Worldwide Vacuum Tube Shortage Looming: Russia Bans Tube Exports

In an apparent retaliatory move, Russia has sanctioned the export of some 200 goods including vacuum tubes.

The following message from Electro-Harmonix owner Mike Matthews recently appeared on the EH site:

ATTENTION ALL EHX TUBE CUSTOMERS

On March 11, 2022, Russia imposed a ban on the export of some 200 goods in response to the sanctions imposed on it over the current conflict in Ukraine. We have confirmed that the ban applies to our seven brands of Russian tubes. Currently, the ban is set to remain in effect until the end of the calendar year.

Given this export ban, we will not be receiving any further tube inventory for these brands. A myriad of pressures — including continued strains on the supply chain, escalating internal expenses, mounting inflation, and an ever-evolving legal landscape (particularly in light of the Ukraine conflict) — have created a very fluid and ambiguous environment. Until we can properly assess the impact of these factors, we will not honor any new orders or ship any more Russian tubes on back order.

All tubes manufactured at the New Sensor facility in Saratov, Russia will be affected and include Tung-Sol, Electro-Harmonix, EH Gold, Genalex Gold Lion, Mullard, Svetlana and Sovtek.

thetubestore.com is currently closed

This leaves tube buyers with few alternatives. While vacuum tubes are still being manufactured in other countries including China, the Czech Republic (KR Audio Electronics), and Slovakia (JJ Electronic), demand has outstripped production.

I will update this story as things develop.