Looking for an ef86 that can handle a beating and sound killer at high volumes.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by michael.e, Dec 7, 2017.


  1. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    So in my Black Cat I am getting a tearing noise on the lower registers. Ax7 side is fine. I hit the input pretty hard with a ‘70 fuzz and then a Carcosa for lead work. I back off on the guitar a bit so as not to blast the front end of the amp with bass frequencies. I play with a pretty bright tone overall which comes through well at the volumes my band plays at.
    I’m assuming it’s the tube.
    I’m looking for one that has a great degree of detail and clarity at the higher volumes I play/gig at.
    Are these tubes not as stout and hold up as well as an ax7 when hit hard?
     
  2. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    They are really prone to noise. I have to buy several to get a decent one it seems. I don't think there are any stout versions. But man do they sound great when they are working right.
     
  3. GrungeMan

    GrungeMan Supporting Member

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    Not the easiest to find...one that doesn't make noise.
     
  4. misa

    misa Supporting Member

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    I've never had problems with the couple EF86 amps I've owned, but they were both heads and also had shock absorption built into the mounting of the tube socket. I'd suggest buying from a tube seller that tests for low noise/microphonics and maybe try some tube dampers.

    They are also high gain compared to a section of a 12AX7, so maybe the rest of the circuit isn't handling the extra output of the EF86 when hit hard to your liking. I'm not sure which amp you own or what the circuit is like. Does it sound better/close to the 12AX7 side if you lower the amount of boost?
     
  5. doc

    doc Member

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    Some of it is the circuit that they tend to be in. Its possible to adjust some values to improve that, but I'm not good enough to remember the approach - its in Merlin Blencowe's book on preamp circuits.
     
  6. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    I've often wondered if amps with 86's might not be they type you should never place on top of your cab.
     
  7. PurpleJesus

    PurpleJesus Gold Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

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    One thing is to keep the amp separated from the speaker cab if possible.

    The only other thing I had success with was old Mullard EF86s. I bought a bunch when I got the AC15HW. Hit me up with a PM if you're interested in getting one or two.
     
  8. harvey j

    harvey j Member

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    ef86 tube are nothing but problems.
     
  9. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    It seems that way.
     
  10. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the responses all.

    When playing at loud volumes where I set it when I play live, it handles the gain of the front end beating. Still holds together very well. The noise is like a transient aside from the fundamental and associated overtones.

    I did try lowering the input to the front end and it was still doing it at that higher volume.

    I just got home and gave it all a spin at low/home volumes which is about yelling volume for me. I got no transient noise. I wonder if it is the vibration. Over the years though, I have had numerous other ef86 amps and have not had a problem. I played both my Clubmans and my Rt.66 on a 4-12 cab at high volumes while being slammed by a treble boost and I have not had any issues that I can recall.
    I am going to retension the tube socket as well. When the issue first came up this morning, I reached back and made sure all the tubes were properly seated. I don't know if it was in my mind but it seemed to improve for a bit.
    If that does not work, I will look in to picking up a couple spares.

    Yeah, EF86's are well worth the effort. Sound beautiful at moderate volumes and the lead tone from my Black Cat which I use the 86 side for, sounds full and rich and it cuts like a machete instead of a scalpal. Lead tones pack a whollop! I can feel the lead notes and they punch just as much as they cut.
     
  11. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Cool! Thanks. I will see how my trouble shooting goes.
     
    PurpleJesus likes this.

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