Mark V EL34: worthy difference?

newfiesig

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
666
Have a Mark V and love it. That said, I'm wondering if using EL34s (sometimes) would give more of a British tone... or does the fact that the amp relies so heavily on the preamp negate the difference, especially at lower volumes?

Note I have a Powerhouse attenuator, so I am able to push the power section.

Thanks!
 

Hefalump

Member
Messages
9,214
I switched my Mk V to el34s.

I think it is a bit of difference for sure.

I want to switch back to 6L6 again for kicks.

Why not give it a try?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rod

newfiesig

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
666
I switched my Mk V to el34s.

I think it is a bit of difference for sure.

I want to switch back to 6L6 again for kicks.

Why not give it a try?
Well, the key reason would be $... but I'd still go through tubes anyways... so.

Only reason I wouldn't is if it just made the amp sound worse. If I can get a British flavor (as an option) I'd be all-in.
 

Hefalump

Member
Messages
9,214
Well, the key reason would be $... but I'd still go through tubes anyways... so.

Only reason I wouldn't is if it just made the amp sound worse. If I can get a British flavor (as an option) I'd be all-in.
Definitely more British.

Cleans change a bit.

So channel 2 crunch is better with el34, rest probably slightly better with 6l6.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Rod

somedude

Member
Messages
7,758
EL34s + IIC+ mode = Crunchberries

The catch is you need to be able to drive the volume pretty good to get it to work. The Mark V is capable of sounding great at low volumes, but most of the really crazy stuff starts happening when you bypass the effects loop and drive the power section hard.
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,758
I've heard this before, how does the tone improve with the loop bypassed... and why?
More harmonic content, shifts the mids, changes the shape of the bass. It’s one of those things where if you try it you’ll know more in about 10 seconds than I could articulate in paragraphs worth of text.

As for why, the loop adds additional circuitry that’s removed when hard bypassed. Nothing is transparent, and each additional piece has an effect on the signal that passes through it.

Its a trade off. I prefer the sound of the amp hard bypassed, but if I want delay and a solo boost then I have to accept the sound of the loop. In a live mix it’s not really that big a deal, its more when you listen to it by itself at home that all the little details that’d be buried by the drum and bass stick out.

But, if you don’t need delay or a solo boost… I’d hard bypass.
 

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,971
EL34s + IIC+ mode = Crunchberries

The catch is you need to be able to drive the volume pretty good to get it to work. The Mark V is capable of sounding great at low volumes, but most of the really crazy stuff starts happening when you bypass the effects loop and drive the power section hard.
I was doing that too, bypassing the loops but then it was impossible to balance the channel volumes at rehearsal and gigs. I change one channel and then I have to change the others and it's a nightmare. Easier to keep the loop active.
It also is way louder that way and we couldn't practice at lower volumes, especially on extreme. Plus, delayed sucked on leads with the loop bypassed.

I can't get IIC+ dialed in at all.

I do like it with 6CA7 tubes. 6L6, too glassy.

So far I tried the Sovtek 6L6s, JJ 6L6s and JJ 6CA7.

For my bands, it's more convenient to use the loop.
That said, I struggle with how quiet and dark the loop makes the amp.
So, I have to keep my loop volume at about 10:00 o'clock If you look at the loop volume from the back. This way when I play the amp and kick on the loop, I don't lose volume. If I have the loop at noon, then the loop can barely be heard when I turn it on, with gain, like channel 2 and 3.

Anyone notice this? The loop also makes the amp really dark. So, if I turn on the loop for some delay on a lead, my tone gets super dark.

On amps like my Bogner Shiva, that never happened.

I used to have a Shiva, but sold it and got a PRS Archon.
 
Last edited:

somedude

Member
Messages
7,758
If the amp gets dark when you kick on the loop with the foot switch it’s usually due to long cables loading down the signal or an issue with the effect being used in the loop.

I had an issue with a Strymon delay where it would lower the volume when the loop engaged. I fixed it by adjusting the pedal’s overall gain setting so the pedal sent a hotter signal.

