Different tubes for different tones???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Mitchybang, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Mitchybang

    Mitchybang Member

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    I recently purchased a tube head that has (3) preamp tubes which are 12AX7. I haven't looked to see what kind yet. I know they are Sovtek though. I also have (4) KT66 power tubes, which are Sovtek.

    I am trying to figure out which combinations will give me different tones. I know there are probably infinate possibilities but if anybody has any suggestions, that would be cool by me.

    Thanks in advance...:dude
     
  2. Free

    Free Member

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  3. Tallhorses

    Tallhorses Member

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    What kind of amp? The Holland in your sig? Mike Holland use to make incredible amps. My first boutique amp was a 4 x 10 Gibb Droll.

    There are better preamp and power tubes out there than stock Sovtek's for sure. I don't have any experience with that amp but Tung Sol (like Sovtek...a New Sensor company) make good new production tubes built in Russia. As does JJ, EH and a bunch of tube manufacturers. There's also NOS tubes to consider as well. Check out KCA for NOS and The Tube Depot for new production. Different tubes can certainly change your tone.
     
  4. Mitchybang

    Mitchybang Member

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    Cool. Yes, this is in reference to my Holland head. The problem I am having is that there are different model 12AX7 tubes, like 12AX7WA, 12AX7WB, and 12AX7LPS (to name a few).

    So from what I understand, not only do the brand names make a difference, the model does too.

    Also I've heard about the different "preamp stages". Unlike most newer high gain amps which have (4) or more, I only have (3)12AX7 tubes.

    I don't really have a ton of money to spend on different tubes, so I would like some kind of idea first. I like to overall tone of my amp already. I definately want to keep the clean, because I use pedals for the most part. However I would like some more gain.
     
  5. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    We carry the GOOD new production tubes as well as NOS;)
     
  6. Mitchybang

    Mitchybang Member

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    OK, that's nice to know. However, would you care to enlighten me a little about the differences?:confused:
     
  7. Tallhorses

    Tallhorses Member

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    Sorry Mike...just sharing the love.... KCA has great Customer Service too....
     
  8. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Between what and what?
     
  9. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Cool. Just don't want people to think we only carry NOS. :AOK
     
  10. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    You need more intials in your company name. KCA NOS NP tubes. that'll clarify things!

    OP- Mikes great to deal with and very helpful around here. Highly recommended.

    Now after purchasing over 1000 old stock tubes and all the new production stuff I'll tell you this. Tubes make a difference-sometimes subtle,sometimes big and obvious.

    Some tips to "tube rolling"(the process of trying various tubes in various positions)

    1) Warm up your amp for 20 minutes. My amps all seem to sound fuller and warmer(no pun intended) when fully warmed up.

    2) Along the same lines give the new tube you trying a few minutes to heat up fully. I know this messes with the spontaneity of the process but I find it important.

    3) Mix and match tube brands(manufacturers)all you wish and gain types (if necessary) Lower gain tubes such as 12AT7's 5752,12AY7,12AV7 and 12AU7 will all work and lower gain respectively. (The 12AX7 is 100mu while the 12AU7 is 20 mu and a drastic gain reduction)
    12AX7=100
    5751=70mu
    12AT7=60mu
    12AY7=45 mu
    12AV7=40 mu
    12AU7=20 mu

    Bear in mind while they all work fine(plug in and play) they also werent designed to replace a 12AX7 in its circuit. 12AT7's therefore tend to sound slightly brighter and thinner in place of a 12AX7. This can be desireable in an amp with muddy OD though. The 5751 is much closer in other specs to a 12AX7 and reacts very similar in its circuit.

    4) The PI is more important than most think. Ive actually started to find the best sounding PI tube first lately before moving onto the V1 which most consider the biggest tone shaping tube. After all getting the power section happy first makes sense.

    5) Unfortunately what sounds best to you,in your amp is very subjectiven so suggestions are sometimes difficult to acurately give.That said the Sovtek 12AX7 WA,WB etc while bulletproof,also are pretty much disliked by most.

    The suffixes in 12AX7's mean little exception for identification purposes these days in guitar amp use. All will work just fine. If your going after new production 12AX7's I'd suggest picking up a 2-3 of each of the more popular models if possible and try them in various spots-perhaps a few Tung Sols,JJECC83s, and possibly an NOS RFT for that amp as they arent TOO expensive. Bob
     

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