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View Full Version : Clue me in on the best of the real tube distortion pedals.


Funk-O-Meter
01-08-2007, 11:01 PM
I've tried a few over the years and just wasn't happy. What I'm looking for is tube pedal that sound a lot like a AC-30 or a Bassman kind of thing in a pedal. Most of the ones I've tried sound pretty good for high gain stuff but for bluesy -rock sounds they pretty much suck. I want sounding that sound very amp like. The ones I don't like are:

The old school Tube Driver pedal- too fuzzy
the Radial Tone Bone stuff- Too dark


I've heard about the new Vox stuff... anybody tried it?

Occam
01-08-2007, 11:17 PM
-Mesa V-twin...super muddy and crappy sounding
-Soldano GTO pretty good though I'd like more eq flexibility
-Guyatone MM-X pretty cool for crazy metal tones and absurd pinch harmonics
-Tonebone Classic...I found it quite nice and crunchy, the mid-boost wasn't bad but I don't see it as dark at all

I've tried a few and I think I'm forgetting a few more. My overall impression is that they really don't sound any better most of the time than really good solid state units...in fact I've sold all of my tube pedals even when I didn't need the money.

scottywompas
01-09-2007, 12:05 AM
I've got a Mesa Bottle rocket that sounds pretty good. I use it for medium gain crunchy stuff but you may be able to dial it back a little.

Scott:JAM

LSchefman
01-09-2007, 01:10 AM
I agree that the mesa bottle rocket V-1 is a great sounding pedal, maybe the best OD I've used. And it's nothing like the V Twin for whatever reason.

Then again, I've yet to own a transistor OD pedal that I've liked, and frankly, I got rid of the bottle rocket when I sold my single channel amps.

I much prefer getting my OD from the amp. Just a personal thing.

D.G.
01-09-2007, 01:22 AM
SIB Varidrive w/ NOS Mullard 12AT7

It's going to depend on what amp you're running it through, but you probably won't have any problem with it being too dark!

The Cooltron pedals are NOT tube distortion, but diode distortion. The tube warms up the signal path and provides pre-amping for the diodes. I had a Big Ben, which is a good pedal, but the Varidrive is the real deal.

fadetowhite519
01-09-2007, 02:42 AM
i love my bottle rocket. a bit noisy but it sounds great.

vulcaniza P
01-09-2007, 02:58 AM
as per their site:
"Caution The Stage Hog has over 300vdc inside; ***This is enough voltage to kill***"
now that's a killer pedal... sorry had to do it.

anybody use 1 of these?

A positive
01-09-2007, 03:08 AM
Check also Damage Control Demonizer and Solid Metal

Stevoreen
01-09-2007, 03:45 AM
Hughes and Kettner Tube Factor. 2 channels of overdrive in one pedal (light and heavy). It's a large pedal, but it really delivers the goods. There was a slight volume drop when switching channels, but I sent mine to Germany to have the OKKO mod done to even out the volumes and now it works like a dream. I've been through a ton of overdrives and this one has been on my board the longest.

drolling
01-09-2007, 04:21 AM
I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Zendrive 2 yet - seems to be well loved by those who've been able to get their hands on one.

When my name came up on the waiting list, I passed on it, as I wasn't really diggin on the Zendrive I'd ordered at the same time & recieved many months earlier (hadn't tried it w/humbuckers yet - now I really like it).

Haven't had much luck w/tube pedals in general myself - Most just don't seem to work (too muddy, too fizzy, or both) w/my single channel tube amps, tho' some did sound a lot better w/my old solid-state amps.

I've still got a few gathering dust; Mesa V-Twin, TubeWorks BlueTube and my favorite of the bunch, a Hughes & Kettner BluesMaster - I like this one best because it's got a power tube instead of the usual preamp tube, and the distortion it produces is more natural & convincing sounding. It's also got a bright switch and really does capture some old blackface fender OD tones.

But I still prefer transistor or opamp based pedals w/the amps I'm currently using

jezzzz2003
01-09-2007, 07:00 AM
If youre talking about pedals with actual preamplification tubes inside,
I think they are very much a gimmick.

