Are reverb send/return, reverb drive & reverb/clean mix tubes important?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by StratStringSlinger, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

    Messages:
    2,921
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    I was wondering if the folks here fret about their reverb tubes in their amps? Is it worth searching out and buying nice/nos tubes for these positions in your amp? Have people found improvement in tone and/or reverb from choosing the right tube?
     
  2. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,344
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    Definitely yes. Stronger or weaker tubes can help to enhance or tame a problem reverb circuit. These tubes I also believe play a overall part in the entire chain so the results would be cummulative.
     
  3. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,604
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Never gave it a second thought, and I love spring reverb.
    I just never swapped a tube in that position and said 'Wow', or 'Ychh'.

    The circuit makes a difference, the tank makes a huge difference, even the phase makes a difference, I've just never been picky about tubes there, except for the Chinese which I don't ever use for anything.

    If you want better reverb, get an old tank, preferably a two spring and used hard.
    That's the change, beyond "Don't use junk" you can forget the tubes.
     
  4. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

    Messages:
    2,921
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks for the tips. I try to save my nice NOS tubes for v1. I did find that a Mullard 4024 made a noticeable difference when I replaced the stock JAN Phillips 12AT7 (noticed a little bigger yet clear bass...not sure how this technically happened but definitely noticeable). I didn't mess with the Tung Sol reissued in the reverb send/return and reverb/clean mix position of my Classic Reverb b/c it just sounded fabulous as is. However, the used Sterling I just picked up came with what looks to be Chinese 12ax7's in v2 and v4 (JAN Phillips 12AT7 in v3). Looks like I should at least try a non-Chinese 12ax7 in v2 and v4...any recommendations? Also, where would one get a good used reverb tank?
     
  5. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,604
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    The tube thing is pretty personal, depends what you're going for musically.
    I've been partial to the RCA thing straight across recently, nice Fender vibe.
    Telefunken in the PI occasionally.

    You're just going to have go dumpster diving for the tank, keep your eyes open, they come up. The quality of the currently available tanks is so poor in every way that I can't understand how anybody can use them. When you do stumble across an old one you'll be floored. No comparison, a completely different effect.
     
  6. Marble

    Marble Member

    Messages:
    1,553
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Location:
    Sarasota
    Great tips from Kimock. I also love RCAs, especially in Fenders. They're a natural fit. Leo probably had them especially voiced for RCAs seeing as that is what they used to come with.

    Keep in mind that the reverb driver tube acts like a mini power tube to drive the reverb unit, and those tubes tend to die sooner because of that. You have to balance out how you want to go about working with that. A NOS or ANOS tube would yield better reverb sounds, but if you're paying too high of prices for NOS tubes, you're just throwing cash down the toliet in the long run.

    There's a place on the net where you can buy JAN Philips 12at7s for under 10 bucks, and alot of people like those as reverb drivers. You said you changed out a Mullard for your Jan Philips 12AT7, try using that Philips as the reverb driver. The reverb recovery slot is also another gain stage, so put a good 12AX7 in there as well to improve your tone.

    And good old reverb tanks can be found in all kinds of dumpster organs. My lovely Baldwin transistor organ died last year, and I've been pulling parts from it including a 3 spring reverb tank that was "manufactured by beautiful girls in Milton, Wis. under controlled atmosphere conditions". Just remember that reverb tanks and thier amplifier circuits expect to see a certain impedence.
     
  7. motis1953

    motis1953 Member

    Messages:
    1,546
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Location:
    So. Florida
    Mr. Kimock: Could you possibly elaborate on the poor quality of today's tanks? Is it the quality of the electronic parts, or the springs? I was just looking at the site where today's tanks are made and their "best" product was a six-spring tank. Do the two spring tanks have better pickups or what? Thanks for your time.
     
  8. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,604
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Build quality, material quality and sonic quality all seem to have gone sharply downhill with the current commercially available stuff unless I'm missing something.
    You would just have to hold an old tank and a new one in your hands for 30 seconds to get the picture.
    There was a time when spring reverb was about the only option for reverb you had with a guitar amp, and the overall quality was closer to state of the art.
    It had to be. Nowadays, spring reverb tanks are a "What can we get away with?" proposition for the manufacturers. Junk basically.

    The six-spring tank is what I would call a three spring, three rows of two springs joined in the middle.
    It's better than nothing I guess, but that's not saying much.

    The old two spring tanks just sounded better in every way, just better built with better materials.
    I'm sure age has something to do with it relative to break in, and it's possible that some new tanks might sound a lot better in the future, but I wouldn't be betting money that they won't break down long before they break in.

    We have a saying around here, "If there's a chip in it, there's something better."
    With the current tanks/pans whatever available, that's not so true. There are a lot of cheap pedals that do a fine spring reverb sound compared to a modern tank.
    I could see how it would be easy to just to walk away from the analog reality for most guys.
    But if you're patient and willing to track down a decent tank, they do sound and play remarkably better than a pedal.

    The reverb pan quality these days is the weakest link in that whole analog effects family, worse than the difference between the old tubes and the new tubes for the amp thing in general.
    The issue doesn't get a lot of attention because there are so many other options for reverb.
    Still wish somebody would get a high quality tank together though, people would use 'em if they had the option.
     
  9. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,506
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    Steve, how far back in time to you have to go to get a good quality tank? 70s?
     
  10. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,685
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Location:
    No. SF Bay Area, California
    There are spring reverb pedals that are being manufactured now that sound just as good if not better than any tank being manufactured. I'm using a Demeter Reverbulator pedal that is fantastic. It can go in front of an amp or in an effects loop. It's a big pedal and takes up a lot of space on a board, but it is well worth it.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

    Messages:
    2,921
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Kimock/Marble - What type of RCA 12ax7's are you using in the reverb send/return & reverb/clean mix positions? long black, long grey and short grey plates?
     
  12. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,604
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Merry Christmas. Short grey is what's in there, but it's not like I had a giant pile of fancy tubes to start with and picked short grey ├╝ber alles.

    I've been a Fender guy all my life, and there's just something correct about those amps with RCA's in there for me. I'm sure there are folks that have strong feelings related to the distinctions you mentioned, but I'm ok if I'm just moving in that general RCA direction.

    Long black in V1 in the stock Bandmaster, short grey in V1 in the 50 watt D, long grey in V1 in the Showman, I know I put 'em there but I couldn't tell you why. . .:bong
     
  13. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

    Messages:
    2,921
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    I noticed alot of old Fenders have Telefunken tubes in the reverb positions. Were Telefunkens OEM in Fenders? Now I'm curious if they will sound good in the reverb send/return and reverb/clean mix positions of a TR?
     

Share This Page