New JJ ECC803S is a REALLY nice tube!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by SuperReverb2, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    When I ordered a matched pair of JJ KT88's (about a week ago) for a friends Hiwatt, Bob at Eurotubes "suggested" that I give the new JJ ECC803S pre amp tubes a try. (I believe LV is recommending these tubes as well) Bob suggested that these tubes would be ideal for V1 (clean channel) in the Hiwatt, (all my friend uses) but that they most likely wouldn't work in V2 (overdrive channel) or in other "high gain" applications as they tend to "squeal," or at least "can" be made to squeal in those applications.
    Even before we put the KT88's in, (the amp had Tesla, not JJ, EL34's in it) installing the JJ ECC803S in V1 made the amp sound QUITE a bit better. The highs didn't seem as harsh, yet it didn't seem to "attenuate' or roll off any highs either, and the mids really seemed to come to the forefront with a nice clarity, yet complex as well. The tube REALLY "sweetened" the overall sound and seemed to make it sound "fuller" without being muddy in any way.
    The KT88's were the "bomb" in this amp, and if I were ever to want a Hiwatt, it would have KT88's in it instead of EL34's.
    Anyway, I wasn't sure if the tube was REALLY that good, as the 12AX7 that was in V1 previously was a Mesa Boogie something or other and it really didn't sound all that great. I found myself with some time to kill today, so I decided to try the remaing JJ ECC803S in a few postions in my Tweed Twin. For note, I have been using NOS RCA 12AY7's in the first three positions for more of a 50's "low gain" tone/sound/vibe (with humbuckers) but I have also been searching for a decent 12AX7 that might work in one or all of the postions, but doesn't have quite as much gain/bite as many of the current 12AX7's seem to have. (at least in that amp anyway) I think I may have found "that" tube in the JJ ECC803S. To my ears it sounded the best in V2, while I was plugged straight into Bright 1, volume on 4. It didn't sound as good in V1 (with me plugged into Normal 1) nor did it sound as good (in V 2) while I was using my Y-Cable and plugged into Normal 1 and Bright 1. (my usual set up) After today's trials, I ordered a few more so I can try them together in a couple of different positons, (most likely with the Y-Cable), but it sounded much better by itself than mixed with the 12AY7's.
    This tube leans EVER so slightly to the dark side, thus the reason, (at least to my ears) that it didn't sound as dynamic in V1, or mixed with the 12AY7. (too thick) In V2 however, this tube sounded REALLY good. It is quite "full" sounding with GREAT highs that are never spikey, but present. To my ears though, it's the mids that this tube seems to bring out, are what makes it a winner in my Tweed Twin. Complex, clear, and detailed, with a tremendous "sweetness" to them. The tube doesn't have as much gain as other 12AX7's I've tried in that positon, (in my application that is a good thing) yet it seems to give me the impression that it has a lot of gain. VERY full, yet never muddy, and very dynamic. My Fulltone OCD even sounds better when the JJ ECC803 is in the amp. For certain applications, I still prefer the Y-Cable into Normal 1/Bright 1 with the 12AY7's, but I REALLY like the amp (almost as much) just plugged into Bright 1 with the JJ ECC803S in V 2. It's not quite as "fat" sounding as with the Y-Cable, but it's not anywhere near as thin sounding as just plugging into Bright 1 can be with some other 12AX7's I've tried in V 2.
    When I performed a search I found a few previous threads that said some of these tubes have gone microphonic after a very short period of time. I hope that's not the "extended" case, because I think JJ (Bob) might be onto something here. Also, I was surprised to read that a few people felt that the orgiinal JJ ECC83S had more mids than the JJ ECC803S. I guess that just goes to show you how different we hear things, because I hear MUCH more of a mid presence in the newer ECC803S tubes, than I ever heard in the older version. Personally, I think the original JJ ECC83S tubes are one of the "plankiest" sounding tubes I have ever hear. Dull, boring, and lifeless is how I would describe them. Night and day between the old tubes and the new ones IMHO.

