good vs. bad tubes

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by sk8rat, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. ehb

    ehb Chief Discombobulator Gold Supporter Premium Member

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    I appreciate the 'Tube Rollers'... Seriously do....

    Before I bought new tubes for my Blackstar combo, I read what Tube Rollers liked about different tubes and amps same/similar to mine...

    Same with speakers...

    I like reading what other folks think... I like sharing what I think... Hopefully somebody will benefit from something somebody has already tried....

    Folks just need to read multiple posts to sift through the chaff....

    Dumbassery pops up when you least expect it...and all other times too....

    You could have been plugging your guitar cable in backwards all this time so you wasted money on buying new tubes, speakers, a new amp, stomps, and guitar....and the problem the whole time was that your jack cord was plugged in backwards.... :squint:
     
  2. dsmcl77

    dsmcl77 Senior Member

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    Fryette says it all. Thx for the link.

    Still on on YouTube
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  3. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I am not worried about those of us who already have great sounding old amps and clones, I am talking new production amps; there seems to be a problem with decent tubes for new production (high volume production) for classic Marshall EL34's. I can remember in the 90's when Marshall were going to 5881's because even then, there was a concern.

    You and I only need a could of sets of decent sounding tubes. Future production relies on tens of thousands.

    I had an old set of Czech made Ruby's and I wish I had kept them. Nothing ever sounded like they did.

    I wish I had bought up all the $300 to $600 old Marshalls I could find back in the early 90's. Old tubes, too. And old 25 watt G12M's. People were throwing those in the trash! :eek2:
     
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  4. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    @ 2:50 Dave pops in and states his challenge that he mentions just about every week. How big of a deal is this? I don't know. But it is enough for Dave to mention it repeatedly, nearly every week.

    Anything I buy will be a low production clone or old, so it is not my concern. Just a general observation. :hippie:
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  5. sk8rat

    sk8rat Senior Member

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    I have two russian 6n14ns, two chinese 12ax7bs and one jj ecc83s. I just swapped the chinese 12ax7b to v1 and the jj to v3 to see if I notice any change.

    edit: just played for a quick bit and I am surprised at the change I noticed almost instantly. my amp is way quieter and If I would play anything arpeggiated before it sounded like sh*t. no definition of the notes. just mud. now they ring out pretty clear. also before the treble was ear piercing, now it's more subtle. noticing a small loss of headroom.

    to me it sounds like I am getting a smoother pre amp gain than before. it almost sounds like I have the tone knob on my guitar rolled off a bit.

    the test was done with everything at 10 except the volume.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  6. Big John

    Big John bigger is better V.I.P. Member

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    Sounds like you're on it, mang. Oh, and "6П14П" on the side of those tubes is actually cryllic for 6P14P. Now crank it up and go smoke a bowl for rock & roll. :cool2::420:
     
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  7. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    You'll almost never get a consensus on "good" vs "bad" - the semantics are just too broad. Various brands of tubes sound different. They won't completely change an amp, but they definitely have an impact on the sound. Personally, I never cared for the Chinese tubes that came in my Jet City heads - they're aggressive, but I don't think they sound good (it's been too long for me to accurately describe the sound). I always swapped them out for JJ's, which tend to be darker and smoother.

    In amps that have a good clean channel, I have found it to be a balancing act - some tubes make the clean sound great, but sound bright and lack bass on the high gain channel (cough, EH, cough). I have found Tung Sol to be a good balance for me in several amps. However, in my Friedman Runt 50, I rolled all kinds of tubes through V1, and the Stock ARS 12AX7 was the best compromise for both channels (and, I believe it is a Chinese tube).

    So in summary, even a "cheap" tube might sound great in some amps and bad in others. You just have to try a few options.
     
  8. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    Honestly, if you have all your controls set to 10, that might be part of the problem. Have you tried some settings that seemed odd? With my Friedman Runt 50, I need to run the treble and presence surprisingly low, around 9-11 o'clock. On most amps, I start with the controls at noon, and the treble ends up somewhere between 11 and 1 o'clock. The Friedman was unusual, but it sounds great.


    Pssshhhh - smoking a bowl is legal now, how rock 'n roll can it be? You need to go straight to Heroin these days if you want to be "rock 'n roll". ;)
     
  9. sk8rat

    sk8rat Senior Member

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    I have messed with the amp settings a lot. typically I play with the gain on 8-10, treble on 10, bass around 1, mids at 2-3 and used my guitar to control the tone. lately I have been playing a bit more high gain stuff and I found the amp is pretty well balanced when everything is dimed. like I said though, that was just a quick test. im going to run through it a bit more later.
     
  10. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    For the record, are you referring to your settings as "1-10" or positions on the clock? If you are talking "1-10", I don't think changing tubes will be enough if you have the treble on 10 and bass and mids at 1-2

    I hope my message widn't come off the wrong way - I'm not suggesting that you don't know what you're doing. I am really just trying to say that if your settings are that extreme, it sounds like this is not the right amp for you.
     
  11. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    I did my share of cork sniffing and tube rolling, and while I agree that the right tubes can make a difference, it's not a big difference, and it's certainly not the biggest change you can make to the amp. In my experience a change of speaker makes a far more dramatic difference.

    Somebody has said that a tube can't change an amp. I agree. The fundamental nature of the amp is fixed at the design stage: the voltages applied, the size of the plate load, the size of the cathode resistor, bypass, etc, etc. These things determine the amount of gain and the frequency response and the band width, etc. These are the big macro things about the amp, and they're fixed. Changing the tube from a 12AX7 to a 5751 will make a small difference to the way the circuit behaves. Changing from a Sovtek to a Shuhuang will make just about no difference at all.
     
  12. dissaffected

    dissaffected Senior Member

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    well said ^^^^^^^^^^:yesway::yesway:
     
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  13. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    This thread has really surprised me - I never thought I'd see the day when people are saying that rolling preamp tubes has virtually no noticeable effect. It's not going to entirely change the character of the amp, but I have had plenty of experiences where swapping out V1 (and sometimes V2) has an audible impact on the sound. It's subtle, but definitely noticeable - a clean channel might lose a little bass and gain a little high end, or it might sound clearer, less muddy. A gain channel might be more or less aggressive, or smoother, or fatter, etc. Not all tubes will sound drastically different, but many will make a noticeable change.

    That being said, if you don't like the way an amp sounds, changing tubes is not likely to change your mind (again, unless the tubes were completely worn out, weak, etc). It's not night and day stuff, but I have been able to tweak an amp to my liking with preamp tubes.

    Power tubes on the other hand, I don't hear as much change (unless they're toast), but I replace them so infrequently that it's hard to tell.
     
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  14. JohnnyN

    JohnnyN Old School Premium Member

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    Well to my ears there is a difference. Some are brighter than others, and the way they break up can be more or less smooth.
    But I agree that speakers make more of a difference. What sounds great when just playing your guitar on it's own, may have a hard time cutting through the mix in a band. When the drums kick in cutting through is all that matters :)
     

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