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Best tube for BK Butler Real Tube pedal?

Skullbros

Member
Messages
142
Howdy fellow tone hounds. I recently got a Butler Real Tube pedal and am wondering if y'all would weigh in as to the tube that you think (or know without any doubt) will make it sound Most Killer. One buddy of mine likes the Tungsram. Would love any and all input on this.


 

LReese

Member
Messages
2,155
I put a RCA 12AV7 in mine. Something there I liked vs 12AU/AX7. It was subtle though.
 

tronus

Member
Messages
1,022
Everybody (and Eric Johnson) says the magic tube is the Ei Yugo Tube. My buddies came with a Clear top RCA 12au7 in it and it sounds great. I've tried both in my Tube Driver with bias knob... The 12au7 made a bigger difference IMO but it's a lower gain tube... so I think that's why I noticed more.
 

Skullbros

Member
Messages
142
Everybody (and Eric Johnson) says the magic tube is the Ei Yugo Tube. My buddies came with a Clear top RCA 12au7 in it and it sounds great. I've tried both in my Tube Driver with bias knob... The 12au7 made a bigger difference IMO but it's a lower gain tube... so I think that's why I noticed more.
Alas, both Ei and RCAs are out of stock at thetubestore.com
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,840
I'm not sure you need to spend a lot of time or money looking for a special tube for the Tube Driver. It's a starved plate design, meaning the tube is running at low voltage, not at it's normal operating voltage, and the tube comes after the op-amp gain stage, working more like the clipping diodes in a typical solid state OD. I wonder if you can really hear much difference between one 12ax7 and another under those circumstances. It's different from a twin triode that's actually doing the heavy lifting of a first preamp gain stage.

I agree with others, in my experience a 12au7 is much better than a 12ax7 in the circuit -- the distortion is less fizzy and bright, and you have a more usable range of distortion adjustment. I actaully have an old black plate, a Sylvania IIRC in mine, it just happened to be the only 12au7 I had lying around when I first swapped out the stock 12ax7. The good news is, even if you want to experiment with NOS tubes (and I think it's probably overkill in this application), you can get great NOS 12au7s for $15-$35.
 

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,278
I'm not sure you need to spend a lot of time or money looking for a special tube for the Tube Driver. It's a starved plate design, meaning the tube is running at low voltage, not at it's normal operating voltage, and the tube comes after the op-amp gain stage, working more like the clipping diodes in a typical solid state OD. I wonder if you can really hear much difference between one 12ax7 and another under those circumstances. It's different from a twin triode that's actually doing the heavy lifting of a first preamp gain stage.

I agree with others, in my experience a 12au7 is much better than a 12ax7 in the circuit -- the distortion is less fizzy and bright, and you have a more usable range of distortion adjustment. I actaully have an old black plate, a Sylvania IIRC in mine, it just happened to be the only 12au7 I had lying around when I first swapped out the stock 12ax7. The good news is, even if you want to experiment with NOS tubes (and I think it's probably overkill in this application), you can get great NOS 12au7s for $15-$35.
Regardless of the voltages running through the tube and the design, I have found to the contrary that the sound, feel of the distortion character, and gains do vary after having tried a variety of 12ax7's - may not be drastic differences but I definitely could hear and feel the changes. Its the same effect in the preamp section of a tube amp. I have tried about a dozen NOS and newer 12ax7's as well as a few 12ay7 and 12au7's which are lower gain. The EJ style distortion character can really only be achieved with the EI Yugo tube which I have and like - to me that tube really enhances that violin type tone with a saggy bottom end and almost fuzz like distortion. One of my favorites is also the newer Electro Harmonix 12ay7 which has a real nice clarity and well balanced treble, mids and bass, and a more crunchy less fuzz type breakup.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,840
It's a good trick of a certain type. With single coil guitars and clean, low gain amps, it can deliver a really harmonically rich sort of distortion. Never found a good sound with it and humbuckers myself. It's a chore, esp. w/ the 5-knobber, to dial everything in. And I find it way too crunchy with a 12ax7. And it does two tricks, really, not just one -- that rich distortion, or, with the gain down and output up, using the tone controls to shape the eq, it can be a good, almost Klon-like boost to drive an amp into it's own distortion, esp. the iterations with the TL072 op amps. But you know, most ODs are one-trick ponies.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,840
Regardless of the voltages running through the tube and the design, I have found to the contrary that the sound, feel of the distortion character, and gains do vary after having tried a variety of 12ax7's - may not be drastic differences but I definitely could hear and feel the changes. Its the same effect in the preamp section of a tube amp. I have tried about a dozen NOS and newer 12ax7's as well as a few 12ay7 and 12au7's which are lower gain. The EJ style distortion character can really only be achieved with the EI Yugo tube which I have and like - to me that tube really enhances that violin type tone with a saggy bottom end and almost fuzz like distortion. One of my favorites is also the newer Electro Harmonix 12ay7 which has a real nice clarity and well balanced treble, mids and bass, and a more crunchy less fuzz type breakup.
Well, I tried a couple of different 12ax7s in mine, never heard much difference (and certainly nothing like the differences I hear with preamp tubes in an amp). Tried a bunch of lower gain tubes without doing much tube swapping between brands -- 5751, 12au7, the latter just seemed to work great for me and the first 12au7 I popped in mine just stayed there. But I'm not using it for, nor to I find it a great option for delivering, a violin type tone.
 

modernp

Member
Messages
2,089
I had 3 of them an old one,an old one that I sent back and the bias put in, and a new one with bias. I tried I really did ,different guitars,amps,cables,chewing gum etc. etc. Just could not make it work I would find a decent tone at practice go to play out it was gone. I was just kidding about the thing but it just wasn't for me.
 

Skullbros

Member
Messages
142
Well, I tried a couple of different 12ax7s in mine, never heard much difference (and certainly nothing like the differences I hear with preamp tubes in an amp). Tried a bunch of lower gain tubes without doing much tube swapping between brands -- 5751, 12au7, the latter just seemed to work great for me and the first 12au7 I popped in mine just stayed there. But I'm not using it for, nor to I find it a great option for delivering, a violin type tone.
Quite a range of opinions here, which is great. Perhaps I should've mentioned that I most often play roots rock and country with a variety of Teles and a 335. Not looking to sound like Sabbath or Dimebag, for what that's worth. Any suggestions on where to find the Ei tubes? Thanks for all the input, it's much appreciated.
 

kevinhifi

Member
Messages
3,430
I just picked up a Tube Driver from the emporium here. It has a Made In USA National 5814 (12au7) tube in it. I haven't bothered to put any other tubes in because it works perfectly for my application. I disagree with the one-trick-pony claim. I use it as a preamp at the end of the drive pedals in my chain so I can just plug into any amp with a boring clean sound dialed in and rock. I keep the gain low so that I can roll back volume for a sparkly clean sound. OD, boost, and fuzz pedals hit it really nicely and push it into all sorts of sounds. I think it works great in this capacity, which is similar to the intent of the character series from Tech 21 and the Wampler Black 65 and Tweed 57 pedals.
 

BEMUSofNrthAmrca

Senior Member
Messages
448
That one trick pony claim was nothing but trolling. The fact that he couldn't offer more of an opinion as he did supports my labeling him a troll.

GRRR... I want one of these pedals so bad. Winter layoff sucks. :(
 

excapearth

Member
Messages
36
I know a while back like a year? A friend ordered one and got the bias mod etc etc, but the guy offered to put the same nos tube type that Eric J used. I don't remember what but that thing sounded amazing. Give em a ring and ask.
 




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