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Best amp that lets you swap multiple power-tube types?

Fingers

Member
Messages
708
My Siegmund Midnight Special does the no-biasing tube switch thing but, like the Emery, it's single-ended & low-power so there aren't a lot of tubes there to switch. It seems to sound terrific with each type I've tried, so I mostly just switch power & rectifier tubes depending on whether I want 2-3 watts or 10-12 watts.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,516
Another Superbaby owner here, from the VERY early days (in fact the EQ bypass toggle was the result of a discussion I had with Curt when I ordered it) and it does completely change character as you change tubes. When I want low volume distortion I use a 5Y3/12AX7/6K6 combo, when I want clean I go with GZ34/12AU7/6550, and in between there are lots of different flavors. Speakers are usually a pair of Weber Blue Dogs.

Another possibility, although vanishingly rare, are the London Power Session or Studio: lots of ways to configure the power amp, but with individual bias for the tubes you can mix and match any octal power tubes. Do be aware that the more dissimilar they are, the more hum you're going to get as the push/pull power section isn't balanced any more.
 

gixxerrock

Member
Messages
3,978
THD Flexi will eat almost any kind of tube. THD Univalve and BiValve also, they are class A (don't need to be biased) while Flexi is class B. Flexi allows you to bias the 2 side independently so you can mix and match power tubes. Also takes any mixture of preamp tubes. Flexi also allows you to switch the Master Volume out of the circuit which changes the feel.
 
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ProfRhino

Member
Messages
9,162
The Mesa Heartbreaker would complement your EL84 amp nicely.
It can run 6L6, 6V6 and EL34, all without rebiasing (except for one switch).
Plus you'll get half power, tube/SS rectifiers, a Tweed aka variac switch and various other character switches.
You really craft your tones backwards, starting from the power amp and working your way back - a true tonal chameleon.
It is also very sensitive to choice of preamp tubes, a tweaker's dream come true.
Like with most tube amps, preamp tubes matter at all volumes, the influence of the power tubes increases with volume, obviously.
Originally conceived as a sort of a Mk.I / Bassman hybrid, it can go to all kinds of other cool places. Mine's set up to impersonate various BF and other 7ender tones right now, using Sylvania 6L6 and an assortment of lower gain NOS types in the preamp, and it totally kills.
Physical access to the preamp tubes could be easier, and the reverb is a bit too spacious for my taste, but everything else is top notch.

Similar but different would be its cousin, the Blue Angel.
Various combinations of 4x EL84 and 2x 6V6/6L6, also inviting preamp tube experiments.

While the HB can go all the way from big, macho 100W monster to tiny BF, the BA always remains a smallish blues amp at heart, with very tweakable basic tone and a gorgeous reverb.
None of the two would suit a modern high gain player.
Both take a good while to understand, but you'll learn some valuable lessons about how F-style based amps tick in general as you go along.
Both have earned their permanent place in my little collection, ymmv.
Rhino
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
9,162
Honorable mention should go to many other Mesas from the Mark era, especially with the incredible SimulClass power amps running both EL34 and 6L6 tubes in a few unique ways.
Rhino
 

AXEL276

Member
Messages
1,223
The Egnater Rebel has a blend switch and houses two types of power tube. I can switch betwen 6V6 and EL84's or a blend of both at the same time.
 




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