Why Can't Modern Tube Manufacturers Make a Proper Tube?

Current tube manufacturers, at least the ones I have tried should be utterly ashamed at their ineptness, apathy, ignorance, or whatever it is that makes them seemingly unable to make a tube properly.

And I never knew what I was missing before I tried reclaimed tubes from the 1950's, an era where people build things instead of ruining things.

The present manufactures are said to have the actual machinery to make tubes for which they have examples in hand and schematics on file, but they just can't do it.

Is this a case of Idiocracy? Are people just stupid today? The world and all creation do follow the 2nd rule of thermodynamics so I guess this is the case.

Listening to Black Plate RCA’s and Mullards in my system, even for a short time made it glaringly obvious that modern manufactures are embarrassingly inadequate. There is absolutely no comparison.

Why can't modern tube manufacturers make a proper tube?

1. lack of IQ?

2. Apathy? 

3. Lack of Materials?

4. Lost knowledge? 



I also have had pretty good luck overall.  A lot of the tubes I replaced had a llt of hours and with the getter disappearing and silkscreen evaporated it was time to replace before meltdown.   

If you want close to zero maintenance then a Solid State amp is best.  I love tubes, I do, but they aren't always practical 

I just bought a  awesome little integrated amp.  I set it up in my main room and it sounded so good I left it there for a couple of weeks.   It's in another room now and i find myself using it a lot.   Turing tube gear on and off for short listening periods isn't really the best thing for tubes. Or when it 's 95 ° ...    

Now I'll come home , turn the little system on ,  listen a little and turn it off .   It get's me 80% there but I will always use my main system for longer periods

Ghdprentice makes a good point about the longevity of well made tubes.  A 6922 is rated for 10,000 hours , as are a lot of other small signal tubes 

I use e180f in my amp and have about a dozen or more pairs of NOS tubes , Mullard , Amperex, GE, Telefunken..   all relatively cheap, except the Tele.  Those were $75

I basically have a lifetime of tubes for that amp, also have a dozen 274b and 5r4gy tubes .    

After a year of use they all tested like new or close.  I can run that thing every day for years and never run out.  I probably went overboard but at least when I'm dead the next owner won't have to worry

Luckily I live in a 50's house. Built to last. Made by actual craftsmen that care

The lumber was way heavier and stronger back then, definitely not put together better compared to today.



I wouldn't necessarily generalize things. Back in the 40's, 50's and 60's tubes were in everything and were literally a dime a dozen. So maybe the tubes that are around today were just heartier than the rest and the vast majority weren't so great. 

So it's possible that in 50 years, the batches made today by New Sensor and the such will have survivors that are better performers and audiophiles will be lamenting why can't we have the same quality tubes as audiophiles had in 2023.



""The rest have performed flawlessly for there entire life or are still in use.""

The issue is not failing tubes, but other tubes from the 50's that sound 70 times better than any modern tube.