The internet market place now has many vendors peddling the ‘black bottle’ Shuguang Treasure tubes at various prices for various grades. It has caused great confusion to consumers, if someone doesn’t want to take the time to read and understand about quality control and testing method to tubes.
Instead of answering the emails I have received one by one, here I will provide you the short answer when you see these descriptive words from a tube vendor:
Luxury, Gift Box, Premium = Export grade for western market = Expensive
For this quality grade, on the factory test card, you will see a small sticker like the picture below (if you don’t read Chinese, just think it as a picture -compare the first character to see if yours are the real Premium grade at least on paper):
Normal, paper box, Standard = so-so grade (these tubes light up and make sound, don’t expect too much more beyond that, but factory wouldn’t throw them in the garbage) = Cheap
We at Grant Fidelity do NOT import any ‘Normal, standard, paper box, so-so grade’ from Shuguang at all. We are not in business to sell customers products that we are not comfortable with the quality but put customers money at risk. All tubes from this website are the ‘Luxury, gift box, Premium, Export grade’ – this is as good as we can get from Shuguang factory.
Do not compare our price to the price that someone selling you Treasure tubes in paper box. They are NOT the same quality tubes even in the eyes of the factory, let alone in the eyes of consumers when you about to fork out your hard-earned money. Factory do not even number these tubes but they do put test result sticker on the tube base. Such a test results vary greatly – KT88 tube could range from 30mA all the way to 78mA under factory test condition, not real working voltage (this is the highest rating I have seen, and it will take an amp to protection mode, ie. shut off or simply blow the fuse because it is nearly 60% off spec!)
The price difference from ‘Luxury, gift box, premium, export grade’ to ‘Normal, paper box, standard, so-so grade’ is not just for the boxes – the tubes quality are very DIFFERENT.
Grant Fidelity is NOT 100% satisfied with the Premium Grade from factory – we hand pick some of the best ones from the Premium Grade for our quality conscious consumers – These tubes after selection are called ‘GF Grade A’ with emission level at least 80%. These are the best of the best Treasure tubes you can find on the market, with less than 1% failure rate since Day 1 when we launched Treasure tubes in Jan 2009.
No one resells GF Grade A except Grant Fidelity on this website (run by Grant Fidelity and its shipping partner ‘Audio For Less’ in Hong Kong.) If someone else tells you his or her tubes are Grade A, they are NOT the same as GF Grade A. It is a tricky mind and words game that the vendor is playing with you to make you believe that you are getting the best tubes out there. No. These so-called ‘Grade A’ tubes are just ‘Premium, luxury, gift box, export grade from factory, and Grant Fidelity call them ‘Factory Tested, emission varies’ on this site, and they do have wide range of emission rating and have about 15% early failure rate since Jan 2009. When buying this quality grade tubes, you have 15% chance to tubes with early death syndrome, plus various chances of noise, bad matching and appearance imperfection to certain degree. You need to consider short term savings vs. reliability and long term quality when purchasing these ‘factory tested Premium’ tubes.
Shuguang tube factory has never used the word of ‘Grade A’ to describe the quality of their tubes.
The ‘factory test, emission varies’ tubes listed on this website = Premium, gift box, luxury, export grade.
When you compare price, make sure you are not comparing apples to oranges. Buy the quality that you feel comfortable about and at the price you feel fair. Not everyone needs the best, but it’s usually true that you get what you paid for. It will take more time and money trying to get things right than do it right in the first round.
Smart shopping and happy listening.
Rachel @ Grant Fidelity