Do new tubes really make a difference? Is all the talked of New Old Stock (NOS) tubes, being amazingly outstanding and worth all the money some people are willing to pay for them, a bunch of hot air? Or is there any truth to this situation? Then I got to thinking about changing tubes in general and what kind of impact that would really have on your tone. It seems alot of players get caught up with this brand tube compared to that brand. And X is better than Y but Z is the best. How many different ways are there to make these little glass tubes? How much of a difference could there really be from one tube to another? I mean this is very old technology that us guitar players seem to be stuck on.

Lets do a test to compare

I decided to test out this idea of different tubes and the impact they could have on your tone. I took my Laney Cub 10 with its stock tubes, the tubes are about 2 years old but still in perfect working condition and sound great. The stock tubes are Ruby tubes, which could me any manufacturer as they are just a tube distributor. This amp has 2 6v6’s and 2 12ax7’s. I decided to use Groove Tube 6v6’s and EHX 12ax7’s to do this experiment with. This small amp has some outstanding tone. For a 1×10 amp it never sounds boxy or small, and the cabinet size is very small. I have previously upgrade the speaker in this amp with an Eminence Ramrod. The speaker upgrade had a dramatic impact on the tone of this amp in a positive way. I can recomend enough a speaker upgrade to all Cub 10 owners out there. Now if these new tubes will have even close to the same level of positive impact on the tone this is going to be one incredible little tone monster of an amp.

Downloadable 16 bit wav files for your high quality audio needs

Of course for the hardcore amp nut dudes we have free downloadable 16 but wav files of both tubes. Both the settings of the amp are exactly the same for both takes, no post recording effects applied, and the volume of both tracks are both exactly the same to get the most accurate of audio results.

Here is a downloadable wav file of the stock tubes Stock Tubes

Here is a downloadable wav file of the new tubes New Tubes



Please drop a comment and let us know what you think.


@matreames · October 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

To me the new tubes sound warmer and fuller. The older tubes seem flat by comparison. thanks for this demo its really informative. you should become a profession with PGS or something they need people like you to write articles.

@sitespring · October 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I agree, way warmer with the new tubes. This makes me curious as to what the stock tubes are in my Fender amp. Tubes aren’t that expensive, so I should try a test myself.

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