RTF = WTF?

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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Riff Blister
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RTF = WTF?

Post by Riff Blister » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:19 am

My first run with NOS tubes has ended with failure. What the heck am I doing wrong?

I thought I'd like to to try a RTF 12AX7 in V1 of my Stiletto Deuce so I made the purchase and tried it out. It sounded great. I was so happy. I played the amp with it for about a month. Out of curiosity I stuck it in my other amp, my Budda, to check out how it sounded there. I liked it better with the Mesa so I switched it back. With in a few minuets of playing my amp went dead silent. Figuring it was the RTF, I pulled it and sure enough I could see that it was fried inside. That's when I noticed that the glass had a crack in it coming off of one of the pins. I chalked that up as my fault for switching it around although, I honestly was very careful when doing so. Old fragile glass?

Having loved how it sounded in the Stiletto I ordered another one and installed it. I must say that it did not feel like the pins and socket where a good match but it worked and I tested the amp and it sounded fine. I went back the next day and silence. I took the metal cover off to see if the tube was glowing and it was not. I pulled it out to look at it and it looked OK, not like the first one that fried. I put it back in carefully thinking that I might not had a good contact the first time but still nothing.
Thinking that I might see if I could return it to the seller, I began to remove it. To my shock the thing just crumbled in my fingers. I doubt it's returnable now.
Two tubes and $135.00 down the drain. :oops: I'm so depressed about this.

Does anybody want to set me straight? Feel free to school me, scold me or just point and laugh. I'm not new to swapping tubes but I am new to NOS.
I apologize for the long post but I had to get this off of my chest.
Stiletto Deuce II, with bias mod - 2x12 Recto Cabt. Scumback M75s inside
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94Tremoverb
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by 94Tremoverb » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:08 pm

RFTs are strong, reliable tubes normally.

You've either been extremely unlucky, there is something amiss with the socket in the amp, or the seller sold you tubes he knew were cracked or had been stressed. Or possibly shipping damage, but I doubt it if they were even remotely well packed.

I would probably suspect the socket if it doesn't feel like a good match. While I was fairly sure Mesa uses good sockets, there are definitely some types of plastic PCB-mount socket that can stress tubes and crack them, particularly after some time - the plastic actually shrinks slightly with heat - although I can't see that having happened here since the amp can't be that old. Have a really good look with bright light down inside the socket with no tube in it, and check that none of the receptacles are bent.

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Riff Blister
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Riff Blister » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:49 am

Thanks for the reply 94Tremoverb

Well, I talked with the vendor last night and he's going to send me a replacement for the second tube that cracked on me. No charge. That's all I could ask for at this point.
He is in agreement with you about the socket. I'm not so sure but I'll take your expertise.

I do know this;The tubes were not cracked when I got either of them, and both worked at first. The guy I got them from is very reputable so I don't believe he sold me an inferior product. I was not reckless by any means when installing or removing them. I was actually extra careful the second time around. :?

I did look at the socket with a light on it and it visually seemed OK. There was a piece of broken glass that fell into the chassis and I'm not sure if I should leave it in there or pull the chassis, find it and remove it.

The third time is the charm or three strikes and...........

Mark
Stiletto Deuce II, with bias mod - 2x12 Recto Cabt. Scumback M75s inside
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by domct203 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:11 pm

I hope the next RFT works out for you, it's a great tube. It's my all-time favorite in V2 of the Roadster, following a 1950's Mullard in V1. I've also had good results with it following a Tung-Sol reissue and the Mesa Russian-2 (Electro Harmonix), especially with a GE Longplate in V3.

I found it made the amp too loose and mushy for me in V1, YMMV.

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scott from _actual time_
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by scott from _actual time_ » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:16 pm

Well, I talked with the vendor last night and he's going to send me a replacement for the second tube that cracked on me. No charge.
He is in agreement with you about the socket. I'm not so sure but I'll take your expertise.
The guy I got them from is very reputable... I was not reckless by any means
i had a similar situation recently. i got some RFTs from a highly reputable vendor--they sounded awesome. i had different noise problems with some of them, in multiple amps. the vendor seemed to think it was something wrong with me or my setup. i was super-careful and i'm a very good diagnostician; i can't see any way it could've been on my end. he replaced them, which was cool, and the new ones have been fine so far.

very glad your vendor helped you out. i hope this tube turns out fine and sounds as awesome as the others.

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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Facelift » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:03 pm

135 for 2 tubes? jeez man you got ripped off. Look on ebay, there are plenty of RFT tubes on there for around 30 bucks a piece or less. Thats where I get all mine. I did find that I did get 2 RFTs that were not good and didnt have the halo getter but in fact a flat type getter. Those were highly microphonic. I only buy ones that were made in the Neuhas plant now.
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Riff Blister
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Riff Blister » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:15 am

Facelift wrote:135 for 2 tubes? jeez man you got ripped off. Look on Ebay, there are plenty of RFT tubes on there for around 30 bucks a piece or less. Thats where I get all mine. I did find that I did get 2 RFTs that were not good and didn't have the halo getter but in fact a flat type getter. Those were highly microphonic. I only buy ones that were made in the Neuhas plant now.
Ya think?!? :shock:
I don't know.... The Tube Store $59.95, KCA NOS Tubes $60.00, Tubemonger $50.00, Tejastubes $59.99. Add the shipping fee and there you have it, $60.00 or more per tube.
I've never heard anyone call any one of these guys rip offs. Remember, I said this was my first go at NOS so I went with someone I felt comfortable with. I read their posts all of the time on TGP. I didn't even consider Ebay but I don't think I would have gone that route my first time anyway. Thanks for the heads up though.

