Senior Member
So I recently bought my first all tube amp, its a 1980's Laney Pro Tube lead 100 watt, basically a jcm 800 - the ridiculous price, any how it needs new tubes badly, and I was wondering why some are priced so much higher than others. For instance, Groove tubes are 96 dollars for a match quad while JJ's are only 50 and mullards are like 80. I've heard their all great tubes so whats the differences?
Since there are only a few manufacturers of tubes in the world, most of those companies are charging for labor and general markup.

Here's a fantastic thread where CB gives a ton of good info on tubes
Groove Tubes only make one or two types of tubes, if I remember right.  They relabel JJ's and other brands.  You can look up images of GT in new fender amps where you can see the old label underneath.  New Old Stock tubes are very expensive in general.  Mullards fall into this catagory, although there are some new issue ones as well.  Of course if they were made in the 50's there are only so many left, so the supply is diminishing and cost rises.  And then it depends on what type of tubes you get, some are quite a bit more expensive than others.  There are several outlets online, and they offer quite a number of testing options as well.  Depending on what you are using the tube for you want to get different ones or matched or tested or what have you.  There is also the problem of some tubes have Mojo or marketing, and others don't.  I guess it just depends why they vary in price.

One of the guys in my band builds his own amps. He claims that in every batch of tubes you buy youll get some duds. they will be noisy or microphonic or not work at all.

hm thats interesting im glad i bought the 50 dollar JJ's over the 100 dollar month backordered groove tubes then. thanks guys and that Thread with cb was quite enlightening.
To make things simple, go with NOS (new old stock) or slightly used old stock if you can afford it.

They just don't make 'em like they used to.

You'll have to do some research (like the rest of us who know our tubes) if you *really* want to be knowledgable
and know what to buy.

For new stuff, JJs are decent, but their 12AX7s lack detail (may be good if you have a really bright amp).

Sovtek are pretty much crap, except the LPS 12AX7, which is very detailed (too detailed and bright in some amps).

There's a few examples.

Truth is, there is no one magical valve that works in *all* amps with *all* players' setups.  Mullard (the original NOS, not the BS recreations) and Telefunken come close, though.  You're gonna have to try some out and find out for yourself what works best in *your* rig.