Put it this way, how good do the Marshall AVT series of solid state amps sound, any good? no.
they use 1x ecc-83 in the preamp and then charge double the price of an MG amp for it,

these amps sounds worse than the MG's to my ears by the way.

Pre tubes dont really give a nice organic, tube sound on their own, in fact they are quite sterile and tinny sounding by themselves.
This is not to say that a pedal of its kind cant and wont sound good with the right design, they can and sometimes do but knowing the facts about preamp tubes only make me think of two things, gimmick and money.

Just some food for thought.

david henman
01-09-2007, 10:38 AM
...i haven't found anything that i like better than the tonebones (i have the trimode and hot british).

i used the vox dual overdrive/distortion, and liked it, but it didn't impel me to switch.

-dh

Big Bob
01-09-2007, 11:38 AM
I've tried a few over the years and just wasn't happy. What I'm looking for is tube pedal that sound a lot like a AC-30 or a Bassman kind of thing in a pedal. Most of the ones I've tried sound pretty good for high gain stuff but for bluesy -rock sounds they pretty much suck. I want sounding that sound very amp like. The ones I don't like are:

The old school Tube Driver pedal- too fuzzy
the Radial Tone Bone stuff- Too dark


I've heard about the new Vox stuff... anybody tried it?


Everyone here has made a good point. You are just going to have to try a bunch to see what works for you.

When you said AC30 I thought of the Matchless/ BadCat pedals. I had a Hotbox for years on my board and it just plain rocked for AC30 tones. I hear the Badcat Two Tone is just as good. Worth a try anyhow.

When you said Bassman I thought SIB Fat Drive. More of a clean booster but an amazing sounding organic pedal.....think Keef rythm tones.

I do not think you are goin to find a pedal that does both. And folks are right about the "tube vs solid state" debate. Both can sound fantastic.

As for the Stage Hog I'd like to beleive that you can get "power amp" feel from the design but I have never heard a clip that didn't have massive gain dialed in. Can someone point me to some medium/low gain clips? As for the Zen 2...well I'm on the list. We shall see.

Bob

EuroCool
01-09-2007, 11:39 AM
I still have a Matchless HotBox (clean ch. chimes & cuts thru everything, dirt ch. can do bluesy OD or be like a huge Fuzzface if you want, nice tube DI box too...)
& my old Real Tube Driver ( for clean boost only).
I don't like mains powered pedals & use my Klon instead.

onehourlater
01-09-2007, 12:14 PM
1st place - Stage hog
2cnd place - SIB varidrive

each with its own turn offs, stage hogs price beats it out of the question for me, and I am still in the honeymoon of my SIB

clothwiring
01-09-2007, 12:52 PM
The old school Tube Driver pedal- too fuzzy

A few notes here that might help if you have a Chandler or B.K. Butler Tube Driver...

1. All Tube Drivers respond very differently to different tubes. I wouldn't use any one tube as an example of the pedal. Try a 12AU7 or 12AY7...or different 12AX7s.
2. The new B.K. Butler Tube Drivers have a bias control the pedal which helps dial in each tube you put in it. Very cool and very helpful!

Bryan T
01-09-2007, 12:55 PM
What I'm looking for is tube pedal that sound a lot like a AC-30 or a Bassman kind of thing in a pedal.

I realize you said that you are looking for a tube pedal, but it might be worth checking out the Menatone pedals. The Top Boost in a Can does a pretty convincing AC-30 sound, at least to my ears.

Bryan

waveman
01-09-2007, 01:21 PM
Tonebone Classic is very good for this.

Vox Cooltron Bulldog is a very nice choice also. You can set up ch1 to be the blues sound you like, even has a fuzzy character on higher gain settings for classic rock. Also, ch2 is very good to setup as a solo channel as well, almost like a treble booster, but not as thin.

Cary Chilton
01-09-2007, 02:04 PM
Nothing beats the StageHog, nothing.
search my name on youtube for vid samples.

Skreddy
01-09-2007, 04:09 PM
Not a pedal, but the Peavey TG Raxx is my favorite for true tube overdrive.

