Looking to possibly retube my Soldano Decatone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ShredHeadJHJ, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ Member

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    OK, I did something here without thinking into it. I was anxious as hell. When I got the amp it was damaged in shipping so I had to retube the power tubes. I retubed it with the stock tubes which are Sovtek 5881's.

    While the amp has AMAZING cleans, great light crunch, bluesy/twangy tones, planty of gain, & possibly one of the best smooth lead tones ever, it's lacking in the lower-mid/lows department. There's also too much break up when cranking the amp, which from what I hear is a major problem with these 5881's. I want something more responsive & organic in the boomy department. I also want something more lush sounding when you strum chords with the gain up.

    I've read so much bad stuff about these 5881's AFTER retubing I'm thinking that a tube swap will fix my problem. Either that, or after hearing my friend's Splawn last night got me right back to GASing for a Splawn.

    I'm needing some recommendations on tubes... Can I put Mullard EL34B's in the amp? Other tubes I've heard that I should go for are JJ 6L6GC's & JJ KT-66's. I'm thinking about seeing if I can get the tools for biasing so that I can learn to do it myself.

    I'm also wondering if it would be a wise move to get those Sovtek 12AX7's out of the preamp section.
     
  2. natemeanie

    natemeanie Supporting Member

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    i'd give the guys at soldano a call. they're always VERY helpful.
     
  3. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ Member

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    I'm definitely planning on calling Soldano & EuroTubes, ut it would be nice to get some recs so that I will at least somewhat know what I'm talking about when I call them.
     
  4. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ Member

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    I kinda figured out what sound I'm after. I have a friend who has a Splawn Quick Rod w/ Mullard EL34's & that thing has the tone I'm searching for. I know I can get that somewhere in this Deca. After reading many reviews saying that the Deca sounds like a heavily modded Plexi/JCM800 I was sold, however I haven't been able to dial this in quite yet. I can get a good soft Marshall sound out of it, but when I turn the gain up it seems not to gain much balls. I'm not into maxing out knobs as that drowns out the frequency.

    I'm using a Port City 2x12 w/ Celetion Vintage 30's. I should be kicking ass with this cab. V30's seem popular with Soldano users.

    I know I'm going to need a tube change. Thing is this amp sounds GREAT on cleans & lower gain crunch but I'm having trouble getting THE metal tone out of this amp. I'm not necessarily looking for a Mark IIc+, but I am in a Metallica cover band... I need balls. Straight to the heart, cutting & elite.



    I spoke to someone at Soldano today & he he told me to go with a JJ 12AX7 in V1 & go all Ruby 12AX7's in the rest of the preamp section. He said to try that before switching power tubes to see if that clears it up... I hear I would be better off going with all JJ's & saying screw the Ruby tubes. I hear they suck. Anyone here know much about NOS tubes? I heard someone say it would be cool to get one of those in V1.

    For power tubes he suggested I go with KT66's.
     
  5. Stormin

    Stormin Tele's and Plexis Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Nope, that's why I sold my Deca and bought a Splawn. The Soldano is never gonna sound like a Quickrod in a million years - it's just a different amp. I also found that no matter what tube swaps I did, it still sounds like a Decatone at the end of the day - you either like it or you don't. The Soldano tone is very preamp driven - it's not a pushed power tube tone like a cranked JCM800 would be.

    The best advice I can give you is what I said in your other Decatone thread - speakers will make the biggest tonal difference with a Deca. I was told those words by Mike Soldano himself, and he was right. I was happiest with that amp with a 4x12 loaded with Greenbacks and G12H30's in an X pattern.
     
  6. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ Member

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    I was told this by Mike (I think it was Mike) too. I have Celestion V30's & I hear those work great with Soldano's as well because they don't color the tone so much & they allow the amp's sound room to breathe. I have a 2x12 cab. After I get new preamp tubes & JJ KT-66's I might see about getting new speakers in a couple of months...

    Oh, & someone will be sending me a NOS GE 12AX7 for free to try out in my V1 slot!
     
  7. brett s

    brett s Member

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    My brother has a Decatone, sounds great through a 4x12 loaded with Greenbacks - but most definitely not like my Bray modded JCM800.

    It's got it's own sound for sure.
     
  8. ShredHeadJHJ

    ShredHeadJHJ Member

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    My main impression of the Decatone is a JCM800/Rectifier 50/50 mix. I need to do something about smoothing out those highs & lows though. I need to get a bit more grit, but smooth controled grit.
     

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