Mesa loops usually turn into a yelling match as people argue over what they should or shouldn’t have to do to make it sound right. I don’t really feel like arguing about it. Rightly or wrongly they tend to design their amps based on it being rack mounted with short patch cables to a line level effects unit. Whether people agree with this approach or not, it is what it is.

With Mesa amps I’ve had good results with Eventide, Strymon and MXR delays. My current setup is an MXR Echoplex that I sit on top of the amp with a couple of 1 foot patch cables.
 

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,971
Tonight I noticed I can't even use delay on thr Crunch mode because it gets so dark, it's pointless.:(

I tried with and without effects and a bunch of different effects. My Bogner never did this.

I have two 18' cables for the loop and one up front. Should I try short cables?
Again, my Bogner and even my Dual Rec don't so this. It's mostly the crunch mode. I can get Extreme to work. I have to have the loop volume way down.
No issues on clean modes, only gain.

I only have a Tech 21 Boost delay, MXR Analog Chorus and Catalinbread

Montavillian which were all loud in my Bogner loop.

Doesn't matter how I set the delay, it's dark and muddy on Crunch but sounds good on Extreme and Mark IV.

So they are line level loops? My egnater was that way. So I need a unit to adjust the signal to line level?

With my egnater I either had to boost the pedals up to line level or thr loop down to instrument level. Forget.

But your MXR delay doesn't have a boost or volume? I find I love delays with volume boosts like the Tech 21.
Hmm...:(

I don't want to have to sell the amp and go back to my Bogner.

Suggestions on effects? Maybe a line level multi unit?

Also, the drop in volume and darkness is there even with all effects off. So I can have the effects in the loop and off, but if I hit the loop, the level drops and darkens.
 
Last edited:

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,971
I don't want to get rid of the amp. I want to make it work.
I recall the TV Electronic Nova Delay was good for this. It can be line level and I think has a volume for thr delay.
My MXR chorus is fine and has a huge level boost. My catalinbread works great on clean channel... No volume issue. It's only my delay. Funny, my Alexander History Lesson Delay was fine. Maybe I go back to that one.

So is it cables since the volume drops pedals or not?
I was using an Alexander delay and it was fine. I should have kept it.

Its weird because the Tech 21 delay has a huge boost and it works. On channel 3.
Channel 2/crunch it's dark and muddy. That's odd.
I'd like to just get one good multi delay unit. Maybe Strymon or TC.
 
Last edited:

somedude

Member
Messages
7,758
If everything works fine in your loop except the delay then I’d suspect there’s an issue with the delay. No idea why its only causing issues with channel 2. That seems odd.

The MXR delays are line level. It also looks like the Tech21 Boost DLA is line level, so in theory it should work fine?
 

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,971
Well I tried without the delay and same result. I may find a another delay to try too.
My catalinbread is even worse. I thought the HL worked ok, but so did the Catalinbread before recently.
Tomorrow I'll try cable lengths. I dropped to 10'CABLES and maybe slightly better.
I know tc nova delay works.

Can channel. Volumes make a big difference?
I hear some guys say channel volume needs to be cranked to get good full tones.
I swear I had the loop volume louder with success, not I have to run channel volume low and loop level low.

That said I played around more and I got it working pretty well. With channel vol down, I get what works. I still notice the tech 21 delay is louder with the extreme than the Mark IV or Crunch.
That said it works now with volumes set low. Is it OK running channel vol low?
When I switch to extreme, I will have to bump delay boost down some.
 

papersoul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,971
The fact that the boost delay is line level may cause an issue with my PRS Archon since that is inst level.
I think one works with the other, but I forget which one. Also I'm at bedroom levels tonight. I'll crank tomorrow and try again.

Wish I still has my history lessom delay. Pain to use though.

You sure all MXR delays are line level? My CC I think was inst level.
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,758
If I remember correctly, I ran channel 3 volume around 9:00 or 10:00, and I adjusted channel 1 and 2 so they balanced 3.

If you dig through the manual you can see a trend in presets… channel 3 volume is typically low.
 






Trending Topics

Top