As I approach my first anniversary of tube ownership time to take stock. I would describe my current relationship with my monoblocks as somewhat love/hate. I just love the way tubes animate the music. The down side stems from all the things I've learned that can go wrong with tube machines.
I never knew there were so many ways tubes can fail.
You got your red plate event, a runaway situation when the entire tube lights up like a roman candle. Or your flashover, when you get arcing due to a voltage imbalance. Then there's the gas out, when a tube loses vacuum followed by instant catastrophic failure. These are just the ones I've experienced so far, there are other failure modes as well. The red plate was the scariest. The amps main protection fuse may blow, or it may not. In my case it didn't. Which in turn can lead to collateral damage from the serious overheating associated with these events. I was lucky I noticed it before the damage was able to spread. Often losing one tube means I also have to replace its next door neighbor as well, sometimes even an entire quad.
While it may sound like it not trying to dissuade anyone thinking of getting into tubes. Tubes are like a cozy fireplace, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. SS now sounds sterile by comparison. The advice I would share is although they tend be more spendy, consider units with autobiasing/other sophisticated tube management circuits. Replacement tube costs can really add up so in the long haul things will even out. Plus you'll pop fewer grey hairs.
Despite the misadventures, I'm definitely hooked. System has never sounded so good. Only never turn your back on the suckers.
Reanimated vinyl enthusiast circa 2015; System #1: Rega RP6_AudioMods V/Sutherland Phd/Siltech IC's/Marantz PM11S1/VTA M-125 monoblocks/Tannoy D700/SVS SB2000; System #2: Dual 721/V15III/Headroom Little/HD650 Headphones; (home office) System #3: Technics SA-GX330/Defintive AW500 (patio)