View Full Version : Baldwin organ tubes - who made them?


BmWr75
08-31-2010, 07:15 PM
Did Sylvania make all the 12AX7A and 12AU7A Baldwin organ branded tubes? Found only one link on a Google search that suggested this was the case.

trumpet668
08-31-2010, 08:04 PM
Did Sylvania make all the 12AX7A and 12AU7A Baldwin organ branded tubes? Found only one link on a Google search that suggested this was the case.

I have some Baldwin black plates that were made by Raytheon

Andyman
08-31-2010, 08:12 PM
I think the green labels are Sylvanias, yellows are Raytheons, and the blues are Matshushitas. Maybe.

Well, I Know the green EL84s are Sylvanias for sure

UnGrounded
08-31-2010, 08:20 PM
Basically ANY manufacturer made tubes for electronics companies.

It was all about whoever could provide the best prices, but sure, there could have been some exclusive contracts.

Many U.S. components had tubes from Europe because the American dollar was so strong in the 60's that often tubes like Telefunkens could be bought in bulk cheaper than buying domestic.

For example, my Scott 299 is a tour of the world. My specific unit retailed with four Amperex 7189's (Holland), two Mullard 6BL8's (England), four Telefunken 12AX7's (Germany), and a GE 5AR4 (America).

I saw a Baldwin 6L6GC pair made by General Electric sell on Ebay a couple days ago.

hammr7
08-31-2010, 09:35 PM
Like most major American organ manufacturers, Baldwin tubes were from American manufacturers. They were among the biggest purchasers of certain types of vacuum tubes in the world. They wanted to keep their suppliers close, got the best quantity discounts, and usually got the best of the available tubes (tiny drips of paint on tube tops meant the tubes passed extra QC tests. For preamp tubes this meant best for microphonics.).

The Baldwin tubes should have the manufacturer's EIA number on them. The most common used by Baldwin were:

188 = GE
274 = RCA
280 = Raytheon
312 = Sylvania

gadget73
08-31-2010, 10:26 PM
I have at least one red label Baldwin 12AX7, though for the life of me I don't remember who made it. Its not a Sylvania though. I have a couple of those too, all green label and with the proper EIA codes.

Isotonic
08-31-2010, 11:02 PM
I'm pretty sure I have some Baldwin Amperex 12Ax7's. I read somewhere that organ amp tubes have to be especially good because of the load organ music puts on them. Therefore organ tubes tend to be the best of the lot in terms of durability.

Sam Cogley
08-31-2010, 11:29 PM
I've never seen an RCA without the 274 EIA code. Some of the other brands I've found without them. Generally, at least in the tube-dominant era, and just from my own knowledge, RCA and GE used white paint (distinguished by their very different etched markings), Sylvania used green, Raytheon used yellow, and Tung-Sol had an annoying habit of trying to look just like RCA. Generally Tung-Sol's octagon etch was a bit thicker and sloppier than RCA's. I haven't run across enough CBS/Hytron tubes to comment on those.

BmWr75
09-01-2010, 07:13 PM
Here are examples of the tubes I'm asking about, see picture. They are a little dusty, but not nearly as bad as when I pulled them, couldn't even tell what they were at first. They test like new.

Tube on the left is a Baldwin 12AX7A (most likely Raytheon produced), yellow label, black plate, halo getter, date code = P28061-250

Tube on the right is a Baldwin 12AU7A (most likely Sylvania produced), green label, grey plate, halo getter, date code = 31 12 26

Anyone hazard a guess when these were made? I know there is a web site that give all the tube manufacturer date codes, but have lost the link to it.

Anyone have any experience with how these might compare sound-wise to the more famous European produced tubes (Amperex, Mullard, Telefunken, etc.)?

gadget73
09-01-2010, 07:51 PM
the green one has it's codes read vertically. 312 = Sylvania, 126 = date code. I'd guess week 12, 1956 but thats a WAG on my part.

UnGrounded
09-01-2010, 07:51 PM
A friend of mine is the original owner of a 1967 Hammond organ (a U.S.A. company). He never changed the tubes. I checked it out and it's loaded full of Hammond-label Mullards.

cubby01
09-01-2010, 09:27 PM
I would hazzard a bet that nearly all the oscillator tubes in those 50 year old organs are originals and still test well at that.

gadget73
09-02-2010, 08:18 PM
Just looked at my red label tube, and it says Made In Japan, and it has 2H on it. Not sure if the code is missing or just worn off, but I'd guess its probably a Matsushita or Hitachi?

sgmlaw
09-03-2010, 09:23 AM
Just looked at my red label tube, and it says Made In Japan, and it has 2H on it. Not sure if the code is missing or just worn off, but I'd guess its probably a Matsushita or Hitachi?

