- May 7, 2011
- Reaction score
Thanks Michael for the info. Read it a few times until it finally became clear.
I have a 88 Mesa 50 caliber head with the EL84 power tubes. I had changed the Groove tube EL84s to stock Mesa tubes to match the bias and ordered a matched set of JJ brand 12AX7 tubes with one tube designated for the Phase Inverter. Although I did not really hear a difference it sounded cleaner. With this amp I usally play at low volumes. The lead/gain channel always sounded ok but not crisp or as edgy as my 88 Marshall 40 watt Valvestate. That has a bitching gain channel. I also have a Vox amp with a better gain channel
What would you recommend for the preamp tubes/V1 to give it the bite I am missing. From what I read this may have something to do with my sound preference. Other then that it is a very clean sounding amp and sounds great
Anyone looking to bring their amp back to life without spending a small fortune on NOS tubes,I suggest this -
V1 - TungSol / V2 - Mullard / V3 - EH
All CP's,but IMO the best of the CP tubes.
Tubes,like pups are just another part of the sound chain that is entirely up to the individual and how they play,what they play,what they play through and with...
But the above 3 preamp tubes for anyone looking to upgrade their tone on a budget are a great starter.
In nutshell,V1 & V2 are your gain stage.V3 handles your tone.
Check out this. Very in depth. Very informative.
Like Lowdown is saying, the bottom line is this: one size does not fit all. For example, I run a couple of old Telefunken 12AX7s in V1 of both my blackface Champ and my Blues Jr; I like the thicker sound I get out of those amps with that preamp tube. That same type of Telefunken sounds like crap in V1 of my Mesa Stiletto as it makes the amp sound muddy; I run JJs across the board in the preamp section of the Mesa.
Modern amps are designed and voiced with modern tubes (with some boutique exceptions) and may or may not sound "better" with old/NOS tubes. Experiment and find what works best for you in your amp.