It has clipping diodes inside that you'll want to disconnect (cause ugly distortion at high gain levels), and after that it's just pure TUBE tone. A big plus is that it uses two tubes and runs them at relatively low gains, rather than just slamming one really hard (which ends up sounding kind of flat). Two tubes at lower gains add a nice dimensionality to the tone. Perfect platform for using corksniffer preamp tubes, as you'll hear their tone; the whole thing is dependent on the tone of the tubes you use. My favorites are Mullards of course, but everyone has their own preferences. For me, it's worth it to pack up a rack unit to a gig if I want that real tube warmth. I've made a nice overdrive in pedal format, so I actually never use my TG Raxx anymore.

In addition to being a rack unit, another downside is the lack of a bypass. You'd have to hook it into a TBP looper if you didn't want it on all the time (which I never worried about--just set it as my base tone and let 'er rip).

dirtypool
01-09-2007, 05:23 PM
What amp do you use?

fr8_trane
01-09-2007, 05:29 PM
The SIB has the most authentic tube feel or texture by FAR of any of the ones I've tried (real tube, tonebone, twintube, chandler tube driver). Its basically a true hi voltage overdiven tube preamp stage in a large, heavy steel footpedal. The tube in The SIB provides ALL of the drive unlike most other pedals where the tube is either being run in low voltage starved plate mode which sounds unnatural or its essentially an expensive light bulb and the grind is diode based.

The problem for me with the SIB is the voicing/EQ. The bass is wooly and loose and the midrange is too polite and I couldn't dial it in to my liking with the mid knob.

Funk-O-Meter
01-09-2007, 05:33 PM
Nothing beats the StageHog, nothing. search my name on youtube for vid samples.

That looks like the tits.... but it's 700 bucks!! I could just get another amp and A/B them for that. Great pedal though, really great.

A few notes here that might help if you have a Chandler or B.K. Butler Tube Driver...

1. All Tube Drivers respond very differently to different tubes. I wouldn't use any one tube as an example of the pedal. Try a 12AU7 or 12AY7...or different 12AX7s.
2. The new B.K. Butler Tube Drivers have a bias control the pedal which helps dial in each tube you put in it. Very cool and very helpful!Yea, I've tried a few in there. Just last night actually. I've had a 12AU7 in there since I got it so I could tame the gain some. I'm looking for Bluesy Strat Neck pickup sound a la Clapton or something. And I've been using the "Real Tube" version of the tube driver. Which is almost the same thing but with different EQ. Any chance there might be a bias adjustment in there I could tweak?

As for the Stage Hog I'd like to beleive that you can get "power amp" feel from the design but I have never heard a clip that didn't have massive gain dialed in. Can someone point me to some medium/low gain clips? As for the Zen 2...well I'm on the list. We shall see.

BobTotally, I appreciate the clips that were posted on You Tube, but I need to hear some bluesy strat sounds. Neck and middle pickup kinda stuff. Course I can't afford it anyway...so...


If youre talking about pedals with actual preamplification tubes inside,
I think they are very much a gimmick.

Put it this way, how good do the Marshall AVT series of solid state amps sound, any good? no.
they use 1x ecc-83 in the preamp and then charge double the price of an MG amp for it,

these amps sounds worse than the MG's to my ears by the way.

Pre tubes dont really give a nice organic, tube sound on their own, in fact they are quite sterile and tinny sounding by themselves.
This is not to say that a pedal of its kind cant and wont sound good with the right design, they can and sometimes do but knowing the facts about preamp tubes only make me think of two things, gimmick and money.

Just some food for thought.Very good point.


The sound you are chasing is Power Amp distortion, and it can only come from a pedal with a real power amp.Yup, I think your right. That's why I'm so torn with my setup. If I turn the Bassman up on 6 or 7 I get marvelous saturated tone.. but I can't clean it up then really. Nor can I run delays or other distoritons. And I'm very fond of my Big Muff (aren't we all?). So I need to clean the amp up some. But then I need a over drive pedal of some sort.