If it's a Matsushita, it's still a very good tube to have. The internals tell the tale of whose equipment it was made on. The Japanese pulled a hard vacuum (not quite as hard as a TFK). Consider it a slightly drier, cooler sounding Amperex for the most part. I find them a bit tougher than their European siblings in more demanding circuits.

Organ makers sourced tubes from just about everybody, but all were screened for extremely low noise. They won't last any longer than any other sample from the source lots, but they should be dead quiet if still within the useful life curve. And most of the small signal types you will find will still test strong, as the circuits were generally very conservatively rated.

The benefits of organ marked tubes used to be more of a secret. But now the word is out, and they're fetching decent prices.

sgmlaw
09-03-2010, 09:46 AM
. . . Tube on the left is a Baldwin 12AX7A (most likely Raytheon produced), yellow label, black plate, halo getter, date code = P28061-250

Tube on the right is a Baldwin 12AU7A (most likely Sylvania produced), green label, grey plate, halo getter, date code = 31 12 26
. . .

Anyone have any experience with how these might compare sound-wise to the more famous European produced tubes (Amperex, Mullard, Telefunken, etc.)?

The Raytheon BP is as good or better than a comparable age RCA BP. Should be rich and tonally vibrant across the whole spectrum. It will be tonally richer and heavier than a TFK (typical smooth or ribbed) or Amperex halo getter, slightly more rolled off on top compared to those two, and closer to a Mullard. The TFK will beat it in the lower treble, and a short plate Amperex may do some voices a little better. But everywhere else, the Raytheon holds its own. And unless the Mullard (or Amperex) is an earlier long-plate, the Raytheon is better than either in my opinion. I don't think it betters either of those early long plates, but it would be very, very close, and better in some systems. A potentially great tube. I've got some of these. In the first-tier of the US makes for that family.

That Sylvania is a little more average sounding than the Raytheon, but still a very nice tube. Cleaner and less heavy (faster) than the Raytheon. But being a different family, it will usually find itself in different circuit surroundings.

Bear in mind it all depends on the rest of the chain. In the wrong system, either could be a disaster.

Sam Cogley
09-03-2010, 09:50 AM
If it's a Matsushita, it's still a very good tube to have.

Wasn't that factory tooled by Mullard?

sgmlaw
09-03-2010, 10:04 AM
Wasn't that factory tooled by Mullard?

Philips set up the Matsushita plant, and brought in tooling from both Mullard and Amperex facilities. And the Japanese ran it with their typical obsessive attention to detail, so the tubes are very well made.

Sam Cogley
09-03-2010, 10:58 AM
Philips set up the Matsushita plant, and brought in tooling from both Mullard and Amperex facilities. And the Japanese ran it with their typical obsessive attention to detail, so the tubes are very well made.

Not to drag this thread too far afield, but how did the materials used in the electrical parts of the Matsushita tubes compare to the Amperex and Mullard originals?

DonBattles
09-04-2010, 02:20 PM
Some additional information on Baldwin: http://www.audiotubes.com/12ax7.htm

12AX7 early 1950s RCA made longplate greyplate (all longplate types), white or orange label, some low noise screened for Wurlitzer, Baldwin, Lowrey, and other organs and amplifiers, other OEM brands.

New Old Stock in whiteboxes. These 1950s era longplates have been screened for low noise use in Wurlitzer and other brands of organs, and to exacting specs for various manufacturers of amplifiers. Some are labelled "Wurlitzer by RCA" in the old white ink label, or Baldwin in yellow ink, various amp brands, and few are unlabelled, some labeled for other brands or hi-fi brands. Some are early Tung Sol label made by RCA. Wonderful in musical instrument amps, and a very quiet tube for your tube hi-fi, works well in both applications. Probably the best 12AX7 RCA made, maybe even better than the famed blackplates. Organ tubes, being made by famous makers and factory-screened, are about the best "secret" bargain in NOS tubes today. Grab some now before the secret is out! A

phatster
11-25-2012, 08:20 PM
Thanks for the link Don! Interesting stuff!

Kingfisher
11-25-2012, 10:21 PM
Baldwin used Toshiba tubes as well as Sylvania and Raytheon. They had RED printing. See the first tube in my pics from an old thread:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=392772

Triodethom
11-26-2012, 11:00 AM
When I was in Cincinnati where Baldwin was making he organ before my time . I was told by the old men who had worked there that they would buy from any of the big makers that supplied regular shipments at a good price so in the 60s it was anything goes.