Germino 45's no longer ship w/KT66's-WTF!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by smilefan, Feb 15, 2006.


  1. smilefan

    smilefan Member

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    I noticed on the updated Germino website that
    Greg's very popular, highly regarded Classic 45 models
    no longer ship with new production KT-66's (but NOS
    GEC KT66's are available at a $400 upcharge).
    I did a double take!! I mean, why make a JTM45 without
    KT-66's, right?

    I wondered if it was a misprint so I got in touch with Greg.
    Not a misprint. Here is the skinny.....


    "I know it seems a sacrilege to offer a JTM-45 replica like the Classic 45 and not ship the amp with KT-66's.
    The fact is that current production KT-66 from both China and Russia are prone to production problems. When I buy tubes from a company such as Groove Tubes I (and you the customer) are paying for a duet or quartet of tubes that supposedly has been put through rigorous testing. I have had about a 60% to 70% rejection rate on the GT KT-66HP. When pushed into hard clipping the tubes will drift and are no longer matched or give proper performance. Other OEM's have had the same problem. Honestly and frankly I don't have the time being a one man shop to go thru 3 sets of output tubes when bench testing an amplifier to find one pair that holds bias steady and that offers good sonics. I like the GT KT-66HP soundwise better than the Chinese KT-66.
    The Chinese KT-66 is sold under several names, Sino, Harma, Valve Art, Groove Tubes KT-66C and all of these are made in the Shuguang factory. Again, some production batches are OK and others not very good sounding. These tubes seem to lack midrange richness, plenty of highs and lows, very hollow in the middle.
    With the fantastic short bottle 6L6WGC available from TAD and the great new Tung-Sol 5881 is was a logical decision to go over to this tube type. In addition these tube types work well with both the upwards impedance match of 6.6K (running a 16 ohm load and amp hardwired at 16 ohms) and at a downwards impedance match of 3.3K (running an 8 ohm load and amp hardwired at 16 ohms).

    I will be glad to accommodate an order using current production KT-66's as long as you realize you may be getting a tube set that does not deliver 100% in the sonics dept.

    NOS GEC KT-66's while pricey at $350 to $400 a pair offer supreme tone and longevity far beyond what any current production tube set could offer. These are usually good for about 8000+ hours.

    I hope this clarifies the reason for using the new TAD 6L6WGC. I think that if you do a search for this tube on www.thegearpage.net or the new Tung Sol 5881 you will find only rave reviews about both. Keep in mind that the very first JTM-45's were shipped with 5881's prior to the switch over to KT-66's."

    We are in the Golden Age of amp building, but apparently at the end of the
    welfare line of vacuum tube production. :( :( :(
     
  2. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    It takes dedication to get the tubes right. I can't get a new production EF86 that's worth a crap either.

    Kudos to Greg to ship the amp with the most reliable set of tubes available.
     
  3. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    It might not matter tonally...I trust Greg enough to make that call. I mean my Bluesbreaker when restored back to the original circuitry and MM Xformers had 97% of the same tone with 6L6GCs than GTKT66HPs. I have had batches of KT66s that absolutely sucked in my old Route 66 and went through three pairs until I got a decent set. EL34s in current production are also suspect these days and i have gone through many-o-SED EL34s to find a set that remained matched for a reasonable time period after being pushed. Yeah tough call, and the purists might be up in arms, but that freakin amp (Classic 45) sounds so warm and juicy and Greg really dials in sweet tones on it that I can't possibly see how the switch would be affecting tone since the amps are voiced so carefully.
     
  4. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 on the crappy EF86s too. Man in my old 66 you could look at it with a recent production EF86 and it would squeal. NOS tubes aren't much better, it took 2 tries with a Dario miniwatt EF86 to find one that wasn't as microphonic as the rest. Z has done a fabulous job in the Z28 and ROute 66 in dialing out the EF86 potential to be extraordinarily microphonic. Man I wish I could make good vaccum tubes, seems like the market will be ripe for them soon.
     
  5. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    no big deal really, if you want KT66's in your amp, just buy a pair and bias the amp for them, eh?
     
