Tubes / Valves for Guitar Amplifiers: List of Worldwide Brands and Manufacturers
This article presents a list of the worldwide brands and manufacturers of tubes / valves used in guitar amplifiers. Since the words tube and valve are synonyms for the same device, tube most used in the United States and valve in Great Britain, I will use tube in the article.
First of all, some clarifies are necessary in order to understand the actual situation of this niche world. There are many brands in the market and manufacturers in the world. As a consequence of many “buy and sell” operations made in the past years, today some factories produce tubes models labeled with different brands, and you can buy the same device with a different name or brand according to which part of the world you live. The simplest way to approach the market is identifying the various tubes models by brand, and this article is a list of tubes brands with details about the manufacturers that produce them.
Another clarify is necessary about Svetlana, a shared female name in Russia that creates confusion because it was used in the past for competing devices that generated legal actions. truly in the market there are two different series of tubes that are often confused when named as Svetlana only, but can be identifiable in this way:
- Svetlana “S” logo – Saratov, Russia
- SED / Svetlana “Winged C” logo – St. Petersburg, Russia
Later you will understand how to recognize them.
The last clarify is about the brands owned by New Sensor Corporation, an American company: they own the brands Sovtek and Electro-Harmonix plus the rights on Svetlana “S” logo one for the USA and Canada. additionally, they produce and sell already Mullard New Production and Tung-Sol New Production tubes.
And now, the list:
JJ Electronic – Slovak Republic
They began production of vacuum tubes in 1994, and today they have an assortment of more than 20 models. Formerly known as Tesla, JJ Electronic tubes are made on some of the original European equipment that was used in the heyday. They produce also tube amplifiers and electrolytic and polypropylene capacitors.
On their website is possible to download some technical informations, like tubes data-sheets.
Sovtek – Russia
Sovtek originally was a Russian factory and brand, but nowadays it is an American owned brand of New Sensor Corporation.
Sovtek tubes are produced by Reflector Co. factory in Saratov, Russia, together with Tung-Sol New Production, Electro-Harmonix, Mullard New Production and Svetlana “S” logo ones.
These tubes are distributed among the others by TubeDepot that on its website states: these tubes are used by more manufacturers than any other tube made.
Some of the companies who trust Sovtek tubes are:
• Mesa Boogie
• Audio observe
• Balanced Audio Technology
• Audio Research
• Rogue Audio
• Manley Labs
Svetlana “S” logo – Saratov, Russia
New Sensor Corporation has the exclusive right to use the name Svetlana for the USA and Canada markets only.
They use it for this assortment of tubes that can be identified uniquely by the “S” logo. Svetlana only is confusing, because it is used by SED / Svetlana “Winged C” logo tubes in the rest of the world.
These tubes are produced by Reflector Co. facility in Saratov, Russia, together with Mullard New Production, Tung-Sol New Production, Electro-Harmonix and Sovtek ones.
SED / Svetlana “Winged C” logo – St. Petersburg, Russia
These tubes are produced by Svetlana Tubes factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, one of the oldest tube factories in the world, and marketed with the brand SED in the United States and Canada and Svetlana in the rest of the world.
This assortment of tubes can be identified uniquely by the “Winged C” logo. Svetlana only is confusing, because in the United States and Canada it is used by Svetlana “S” logo tubes.
Electro Harmonix – Russia
Electro Harmonix is a brand owned by New Sensor Corporation.
These tubes are produced by Reflector Co. factory in Saratov, Russia, together with Mullard New Production, Tung-Sol New Production, Sovtek and Svetlana “S” logo ones.
TubeDepot on its website states that:
These tubes are considered by many to be some of the best new production tubes obtainable.
Mullard New Production – Russia
These tubes are marketed by New Sensor Corporation.
They seems to be faithful reproductions of the original Mullard models, and are produced by Reflector Co. factory in Saratov, Russia, together with Sovtek, Tung-Sol New Production, Electro Harmonix and Svetlana “S” logo ones.
Tung-Sol New Production – Russia
These tubes are marketed by New Sensor Corporation.
They are produced by Reflector Co. factory in Saratov, Russia, together with Electro Harmonix, Mullard New Production, Sovtek and Svetlana “S” logo ones.
SINO Chinese Tubes – China
No doubt that their stronger point is price, like many others products made in China.
They are distributed among the others by TubeDepot that on its website states:
Sino Chinese tubes have seen great improvements over what was obtainable just a few years ago. The EL34-B and KT88-98 have gotten many popular reviews and the 5881 is the most affordable 6L6 kind in our complete stock. Give these puppies a try, we think you will be surprised.