I'm gonna look around about the Huges and Kettner Blues Master pedal, or something else with a power tube in it, I might stumble on the thing thing...

Also I'm gonna look into pedals that do modeling and see if I could live with that. I mean that way I could actually step on a pedal that was modeling a 59' Bassman overdriven... Hum. and IF------- and thats a HUGE If------ I dig the sound then that might be the thing. I could call up a modeled Bassman or AC-30 overdriven tone and use it for my overdrive. Those modeling things do a better job on the overdriven sounds than the clean ones.


Good talk Rusty, Good talk son.

John Phillips
01-09-2007, 05:39 PM
Of the ones I've owned, I like both the two Mesa pedals, but they are entirely different. They do both run the tubes at high voltage, but that's about where the similarity ends.

The V-1 is a simple, all-tube overdrive pedal. Tube distortion, no solid-state parts in the signal path, relay switching. Sounds like the front end of a medium-to-high-gain amp, because it basically is one. It sounds very good to excellent into a completely clean amp (even solid-state), and not bad into a dirty one, IMO. This is the one I've kept. I actually got one of the best small-gig tones I've ever had, with the V-1 into a Fender Princeton Chorus. I set the V-1 'just dirty', and used my Boss and Frantone pedals in front of it when I wanted more dirt. I still can't believe how great it sounded, and I nearly went out and bought a Princeton Chorus... seriously.

The V-Twin is a complicated, tube/solid-state hybrid preamp. The clean channel is mostly tube, and sounds pretty good even into a normal amp. The Blues and Solo channel uses solid-state distortion, and only a tube-driven EQ stack. It has solid-state switching and output drivers. A lot of people don't get it at all, because (IMO) it's far too overpowering to run in front of even a slightly dirty amp - or even a 'fat clean' amp - it just turns everything to mud. But it works great into a clear-sounding truly clean amp, like a SF Fender Twin, or a clean solid-state amp.

I can totally understand why a lot of people hate the V-Twin, but really it's pretty good at what it's best at. Both of them also sound much better with less fuzzy tubes than the stock Mesa Chinese or (worse) Sovtek 12AX7s too.

I've also used the BadCat 2-Tone, which is much closer to the original question :). It is basically the front end of a BadCat amp - full tube voltages, two channels, one clean boost and the other overdrive. It sounds really good into the right amp, but I found it extremely amp-dependent. It likes warm, rich clean-to-just-dirty amps (it loved my Mesa Maverick), wasn't quite so good with a darker amp (Mesa DC-5) and sounded pretty bad (spiky and harsh) with the standard SF Twin. And absolutely horrible going into a Marshall Valvestate, in case you ever wondered! But of all the ones I've tried I think it comes closest to getting a Vox/Bassman tone with real tube dynamics and sparkle, in front of an amp that's already in the ballpark.

I've also owned a Real Tube Blue Tube, a Stone Valve Overdrive, and a Guyatone (can't remember the model number, but apparently it's the same as a Nady one that Guyatone made for them). All OK, though not particularly memorable... and a Dean Markley Overlord which is memorable for being, I think, the worst use for a tube that I know of ;).

Phil M
01-09-2007, 05:48 PM
John, you are a wealth of knowledge. Seems like I haven't seen you around in awhile, but glad you're back.

Have you played the Tonebones?

John Phillips
01-09-2007, 06:30 PM
No, I've never seen one.

I'm not a wealth of knowledge... I'm an inquistive guy with a screwdriver, a computer and insomnia :). I love to take stuff apart and find out how it works, almost as much as listening to how it sounds. I probably should do some real work soon though, the holiday has been over a good week!

