Can’t buy output tubes anywhere except from manufacturers at high prices.

I have given some thought about going the tube route for amplification but it sounds  like a risky move. None of usual online stores: Tube Store, Tube Depot or Upscale Audio have any output tube available. Are things that bad? 


What output tube and manufacturer are you referring to? Never mind looks like many KT series tubes are unavailable that's a bummer I thought the tube shortage was improving not worsening.

No, they are not that bad.


You must compare the value of the sound created using tubes compared to temporary market changes. Tubes are not going away.


All my equipment is tubed. I purchased a replacement tube set for each. This means that I should be good for around 6,000 - 8,000 hours. I am retired, and listen to my system about 3 hours a day. At that rate, I am good for eight years. Any tubes that have gotten scarce because of the war will either become available because it is over or the facility is moved.

Anyway, I was put off by tubes in amps for twenty years because of possible reasons of possible failures, biasing, cost… biggest mistake in my audio pursuit.

Great sound quality and tubes go together, I have been listening to my all tube system for the last four years.. 3,500 hours. I have replaced 2 tubes… about $120. I can’t tell you how much pleasure these years have brought me.

There are plenty available on Ali Express.The prices have gone a bit silly but it is good to see that Chinese manufacturers have stepped in to the hole left in supply and production by the sanctions on Russia.

I have bought probably 40 sets of output tubes, rolling on multiple amps in the past 2 years.  Very few were chinese new production.  No, they aren't as cheap as they used to be.  But they are available from tube sellers, message boards, ebay, etc.  And sometimes the input/driver are harder to find in top quality, probably the toughest one is NOS 6SN7s.  Oh yeah, some rectifiers are not easy to find in top quality...but they are available.

300B you have to look around, but you can find them.  Or pay top dollar for Westinghouse.


Sounds like a monster opportunity for the new Western Electric factory. Hope they can step up and put U.S.A. tubes back on the map.

A good friend of mine has a huge collection of tubes. He is now quite old and wants to sell off his tubes. He has advanced mesuring equipment as well so that he can check the tubes before shipping.

Please list the tubes that you need and I will forward your request to him.

Kind regards

A young kid in this part of the world started a tube sourcing venture recently...he seems to have a lot of inventory.  I have zero frame of reference as I'm all SS.  Has anyone used them?

Adding insult to injury, current production KT150 tubes have reliability issues. I have an amp that uses four KT150s. In less than 200 hours, I lost three tubes; one for loss of vacuum and two others big flash, pop.

In my unnecessary but non marginal upgrade dream from the marvellous Sansui Alpha amplifier, because i am anyway already in sonic heaven , i dream to buy only one tube amplifier:

The Berning ZOTL because the designer is a physicist who revolutionize tubes amplification design with the results being , save the acclaimed top S.Q. with his new technology , extended long life span and COLD tube staying cold forever ...The S.Q. reviews are always only positive on the upper top... The price is not too much... And my AKG K340 need powerful steady constant amplification but especially clean amplification...

I am pretty sure even without any listening experience with it , reading all there is to read about Berning that his amplifier will not be a marginal improvement over my Sansui alpha already clean amplifier...Anyway studying before buying, without any possibility of listening before buying, may seems risky but it is not if you know how to read between lines ...It served me well... I never regret my buyings based on studying and i regret all impusive one in amplification and for dac or even speakers ... Because i hate all my 9 past headphones, studying here did not go well because almost all headphones cannot be to my licking : i ask for "outside the head" speaker like soundfield with no roll off in the bass before 30 hertz and natural Timbre quality sound ...And electrostatic non fatiguing high frequencies...Only the K340 could gave me that at low price and even at higher price...It delivered as promised and all negative reviews reflect complete misunderstanding of reviewers more than real negative factors, i know because i experienced all the negative and cure them all... The K340 is the most hard and picky headphone to drive...The hasrdest headphone to understand right before modifying it...

i hate tubes because they become hot even in summer and they die sooner than later whithout bothering to say it to you before the long agonizing act and decreasing S. Q. and they are cost added each year... I sold the only one i bought after a year and even gave my 60 different tubes at low price... I never look back save when i read about Berning...

