Vacuum Tubes

Cryogenic Treatment for Vacuum Tubes


Vacuum tubes that are cryogenically treated can improve sound quality in music and audio applications. Cryogenic treatment, a process that modifies the micro-structure of metals by subjecting them to ultra-cold temperatures as -300° F, is commonly used to increase the durability and wear resistance of steels but can also maximize the sonic performance of electrical and electronic components that contain other metals. This includes vacuum tubes, audio components that a Nitrofreeze® customer known as “Dr. G” recently put to the test.

Vacuum Tubes for Music and Audio

Vacuum tubes are used with amplifiers, electronic devices that increase the power of a signal, and control the current flow between electrodes. The negatively charged electrode, or cathode, is made of metal and releases electrons when heated. The positively charged electrode, the anode, is also made of metal and is sometimes called a plate. When a positive voltage is run through the anode, electrons pass through the gap and create an electric current. A third electrode, the control grid, allows for signal amplification and uses voltage adjustments to control the flow of electrons from cathode to anode.

Unlike some products that are cryogenically treated, vacuum tubes aren’t made of a single material – and they do not contain steel, an alloy of iron where the benefits of cryogenic treatment are well-documented.  Inside most vacuum tubes, the metal electrodes are made of nickel, the cathode’s heater wire is made of tungsten alloy, and the grid wire is made of molybdenum that may be gold plated. The cathode is coated with a mixture of strontium/barium oxides and all of the small metal parts are supported by thin mica discs. Most vacuum tubes have a borosilicate glass envelope with a glass-to-metal seal.

Cryogenic Treatment Case Study

Dr. G works for an internationally-recognized high-end audio equipment manufacturer and owns several sound systems. He’s been cryogenically treating audio components such as cables, coupling caps, and transformers for approximately 15 years. Dr G. tried other cryo companies but has been working exclusively with Nitrofreeze® for the last decade. After reading mixed reviews about cryogenic treatment for vacuum tubes, he asked us to cryo treat a batch of 12AX7 and EL84 devices. The audiophile also set aside some non-treated vacuum tubes so that he could perform an A/B test. In a subsequent email, he shared the test results with Nitrofreeze®.

Dr. G. subjected both sets of tubes to about 120 hours of burn-in and then compared their sound quality. “Vacuum tubes definitely sound better after a Nitrofreeze cryogenic treatment,” he reported, adding that “the improvement in shear musicality was immediately evident within the first track”. Moreover, the difference between the treated and non-treated tubes was so “significant and obvious” that there could be “absolutely no question whatsoever” about the cryo treatment’s effectiveness. The sound system that Dr. G used wasn’t even his best one. “This second-tier system is seriously surprising me”, he told us, and “is significantly more musical than a great many systems I have heard over the years”.

Ask Nitrofreeze® About Cryo Treatment

“I strongly recommend Nitrofreeze cryogenic treatment,” Dr. G advises. Along with vacuum tubes, he recommends our process for “all cables and power cords, coupling caps and transformers both power as well as output”. If you’re ready to try cryogenic treatment for your electrical and electronic components, contact us to discuss your requirements. No job is too large or too small, and our standard turnaround time is two days after receipt. The consultation is free of charge.

To get started, contact Nitrofreeze® at the phone number and email listed below.

(508) 459-7447 x 109 |