@bluebeatpete Current audio vacuum tube production is still largely limited to 3 locations: China, Russia and the Czech/Slovak Republics. While many other developed nations still produce and develop vacuum based electronics, only Japan and Germany have produced glass vacuum tubes suitable for audio recently.
If you want a tube based audio amplifier as a conversation piece, I recommend buying a kit that includes a technical description of the actual circuit being built.
Furthermore, you should look for kits with positive reviews by builders that are at your skill level. There is no shame for an adult starting using a kit designed for a twelve year old.
There are even tube amp designs that don’t use high voltages.
There are designs that actually deliver on their promise of an extremely long tube life. For example, the surface area of the cathode might be ten times larger than a tube design from 1953 with the same output power. The tube will be run at a lower temperature so both the heater and cathode run cooler. The operating voltage will be much lower.
Humorously, these changes mean that the circuit won’t have the same “warm tube sound” (distortion characteristics) as a tube amp designed in 1953, unless they are simulated in the solid state portion of the circuit.
@phendrick I can still remember going to the hardware store to check out tubes/buy replacements for the TV and the radio when I was young. Dad did all that stuff himself (as well as most of our car maintenance stuff). Alas, those days (and Dad) are gone.
In STL, there is a place, Gateway Electronics, that has one and caters to the analog and Ham Radio crowd. They probably have a website, but don’t expect much more than directions and hours.
It’s also really hard to find. Way, way in the back of the road, off a spur and then at the end of that.
@chienfou@phendrick Update. That video is the old store. They have moved to the old, near empty Chesterfield Mall. These days, they’re what the mall management/security guard guy calls an “anchor store”. Definitely a huge step up in being able to find them. They’re invaluable for parts to fix stereos and gaming headphone cans.
@chienfou@mike808@phendrick Hey, look at the reward for reading deep into comments for a product I’ve no interest in buying. I’d love to repair my dad’s 1930s-era radio. Maybe I can test a tube or two. I’ll be heading to the mall in the coming days.
@bayportbob@mike808@phendrick Funny thing is that I was talking about the Florissant area in north county in my initial post-- though it was over 50 yrs ago so I am not sure if it was the old central hardware chain or an independent store…
I had serious doubts when I unpacked this thing. It is far smaller and lighter than I expected. Also, it makes beeps and boops the instant you power it up - so how can the tubes be doing anything at all if the sound comes out before they get a chance to heat up? BUT - it makes a joyous noise when I play Deep Purple Machine Head through it. Fills the room nicely. This will be perfectly adequate as an overpriced pair of computer speakers.
This is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen… cough Cheap plastic sneeze cheap tubes, and hurk Hammacher Schlemmer. I think I just caught something by looking at it.
If you want a bluetooth speaker, please consider something else for this price or less. If you want a tube amp, please consider literally anything else. If you want a bluetooth tube amp, you might consider monoprice for under $100, plus whatever passive speakers. I only say that because that’s what I picked, not because I’ve tried any others.
I have had an old non functioning Bakelite art deco radio with tubes inside that I would love to restore to functionality and maybe add a Bluetooth input to, but I’ve been stuck at not knowing anything about how tubes work and not having access to a tube tester or new tubes. It seems like there are some knowledgeable folks on this thread. Anyone have some noob-friendly tube resources they’d like to share?
@djslack It has been awhile since I tinkered with tubes amps (other than swapping tubes in my guitar amp). There were two sites I liked years ago, I completely forgot one’s name (had great tools that helped me design my own guitar amp over 10 years ago… wish I could remember), and another is http://www.pmillett.com/index.html (millet is easy to remember). You can start looking through and maybe getting an idea of basic designs and what stages are what.
For your project, in general you need to have the Bluetooth receiver and a DAC that would tap into where the radio inputs into the amp stages (bypassing the radio tuner). If you have the DAC’s output in the same voltage range of the radio tuner’s input you wouldn’t need to tinker much with the amplifier portion. It may be easier to install your own aux input directly to the amplifier stages and use an external Bluetooth receiver with rca or 3.5mm output to plug into it. You may even be able to put it inside the radio’s housing and just run an extra wire for the Bluetooth receiver or tap into the radio’s power wire. I had a roommate with no electrical knowledge do that to a similar radio years ago for guitar
@FireMrshlBill thank you. More often than not when I’m looking for something DIY like this, a web site that looks like that is one of the best resources around. Looks simple but I’m pretty sure I can sink a few hours into it with all the stuff that’s on that one page.
