Finally got my hands on a smooth plate telefunken....

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by rockon1, Jun 8, 2006.


  1. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    and I dont understand what all the fuss is about! First I should say I primarily use medium to high gain settings so perhaps its better suited to clean tones. Unlike the "other" much sought after tube -the Mullard long plate- it didnt seem to have the "growl" the Mullard does nor the tasty mids. Perhaps I got a bum one but its way to "smooth" overdriven for my tastes and really didnt stand out tonewise that much to me.Heck,theres probably 10 other tubes I'd use before this one! Perhaps I'll have to try another. I hate to base my opinion on one sample but for now Im not that impressed-just confused.
     
  2. K-man

    K-man Member

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    I think it's more of a tube for clean Fenders. You are right it doesn't have the prominent mids like a Mullard.
     
  3. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    In my experience, Telefunkens aren't that well loved by guitar players. Typically, the complaint is that they're too clean or "hi fi" sounding.

    Telefunken actually got it "right". No one was making tubes for guitar players, and the whole idea of designing any piece of audio equipment is to reproduce the sound of whatever is being amplified, not to color or distort the sound. Since guitar amplifiers DO color the sound, lots of players don't like Telefunkens.

    Tele preamp tubes are definitely some of the best ever made and last significantly longer (100,000 hours is the reputation) than anything else.
     
  4. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I guess thats why it didnt "stand out" tonewise for me. I dont really like the break up characteristics either....... I must be a glutten for punishment cause I bought a couple more just to make sure it wasnt that particular tube!:messedup
     
  5. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Oh well, you probably won't have much trouble unloading them. Audiophiles and some guitar players love them.
     
  6. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    rockon1,

    I'm not sure how many amps you have or how many you may own over time but as much as I agree with you and Mike regarding the hi-fi tendencies of the smooth plate Telefunkens, they do work REALLY well in some amps while not well in others. I like them in high headroom EL84 amps and like K-man said, it can work well in clean 6L6 amps ala some Fender amps. It may be worth keeping around if you don't have to sell it.
     
  7. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I also have found myself repeatedly scratching my head, wondering what all the fuss is about with Telefunken smooth plate. I've got four of them, and they all seem to fit your description, Rockon. They definitely do not have the low-mids of a Mullard long-plate. In fact, there seems to be fewer lows in these Telefunkens than with most other 12AX7s I know of. If there's any "magic" in their character, it is in the upper-mids, which are clear and present, without being harsh at all.

    I find that I do not like these for cleans, though, as they have a sort of stiff feel to me, no matter which amp I try them in. They are more appealing to me when overdriven, as they are then crisp and articulate.

    The Ei 12AX7 design is based upon the Telefunken smooth-plate, and I find some similarities, especially in the lack of low-mids and bass. But I do like the Telefunken's more natural compression, when driven hard. I find the Ei to be a bit more strident, as well. And, of course, the Telefunken's longevity is fantastic, whereas the Ei may not last very long at all.

    I can see, for myself, the possibility of using a Telefunken smooth-plate to tame the low end on a fixed-bias amp that tends to have bloated lows, especially if I played with humbuckers. But I don't, and so they sit in my drawer, waiting for their day...

    - T
     
  8. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Don't worry, this won't be the first time that a massively hyped piece of gear hasn't 'done it' for someone. I can think of lots that have left me scratching my head, occasionally in real puzzlement as to what other people see in them (not even that I can hear the sought-after character but simply realising that it isn't right for me). And there are plenty I can think of the other way round too.

    It's good to trust your own ears :).

    If you don't like them and don't want to keep them in case you do one day pick up an amp they 'fit', you should have no trouble selling them to someone who either genuinely likes them... or still believes the hype ;).

    Actually I don't see the justification for the price of either Telefunkens or Mullards over other old-stock preamp tubes - IMO they're all good, just different, and all far better than new tubes.
     
  9. mmorse

    mmorse Member

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    I use a short plate Tele in V2 of both my Marshall JCM 800s. Because of their "clean" character, they make the tonestack in both amps more responsive and usable. Mated with a Mullard in V1, they make an excellent combo for my heads IMO.

    They are terrific tubes for high end audio applications.
     
  10. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    What's that? Do you mean smooth plate?

    Short-plate or long-plate (or box-plate) Mullard?

    - T
     
  11. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Perhaps one of these.[​IMG]
     
  12. tradarama

    tradarama www.PRIMEGUITARS.com Silver Supporting Member

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    they're great in mine...after I tried them unsuccessfully in my guitar amp
     
  13. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Oh yeah, I forgot about those frame-grid types. They cost about as much as the amp itself!! :D I've never tried one, but I do like the Tesla E83CC, of similar design.

    - T
     
  14. mmorse

    mmorse Member

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    Sorry about that. Had a senior moment. I meant Mullard short-plate. The Tele is a standard ribbed-plate.
     
  15. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. I've not tried a ribbed-plate Telefunken before. But I do usually end up mixing different tube makes, within a circuit. Not on purpose, but just by using my ears - seems to work better.

    - T
     
  16. mmorse

    mmorse Member

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    I do that too. I've got a bunch of old tubes and I try different combos in my three heads. In my 2204 besides the Mullard and Telefunken, I have an RCA Command Series 5751 in V3. That trio gives me the tone I want. In my Jubilee, It's Mullard, Telefunken, Brimar.
     
  17. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Triaxis:
    Raytheon black-plate/halo-getter 12AX7A
    Mullard CV4024/12AT7WA
    RCA 3-mica/black-plate 5751
    Mullard long-plate/halo-getter 12AX7
    RCA black-plate 12BZ7

    Lexicon Signature 284:
    KenRad black-plate 12AX7
    Mullard CV4024/12AT7WA
    Tungsram ECC83


    Traynor YCV20WR:
    GE long gray-plate 12AX7
    RFT ECC83
    GE 3-mica/black-plate 5751

    :YinYang
     
  18. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

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    You've got mail.........
     
  19. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Couldnt respond to your e-mail. Its blocked. Im not getting rid of em just yet.
     
  20. Sparky6string

    Sparky6string Member

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    That's exactly what I've found as well. Some people might like Telefunkens in the V1 of certain circuits but I think they're hard to beat in a V2 being overdriven. Note definition is about as good as I've ever heard and they yeild a familiar sounding grind. In V1 I love the old EIs though.
     

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