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May 28th, 2011, 05:56 PM
I should have been writing this down all along so now I find myself searching the old posts. Since no double hose regs have dropped in my lap it looks like I'm going to have to buy one ;)

So, which ones are best?

Here's a quote from Luis H:

"My recommendation for DH regulator is to stay with US Divers or the Voit equivalents (Voit are harder to find). Parts are an issue with some of the other manufacturers (some are worse than others). Any of the US Divers can be rebuilt (except for the Royal Mistral), but the best breathing regulators are the Royal Aqua Master, the Aqua Master, and the Mistral (basically in that order, IMO). The Mistral has its own charm and appeal based on its simplicity and the jet like noises that it makes (it is not a bad performer, it is just not as good)."

On eBay I'm seeing a "Aqualung Mistral Aqua Master" and a "Aqualung DA Mistral Aqua Master." Luis recommends the Aqua Master or the Mistral but I'm seeing them with both names on a single regulator. Which is which? Is a single-stage worse than a two-stage?

And what about the labels? Some have orange labels, some blue, and one has a US Divers logo with a tank. Are some labels better than others?

I also saw a "Dacor Dial-A-Breath" but that sounds too hokey to even consider.

I would really like to get a Voit but only because my twins are Voits and I'm expecting delivery this week (getting hydroed). They REALLY are gonna need a double hose reg attached to them, at least part of the time. ;)



May 28th, 2011, 06:30 PM
The labels changed over the years including the location of manufacture. That can be one clue in dating a unit. I think you can find more detail if you dig in here at (

Luis H
May 28th, 2011, 07:17 PM
Here is how to identify regulators:
Double Hose Regulator Identification (

You can find a lot more information here:
Vintage Scuba - Vintage Scuba Gear at Vintage Double Hose (

A regulator is either a Mistral or an Aqua Master, not both.

The Aqua Master is also known as the DA Aqua Master. In the 70ís when they went to the round label the DA was dropped from the Aqua Master name.

Some divers (including JY Cousteau) really like the single stage regulators (Mistral) for its simplicity and reliability. They breathe amazingly well considering how simple they are, but my favorite regulator is the Royal Aqua Master.

The Royal Aqua Master is a two stage with a balanced first stage. All modern diaphragm first stages are based on the RAM design. The modern Aqua Lung diaphragm first stages actually use the same HP seats and many of the same internal parts as a RAM.

VDH message board and store seem to be down at the moment, but when it is back up you should check the regulators for sale at the store. They are normally better deals than eBay. An eBay regulator will require rebuilding and a number of new parts. Unless you get a super deal from eBay you will end up paying more than the ones at VDH.

May 28th, 2011, 08:54 PM
Thanks guys. I'd read that pretty much all old double hoses would need to be rebuilt to I see what you are saying about buying from eBay vs VDH. Thanks for all the tips! It also sounds like some eBayers need to get their names straight ;)

elmer fudd
May 28th, 2011, 10:52 PM
They don't always need to be rebuilt, but if you plan on using them extensively, it's a good idea. I like collecting and diving old regs, but I find that rebuilding all of them just doesn't make sense. If it breathes OK, doesn't free flow and I'm not going to use it regularly, then I just inspect the hoses and diaphragm and valves and figure it's good enough. If I'm planning on diving it on a regular basis, then I rebuild it.

If you're looking for a versatile regulator to dive with I'd get a cheap, beat up AquaMaster, then rebuild it, or have it rebuilt, with the best parts available. Get a Phoenix nozzle, silicone hoses, etc... When you're done you'll have one of the best breathing double hoses ever for about $400. It will be reliable, have available parts, HP and LP ports, (for SPG, BC's, drysuits, etc), and since it's already a bit banged up, you won't be afraid it might get scratched if you actually use it.

If you want an unmodified regulator, but you still want to dive it, then you probably should get a US Divers or a Voit, just because the parts are available. Parts are starting to come out for the Healthways regs too so you might consider one of those as well.