Your thoughts on how to do the radio conversion line up exactly with mine. Since I believe the tube amp to be the part that’s not working, I figured that once I could get the radio working as designed it would be pretty straightforward to get the Bluetooth schmodo active section tied in there. And kind of neat if i could keep the radio intact, but if it has to go all Bluetooth that would be ok since that’s about all I would use it for.
@djslack I’d assume you could install a switch to go between inputs, it’d probably come down to how the radio is integrated into it. I bet if you search around the head-fi.org forums there will be some discussions on the topic. Good luck!
@djslack Do you have a make and model number for the radio, or perhaps a photo of it? Assuming the radio is intact and complete, repairs would most likely be limited to replacing capacitors and any weak tubes. The tubes can be tested, if you know someone with a tube tester. The easiest way to get modern music to your radio while leaving it intact would be to use an AM transmitter. (I assume your radio is an AM band only model…if it’s late enough to also have an FM tuner, getting a transmitter becomes much easier!)
@PooltoyWolf@robson thanks! I don’t know anyone with a tester, but I will get some pics of it. I have to go get it from my parents’ house. I do remember not being able to find a model number on it and spending some time trying to identify it through Google image results without success a few years back. It appeared complete, just not functional.
So they mix the high quality of tubes with the compressed quality of bluetooth and MP3 and what do we get? Could it possibly sound better? I don’t think so. And as mentioned already, the tubes may just be there for decoration.
@arfdawg Jesus, who pissed in your Wheaties? It seems like every post where someone seems even slightly skeptical of the necessity of the tubes you get seriously offended. Did you design the thing? Or do you work for the company? Do you need to go wipe again?
@arfdawg Now you’re getting angry at me? When did I make any assertions? Did I state any facts about the tubes? The only time I posted in this thread was when I asked what your issue was this morning. How does that make me a troll? And how does that make me an expert?
@arfdawg Hi - can you explain how you know that the tubes are actually functional and are not just there for looks?
Because I came here to ask someone with EE experience who buys these if they could test them to find out if the tubes are even in the signal chain.
A few people seem to have had the same thought as me; that a cheap, gimmicky, literally flashy set of speakers could have just added a couple of tubes to look cooler, without them actually being functional.
But you’ve responded to people saying “maybe” by saying “definitely not!”
@DennisG2014 Because I don’t rely on random strangers here who don’t know what they are talking about but are so lonely they seem possessed to comment on every product each day no matter what. I do a simple google search. When you do that, you find out these are real tubes. Unreal how lazy and dense peopel are.
@arfdawg Well, since you’re so passionate about it, can you link me to the schematic you found that shows these tubes are actually in the signal chain and not just there for looks?
I don’t doubt that they are real tubes, I wonder if they are really affecting the output.
@arfdawg which military standard quality are we referring to here? On a scale of Sierra Leone to USA, where are we talking?
And as someone who isn’t asking the question, I don’t see where you’ve proved anything with regard to what’s being asked. But I don’t believe this will be resolved between the two of you as he has perhaps exhausted your knowledge on the subject. The question cannot be answered from the available marketing copy.
@arfdawg Whether the tubes are real or not, my original post said a keyword that was very important to a long conversation that made that part of my comment very minor: MAY
The greater part was about audio compression both from bluetooth compression and MP3. But I forgot to mention how it also may get lost in the speaker itself.
I got rid of my tube speakers from the '50’s that required time to warm up, for better speakers in the '70’s that were larger and were powered by solid state amp and were replaced by more efficient speakers in the '00’s powered by a surround solid state amp and I DON’t WANT THIS. Hows that answer?
@arfdawg Thank god you’re done.
All you’ve proven is that you’ll believe anything a company tells you on their website.
