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 have a few observations that may help explain the nearly universal declining quality:

1) Finite Element Analysis.  The quest to do as much as possible with as little as possible. Sounds like utopia but in reality "over-engineering" as we used to call it was making a thing to function/perform using at 80% or less of it's capacity. 

2) The idea that most consumers don' t care as much about quality as they do about price. This is why "built to last" was shelved and "great value" (cough, cough) replaced it.

3) Planned obsolescence. Making a rapidly depleting product that requires the consumer to re-buy it often. This is often accompanied by "laws" that protect the connected at the peril of the customer./consumer.

4) Rising incompetence. This  is almost universal in the USA and is a direct product of moral relativism. The patron saint of todays young adults is Mediocratese. His motto is "Meh. good enough."


There was a UK company originally making medical tubes that came out with updated things like 12 series with considerable improvements  a number of years back. Never heard of them since. 

Basically, the market is tiny and the cost is high if I were to venture a guess.  One can emulate the distortion products in a transistor circuit and using various FETs, do a pretty good job of the transductance curves. I don't think we understand the "musicality" well enough to emulate in DSP but I bet some are working on it.   

@tonydennison  - regarding WE tubes they presently are only manufacturing their 300B, but as noted elsewhere in the thread their intention is to produce some other tube variants at their Rossville Works facility. https://www.westernelectric.com/rossville-works

Here's WE's links for getting on their mailing list for product annaouncements, and direct contact page.



Goggle is your friend



"In classical rhetoric and logic begging the question or assuming the conclusion is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument’s premises assume the truth of the conclusion. A question-begging inference is valid, in the sense that the conclusion is as true as the premise, but it is not a valid argument."