Mr. Kite
01-09-2007, 07:12 PM
Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic has good tone, is very touch sensitive, has a rhythm and lead channel. When it's in bypass you don't hear any thing.

iualum
01-09-2007, 08:25 PM
...no love for either the Hot Tubes or English Muff'n?...

drbob1
01-09-2007, 08:48 PM
I've owned a bunch and most of them are just distortion pedals. That said, if your main amp is a FEnder, the SIB Varidrive is a killer pedal to push it into overdrive. The H&K Bluesmaster/Crunch Machine/Metal Machine/Cream Machine all use an EL84 into a dummy load and sound very amplike, but are 1/2 rack units. The Vtwin sounds like a Mesa, not what you want. The Tonebone stuff is OK, but I haven't found an amp it's killer for yet. The Butler/Tubeworks/Ibanez Tubeking/Markley pedals all used a "starved tube" low voltage solution and only work for heavy distortion or clean boost-no "edge of breakup" sounds there. George Dennis made some that use a bit higher voltage but don't sound a lot different. Siegmund made a couple that are very amplike but kind of low gain.

gulliver
01-09-2007, 09:27 PM
+1 for the H&K tubefactor, very flexible with great tone. I had a Chandler Tubedriver in a rack version, but sold it. It's good, but I didn't think it's as great as some. I thought the H&K was a lot more musical, where the Chandler was kind of generic.

vbjamin
01-09-2007, 11:33 PM
Ihave owned a Blue Tube and found it useable in my situation with a AU7 tube in it. Much smoother and useable gain control. Overall the bass/mid/treble eq was more versatile than the tone control on the vintage BK Butler Tube Driver that I tried out. Also I found the BK to be extremely noisey, although it my have just been that unit.
Along this topic has anyone swapped out the stock tube in a ToneBone Classic and what results can you share?

TheGrooveking
01-09-2007, 11:34 PM
The three I recommend based on your is the Matchless Hot Box, Guyatone FLIP OD-X or Mesa Bottle Rocket, surprisingly the OD-X can be found for around $130 or so, based on bang for the buck the OD-X is the one to get.

TheGrooveking

Shaman
01-10-2007, 01:02 AM
Along this topic has anyone swapped out the stock tube in a ToneBone Classic and what results can you share?

Not the Classic, but on the Hot Brit. Radial said it wouldn't make any difference to the tone as the tube is only providing saturation. They weren't too far off -- an Amperex and a Mullard sounded oh-so-slightly better than the stock JJ, but it was so subtle it could have been my imagination. Nothing like the changes you can hear with some other pedals like the Varidrive.

Guy from Idaho
01-10-2007, 11:42 AM
Another Varidrive fan here, I keep coming back to it. I like an Amperex 12AX7 in mine. It does require a little tweaking to not get too wooly, but when it's right it's humble pie all the way! :RoCkIn -GFI

Dana
01-10-2007, 12:16 PM
I'm surprised no one mentioned the Valveboy. I have one and love it.

http://www.tonefactor.com/images/valvey.jpg

73171
01-10-2007, 12:53 PM
I love my Budda Phatman...but it's more Plexi than AC30...


YMMV

Tube Guy
01-10-2007, 01:03 PM
I'm surprised no one mentioned the Valveboy. I have one and love it.

http://www.tonefactor.com/images/valvey.jpg
My Stage Hog put my ValveBoy in the Emporium. Fatback has a lot to answer for though, I was happy with solid state pedals till I heard his clips :) And yes I do use mine with lower gain settings (mostly from going for lower gain tubes and a 12AY7 rather than the 5751).

waveman
01-10-2007, 01:08 PM
Not the Classic, but on the Hot Brit. Radial said it wouldn't make any difference to the tone as the tube is only providing saturation. They weren't too far off -- an Amperex and a Mullard sounded oh-so-slightly better than the stock JJ, but it was so subtle it could have been my imagination. Nothing like the changes you can hear with some other pedals like the Varidrive.


I own the Hot British and the Nady TD-1( Tonebone Classic Clone) along with Maxon ROD 880 and 881, Vox Cooltron Bulldog, Ibanez Tube King and can notice quite a bit of change with different tubes, even as much as changing one V position on my amp. All of them react to tubes the same way my amp does, except the Vox Cooltron which is quite different than the others. The Cooltron looses volume with most tubes as you go up the tube latter 12at7 -> 12ax7. The rest (including my amp) lose gain and most lose volume as you go down the tube latter 12ax7 -> 12au7. I have a whole bag of tubes that I have tried in each of these pedals. There were some exceptions on the volume and gain.