Your idea of ‘research’ is to read the claimed tech specs of some Chinese company who manufactures cheap junk that they try to sell for an impressive price tag, gets universally bad reviews and then ends up being sold for 1/4 the retail price on a fire-sale website (sorry, Meh).
People here have reasonable doubts as to whether those REAL TUBES really do anything except glow and you came storming in here insulting everyone and claiming you know the real actual truth when all you did was believe a shady company’s own marketing hype.
A few people had doubts, you’re the only one who made actual claims and copying/pasting the company’s marketing propaganda does nothing to back up those claims.
I can only guess that the reason you’re being so nastily defensive about it is that you bought it and are desperate to believe you spent your money well.
Maybe you did. I HOPE you did, honestly I do.
I hope you love your fancy new speakers.
When you get them, if you could find a way to test whether the tubes have any actual effect on the audio or if they just glow, I’d love to know the result.
I have no idea if the tubes do or don’t do what the manufacturer claims - NEITHER DO YOU.
If it turns out they’re totally legit, I will apologize for arguing with you and planting seeds of doubt.
In the mean time, if you could apologize for insulting everyone who has reasonable doubts and claiming you know something you don’t, that’d be great.
2570 N First St, 2nd Floor San Jose, CA 95131 U.S.A | LANCHIYA ACOUSTICS RESEARCH U.S.A
10th Floor, Shizuya Bld. 5-51-11, Higasi-Nippori, Arakawa-Ku, 1160014 Tokyo, JAPAN | LANCHIYA ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD JAPAN
K-Center #901, Simindearo 248, Beon-gil 25, Dongan-gu Anyang-City, Gyeonggi-do KOREA | LANCHIYA A.I. ACOUSTICS RESEARCH (Aucean technology Inc.) KOREA
Hongtu Road No1, Songxia Industry Zone, Songgang oshan City Guangdong Province 528234 CHINA | LANCHIYA DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD CHINA
They have a corporate presence in the US, Japan, Korea and China.
As I have said over and over again, I have no idea if those tubes actually do what the company says they do.
But I will guaranfuckingtee you that this set of speakers will be labeled “MADE IN CHINA”.
@DennisG2014 The arf guy has this amazing idea that 12AX7’s are going to be used in the signal but has no idea that if I feed them 12V’s I can show the heater working and he thinks the triode is somehow working in the system. He also argued with me about what a microphonic tube is, so he has virtually zero idea of tubes. He’s the kind of guy I sell drifted caps to because he thinks they are cool.
well… I think it is something I think I want but really do not need. if it was cheaper I’d buy one just to put on the shelf and look at it… but, meh, not now… want vs. need. sigh. the low end is 50hz and the high end is only 18khz, not really for listening other than outside by the grill after you’ve had a few drinks in the rain. yeah, it’s a looker but not someone you’d take home to meet mom.
If anyone who buys these has the knowledge and skills to figure out whether those tubes are actually in the signal chain and affecting the output, or just there to light up and look fancy, please find out and report back.
I used to sell music merchandise, and there was a brief trend of guitar effect pedals that had a single tube sticking out of them.
No one ever bought them and I always wondered if the tube was even functional.
A gimmick like that would have been nothing new in the guitar peripheral market.
With something as fancy-but-cheap-and-gimmicky looking as these speakers, I’d be more surprised if the tubes turned out to be functional than not.
@DennisG2014 On the speaker I bought from Meh, the tubes are 6AK5s from China (6J1) and they are indeed in circuit and the heaters are on…I have yet to determine what they do, but removing them and listening yields very weak and distorted audio, so I suspect they are preamp tubes.
so it seems that the only information I can find from the source is this:
and I guess they are trying to say it does some version of 4.2 but will also support edr if your device is on 2? I have no idea what it means… while the products have very slick presentation pdf’s, I couldn’t find a single users manual that would download…
I’m not familiar with this particular unit, but many of the small tube amps use the tubes for the preamp only. Also, I doubt a tube amp with only 2 tubes delivers 40 watts. Its probably a class d amp with tube preamp.
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 ya, I shouldn’t say definitely, but they don’t look like power tubes, especially if that plastic cover over them is supposed to stay on. Then again, the 40w output is really 40w RMS.