Dacors, Divairs, Waterlungs, and others are more collectible than they are diveable simply because the parts generally aren't available. If you want to dive one of those old regs then you often have to locate NOS parts, fabricate your own or try to figure out what other parts can be substituted.

Personally, I'd start out with the tricked out AquaMaster and then pick up the other regulators as you come across them. I'm not too crazy about e-bay myself. The only bargains I see happening there are when a seller lists his stuff in the wrong category or doesn't know and misidentifies what he's selling.

Doc Ed
May 28th, 2011, 10:55 PM
Amen to what Luis said James. I've been watching eBay for the past 3 months and have pages of double-hose reg auction info saved. If you factor in the cost of new parts (to make it diveable) you'd be better off getting one from the VDH store. Unless of course, you're able to snag one for $50 on eBay, your other options would be craigslist or local yard sales.

May 28th, 2011, 10:58 PM
DON"T DO IT!! There is no such thing as buying one.....I got one last week (Nemrod Snarke III) and picked up another one today ( Dial a Breath).

Seriously, you are better off buying one from Bryan or at least someone from the VDH board that is rebuilt rather than going the ebay route- at least until you understand what you are looking at. Half the stuff or at least the text, is more BS than fact. One recent reg was listed as a "rare 1950's regulator" when in fact it was a common mid 60s DA Aquamaster. Certainly nothing wrong with it for restoration but 50's or rare it was not. A good DA Aquamaster or Royal Aquamaster are fine. Don't spend extra for the later round labels unless you just really like the style better, the outer can is the only difference in them and the older square label style...which IMO looks better anyway. The one part that would sway me to a later square or round label would be the longer yoke that some have on them. The longer yoke allows you to use a banjo adapter and a SPG instead of relying on a J valve....although they do work....had to pull mine twice today.

May 29th, 2011, 01:14 AM
I've been watching them on eBay for a long time waiting for a great deal to come along and the lowest I've seen is about $100. This merely resparked my interest. The LDS has an Aqua Lung with an orange label and they taped the hoses back together and use it as a display in their "History of Diving Museum." Sometimes I think the owner wants to put ME in there! Anyway, if for some reason my little Voit doubles don't pass hydro they might end up as a display but if I can get my daughter to date his son then perhaps I'll end up with the regulator ;)

I realize that having a SPG is a great advantage but what are the drawbacks of having it attached to the tank valve? I've only used them attached to my first stage (single hose) but usually dive one tank anyway. If I'm going to dive another tank I would then need to use another reg, of course.

I've never used a J-valve. I assume when you say you had to pull it twice it was two different dives ;) I'd always just used a K-valve back before I had a SPG and when it got hard to breathe I surfaced. I used a watch and pretty much knew when I was going to run out of air. But I have no idea how a double hose responds when it gets low on air. Back in those days I was using a Healthways or Calypso and they never just suddenly stopped delivering air.

May 29th, 2011, 07:30 AM
A Aquamaster or RAM will run you around $100 off of the Bay, a reg rebuild kit, new diaphragm, and c-clamp will run about $65, and a hose kit (hoses, mouth piece and mouth piece valves will run about $100. Total $265 and you do the work. To have VDH do the work, you will be around $300 or so.

Right now VDH has a late 50's DA Aquamaster all set up with the Phoenix nozzle for $450. So for the extra $150 you have a reg that has 3 low pressure and 3 high pressure ports ( and a great guy who stands behind all his parts and work) in your hands in 3 days or so ready to dive.

Your choice.

May 29th, 2011, 08:02 AM
Y'all forgot to tell Mr. Bond two of the most important things about DHs.

1) 007 himself was a Voit man (watch Thunderball for evidence). A Voit Navy is internally an Aqualung DA Aqua Master, so if you can find a Voit Navy and rebuild it with the Phoenix valve, you can have your cake and eat it too.

