, etc, you can expect to pay $25-200 per tube in some cases.

Why does my tube amp loses volume?

A good tube will be a dead ‘thud’ sound, so if you hear one that has a high ringing rattling sound, that’s the bad tube. Bad tubes will make volume drop and tone sounds will be dulled. … Turn off your amp (like before) and after 10 minutes you can wiggle and pull down the tube.

How do you know if a vacuum tube is bad?

When a vacuum tube develops an air leak (a small crack or bad seal by a pin for example) this getter color will change to pure white. If you see this you know with 100% certainty that the tube is bad. Third, look for a purple glow that is very focused around specific elements inside the tube.

Should I turn off my tube amp?

If you’d rather replace your tubes than your entire amp, turn it off when you’re done using it. It’s better for your tubes, anyway! Turning your amp off is also the safest choice. As heat builds up over long periods of time, not only does your amp suffer, things can get dangerous.

Is it bad to leave a tube amp in the cold?

Tubes are not harmed by cold weather as long as they are allowed to warm up and cool off GRADUALLY. That means when you bring your amp inside from five hours in the back of a sub-zero truck you need to let it warm up to room temperature before applying power (this is basically true of all electronic equipment).

Do you need to let a tube amp warm up?

It is important, too, that the warmup that you give your tube amp is very thorough. If they are not warmed up properly, the tone of your playing will not be as good as it ought to be. As a rule of thumb, your tube amp needs to be warmed up for 20 to 30 minutes at least before you can start playing your guitar.

Are tube amps really better?

Tube amplifiers sound better because of the euphonic distortions they add to the music, as well as plenty of other reasons I’ll cover below. … The ways that tubes distort when pushed to the edge are much more musical than the artificial sounds that come from transistor amplifiers when overdriven.

Do power tubes have to be matched?

Power tubes require matching because the way they amplify signal can create exceptionally bad sound if they are poorly matched, but pre-amp tubes generally aren’t used this way and so matching them is unnecessary.

How long do 12ax7 tubes last?

about 10,000 hoursSmall signal tubes like a 12AX7 or 6922 will work well on average for about 10,000 hours.

Can a tube amp kill you?

The important thing to remember is that yes, you can be fatally electrocuted if you don’t know what you’re doing, so leave the tube amp tinkering to the experts. I fell unconscious after accidentally discharging a flyback transformer.

How do I know if my guitar amp tubes are bad?

Crackling, squeals and feedback, excessive noise and muddiness or low output are all evidence of tube problems. Power tubes. The two main symptoms of a power tube problem are a blown fuse or a tube that begins to glow cherry red.

Is it bad to leave a tube amp on for a long time?

Don’t leave your tube amp on standby for too long, it can cause damage! It’s all about the capacitors! … When first turning on the amplifier and before the tubes are warm, tubes do not conduct high voltage, so there is no “load” on the power supply.

Do preamp tubes need to be biased?

With preamp tubes, you don’t need to worry about things like biasing or using matched pairs as you do with power tubes. As long as your new tube is the same model as what you’re replacing (12AX7, 12AT7, 6SN7, etc.), you’re good.