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Older paper coupling capacitors always get leaky over time, affecting the tone to the point that your Internet ‘guru’ espouses using only paper capacitors for ‘that sound’. Assuming your amplifier is not sounding as it should, you measure for any DC voltage at pin #2 and pin #7 of every 12AX7. This is definitely wrong, and we can confirm the problem thusly.He has no idea what the heck is going on, and gives the ‘credit’ for this ‘sound’ that modern amplifiers cannot achieve (with ‘good’ capacitors) to the leaky capacitor. First, disconnect the end of the capacitor that was connected to the ‘positive’ grid.On the outside, the meter looks like a typical old-fashioned analog meter. Despite the differences in outward appearance, probably 99% of VTVM’s have the identical circuit inside the cabinet.The heart of every VTVM is the balanced bridge circuit. ), and the execution of this basic principle does not seem to have changed. You should note that the input resistance is constant though out the range switch.Therefore, voltage measurements are far more accurate than with a regular VOM. Probably not, but it will come in handy later, as we’ll soon see.

To be sure, there are many instances where a good digital multi-meter is actually preferred, but a simple, old-fashioned VTVM can help maintain your tube amplifier in ways any Fluke simply doesn’t measure up to (pun intended).

Today’s DMM can achieve comparable accuracy, yet there are still instances where a VTVM is the only meter to have!

Next, we will see a case where the faster response to any change in the voltage being measured comes in handy.

The input impedance of analog VOM’s and the slow response of DMM’s makes the test shown above much more difficult to perform.

You can check for leakage faster and with a visual indicator using a VTVM, and it is a worthwhile test.

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Some very old VTVM’s I have use a 6SN7, but these are few and far between.

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