2) DH acquisition and diving is a serious illness, once you start, you just can't stop. :eyebrow: Let's hear it from vintage equipment divers with just one DH......Anyone?.....Anyone?....Anyone?...Bueller?. ....Bueller?

Doc Ed
May 29th, 2011, 08:19 AM
One recent reg was listed as a "rare 1950's regulator" when in fact it was a common mid 60s DA Aquamaster. Certainly nothing wrong with it for restoration but 50's or rare it was not. A good DA Aquamaster or Royal Aquamaster are fine.

I think we both saw the same thing. I even sent him a message to that effect that W. Delhi was not the address in the 50s, and that the curved mouthpiece was from '61... But the info was not updated.

Anyhoo, here I am thinking of getting a 3rd, after my previous DAAM converted to Phoenix, and a Mistral. 3 months after getting bitten by the bug. Sold a complete single hose set, and have another for sale. Sold one of my single-tank wings, and might have another for sale. Got a horse-collar. And oval mask. No cure in sight.

Herman and others warned me before as well...

Luis H
May 29th, 2011, 09:16 AM
I personally don’t like the idea of having an SPG attached to the tank valve. It is not too bad if you own your own compressor and no one else touches your tanks, but if that is not the case the SPG can get a lot of abuse.

Tanks are heavy and they get a lot of abuse. Even if you are very careful with your own equipment, it is almost impossible to avoid a tank from never getting bang. Due to its weight the tanks are always at the bottom in the trunk of the vehicle or boat, etc.

When I worked at an LDS in the 70’s there were a couple of customers with SPG attached to their valves. I always tried to be careful, but they are just too vulnerable. They can either be dangling to the side or you can secure the SPG head to the valve, but it didn’t seem to mater… they were a hassle to deal with.

Herman is down at the Sea Hunt event in Silver Springs. They are probably doing many dives one after the other.

An unbalanced piston regulator (old Healthways, Scubapro Mk-2, old Deepstar, old Aquarius, etc.) will get harder to breath as the tank pressure goes down. With an unbalanced diaphragm first stage (like the Aqua Master) or an upstream unbalanced single stage (like the Mistral) it actually gets easier to breath until you are just about out of air. With an Aqua Master it will only get harder to breathe when the pressure gets below around 100 psi.

elmer fudd
May 29th, 2011, 09:49 AM
I think e-bay has gotten a little better recently. At least the guy who used to fill about half the vintage listings up trying to sell old ads seems to have left.

May 29th, 2011, 02:25 PM
LOL. Well, in Thunderball 007 had white Voit tanks with the Big Blue V logo and a single hose reg. The bad guys had black tanks with the Swimaster shield and I think they had double hoses--have to check that. After careful consideration I've decided to go with painting my Voit doubles black and getting the Swimaster shields. I guess that makes me a bad guy. Either, as far as I can tell, might have been original for 1966 (date tanks were made). Besides that I refuse to wear an orange wet suit ;) Next I'll need to find a wide Voit mask with the purge valve and I assume they were wearing black UDT Duck Feet but I might get by with my Jet Fins. But first let's see if the tanks pass hydro ;) They looked perfect inside and were last hydroed in '96. So, between Mike Nelson and 007 I find myself on eBay and Craig's List using the search word "Voit" a lot.

You guys have convinced me to go with VDH but nothing is going to stop me from grabbing any other double hoses I might come across that are dirt cheap or a great deal. For that matter I can't resist ANY regulator that's cheap enough. I just missed out on getting a US Cavalero for $5. I only own six regs right now but times have been hard. Most of them I got for almost nothing and they all (now) are in good working order, thanks to you guys and Frogkick.

Gilldiver: what are the other HP ports for?

Now I'm going to go study the Aqua Lung Mistral and Aqua Master manual I downloaded from Frogkick....

May 29th, 2011, 02:33 PM
Thanks Luis H. That's what I wanted to know :)

elmer fudd
May 29th, 2011, 02:35 PM
The best places to get double hoses are Craigslist, garage sales, other divers and sometimes dive shops. You'll find that a lot of old divers have double hoses tucked away that they haven't used in decades, give them $75 and tell them that you mean to restore and dive it and they're usually happy with the deal.

