BK Butler Tube Driver: The Combo Amp

Golem

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I had the Chandler preamp rack unit. Good stuff.

chandler-tube-driver-rackmount-74653.jpg
For those confused about BK Butler & Chandler being used in the same thread, I'm going to link to this thread:
http://www.marshallforum.com/thread...-real-tube-tube-king-which-is-your-fav.91015/
 

Baxtercat

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I ran a Real Tube in the '80s/'90s. Later a Blue Tube.

Seemed like just the ticket for JC-77s, -120s, etc...to add some fat.
A lil tricky to dial in, as said.
Always swapped in a 12AUX7 trying to get a bit more range outa the Drive knob, a bit more clean to the boost.
 

Golem

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I guess the other thing I should mention to people reading this is that this amp is basically two pieces of BK Butler Rack Gear in one. The Pre Amp is similar to the Chandler/BK Butler Tube Driver (how different I can't say) that can be found in pedal form or as a rack preamp. The Power Amp is called the MosValve Power Amp. It's Solid State, but it's not completely clean like say QSC power amps I've heard. It's got a kind of warmth to it that you wouldn't find in something like a Roland JC. So when we're talking about the pedal, you're basically talking about the left side of this combo I have (or a somewhat similar circuit). The right is just the power amp (or a variation of it) you'd find in the MosValve power amps.
 

Ultra GP

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Golem

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Just found the manual, it seems to be passive.

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/270923/Tube-Works-Td-742.html

I haven't tried an AT7 in mine, but might do. The drive comes on pretty quickly, especially with the stack mode engaged.

Yeah, the AX7 has too much drive for my tastes in the pre-amp. The AT7 has far less gain, but always a very different kind of gain. I think it sounds less compressed too. I'd be tempted to try an AU7 too or maybe one of the other less commonly mentioned tubes out there that are between an AU7 and AT7 in gain.

I know the Telefunkens are pretty pricey for an AT7. Mine's an NOS I get from a friend who's a talented tube amp builder and pickup winder. He said it was magic and it has been in the two amps I've used it in.

Thanks for sharing the manual!
 
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aleclee

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I had one back in the day. Pretty good sounding amp. If I remember correctly, it has a feature where you could use the clean and dirty channels at the same time.
I had one too, but the model in the picture seems to have different controls and no "both channels" feature. It was my first tube amp but I can't say I loved it.
 

Golem

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2,630
I had one too, but the model in the picture seems to have different controls and no "both channels" feature. It was my first tube amp but I can't say I loved it.

To be fair, I didn't love it with the stock tubes and bought it knowing that many people don't like it with the AX7. Did you ever change the stock tubes for something lower gain?
 

aleclee

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To be fair, I didn't love it with the stock tubes and bought it knowing that many people don't like it with the AX7. Did you ever change the stock tubes for something lower gain?
I didn't do any tube swaps but was actually looking for more gain as I didn't have any dirt boxes at the time. My rig was pretty low budget at the time.
 

Golem

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I didn't do any tube swaps but was actually looking for more gain as I didn't have any dirt boxes at the time. My rig was pretty low budget at the time.

The more I learn about the Tube Driver circuit, it's apparent it was supposed to be more of a high gain pedal. I really don't like it with the AX7 it came with though. I can't blame anyone for not loving it with an AX7 even if higher gain sounds are there thing. It just doesn't sound good that way to me. Not terrible at some settings, but not good.
 

buddaman71

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My first “real” gigging setup, about 92-94 was a small rack with the Tube Driver Preamp and MosValve Stereo power amp into vertical 212. Boss SE70 for FX. Good times in the early 90s.

PS: I was 21, and my in-laws at the time wanted to take us to the race track. On the way I asked if we could stop by my favorite music store, where I spotted the tube Works rig. It was listed at $999, which might as well have been 1 million for me at that time. I joked to the guy in the store, “hey we’re going to the race track if I win anything I’ll come back and buy it.”

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I didn’t have much money to bet, so I figured I would only bet the longshots. I put $4 on a daily double, on the first bet I ever made in my life and won $800.

We stopped by shop, just as they were locking up, and I held up the $800, Wayne’s World style. The store owner got such a kick out of it, he gave me the rig for $850 out the door. My FIL spotted me the extra $50. True story, and I’ve never won a bet since.
 
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forgivenman

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4,028
Never tried that particular amp, but I've got the head version of this. Really nice sounding amp. Does that Tube Driver combo have an active EQ as well?



Also picked up a MV-962 stereo power amp for slaving not long ago. Not a bad unit at all.

I had the 410 combo version Of this. It was amazing and was my first “real” amp. I kept it through college and grad school. Great tones in there.
 

JackD

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2,494
In the last couple months, I bought a NEW B.K. Butler Tube Driver pedal. BK still makes them himself. I actually got to talk to him (really nice guy). Mine has the Yugo 12AX7 that both Eric Johnson and David Gilmore use in there units.