Oh yeah the Tonebones sound great with my Peavey Delta Blues.

soundchaser59
01-10-2007, 03:07 PM
The best sounding real tube pedals are by far the Damage Control gear.

fr8_trane
01-11-2007, 12:29 AM
The Tonebone stuff is OK, but I haven't found an amp it's killer for yet.

The answer is.....The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

Seriously. I demoed the classic at a shop through a HRDLX and was absolutely blown away. I had a hard time making it sound bad. I could dial in everything from a light flat mid crunch to a TS flavored bluesy drive, to classic rock riffing, to early Boogie saturation. I ordered a trimode that day and when it arrived...it sounded like ASS through both my bassman and deluxe reverb. So I sent it back.:confused:

thesedaze
01-11-2007, 01:29 AM
http://www.siegmundguitars.com/images/ddriveback.jpg
Siegmund MicroTube DoubleDrive (http://www.siegmundguitars.com/pedal.html)

JimmyR
01-11-2007, 03:28 AM
I've tried the Mesa Twin thing, used a Matchless Hotbox for ages and then the Matchless Dirtbox. The Badcat Two-tone really is better IMHO. If you use good tubes - same as in any good tube amp - it can produce stunning very amplike results. I quite like using NOS 12at7s in them, but currently have some GE 12ax7s and it sounds fantastic. I have a couple of Badcat amps and it works very well with those, but also sounds great with all my tweed clones and even Marshalls.

The trick for me is to keep gain, treble, bass and master all around the 9.00 o'clock mark - at least for starters. I'll often roll treble completely off and goose bass to around 11.00. With gain down it really does sound like I just turned my amp up to breaking point, but you can get that tone at lower volumes. I used to play in a rockabilly band using Gretsches and slapback delay. With the Twotone in front of the delay into a basically clean amp (usually 4x10 Bassman or SRRI) I could get those wonderful tweed amp just breaking up a bit tones. It can add just enough bite to help cut through without sounding at all artificial. A lot of the time it really does sound like I just turned the amp up. For me it is the best sounding OD I have.

Having said that, if I want a more portable board I am happy using some of the Menatone pedals like Dirty Blonde or Working Man's Blue. And lately I've found Timmy can get me 95% of the way there.

The other cool thing about the Two-tone is of course the clean channel. It sounds very Vox-like and I like using it into Marshalls with a Strat to make things sweeter. It can make a plexi-style Marshall sound like the world's toughest AC30! And into a tweed style Fender it sounds like a cross between BF and Vox. Very cool sounds.

aksman
01-12-2007, 05:26 PM
it may not run 2 tubes at full power, but for the tube pedals i've used, the Japanese Ibanez Tube King kicks ass. i always try to get rid of it and always come back to it.

David_Gerald
04-14-2007, 10:56 PM
I use the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Pedal. I does a great job with the low gain type of sound. And it's all tube and sounds very amp like. Hope this helps. Peace.

Enjoyer
04-14-2007, 11:01 PM
May I suggest the Stephanson Stage Hog.
Had the opportunity to play around with my bandmates.
My God! This thing is a work of art!
I think I need one.

royd
04-14-2007, 11:40 PM
I owned a Zen 2 for a short while after waiting for it for a year (I put my name on the list as soon as Alf announced he was making them).

It is a nice pedal but I was able to get almost exactly the same sound out of my HBE power screamer which was much more versatile. I was on the wait list for a KOT and had to sell one of the other pedals so the Zen 2 went.

So... my take on it is that it is a good pedal and if you have to have a tube in there, it is not a bad choice but I don't know that the tube adds anything that you can't get in a good transistor pedal.

rewog
04-15-2007, 12:15 AM
May I suggest the Stephanson Stage Hog.
Had the opportunity to play around with my bandmates.
My God! This thing is a work of art!
I think I need one.

