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The Joy of Vacuum Tubes

My Favorite things about tubes

Web Sites for Hollow-State Fanatics

Antique Electronic Supply- for all your tube needs
Nostalgia Air- for tube pinouts
Tube data sheets (not including recieving tubes though)
Vacuum Tubes Inc.- Another place to buy vacuum tubes
Tube Data Search Page
Triode Electronics- A good source for tubes, Dynaco accessories and tube amplifier schematics
Parts ConneXion: The Authority on Hi-Fi DIY!
Go to my turntable page!

NOTE: My website has a new address! The address is Please update your bookmarks to reflect the new address.

Ahh, vacuum tubes. Pure electronic art. I think tubes are much more beautiful than plain, ugly transistors. Nothing can match the warm glow of a vacuum tube. In fact, I built my very own push-pull vacuum tube amplifier using dual 60FX5 tubes for a science fair project. The total cost of the parts ordered for the amp itself was $90.87, but it is a bargain considering that commercially-built amplifiers cost $800+. I made sure that "no sand gets into my amp" (no silicon, although the amp does use a silicon diode instead of a rectifier tube mainly so that the voltages required don't exceed line voltage [120 volts]). I hope to build an entirely "hollow-state" hi-fi system (my dad didn't like tubes, so all the stereo equipment he bought in Europe is solid-state). Currently, I'm using a Harman-Kardon F10 "Tempo" FM tube tuner, but that (and everything else in my system) has to be fed through a BSR solid-state graphic equalizer/spectrum analyzer (which acts as a preamp) since my 60FX5 amp has no preamp stage. My next tube amp will be a stereo single-ended triode amplifier using 6B4Gs (6A3s with octal bases) which I got for free from a generous audiophile along with tubes and parts galore. I will start building this amp as soon as I can get a chassis. I hope my obsession turns into a valid hobby. More on this later!

5/05/19101 UPDATE: I know it's been months since I updated this page, but I decided I would. The 60FX5 amplifier I built has recently developed a problem with intermittent volume changes, so I've had to switch back to using my Sansui AU-999 SS amp as my main amplifier for now. But don't despair, this isn't a permanent change. I've just acquired my first vintage tube amp, a Heathkit AA-151. I've been using this amp for months at the technical high school I attend, but didn't own it until recently (it was given to me as a graduation present by its former owner, the graphic arts instructor at the technical high school I attend). This amp, though unrestored, sounds better than any SS amp I've owned. It's a 14 w.p.c. integrated stereo amplifier using two EL84s per channel, and has four inputs (one for aux, one for tuner, one for xtal phono, and one for mag. phono). I've been using it to listen to LPs with a Bang & Olufsen Beogram 3000 turntable (radial tonearm version). Even though it isn't perfect, it sounds excellent even through an pair of old Realistic MC-500 "bookshelf" speakers. Plus, it doubles as a space heater in a pinch. More later!

9/10/19101 UPDATE: When I wrote the above update, the Heathkit AA-151 had not yet joined my stereo system, but I added it in place of my Sansui AU-999 in early June, and it has been working fine for the most part. Using a Philips oscilloscope as a signal level indicator, I discovered that the output level of both channels can differ from each other at various points on the volume control. While this is a sign that the nearly 40 year old capacitors need to be replaced, I won't restore it as the rest of the amplifier is working. During the summer, when I got tired of the Beogram 3000s speed problems (more about that on my turntable page), I switched back to using my old turntable, a Garrard 730m (supposedly one of the worst Garrard models ever made, although the issues I have with it are minor). In early August, I received a replacement belt for the Beogram 3000 and switched back to using that, although I found that the speed problems weren't caused by the belt. Shortly afterwards, I bought another Bang & Olufsen turntable, a Beogram RX2, at a yard sale. The cantilever of the integrated cartridge/stylus was broken, but after having it repaired (more about that on my turntable page), it replaced the Beogram 3000 as the turntable in my stereo system. More later!

10/19/19101 UPDATE: I have finally acquired my very first Dynaco ST-70 tube amplifier! It was bought through an online acquaintance, and I paid $150 for it. It is in good shape, although I've been told it has been modified. I have not powered it up yet, but will do so after restoring it. More later!

11/15/19101 UPDATE: I have had the ST-70 working for a few weeks now. I replaced all the paper caps, the selenium bias rectifier, and the bias supply filter capacitors before powering it up, and it worked fine apart from having a weak pair of EL34s. I have since bought a matched quad of JJ/Tesla E34Ls from Triode Electronics, and it now works better than ever! Since I am currently lacking a tube preamp to use it with, I'm using my Sansui AU-999 as a preamplifier. Currently, I am in the process of writing a ST-70 restoration article, which I hope to have finished soon. More later!

12/10/19101 UPDATE: I have been getting much enjoyment from my Stereo 70. I even went out and bought an $18 patch cord (known as "interconnects" to audiophiles) so I can connect my "preamp" to my Stereo 70 with style. Also, I think I have for the most part finished my Stereo 70 troubleshooting article, which can be found here. I think I have covered most of the bases, but if you see anything I've missed, please email me using the address at the bottom of the page.

1/02/19102 UPDATE: I have finally managed to acquire a tube preamp, a Dynaco PAS-2, and a stereo FM tube tuner, a Fisher FM-50-B. I bought the PAS-2 from an eBay auction for $130, and traded a Zenith AM/FM bakelite table radio for the FM-50-B. The FM-50-B has joined my stereo system, but the PAS-2 needs some work and shelf space before it gets hooked up to the ST-70 permanently. I am getting very close to having a 100% hollow-state stereo system! Now only if I could find a tube cassette deck...

8/24/19104 UPDATE: After many happy (and some not-so-happy) hours of playing vinyl records on my Beogram RX2, I've decided that it's gotta go. I have now replaced it with a Pioneer PL-518 semi-automatic turntable purchased at a swap meet several months ago, but I didn't have a needle for it until now. I kinda miss the B&O's automatic function, but I definitely will not miss it's record-wrecking capabilities (found out the hard way after a recently-purchased copy of The Cars' debut album slipped out of my hand and got scratched against the RX2's unforgiving aluminum surface). More on my turntable page!

My Tube Stereo Systems

Main stereo system

Basement stereo system

Radio listening center (not stereo, but all-tube nevertheless)

Go to my tube amplifier page!
Go to my science fair project status page!
Go back to my old radio page!
Go back to my home page!