An odd statement considering we manufacture vacuum tube products - so allow us to clarify…
When a customer calls us up and asks what tubes we recommend to change their sound, our response is “we don’t recommend tubes”.
The reason being, individually, we perceive sound differently. If we recommend a particular brand of tubes and you purchase them - listen to them and find you don’t care for that particular sound, you are going to be disappointed with your investment and possibly throw a few expletives our way.
When you have a new tube product, you must break-in (cook) the tubes. What does that mean? Getting enough hours on the tubes for all the insides to stop warping and shifting during heat up.
For example, have you ever baked cookies? If you have, you know that when you place a new cookie sheet in the oven it makes a lot of freaky noises as the pan is expanding, warping and flexing. This stops once the pan is seasoned.
This also happens with tubes. Breaking-in tubes eventually stops the parts from shifting, warping or bending while heating up. Once you get to the point of break-in, which is around 400+ hours, you are ready to do the critical listening and comprise a list of what you like about the sound and what you don’t like about the sound, and what you want more or less of.
At this point, if your amp is a new product, it will also have had a break-in period of the circuitry and parts, producing an overall more refined sound.
It’s important to learn what the signature sound of your product is. For example, the stock sound of a Black Ice Audio Fusion F22 is clear with extended highs, a good mid range and tightly controlled bass. Once you have a good idea of the overall sound with the stock tubes - determine what it is you would like to change, such as warmer highs, more detail, a more lush mid range or softer bass.
*Note: We have carefully selected our stock tubes for sound performance, durability / longevity and cost.
Now that you know how you want to change the sound, you are ready for the next recommendation. Take the information you have and contact a tube distributor or tube dealer. (List of recommended dealers below).
You will want to explain to them the product you have, (in this case a Black Ice Audio F-22), the tube compilation that you currently have, the sound you have, and then the sound you want.
You will also want to give them your budget. This part is important.
Tubes that are available consist of NOS ‘New Old Stock’, Used Old Stock, New Stock and Re-Issued - and they have varying prices and sound.
A key point being, you can buy a less expensive tube that can have 80-90% of the sound you are looking for at a fraction of the cost.
As a reminder, the newly purchased tubes will need their break-in time before they present their ‘magical sound’.
You are now roll’n tubes and on your way to experiencing the benefit of HiFi valve technology - the ability to customize your own sound, the way you want it.
*Note: Be sure to view the ‘Listener Notes’ we have included for each of our products, where we explain the different signature sounds of tubes from various counties of origin.
Also note: Different tubes sound different on different gear due to the circuits. We are currently working on adding a database of signature sounds from popular tubes used with our gear from our in-house experience as well as our customers.
120 Lancing Drive, Unit 8
1958 Vanderhorn Drive
Memphis, TN 38134
TOLL FREE Phone: 877-289-7994