YES !!
Mine arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've been too busy to do a review ATM, but I can't imagine it getting much better than the Stage Hog.
Absolutely authentic and amazing tone, and a whole lot of options.
The only thing that would sound more like a cranked tube amp is an actual cranked tube amp with the speakers driven (the only thing the SH can't do).
The tube pre-amp style pedals, and especially those that run the tube voltage starved, or don't even use it for actual clipping... will never sound like the Stage Hog. A couple of others that include a proper high voltage power amp, like the Koch Pedaltone, may sound as good, I haven't had the opprotunity to use one.... although most that have tried both seem to prefer the SH I think.

shecfr
04-15-2007, 12:49 AM
Might want to wait a awhile, SIB will be releasing the CUDA tube distortion....heard some sound clips, very impressive.

Dale
04-15-2007, 12:04 PM
To me:

Duncan Twin Tube
English Muff'n

dorfmeister
02-26-2008, 04:37 PM
I've got a Coopersonic Tube Overdrive with 2 Mullard NOS 12AT7's. Really good sounding and great gain range with those tubes.

Cary Chilton
02-27-2008, 11:50 PM
YES !!
Mine arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've been too busy to do a review ATM, but I can't imagine it getting much better than the Stage Hog.
Absolutely authentic and amazing tone, and a whole lot of options.
The only thing that would sound more like a cranked tube amp is an actual cranked tube amp with the speakers driven (the only thing the SH can't do).
The tube pre-amp style pedals, and especially those that run the tube voltage starved, or don't even use it for actual clipping... will never sound like the Stage Hog. A couple of others that include a proper high voltage power amp, like the Koch Pedaltone, may sound as good, I haven't had the opprotunity to use one.... although most that have tried both seem to prefer the SH I think.

THe Koch might, but Holy 1000 USD!

devnulljp
02-28-2008, 12:27 AM
...i haven't found anything that i like better than the tonebones (i have the trimode and hot british).


I have a Classic that I like a lot. HBrit was too much for my taste, but the classic is a bit more subtle.
I agree that tube pedals may be kinda gimmicky and that preamp distortion is nothing like real power tube distortion. Still, I found it quite easy to get a good sound of the classic and it's way less expensive than the Tube Driver.

Enjoyer
02-28-2008, 12:49 AM
Have you seen this thread:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=359501

!!!!

pfflam
10-25-2008, 04:19 PM
I love my Budda Phatman...but it's more Plexi than AC30...


YMMVCan't agree more. Pre-amp in a pedal: very touch sensitive . . . it seems few folks around here have even tried them though

peridot1
10-25-2008, 04:58 PM
This is an old thread.

I've tried the Tonebone Trimode and English Muffin, but I've settled with Damage Control when it comes to tube pedals. Never looked anywhere else afterwards. Studio quality in a stomp IMO.

JeffOlson
10-25-2008, 06:39 PM
I love my Mesa/Boogie V-Twin (the red channel for me, baby!).

Apparently, a lot of people HATE it. However, I have yet to find a better distortion pedal for what I do (primarily a Strat with Fat '50s into a '65 SRRI). I have tried countless other high-end, expensive, boutique pedals, but they all sound thin and limp compared to my V-Twin. And who wants to sound thin and limp anyway?

Granted, the V-Twin is not all-tube, and it its rather huge compared to most pedals, but what a sound! Or, maybe it's just my FINGERS that make it sound the way it does...

doublee
10-25-2008, 07:12 PM
119 people responded...and 37 fave pedals!

pfflam
10-25-2008, 08:03 PM
119 people responded...and 37 fave pedals!
Pard'n if I seem obtuse . . .whad'ya referring to?

stvnscott
10-26-2008, 09:36 PM
If youre talking about pedals with actual preamplification tubes inside,
I think they are very much a gimmick.

...

Pre tubes dont really give a nice organic, tube sound on their own, in fact they are quite sterile and tinny sounding by themselves.
This is not to say that a pedal of its kind cant and wont sound good with the right design, they can and sometimes do but knowing the facts about preamp tubes only make me think of two things, gimmick and money.



I humbly disagree, or at least I think you are painting with too broad a brush. I think what you say is more or less true when talking about low voltage, starved plate designs, but there are some fantastic sounding pedals on the market now that run on high voltages and sound just like a tube preamp.

