Certified Premium Vintage Tubes™

AEA’s Certified Premium Vintage Tube™ Program: Measuring Actual “Performance”- Not Static Numbers

Our Certified Premium Vintage Tube™ program is the most advanced and thorough tube testing and certification available. Each tube is subjected to a three step laboratory quality analysis and comes with a certificate detailing all test results as well as Tektronix 576 curve tracer photos.

First, each tube is thoroughly tested on a recently calibrated Sencore MU150 Continental II dynamic transconductance tester.  The MU150 is one of the most advanced tube testers made. It not only provides more accurate and meaningful test data than any other tester, its sensitivity for grid leak tests and life expectancy testing are renowned.

Next, we utilize a laboratory quality Tektronix 576 curve tracer to measure the tube’s performance over a large range of operating conditions. The result is detailed information about the tube’s critical parameters such as gain, bias current and output resistance as a function of bias voltage, plate voltage and load current.

Using a laboratory quality curve tracer to test a tube’s dynamics at various “real world” voltage and bias settings is the only way to precisely match tubes. Other tube suppliers who rely on tube tester transconductance measurements simply can’t match tubes under their actual operating conditions (read more about matching tubes with a curve tracer on our Article).

Finally, we fit the tube in a specially designed high amplification test fixture to test it for noise, microphonics and harmonic distortion components. This test weeds out any tubes that might test OK on a tube tester or curve tracer, but would be too noisy,  microphonic or produce a higher than normal ratio of odd order harmonics for critical audio use. This custom built test fixture goes well beyond the normal “by ear” listening for noise or microphonics. We utilize proprietary computer analyses to test the tube’s noise and signal spectrum with over 100 dB of sensitivity— providing much more accuracy than can be obtained by the human ear alone.

All Certified Premium Tubes™ are covered by AEA’s 14 day satisfaction guarantee.  If for any reason you are not satisfied with a tube’s performance you can return it within 14 days of receipt for a full refund (Buyer pays return shipping – see our limited warranty programs here).

PLEASE NOTE: Our guarantee does not cover tube or amp damage caused by incorrect bias adjustment or damage caused by amps in need of internal repair. In the case of power output tubes, it is expected you will properly adjust the bias or otherwise inspect your amp’s bias operation when installing these tubes. Please contact us before installing tubes if you need assistance in making these adjustments.

Tubes are shipped by Priority Express Mail to reduce handling shock, and specially packaged to guard against damage.

*Matching is within 2% of plate current draw under load, and within 2% of transconductance (Gm). Our tubes are guaranteed to match properly in your amp.


12AU7 / ECC83

12AT7 / ECC81

6BQ5 / EL84

7591 / 7591A