● Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why use tubes and what makes them so special?

A: Simply put, many people are starting to realize once more that tubes just sound better. They provide a much more listenable presentation in most circumstances, without the long term fatigue that plagues much of the solid state and/or AV components on the market today. Tubes tend produce their minute amounts of distortion in an even harmonic nature, which is far less fatiguing to the ear, compared to the solid-state devices odd harmonic distortion and non-linearties.

Q: How long does a vacuum tube last?

A: VAL International vacuum tubes are rated to last a minimum of 1500 hours. For the average listener, this is approximately up to 2-3 years of normal use in a domestic environment. To further extend tube life, it is recommended to turn off the system when not in use.

Q: What are the symptoms of a vacuum tube in need of replacement?

A: In general, you should replace tubes in an audio amplifier when you start to notice changes in the sound quality. Usually the tone will become "dull", and transients will seem to be blunted. Also, the gain of the amplifier will decrease noticeably.

Q: Is it difficult to replace a vacuum tube?

A: No, it requires that the device be switched off and unplugged from the AC outlet. By gently holding the tube, it is lifted with care from the socket. The exact replacement confirmed by the number of the tube is inserted back into the socket paying particular attention to the pin layout in the socket and the base of the tube. The tube should then by gently cleaned with a soft dry cloth to remove fingerprints.

Q: Can I replace a tube with a different tube type or number?

A: No. You should only use the tube type that is specified by VAL International or an exact substitute. Using a different tube type can be expected to degrade performance, and worse, may damage the product.

Q: Where can I obtain a replacement tube from?

A: Please contact the Importer or Retailer who sold the product for further instructions.

Q. Can different brands of tubes of the same type sound different?

A: Each manufacturer may use slightly different internal materials when constructing the tube. This is because there is no industry standard for internal materials. The only standards that apply are fairly broad electrical specifications. VAL International spends countless hours evaluating various vacuum tubes for each product. The tubes are then selected based on sound quality and their reliability.

Q: Does VAL International manufacture solid-state products as well as tube products?

A: Yes, hybrid products are manufactured where tube technology is mated to solid-state circuitry, depending on the applications involved. Certain multimedia products are also all solid state in design depending on their intended use.

Q: Why can't I hear any sound from my speakers?

A: Check to make sure that the AC wall outlet is working, that the device is plugged in securely, and the power switch where applicable, is switched to the ON position.
For PC use: If you can't hear sound from your speakers, it means the speakers are not connected properly, the sound card isn't setup correctly, or the speakers could be defective. First, check the speaker-to-computer connections. Make sure the cable connected to the "Audio In" jack on the speakers is also connected to the "Speaker Out" or "Line Out" jack on the sound card. You can test the sound card jack by connecting headphones to it. If headphones work, you know the sound card is set up correctly. Try connecting the speakers to a portable sound device such as a Walkman, AM/FM radio, or portable CD player. Plug the speakers into the headphone jack, but make sure you lower the volume so you do not overpower the speakers.
If the speakers do not work through the headphone jack, they may be defective. If they do work on an alternate sound source, check the system Volume Control. To do this, double click on the speaker icon in the Windows taskbar. Make sure that the volumes are at a reasonable level and that they are not muted.
For home audio use: Make sure the device is plugged into a working AC outlet. Carefully check the input cables to the devices connected. Try using an alternate sound device as above. Make sure the Volume control is not set to the fully counterclockwise (OFF) position.

Q: Why do I hear static from my speakers?

A: Loose cables or cables that are not grounded properly can cause static. Check the connections to make sure all cables are connected correctly. For PC use, try adjusting the input volume from the media player you are using or from the sound control panel in your system tray.

Q: I can hear a faint hiss and hum from my speakers, is this normal?

A: Generally, if the humming or buzzing gets louder or softer with changes in the volume setting, this is an indication of noise coming from the sound source or a faulty input cable. It is normal for a very faint amount of hiss to be present especially at high volume settings due to inherent circuit noise, usually from sound sources. Under normal conditions at a normal listening distance, the hiss coming from the sound system should not be noticeable.

Q: Can I use VAL International speakers on other devices like Sony PlayStation, X-Box, CD players, TVs, etc?

A: Yes, you can use all of the VAL International speakers on almost any device if you have the proper adapter. One side of the adapter should be a 3.5mm female jack or RCA plug, and the other will be whatever you are trying to use (ie: 1 x 1/4'' jack plug, RCA, etc). You can purchase an adapter at a local electronics store.

Q: How do I clean my VAL International products?

A: Safety Warning! Please ensure the product is unplugged from AC wall outlet before cleaning! It is recommended that a soft dry cloth be used to wipe all surfaces. For more stubborn stains a slightly damp soft cloth with a mild dish soap solution may be used. DO NOT use lacquer thinner, alcohol, benzene, thinners, gasoline, or any abrasive cleaner, as the finish will be damaged. The VAL International Ltd. warranty does not cover such damage to the finish of the speakers. DO NOT use excessive water on the cleaning cloth due to electrical safety.

Q: I am still having problems, who can I contact?

A: If you have any further questions and need assistance, please contact our Customer Service via e-mail here: val@audio01.com
By mail and phone number please visit here. We will endeavor to advise and rectify any problems you may be experiencing.

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