Let me tell you, this pedal is absolutely fantastic! She LOVES a nice clean pedal platform. It is just wonderful in my '65 Blackface Fender and sound amazing in my Mesa Mark IIb.
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
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8,104
My first “real” gigging setup, about 92-94 was a small rack with the Tube Driver Preamp and MosValve Stereo power amp into vertical 212. Boss SE70 for FX. Good times in the early 90s.

PS: I was 21, and my in-laws at the time wanted to take us to the race track. On the way I asked if we could stop by my favorite music store, where I spotted the tube Works rig. It was listed at $999, which might as well have been 1 million for me at that time. I joked to the guy in the store, “hey we’re going to the race track if I win anything I’ll come back and buy it.”

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I didn’t have much money to bet, so I figured I would only bet the longshots. I put $4 on a daily double, on the first bet I ever made in my life and won $800.

We stopped by shop, just as they were locking up, and I held up the $800, Wayne’s World style. The store owner got such a kick out of it, he gave me the rig for $850 out the door. My FIL spotted me the extra $50. True story, and I’ve never won a bet since.
cool story, bro! would you gig it now?
 

Dashface

Member
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7,196
What a cool amp!!

Being the Gilmour in a Floyd act means I’ve had to get on the Tube Driver train. Honestly, I’ve struggled with them over the years - and I am using them as god intended (ie, as boosts and as stand alone drives with Cornish muffs and Hiwatts). Sometimes they sound godly, sometimes not.

I currently use two in my Floyd rig, but I just have them there as alternates to kick in when I feel like it, or when I’m playing the red strat and wanna get realllll Pulse-esque.. For the most part I get my main low-drive sound from a Cornish CC-1 (which sounds the way I wish the TD did) and my mid/highs from Cornish SS-3, G-2, and P-1 pedals...

I’ve had a couple of Butler TDs (the ones still in the rig) and a couple Chandler ones I didn’t like as much. I also have a couple of the rack mount versions, which sound pretty good to my ear.

tldr; The Tube Driver is a fickle beast, but when it’s working it’s amazing, and that amp is cool :D
 

Zonk

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731
The more I learn about the Tube Driver circuit, it's apparent it was supposed to be more of a high gain pedal. I really don't like it with the AX7 it came with though. I can't blame anyone for not loving it with an AX7 even if higher gain sounds are there thing. It just doesn't sound good that way to me. Not terrible at some settings, but not good.
Butler made the Tan colored original model, the blue colored "Blue Tube" and the black colored "Real Tube" pedals and racks, the Real Tube was the most extreme, with the gain cranked all the way up it sounds like your speakers are going to explode.
 

Golem

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So I used this with Dimarzio transitions instead of single coils yesterday and it was sounding a bit like a Mesa. Playing with the Tube Master control, I'm starting to wonder if it acts like a bias on the 5 knob BK Butler pedals he has. If you turn the Tube Master down all the way it sounds like the Mesa V-Twin rack preamp I used to have (with a slightly different EQ).
 

guitarman3001

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12,152
For me, the key to getting a good tone out of these is swapping out the tubes. I'm not going to tell you to go try another one just to prove me right/wrong but if you have happened upon on a good deal on one (pedal, combo, or rack) on the Tube Drivers and less gain is your thing consider swapping it out for an AU7 or AT7. The Telefunken AT7 I put made it sound warmer, smoother, and a lot less gain-y. I'm not the only one to think this and that's pretty much why I bought (i.e., it was a good deal and I wanted to try it with a tube swap). I'd had a Chandler Tube Driver (BK Butler designed these but some of them deviate slightly from his design) previously which I didn't like as much but had only ever used the stock AX7 in that.

Or don't... I'm more just leaving this out there for any TGP reader that sees a good deal on one of these.

I see someone in my area is selling the rack version of this with the Mosvalve Power Amp (which is built into the combo) for $250. The Mosvalve power amps are really underrated for their price as well.

The Real Tube and Mosvalve stuff is excellent. I used to have a Real Tube II preamp and had both the Mosvalve 500 watt and 160 watt amps. I wish I had never sold that stuff.
 

Golem

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The Real Tube and Mosvalve stuff is excellent. I used to have a Real Tube II preamp and had both the Mosvalve 500 watt and 160 watt amps. I wish I had never sold that stuff.

I agree. I see some of the rack gear for sale locally but the owner didn't respond to question I have. If he ever does I may pick up a second one of these in the rack version.
 

Ultra GP

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1,871
So I used this with Dimarzio transitions instead of single coils yesterday and it was sounding a bit like a Mesa. Playing with the Tube Master control, I'm starting to wonder if it acts like a bias on the 5 knob BK Butler pedals he has. If you turn the Tube Master down all the way it sounds like the Mesa V-Twin rack preamp I used to have (with a slightly different EQ).

When you said bias, I just thought of something.

If you want to tame the amp a bit, you might want to give some lower gain 12AX7s (maybe the JJ ECC83-MG) or a 5751 a try. It might sound/work better, since it was designed around the 12AX7 to begin with

Mike from KCA gives a good explanation here

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/12at7-vs-5751.59347/#post-548461
 




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