Berning device put tubes in the 10,000 hours life span because tube stay cold forever in his amp... The sound quality is not the colored rich harmonics or pleasurable distorsions usually associated with tube amplifier most of the times compared to S.S. amp ...And i need for the very sensible feminine reactive K340 a clean S.S. amplification but with more delicate fluid touch as the Berning amplifier only seems to be able to give me ...The Sansui alpha did not have any negative review and is the top of Sansui even better than my loved past more tube- like sounding Sansui Au 7700 because it is cleanest and with a lower noise floor ...

Sorry but reading about tubes rarity and cost suggested this post to me...



You might try Eurotubes. I have bought many tube from them. Great people.

@bigeks357 -  I've used VivaTubes they are a reliable vendor.

@hiendmmoe - You haven't stated either the amp(s) that you are interested in, or the tube compliment of the amp(s) that you are considering; it would be helpful to know so folks can maybe help point you vendors and/or brand options. For instance, while the TubeDepot and the TubeStore are out of stock on some brands of KT88 & EL34 tubes they have availability in other brands. Likewise, vendors such as Sophia Electric appear to have KT88s & EL34s, VivaTubes has availability, PremiumVacuumTubes has KT88s.  The KT 90 KT120 & KT150 tubes maybe harder to source at the moment as there aren't multiple brands  However, VivaTubes appears to have availability of them at the moment. The TubeStore has KT150s & KT90s but not KT120s. Anyway, just some examples.


I’m unloading my matched KT150’s because they’re more power than I need. When I priced them for my ad, I looked around and there are lots of tubes out there.

The OP may feel prices for tubes are "high," but they are available and prices always fluctuate.

Especially KT types and 6550s. Their prices if you can find them have skyrocketed. 


here's what Viva Tubes has to say about supply:

Tube Shortage Update - Scarce & In-Stock

As time goes on, some areas are improving while others are worsening. We expect things to stay the same for the foreseeable future. As it stands now, there is typically enough supply to keep the world's amplifiers humming. Choices amongst brands and sub-types will remain touch-and-go but there is no reason to panic. 

Scarce as of March 2023: KT88, KT66, KT77, 6550, 6L6GC, KT120, KT50, KT170, 300B, 2A3, 6L6G, 12AY7, 12DW7 & certain brands of 12AX7.

You may notice that many of these are unavailable on platforms such as Amazon and also from tube vendors as well.

We are well-stocked on all of these types aside from KT120 & KT150. 

See our new Scarce & In-Stock category. 

These are available and are excellent sounding EL34's:

Sounds like maybe I should plan to sell a bunch of KT88 Gold Lions I haven't used in year.

Yes when many output tubes are made in the USSR .

wuhan you can buy tubes on line ebay .  If your tube type is that scarce then maybe look to buy a nice class A amplifier like a Pass Labs , and a nice tube preamp you would be pretty happy .

Here are two reputable tube suppliers that I have used, and have terrific reputations:

Viva Tubes

Brent Jesse

When I lived in a part of L.A. where a good deal of the movie studios were located, I had maybe three or four nearby retail outlets where I could buy the tubes I required to power my stereo. This was especially important during the days of my 8417 equipped Quicksilver Mono Amps which, for whatever reason, regularly ate tubes and spat 'em out. The tube nightmare came to an end, though, when I bought my 6550 powered Primaluna. Ninety percent of the sound. Five percent of the aggravation.

Viva Tubes and Brent Jesse are the ONLY vendors I bother with.  Excellent service, sales, shipping.  Brent goes out of his way to help even with the utmost, novice, actually stupid questions.   I know....I asked a lot when I acquired a near mint MC-225 built in 1963 a few months ago.

I have a pair of Sophia Royal Princess 300B, special edition, listed on USAudiomart, if that's what you are looking for.

I haven’t noticed any issues in fact, I’ve noticed prices going down or at least stabilizing as inventory levels regain ground. 

I took a look at VIVA tubes and it seems they are fully stocked. I guess I have been looking for tube in all the wrong places! 😂 

@hiendmmoe For what it is worth I purchased some Russian preamp tubes that were advertised as New, NOS and Matched.  When they arrived they were not new. The boxes had testing results that were not anywhere close to being matched. When I tested them with a calibrated Hickok 600a tester they tested well below the new ranges.  Absolutely unacceptable.  To their credit they approved the return and credited all costs including shipping both ways. Beware their ad copy is misleading.