I did find this disclaimer today on the Tubemonger website.
NOTE: RFT tubes can crack if you try to force these into sockets. Be very careful and gentle when inserting or removing the tubes.
I'm pretty sure I didn't "force" anything but neither one of those RFTs felt right going into the socket. I received my replacement tube yesterday so I'll take extra care again this time.

Experience is a hard teacher. You take the test first and then you get the lesson.
Last edited by Riff Blister on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Stiletto Deuce II, with bias mod - 2x12 Recto Cabt. Scumback M75s inside
Bogner Shiva EL34 80 watt
Budda Superdrive II 45
’79 Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst
’85 Gibson SG ’61 Reissue
Fender American Standard Stratocaster and Telecaster

Facelift
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Facelift » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:23 am

Riff Blister wrote:
Facelift wrote:135 for 2 tubes? jeez man you got ripped off. Look on Ebay, there are plenty of RFT tubes on there for around 30 bucks a piece or less. Thats where I get all mine. I did find that I did get 2 RFTs that were not good and didn't have the halo getter but in fact a flat type getter. Those were highly microphonic. I only buy ones that were made in the Neuhas plant now.
Ya think?!? :shock:
I don't know.... The Tube Store $59.95, KCA NOS Tubes $60.00, Tubemonger $50.00, Tejastubes $59.99. Add the shipping fee and there you have it, $60.00 or more per tube.
I've never heard anyone call any one of these guys rip offs. Remember, I said this was my first go at NOS so I went with someone I felt comfortable with. I read their posts all of the time on TGP. I didn't even consider Ebay but I don't think I would have gone that route my first time anyway. Thanks for the heads up though.

I did find this disclaimer today on the Tubemonger website.
NOTE: RFT tubes can crack if you try to force these into sockets. Be very careful and gentle when inserting or removing the tubes.
I'm pretty sure I didn't "force" anything but neither one of those RFTs felt right going into the socket. I received my replacement tube yesterday so I'll take extra case again this time.

Experience is a hard teacher. You take the test first and then you get the lesson.
They may be great to deal with and have great customer service but they are way too proud of thier tubes as shows in thier price. In the last couple months I think ive bought about 6 RFTs for less than what you paid for 2 and all of em work great. I do however look for US sellers first but there are deals to be had from European sellers too. I call them ripoffs because they are are not competing with the rest of the sellers out there. Im willing to bet that all the sites you listed buy them in bulk from the same sellers on ebay and then resell them for 300% profit which is what business is about but still, they arent any better than what out there so the price has me confused. There really only so many cases of these left and only so many people that have them so I figure, go with the cheapest route and keep the good ones and toss the bad.
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Riff Blister
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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Riff Blister » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:39 am

That's cool to know. Thanks Facelift, I appreciate the feedback.
Stiletto Deuce II, with bias mod - 2x12 Recto Cabt. Scumback M75s inside
Bogner Shiva EL34 80 watt
Budda Superdrive II 45
’79 Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst
’85 Gibson SG ’61 Reissue
Fender American Standard Stratocaster and Telecaster

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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by zodiac272 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:36 pm

yeah, I've had good luck with ebay and RFT. spent about $20 each for 4 tubes. from germany, so the wait was a bit longer.

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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by Riff Blister » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:51 am

I put my third RFT in last night and got to play it for about 20 min.

Then......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-22tna7K ... detailpage

It has to be the tube socket for some reason putting pressure on the tube pins and causing the vacuum seal to fail.
:evil: :evil: :evil:
I'm done F#@*'n around, Tungsol RI back in, end of the nightmare.
Stiletto Deuce II, with bias mod - 2x12 Recto Cabt. Scumback M75s inside
Bogner Shiva EL34 80 watt
Budda Superdrive II 45
’79 Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst
’85 Gibson SG ’61 Reissue
Fender American Standard Stratocaster and Telecaster

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Re: RTF = WTF?

Post by dodger916 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:55 pm

Riff Blister wrote:I put my third RFT in last night and got to play it for about 20 min.

Then......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-22tna7K ... detailpage

It has to be the tube socket for some reason putting pressure on the tube pins and causing the vacuum seal to fail.
:evil: :evil: :evil:
I'm done F#@*'n around, Tungsol RI back in, end of the nightmare.
Odd that it only happens with the RFTs...Image

I've bought tubes both from eBay and on-line dealers. I generally have more faith in dealers that a) test tubes properly; b) provide the service (return) you enjoyed here, and c) carry stock. The best situation is to find a reliable, trustworthy eBay dealer. I've found a few...

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