Tubes don't give a tube sound? Eh?

ibodog
03-25-2009, 12:33 PM
Another old thread revived! I've had some of these tube preamp pedals and here's my take on each for my own playing preferences.

Mesa V-Twin: way too much gain and highs are too rolled off. I put in 12at7 tubes and liked it a lot better, but it was still missing nice highs. So I sold it and got a:

Matchless Hot Box: I loved this pedal and it was my main sound for about 8 years. Nice and raunchy with plenty of high end on the distortion. The clean channel was a little bright into my amp, though and there was no bypass or tone control for the clean channel. So I traded this off and got a:

Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic: which is much cheaper than the other 2 pedals but really sounded good by comparison. The rhythm channel was excellent and had more highs than the V-twin, but they were still rolled off a bit. The lead channel really rolled the highs off so I didn't use the lead channel much. The rhythm channel can be set to sound very clean and then sounds great when pushed with boosters and other distortions. Very underrated pedal IMHO. But I was really missing that Hot Box so I sold this one and got a:

Bad Cat 2-Tone: which just arrived this week. Haven't had a chance to really put it through it's paces yet. I was expecting it to be exactly like the Hot Box but with a tone control on the clean channel and a true bypass. But so far the knobs have to be set very differently to get a similar sound to the Hot Box. I think I may need to look into a tube change. No lack of high end in either the clean or dirty channels in this guy, though!

dosmun
03-25-2009, 01:08 PM
Anymore info on the Budda pedals? I've been curious about them for awhile.

ibzmav
03-25-2009, 10:54 PM
Based on experience...

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/regular/1/1/5/368115.jpg

Lucidology
03-26-2009, 03:04 AM
Guyatone Flip series tube effects (http://www.guyatone.com/flip/index.html)
Tonebone (http://tonebone.com/)
Siegmund Micro-Tube Doubledrive (http://www.siegmundguitars.com/pedal.html) (uses 6021W)
Westbury W-20 “The Tube” (http://www.geofex.com/FX_images/westbury.gif) (schematic link). High voltage, 2 common gathode gain stages. It’s set up just like the Real McTube II, but runs from a traditional power supply with 260V B+.
Soldano Supercharger GTO (http://www.soldano.com/amps/supercharge.htm)

triviani
03-26-2009, 03:25 AM
Nobody likes the Vox valve pedals? They should know how a AC30 sounds, no?

Nebula
05-05-2009, 07:17 AM
Anybody try a seymour Duncan Twin Tube Blue?

http://www.seymourduncan.com/images/products/effects_pedals/sfx_11.jpg

lux_interior
05-05-2009, 07:14 PM
Don't know if it's really interesting to add my opinion on a old thread with so many answers, but out of all the tube dirt pedals that I've tried and heard (all Tonebones, all Seymour Duncans, Damage Control, Ibanez ones, Maxon ones, Bad Cats, Mesa V-Twin, Electroharmonix-s, Zendrive 2, the big T Rex Spindoctor, all Cooltrons and others that I don't remember right now), the absolute best by far is the amazing Bad Cat Two Tone. It can turn even a mediocre tube amp into a tone monster, but at DECENT gig volumes and never in bedrooms. What's more, I have been using the Cooltron Over The Top Boost for a long time and is great (a hugely overlooked pedal), especially as a marvellous thick tube boost and less as a Vox AC30 simulation.

Unfortunately, I haven't tried the Coopersonic, the Hotbox, the SIB, the Stage Hog and other serious contestants such as the pedal by Fuchs. I have a Koch Studiotone, and there are some similarities between its sound and the Koch tube pedal design. Should be very good. I also haven't heard the discontinued Budda pedal, but there is a second hand one for sale at my local guitar shop and I will try it soon.

Oh, and before we burn all starved tube designs at the stake, we should try to pair them to a nice loud amp instead of caring whether the signal path is 100% tube or not and where the clipping takes place... besides, guitarists have always used thousands of solid state pedals to shape their sound!