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Tube Dampers?

I heard mention of "Tube Dampers" on another thread and rather than hijaking that thread i thought i'd start a new one.

I was going to ask everyone what these were, but, i googled and found out. For those wondering here is a link

To anyone who has tried these, what was the net affect when using the dampeners with good tubes? is it really worth the dough?



CoyoteTrax Fri, 04/07/2006 - 16:06
Chris, I've been using these dampers for a few months now and sincerely believe I hear a difference in reduced microphonics:

They're cheap, and a good place to start if you're wondering whether you want to invest in anything more expensive. I like these so I'm sticking with them for a while. I've bought tubes from these folks before also and have been super please with their products and service.

The net effect IMO is less vibration in the tubes when I've got my guitar amp cranked when tracking electric guitars, less vibration when I'm using my EH 12AY7 mic pre which usually sits someplace that's vibrating underneath it or next to it - the list goes on but you get the idea. Even in my iso room I figure sympathetic vibration is affecting the tube gear I have in the room with me.

IMO the overall effect is less profound than manufacturers profess but they have a product to sell so they're going to hype the audiophile data to get you to buy their product. Can't say I blame them. But I do hear a difference in clarity.

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 04/07/2006 - 18:48
Chris, I have been looking for a way to reduce tube microphonics for a long long time and from the photos it looks as though these could help. I have been building and repairing tube amps since'72 and tube microphonics have always been the bane of my sound quality. After 1980 it seems that tube quality went in the toilet. I am not real sure that it ever has fully recovered although it is easier than ever to find supposedly good tubes. These days I buy in bulk and hand test them using that old "thump on the tube gently with the gain turned up slightly". Any tube that sounds like an afuche gets thrown out.
good luck!

RemyRAD Fri, 04/07/2006 - 19:38
Tube dampers are great since all tubes are microphonic. When you're dealing with high sound pressure levels, the vibration can cause excessive noise within the tubes. There are particularly good for alummmph mmmph n ssmmmmphphphmmmm olmmmph mmflmguph.

Boob tube broad
Ms. Remy Ann David

That's not what we were talking about however. I do prefer the tubes which you find at the end of every role of toilet paper.

pr0gr4m Fri, 04/07/2006 - 22:58
Sounds like snake oil to me. What's the idea (science) behind these little doodads? Is it that the added weight of the ring, makes the tubes less susceptible to movement/vibration and that reduction is vibration makes the tube work better?

So, what if I was recording a piccolo and monitoring it through headphones and there wasn't a train going by on the tracks behind the studio, would the dampers basically be useless or would they still enhance the quality of the sound?

And in reality, we are recording music...not sine waves. Is this something one would want to enhance their sound or try to improve sound coming from an otherwise bad unit?

RemyRAD Fri, 04/07/2006 - 23:19
pr0gr4m I think you would find that this is only applicable to tubes under extreme vibration. Like a Marshall head on top of an awful loud stack of speakers. It would also be important for any kind of thermiomic device that might possibly be on some kind of installation prone to severe motion and other kinds of vibration. It also sonically insulates the tube so feedback effects that rely on heavy resonance do not cause a secondary microphonic resonance that might not be harmonically related to the fundamental.

Fundamentally wacko
Ms. Remy Ann David

CoyoteTrax Sat, 04/08/2006 - 12:36
The science behind it is that even without the influence of sympathic vibration or the vibration caused by equipment vibration build-up in a room (measurable in decibels) vacuum tubes in herently create microphonic distortion all on their own. Remember, there are skinny little filaments inside your tubes that electrons are rampantly raging through.

My personal experience in listening to my mic pre's after putting my first set of dampers on was a noticeable difference in dimension. Everything sounded a little more "3D". Obviously the results are going to be more noticeable and more dramatic in your guitar/bass amps tube compliment.

Google for info. But mostly what you'll find are reviews and editorials written by audiophiles demanding that tube dampeners are a necessity. "Audiophiles" - you know - those people that can hear a gnat fart at 1,000 feet and complain about the lack of tonal quality of Arizona gnats in comparison to California gnats?

But then again, some people can't hear the difference between Hosa cable and Mogami, so...