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How to Use NOS Tubes in Your Gear

Small things, like a tube, can make a huge difference when it comes to the sound of your gear. Even switching between brands and new models of tube can alter the sound of your amp dramatically. When you’re working with older gear, NOS tubes, often referred to as old stock, can bring your pieces back to vintage stock specs. Use this guide to learn more about vintage vacuum tubes and how they might be the perfect choice for your gear.

What does NOS mean?

NOS means new old stock. For buyers, this means that what you're looking at is brand new and has never been used but was manufactured at another time. In the case of older electronics, it could be anywhere from 20 to 60 years old. Many are dated on the box or with serial or identification numbers so you know which year you’re getting. Production years of a certain type are also easy to find on the internet, which can help you find out when a particular model was made if it’s not clear through the seller.

Do NOS versions sound better?

Vacuum tubes made by different manufacturers all have a different sound. Replace one brand with another and you’ll likely hear slightly different things out of your amplifier or microphone. What you prefer is a personal choice in many cases.

With older pieces of equipment, older versions may sound more like classic versions of those pieces. For many seeking the ultimate in tone, this is a very good thing, especially when dealing with amplifiers and pieces made in the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s. Whether or not they sound better is up to you, but many people do prefer them in their older pieces of musical equipment.

Which ones should you buy?

Getting the right piece for your amp or microphone depends on the unique brand that you’re shopping for. In general, your best bet is to replace tubes with certain markings with similar models. For example, 6L6s or 12AX7s should be replaced with 6L6s or 12AX7s.

Why buy Telefunken NOS tubes?

Telefunken parts are believed by many to be among the best in the world, matching their high-quality recording equipment. To get an authentic old-school sound, or to simply get the best out of your gear, NOS tubes are worth a try. Many users love them and never go back to new versions again.

Can you replace new tubes with NOS versions?

New tubes can be replaced with the same type in an NOS version.

  • If you’re replacing a 12AX7 in a guitar amplifier, you could replace it with a NOS version of the same type.
  • In rare cases, pin configurations may be different, but they have been standard for some time.
  • Photos of the tubes can verify if they’ll fit your amp or mic.
  • New old stock models can improve your amp or mic and return your gear to original specifications. Find the right type and enjoy your audio equipment the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Telefunken.
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