  6. procos

    procos Supporting Member

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    Suck up. :Spank :p
     
  7. Pentode

    Pentode Supporting Member

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    Interesting..... I have found the Shuguangs to be far superior sonically to the GT's. I guess I chalk that up to either I got some good Shuguangs and some bad GT's.....or....my ears/sonic preferences are very different.
     
  8. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree, no comparison.
     
  9. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    I'll second that. Current production EF86's are crap,
    getting NOS ones isn't all that easy either.
    Hate that tube!

    6L6GC's, EL34's, and 5881's all sound great in JTM45's,
    and seeing how I never could stand KT66's, thats no
    problem for me.

    Good amp builders build good amps,
    we have to use tubes that'll stand up to shipping,
    demo's, and tours.
    Doug
     
  10. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 to this. Greg's detailed and thoughtful reply says a lot for his approach. =K
     
  11. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd imagine that guys like Doug and Greg take the tubes they use into consideration, and can do things at the component level to "make up" for any perceived loss of midrange attributed to the non-use of the KT-66's.

    Just a thought.
     
  12. hamrhed1

    hamrhed1 Member

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    I just received one of these new Classic 45s with 6L6s. Wow, what a great sounding amp. I found out about the tube swap just before I received the amp. I was initially concerned. I talked to Greg about it and he gave me the same info reported here.

    Down the road, I might be tempted to try KT66s (purely due to GAS pains, not because I'm unhappy with the sound) but the amp sounds fantastic with the 6L6s. No worries.
     
  13. robbert

    robbert Member

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    Hi, can someone maybe explain to me what the (sonic) difference is between the TAD 6L6WGC and the Tung Sol 5881.

    Thanks in advance
     
  14. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    My friend owns the actual Classic 45 that was reviewed in Guitar Player (Sept '04). The amp originally came wih GT KT66's and sounded awsome! Beano tone for days. However, the KT66's did go prematurely and after trying various alternatives, including EL-34's, he settled on a pair of TAD 6L6's. Amp still sounds incredible. I think these early JTM-45 circuits were very similar to Fender Tweed amps (especially Bassman) which used 6L6 type tubes. The only thing that *might* improve the tone, at this point, is a pair of Heritage Greenbacks. If you are looking for a JTM-45 type you cannot go wrong with the Classic 45, regardless of tubes.

    -KD
     
  15. goneracin

    goneracin Member

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    I have also had the same poor results that Greg has with the new KT66's. I have several pairs here that just plain suck. The last amp, I went through 4 pairs to get one pair that would be decent. I shipped it to the customer with both the Chinese kt66's and the TAD 6l6's, and explained all the issues, and offered my advice on not using the kt's as I dont trust them either. I am with Greg, Im done with the KT66's as well. Bob
     
  16. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    Good one, that's worth quoting. :)
     
  17. K-man

    K-man Member

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    Steve Carr went through the same issue with the Mercury. He now uses JJ E34L's instead of the KT66.

    I purchased one pair of the Groove Tubes KT66's and they were both bad. I returned them and so far the new ones have been good, but I don't think I'm going to take a chance with those any more. I'll stick with the E34L or try a 6L6.
     
  18. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I have one of Greg's "new" Classic 45's (non-KT66). I've played through a good vintage JTM45 at Ultrasound Studios years ago (which I ASSUME would've had KT66's in it but can't be sure) and I would say there was nothing lost in translation here. My Classic 45 absolutely nails JTM45 tones (and that's with new Greenbacks that haven't been broken in yet). It's also dead quiet. Given the problems people are having sourcing decent KT66's and the stellar tones from the Classic 45, I'm glad Greg made the choice to switch.
     
  19. tejastubes

    tejastubes Member

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    Yes the GEC KT-66 are worth the $400 per pair! The smoked glass variety being slightly older and perhaps warmer as well. As far as the EF86, the older russian production may not last as long as a GEC or Holland or Belgium made tube (which we also have), but snagging 2 tubes for $15 for military russian production for some folks seems to make it an easier way to go especially for those who are $$ conscious. Most of the feedback I have had from people who have tried the older russian made stuff is that they thought it was a great bang for the buck!
     
  20. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Kudos to Greg and Bob for telling it like it is.
     

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