@DennisG2014@FireMrshlBill Did you bother to go to teh company’s web site? Of course not. They make an entire line of vacuum tube units. I’m not doing your research for you. Don’t buy them. I could not care less one way or the other
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 you are the only person spreading hearsay by saying there is documentation out there, yet not spending the 15seconds it takes to look at your browser history to copy and paste your link. Everyone else is asking and making guesses based on the apparent design, typical amp designs and info given. Heck, just tell use what tubes those are and that would give us enough to go on.
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 I went to their website (it is in Russian, which I haven’t studied/read in 17years), and it is a DSP stage going to these tubes and then going to a class D amplifier. The tubes are “customized” with no identifier. Again, your argument of “go the their site” for documentation on the tubes or tube stage, and “they make a line of tube” products results in no information people wanted other than confirmation they were preamp. So why even comment when you have 0 information that is useful?
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 even disregarding google’s poor results and finding their English site. Still no documentation other than what I already said. I’ll wait for the link you won’t post while wasting more time telling others to research (ie, you don’t know the answer but want to argue for no reason)
@DennisG2014@FireMrshlBill I’m not arguing. You are. I’m not doing the work for you. Research it for yourself. It took me literally 3 minutes to find what I needed. Sorry if you are still using Netscape to do web searches
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 yes you are arguing with people. You could have been a decent person and copy and pasted a link or said you think you saw that info on their website. But no, you just want to talk crap. I was intrigued by this product and have been stuck in a place with spotty WiFi and not at my house to sit down and look it up. So scrolling through google results that give me the Russian site instead of the English site and downloading their manuals is a bit of a pain. Everyone had specific questions about the tubes’ role, and since you supposedly “looked it up” you could have easily just passed along that info, instead of just saying that the company makes a bunch of tube products and to search it themselves. You helped no one and annoyed anyone you needlessly replied to. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, but I don’t get why you replied to anyone with unhelpful responses.
@FireMrshlBill Thanks for proving my statement. YOU’RE THE ONE ARGUING. So sorry that downloading a widdle .PDF file is such a chore for widdle ole you. Good luck with your search. I’m done with your BS.
The low end sounds like the bass boost it already on…(too much) The bass boost, in turn, sounds terrible. Only goes down to 70Hz, so the bass you do get is very muddy.
Also, if you player/device volume is more than 25%, it overdrives the tubes and causes lots of compression and pumping. This means you can control the amount of “tube” in the playback, but also means you can’t effectively use your device’s volume control for the program material.
If you aren’t into the look of the tubes and the color changing lights, look elsewhere.
@chrisreedjr@thismyusername for what it’s worth I tested mine with the aux cord on my phone and the feedback and static noises reminded me of a guitar amp so had that feature, as for sound Bluetooth sounds better then direct wire but that’s me
It looks like a hatching pod for tiny aliens, but this thing sounds much better than anything has a right to for the price that it was offered on meh. Well built of apparently quality materials. Bluetooth connectivity is okay, not the best, but we always have glitchy Bluetooth connectivity so this is not particularly worse than anything else (except AirPodPros, they connect great).
Sound is really good. There’s a bass boost that works particularly well for certain circumstances, but not others, depends on the track. Rich, full and room filling. First thing I bought off Meh, and unlike some others, can’t say I’m unhappy.
@arfdawg@Pufferfishy yep you are right, if you don’t know what a 12AX7 that is microphonic you’ve never even seen a tube before, I can show you video of mine. Show me a new manufacture 6T5, 6U5, 6E5 or any eye tube. 90% of all amps are solid state, only the 10% are the ones I sell black beauty’s to because they think drifted caps are cool.
There is ZERO reason to put tubes in with solid state equipment, except to fool people into thinking they are cool.
@arfdawg@Pufferfishy@Special_Ted Of course nobody is manufacturing new 6E5s because the demand for them isn’t there, but there are plenty of options for new 12AX7s, 6L6s, 6CA7s, etc…though personally I prefer to use NOS USA-made tubes in my equipment. I used to work for a local tube shop…really enjoyed that job, and still work shows with my former boss! It’s a ton of fun.
(Also let me just say that I personally think the concept/idea of ‘vintage drifted caps’ is ludicrous!)
