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Old 6th Mar 2021, 3:15 pm   #1
Daventry 5XX
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Default Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Hi All,

I need to replace the rectifier valve ( 5Y3G ) in my RCA AR 88D receiver
Iíve looked on the usual websites and they seem to be flooded with cheap Chinese imports
Does anybody have any experience of these valves, which I presume are new or new old stock ?
Are they worth buying or should I take a chance on an old genuine one and hope it works ?

Many thanks
Alan
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 3:29 pm   #2
ChristianFletcher
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

I would always buy a old valve over China manufactured one. Whilst old valves still exist and don’t really degrade in storage I wouldn’t see the point in buying a valve from China. I did buy a output valve Via RS components that was manufactured in China. I can honestly say it didn’t sound as good an old mullard I replaced it with. I have no idea why that would be the case but the mullard just sounded better to me. I think many of these manufacturers were very expert at what they did and I would question how good a copy would be I’m sure a lot of the secrets source must have been lost in the last 60 years.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 3:33 pm   #3
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

As a data-point, I've not had any significant issues with the Chinese-made EL84s sold by RS for under-a-tenner each.

Before buying Chinese valves aimed at the guitar-market, check out the likes of Langrex/Watford/Billington - they sometimes have NOS valves from the 'less-popular' brands [Brimar, Pinnacle, Haltron] on sale for _less_ than new Chinese/Russian valves ained at the audiophile/guitar markets.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 4:25 pm   #4
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

If you do not mind using an indirectly heated rectifier the Russian 5U4M (5C4M)
is a 5Z4GT equivalent and a direct fit for the 5Y3 (Base, volts and current). They are cheap and tough.
Though there are still plenty of 5Y3Gs advertised at reasonable prices...
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 5:13 pm   #5
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Some 5Y3GT valves [later production] are indirectly-heated but with the cathodes tied to one of the heater-pins. I've got a Mullard one like that here, and it works just fine in my AR88.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 5:36 pm   #6
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristianFletcher View Post
I think many of these manufacturers were very expert at what they did and I would question how good a copy would be Iím sure a lot of the secrets source must have been lost in the last 60 years.
Lets hope that that isn't the case as Brimar's great British Valve project starts to come to fruition https://brimaruk.com/menugbvp/great-...lve-project-2/

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 5:54 pm   #7
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Quote:
If you do not mind using an indirectly heated rectifier the Russian 5U4M (5C4M)
I've had dozens of 5U4Ms from Russia in the last year as part of the large demand that our 'Project Vivat' has. Insatiable might be a good word . . .
The Russian 5U4Ms have (so far) been excellent and a keen price with quick delivery too. I've also had large quantities of 6AS7Gs from the same source and those are superb too.

Not that we're worried about 'the sound' of these things - they're just for stabilised HT power packs - but they do need to be reasonably the same (not 'matched', as such) for the massively parallel banks to share properly.
For that reason alone, it's been a much better route than NOS or 'raided' stocks.

Also had VR150 voltage stabilisers and every one has been bang on 150V.

Best regards,

Paul M
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 8:03 pm   #8
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

I don't know about Chinese rectifiers, but the AR88 here has been running happily with a Russian "Coke bottle" 5Z4G equivalent for some years without a fuss- it's actually labelled GZ32 but the heater current of 2.0A (as opposed to 2.3A) suggests that it's nearer to the US-originated type in design. I suspect that there was a degree of importer re-labelling to suit the likely market at the time, or just best mark-up.... The AR88 is a fairly mild current load, and the low 4uF reservoir capacitance and relatively high-resistance chokes help thermionic rectifiers here, but it is somewhat more demanding on PIV rating than many radios.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 8:19 pm   #9
ChristianFletcher
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Actually it was an EL84 I had from RS. I cannot complain about the price I thought it was amazing value but I definitely thought it didn’t sound the same as the old mullard. I’m definitely not into the audiophool game perhaps the one I had was faulty for some reason. Interesting that people report good results with the China valve so I will remain open minded.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 8:53 pm   #10
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Alan,
I have a NOS U.S. made 5y3, if you want it. Yours for the postage.
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Old 7th Mar 2021, 11:00 am   #11
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Regarding Brimar's great British Valve project, they seem to be in the throws of setting up a factory ie no production mentioned yet, but simultaneously selling new Brimar valves? Where are these new Brimar valves being manufactured if not in the new facility? Can someone explain please? Great, project by the way, to be applauded and patronised.
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Old 7th Mar 2021, 11:34 am   #12
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

I don't have first-hand knowledge, but looking at the valves they sell https://brimaruk.com/valves/brimar-tube-range/ the KT66, for example, appears to be 'pinch' construction and very closely resembles the ones made in China's Shuguang plant. So I assume that's where they come from. The ECC804 though says it "is made right here in the UK" https://brimaruk.com/valves/triodes/brimar-ecc804/.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 7th Mar 2021, 11:49 am   #13
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Yes.

They work and have specs. that are the same as the "originals", they may have shorter lives, I have yet to have one go pop, say after a few thousand hours. And at the prices, very good value indeed. Obviously aimed at the audio market, there are no RF pentodes or mixer types that I have seen.
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Old 7th Mar 2021, 12:45 pm   #14
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimJosef View Post
I don't have first-hand knowledge, but looking at the valves they sell https://brimaruk.com/valves/brimar-tube-range/ the KT66, for example, appears to be 'pinch' construction and very closely resembles the ones made in China's Shuguang plant. So I assume that's where they come from.

Cheers,

GJ
A bit ironic.
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Old 8th Mar 2021, 4:17 am   #15
joebog1
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Default Re: Chinese valves : Are they any good ?

I can buy " super audio quality" Brimar ECC83's, made in Russia!!! Just a cool $5 more than your "average" audio quality ones. whats $5 more on top of the $30 for the ordinary ones?.
The ordinary ones are Mullard branded, ALSO made in Russia.
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