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30 November 2021 

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Electronic tubes and valves abbreviationsGlossary of electronic tubes and valves abbreviations

Abbreviation Definition


If valve ABC described as  "possible alternative" to valve XYZ, this means it has similarities but is not identical. It is in the same family but is not the same. It is similar but it is not equivalent. Alternatives are useful if you are inventing new ideas, designing new equipment, or investing in types that will become popular in future

The advantage of these types is that for lower COST you get a UK/USA made tube.  UK/USA made valves are often expensive and very limited in quantity. “Alternative”  types are available in good quantities, good quality, low price.

audio type*

These types are already established in amplifier use.
Bubble Bag - some used valves, and Grade One valves costing less than £2, will now be supplied in bubble bags.
Billington Gold
Tested within very tight limits and inspected for superior physical conformity. 12 months guarantee. A good reputation worldwide, especially amongst Asian audiophiles. Blue/red/gold original box.
Bulk Packed - valve is packed in "bulk pack" or "egg crate" (If white box is required we can supply at 14p each).
Guarantee limited to that offered to us by the individual suppliers concerned. These suppliers usually give free of charge replacements in the unlikely event of any problems, however, this depends upon the technicalities of any returned item. Because we value both your custom and our reputation, we will treat all claims for replacements as sympathetically and generously as possible.

Grade One Box - packed in our own attractive Grade One box and packaging.

Grade 1

Grade One - valves are slightly used items of best physical appearance. Unless stated otherwise they have small stains in the glass. Stains may also mean small imperfections to getter, base, etc. Items are individually tested to a minimum of 80% emission (gm) and minimum of 80% Ia. They are guaranteed for 90 days from purchase and usually presented in attractive packaging (unless stated otherwise).

Standard used valves sometimes have print missing making it hard to see the type number and brand logo. Grade One valves always carry the type number and appropriate logo (GEC, Mullard, Sylvania etc.) They are superior in appearance and performance to usual used valves supplied by other companies


Government Box.


A random selection of good brands. If you wish to specify particular brands please add an extra £1 per valve for sorting.


Genuinely new UNUSED, clean and guaranteed but have been stored for 20 years or more often at military stores. New – yet old – hence NOS! This is a standard practice throughout the valve industry.


Original Box - if denoted ‘original box’ we will supply to you in the manufacturer’s old original individual boxes.


Price On Application

Potential audio type

This denotes types where an audio amplifier has been successfully built by our consultants or others. These ‘potential audio types’ are better value for money compared with the more "well-known" and "obvious" audio valves [such as ECC83, 400B, EL34, KT88 etc.] The advantage to you of these types is that for lower cost you get a UK/USA made item considered by many to be preferable to Chinese/Russian. UK/USA. valves are often very expensive and very limited in quantity. Use potential audio types to overcome these difficulties.


Used - ex-equipment/pulls definitely not new appearance but carefully tested, clean appearance and guaranteed. Guarantee is minimum 90 days from date of despatch depending on type


White Box - unless clearly stated as "used", - white boxed items are genuinely new, clean, guaranteed N.O.S.

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