@Pufferfishy@Special_Ted I’m really shocked at the people who are actually asking to see schematics on this when it’s clear that it’s a conversational piece not serious audiophile stuff. Tubes and mood lighting? Also sold on Hammer? REALITY ALERT!
@Special_Ted I bought one of these and did an analysis. The tubes are Chinese 6J1s (6AK5s) and are indeed real, the heaters are connected and they are used in the circuit, though to what extent I’m not yet entirely sure. I do know removing the tubes greatly stunts audio output.
@PooltoyWolf Do you have the chance to put them in a tube tester and see how they test, emission and such? Keep me updated, I am curious want to know more. I am sure they are running low voltage on the B+ and are using a cheap voltage doubler. Does it have a hum or are they using filter caps?
"The two tubes in this amplifier generate 40 RMS watts per channel of distortion-free signal, adding punch and clarity to high bit-rate MP3s, Apple Lossless, or CD-quality audio played wirelessly from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android phone.
The tubes also provide robust bass response by ameliorating the natural acoustic qualities of second and third harmonics for richer sound coloration."
@Willijs3 Absolutely it will fix your eyesight.
You seem like a well educated consumer, so I would offer it to you at a 50% discount.
For anyone who doubts my miracle cure, I’m currently putting together a website with all sorts of technical jargon to back up my claims.
Once I’m done writing it, you’ll have all the proof you need that it’s real.
@arfdawg@DennisG2014 I passed on these because this did not sound legit. I couldn’t find anything about this brand from a legitimate source. Lanchiya was formed by some guy in San Jose name Larry Liu in 2016 and I did a google maps lookup of their San Jose address. It’s an office building where you rent space ie no R&D center. I did find the same unit under two other names and the specs were different telling me not to trust the web site. I’m just saying I did my DD and I passed.
@DennisG2014@densa You’re not good at researching. The company displayed their goods at CES AND they have tons more crap they sell than this particular model. Also, they have several international locations. You are a horrible troll on a mission.
There are a few people in this thread who have demonstrated that they have an understanding of electronics and vacuum tubes and how they work (or at the very least, are as good as/better than Lanchiya at faking it using jargon).
I’m not one of them and neither are you.
Each of those people have expressed doubts that there’d be any functional value in putting tubes in a device like this.
I will privilege the opinion of someone who demonstrates an understanding of the technology over someone who claims they know the truth because they did ‘research’ by reading the manufacturer’s conflicting, Chinglish marketing jargon.
No one here has really proven much of anything about these speakers.
Quite a few people have provided evidence that Lanchiya and its claims are not to be trusted.
You’re a nasty person and I have a tendency to get triggered by people like you into giving them a large dose of their own medicine.
This morning, I’m thinking there might really be something wrong with you. Like, mentally or intellectually.
(Either that or you’re a master of Poe’s Law trolling, and if that’s the case, I salute your skills.)
I sometimes get a kick out of being mean to mean people, but I get no joy out of demeaning people who are unwell.
Lanchiya is a shady Chinese company who manufactures cheap, gimmicky, novelty items backed up by cheap, gimmicky marketing jargon designed to con rubes like you.
I hope you enjoy your silly novelty speakers.
I also kind of hope you burn the shit out of your fingers on those totally real tubes.
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@cabohn I also remember the olden days of vacuum tubes. I still have three phonographs and three radios with tubes along with some tube testing equipment.
Really, tubes didn’t burn out very frequently. When they did, they were very easily replaced by removing them and going to a store with a tube tester.
Most of the store testers weren’t very accurate, but they did show a bad tube. New tubes were pretty cheap.
I’ve never seen an ‘exploded’ vacuum tube (imploded?) but I suppose it’s possible.
@cabohn@daveinwarsh Thanks for clarifying this. I have worked with tubes for a very long time, and in the receiving tube (read: consumer/civilian) side of the business, I have never heard of a tube exploding. The worst I have personally seen was melted plates inside a 5U4GB rectifier due to a dead short in the amplifier. Tubes are generally pretty reliable and durable…most that I have to replace were either used very hard for a long period (usually TV sweep tubes) and just became weak over time, or were accidentally physically broken.