On Craigslist, look for scuba gear as part of a garage sale, or listings that say something along the lines of, "old school dive gear, not safe to use $50". I find that dive shops are often happy to work with you too. When you bring in tanks to get them hydroed or inspected, let them know you like the old gear. They frequently get people coming in the door with what they consider "old junk" that they want to sell or upgrade.

May 29th, 2011, 02:45 PM
Thanks for the tips Elmer. I search CL daily but usually the garage sales only say "scuba gear" or something and are often many, many miles away. I'll let the owner at the LDS know that I'm looking for old stuff. But he thinks I AM a piece of vintage diving equipment. The first thing he said when he saw my doubles was "how are you going to neutralize your buoyancy if you can't put a BC on those tanks?" I said I'll just take a couple of pounds off my weight belt. Besides that I have my old Voit horse collar if I really ever need to increase my buoyancy. Somehow I suspect I'll end up with the Aqua Lung double hose he has there. I must have SOMETHING he wants more.

elmer fudd
May 29th, 2011, 03:09 PM
I find Craigslist is better for weird old gear and single hoses than for DH regs. That voice comms system you have in your other post is a good example. I have found three pairs of old doubles with J-valves and backpacks on Craigslist though, as well as a MK7/R109, 2 Mk5/109's and a Sportways Waterlung Navy. The most I paid for any of them was $100 for a set of double 50's with the Waterlung, an old wing and about 40# of lead.

May 29th, 2011, 06:46 PM
I have purchased 90% of my stuff from VDH or guys on the site. I try to stay away from EBay, but I did get a DA and cap gauge from there. You definitely take your chances. Good luck!

BTW, it really is a matter of personal preference. I first purchased DA w/Phoenix nozzle. Loved it! Then I purchased a Jet Air (single stage) Love it more! I purchased the Voit cans and put Mistral guts in it. Love that even more! Just purchased the Snark III Silver w/ backpack and tank. (Since this one has very hard to find parts, and is completely original, even hoses, it will not see the ocean very much). I love them all, BUT I prefer the single stage regs.


May 30th, 2011, 12:19 PM

Yes the single stage DHs are special, I use an early USD Stream Air for mine, plus a couple of Voit FFs that I am now rebuilding (hope to have at least one ready for Portage in August). The Voit and USD two stages do have the advantage of being able to utilize the Phoenix valve, which makes them infinitely more useful on charter boats and the like where octopus rigs and poodle jackets (BCDs) are required by the captain (or at least his attorney) to dive. There is nothing like the woosh of a single stage on inhale. Sorry to have missed you and the gang at the Silver Springs Sea Hunt festival, it looks like it was a great time.

May 30th, 2011, 07:59 PM

Yes the single stage DHs are special, I use an early USD Stream Air for mine, plus a couple of Voit FFs that I am now rebuilding (hope to have at least one ready for Portage in August). The Voit and USD two stages do have the advantage of being able to utilize the Phoenix valve, which makes them infinitely more useful on charter boats and the like where octopus rigs and poodle jackets (BCDs) are required by the captain (or at least his attorney) to dive. There is nothing like the woosh of a single stage on inhale. Sorry to have missed you and the gang at the Silver Springs Sea Hunt festival, it looks like it was a great time.

Woosh....that's exactly right. I think the Jet Air sounds just like it's name, Jet Air. It almost breathes for you. I love to use my Phoenix on charters, so I get to use a DH, but conform to the charter's (attorney's) rules. I also would like to think I'm showing the regular dive community that diving was safe even in the 60's! The gear is so addictive.

SeaHunt was a great time, nice weather, I got to meet everyone and drool over their gear. I still owe Herman a beer though, so I better figure that one out! Sorry we missed you, we'll definitely catch up at the next event!!


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