Monday, 20 February 2012

Vacuum tube testing service

Psst...need your toobs tested?

Ok, for you dirty minded people out there...banish your indecent thoughts once and for all - this is a family orientated website...I'm talking about vacuum tubes here.

"Vacuum tubes? What on earth are they?" you might ask....

Well, in the days before solid-state transistor electronics, before iTunes, before LCD and plasma TVs, before LED displays, vacuum tubes were power and radio transmitters, military radar systems, fluorescent displays in household electronics, guitar amplifiers, your radio and other audio equipment, in your every-household-has-one cathode ray tube TV sets.
Back then, these vacuum tubes were like the light bulbs of today...common like water, and dirt cheap....replacing them was never an issue.

To read more about the fascinating history of these vacuum tubes, check out this link: The Cool Sound of Tubes.

Fast forward 50 years or so, and now vacuum tubes are a rare and expensive commodity....a set can easily set you back in the couple of hundreds or more.

So you hunt down a set of pricey New Old Stock tubes for your newly purchased tube amp and it sounds great for the first year or so, then the sound starts to deteriorate. You suspect it's the tubes that need to be replaced, but you're not sure. Neither are you sure whether you should change all of them, or maybe there's just one that's bad and needs to be replaced - if so, which one?

Heck, that replacement set of NOS tubes you just paid a bomb for over the internet - you're not even sure if they have actually been extensively used before!

That's where this fancy little device will help's a Hickok mutual conductance tube tester from the 1950s - yes there are still things from that decade surviving to the present day!!

So you set the dials and knobs specifically to the type of tube you want to test, pop the tube in, wait a couple of minutes, then hit the test button, and viola!

You'll know:
a) if your tubes have intact filaments,
b) whether your tubes are shorted,
c) if they have gas in them (a big no-no),
d) whether they're Good (to continue using), or bad (and needs to be Replaced), and
e) it'll even be able to test roughly how much life is left in your tube!!! have a bunch of tubes you'd like tested? Or know of someone who would need such a service?

An audiophile friend who's into tube amps? A guitar aficionado with a stack of vintage guitar amps? A radio ham operator?

Contact me at to discuss further.

Yet another value-added, yet esoteric, service brought to you by the good folks of ArtMusicKitchen! Go ahead and spread the good word to all your friends!


  1. Great to know that artmusickitchen provide testing services for vacuum tubes thanks to you sir and if u are intrested in vacuum tube want to gather more information about it or want to buy thenMore Info

  2. I am simply interested in testing a quad of KT150s to determine which one faulted and burned my amp. I just don't want to use that tube again so I would like to have them tested. Therefore, I am interested in what you would charge for such a feat, and how you might see the steps of the process for me.

    Doug Horn