I can't be the only one... (tube change)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by joemail75, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. joemail75

    joemail75 Member

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    So i swapped tubes last night. It was overdue based on time but I didn't feel like I was in need of it based on tone.

    Then I cranked her up with the new tubes. Wow. Maybe its just me but it seemed like the amp was WAY louder then it was before. I guess I hadn't noticed the volume loss since it was gradual over time.

    Lesson learned. Change your tubes.

    :bonk
     
  2. CPower

    CPower Supporting Member

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    Just wondering how old where your tubes?
     
  3. joemail75

    joemail75 Member

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    They were about 18 months.

    I run a Morgan RV35 pretty hot. Plus the tubes get alot of use throughout the year. The builder recommends replacement every year. I was lazy and didn't listen. Hahah.

    ...and go Steelers ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  4. Structo

    Structo Member

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    Tubes tend to lose high end freqs over time.

    It happens slow enough that we may not notice since we can turn knobs to counter perceived loss of highs.

    I most cases preamp tubes will last years (depending on the amp of course).

    I have some 50 year old 12ax7s that still sound great in my amps.

    If the amp maker suggests a retubing schedule, I would hope it would be in terms of
    actual hours of use and not merely a calendar event that suggests you should replace
    tubes every year.
     
  5. joemail75

    joemail75 Member

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    Very true. I'm sure it is certainly dependent on usage. I think the assumption is that when you're using the amp regularly it will need re-tubed annually.
     
  6. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    Were your new tubes were the same brand and same rating as the old tubes?
    If not, it's hard to tell if the difference is old vs new tubes, or just the difference in tubes.
    The RV35 is plug n play, right? You could take 2 new sets of tubes with different ratings, or different builds, and they can sound quite different. Different headroom, different frequency response, different loudness.

    But yeah, new tubes are more punchy than tired tubes. :)
     
  7. tele_jas

    tele_jas Member

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    about 2003, I changed the tubes out of my old (previously my Dads) 1969 Fender Deluxe Reverb.... They were the stock tubes. I put some GT's in there and was totally blown away by the difference in tone and volume. It was like a huge, thick blanket was lifted off the amp.

    Since that time, I have not owned an amp long enough to change tubes.....Other than my Hayseed, but I rotated so many other amps in and out that the Hayseed never needed a tube change either.
     
  8. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I find EL84s wear down the fastest.
     
  9. joemail75

    joemail75 Member

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    these were 5881's.
     
  10. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    I had a similar experience once just by changing my phase inverter.
     
  11. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Something else is going on. Tubes don't go bad quickly enough in 18 months to make new ones "way" louder.
     
  12. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    That depends on the amp. If the tubes are at high voltage they're fry quicker. If the heaters are too far off then that will cook them fast too, especially if you play a lot.

    By the way, you shouldn't leave a tube amp on standby for very long. 10 minutes tops.
    That will shorten the life of your tubes too. If you prefer to warm up your amp before playing turn the standby on and put the master on 0
     
  13. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I almost always change tubes in three phases: power tubes, phase inverter, preamp tubes... that way I know what and why I'm hearing changes. I rarely use recently manufactured tubes, so I rarely change preamp tubes unless I'm getting noise or they become microphonic. The old ones just seem to last forever.
     
  14. Malcolm Irving

    Malcolm Irving Member

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    I've been generally happy with recent EL84s from JJ, EH and TAD. But I received 4 Mullards (in original boxes) from an in-law. They are about 50 years old (he's an oldie like me!) but probably very little used. I now use them as my 'reference set'. They are louder, draw more current, better balanced, non-microphonic, have dimmer-looking heaters (not sure if that matters - but if something is glowing very bright it seems like it's closer to melt-down) and they never make any rustling noises.
    (They sound only very slightly different though.)
     

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