I've ordered from VIVA new production Psvane KT88s as well as NOS Russian 7189A power tubes, no issues

FYI: B&H sells "Telefunken" tubes but they are not German made Telefunken tubes.

I asked TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik and they told me the tubes were made in partnership with JJ Factory of Slovakia.

I thought it was always common knowledge the "Telefunken Black Label" tubes were just JJ’s. Always look at the shape of the glass dome (especially on EL34, for example) -- only JJ’s have that goofy, awkward rounded dome shape.

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We at eastendhifi I have KR Audio tubes in stock. We carry the KT88’s, the 300B tubes, as well as a 300 BXLS from KR Audio.  Yes, they are certainly not inexpensive, but they will sound better than anything out there, other than maybe Western electric, and they will last longer than the JJ tubes. you can check out what we have available at

Having just entered the fray again with amplifiers that use very fragile tubes I have noted that the best prices are available only at the origin of the tubes. A Winged C 6AS7 here is $45.00 but from Russia is $15.00. Shipping for 40 tubes was 20 dollars! Check out TubeTerra. The same holds true for 6NS7s but the very best NOS tubes are only available from Russia for a whopping $8.00 per tube. I had to do a lot of research to find these tubes. You do not have to be gouged by American vendors. Get your tubes where they get them from. 


I just bought Audio Research REF 750s mono amps. I believe it has 21 tubes in ea amp and it has 20 KT150 in ea amp. 40 - KT 150s total. The original set has 600 hrs on them and I also bought a brand new matched set of 40 KT 150s from the seller that he purchased from Audio Research as a spare set. So I will definitely not be worried for some many many years to come. 

All over Amazon, my guitar supply. Depends on the tubes.

At my guitar spply I got quad JJ KT77s Matched Apex from there at a decent price.

Viva Tubes has them. The prices are up but,  the price of everything is up now.. 

Viva Tubes has them. The prices are up but,  the price of everything is up now.. 

They've been out of KT120 and Gold Lion KT88 for a while now. And their supplies may be dwindling on remaining Russian KT88, EH KT90, and KT150. Mullard KT88 are still available for now (up to matched octets), and are excellent. Better get those while you can, if you're in need. I bought a couple octets for my VAC amps.

I just sold two pairs of GL KT88 matched quads on USAM - both quads sold within one day of listing.  I no longer have any amps that run them.  I apparently didn't ask for enough!  So yes, clearly the demand is real and the supply is low.  

@mulveling Have you heard the Mullard KT88 that Viva Tubes is selling, and if so do you feel they are as good as the Gold Lions?



Yes, I have the Viva Mullard KT88 in my 200iQ’s right now. I’ve previously (this year) had both Gold Lion KT88 (stock from VAC) and Tung-Sol KT120 in these same amps. I haven’t directly compared the two, and I’m not going to say they sound exactly the same, but the KT88’s sound much more alike than different. I really like both! They are of equivalent quality. The KT120 sound more different, but also excellent -- they’re a bit meatier through parts of the midrange and bass. Incidentally, the KT150 were awful in these amps -- the bass was powerful and fun but overpowered the music. 

Anyways, I’m a fan of all 3 of these tubes! In my main system I have a pair of VAC Master 300 amps, with the stock KT88 Gold Lions. There are SIXTEEN of them, so I’m not gonna change them until I have to 😅

RAM Tubes is still selling expertly-tested, labelled, and matched tubes. 

@mulveling Thanks, that's good to know. My tube amp (DeHavilland 50A) was voiced with Gold Lion KT-88s which as we know are becoming difficult to source new. Then there are the tubes of Chinese origin, Viva sells Psvane and Linlai, although they are not currently stocking any Linlai KT-88s yet even though Linlai makes several versions. I am using a Linlai 6SN7-E in my DeHavilland preamp and am pleased with its performance so far and this has piqued my interest in their KT-88 tubes.

BTW, I find your posts to be very informative and delivered with decorum and civility, so thanks for that as well!