    Chuck
     
  2. Greazygeo

    Greazygeo Member

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    I just got a pair of these pre's as well. Trying them in my Wizard, they have a similar congested/ muted sound as the reg ECC83S's, just not as bad. They are getting better but still have a ways to go. I had been running a C9 in V1 GT-M in V2 and V3..I tried various combinations and like the C9 and GT-M's better...the lows are stronger and the highs are not muted..just wish they had a bit more gain.

    this weekend I'll try the Ruby C9's and EL34b's and see how they fare....
     
  3. baron55

    baron55 Member

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    I too like the JJ ECC803's. Right now I am using my NOS stockpile, but the ECC 803's I have tried are what you described. Also I have had no issues with them in 2nd and 3rd gain stages of high gain amps. The JJ ECC803's do have less gain compared to a JJ ECC83. But I think they have a bigger better sound stage and better highs. Of corse they are not NOS, but I think they are the best overall sounding new production tubes today. And are a good choice for most applications. You can get the ECC803's in higher gain, but they are not as plentiful per production run. Also when I say they have lower gain, they are lower compared to the JJ ECC83's and some of the over the top gain 12AX7's. They still have plenty of gain.
     
  4. baron55

    baron55 Member

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    Funny is I actually prefer them in the V2 and V3 positons. Also get them from a reputable dealer that matches them for gain. I have 4 that read in the 110/110 range. I think most fall in the low 100's on average.

    But with anything, it really depends on the amps too on the tonal characteristics.
     
  5. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    Greazygeo:

    Interesting. Different amps, different ears. I tried the GT 12AX7M's in my Tweed Twin (all 4 postions) and I couldn't get them out the there fast enough. To my ears they sounded dull, DARK, and pretty much lifeless in my Tweed Twin, with pretty much the same characteristics you used to describe the JJ ECC83S tubes. Mind you, I put a pair of the GT 12AX7M's in a buddies Hot Rod Deluxe, and in that amp, (BRIGHT right out of the box) they REALLY smoothed the amp out and actually made it sound quite good. (mind you, installing GE-6L6-GE's at the same time helped to)
    I would most likely find the JJ ECC803S too bright in the Hot Rod Deluxe.

    Chuck
     
  6. Greazygeo

    Greazygeo Member

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    When I had my VHT, the GT's didnt work in that amp. I also tried some hi gain JJ ECC83S's and thought they were very muted and flat sounding. My Wizard is a very clear amp overall and with the C9 and GT M mix it really brings that out. When I put in the 803's there was a muted thing going on. With the 803's in V2 and V3 and the C9 in V1, that was the best I could get them to sound (still had that muted thing though). Once I put the GT-M's back in the clarity was back at the expense of some gain....always some trade offs...

    Were they spec'ing 7025's for the orignal Tweed Twins?
     
  7. Igneous

    Igneous Member

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    Yeah, I cant stand the gt-m's also. Espescially more than one in an amp. I tend to use one(out of four that works decent, I guess I bought htme too early)and switch it around but not in my main amp.

    So... I too LOVE the new JJ 803s. The other jj's are okay(better than gts,imho) but this one(which I use in the PI of my xxx) combined with a NOS smokin mullard in V1 absolutely transformed the amp. I could go into details but I'll just say its better overall and its not just the mullard.

    It seems louder and like there is more to my amp.
    +11111 buy away- you wont be disappointed...


    :dude :dude

    latas-Ig
     
  8. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Personally I didn't like the ECC803S that much. I think it sounded good for cleans and lighter overdrives but at least in my Stephenson head it was a bit too "open" for heavier overdrives. Then again I don't like the ECC83S in V1 either, it tends to be a bit too in-your-face and doesn't sound as rich as the GT 12AX7-M I'm currently using in V1. I'm planning to replace the ECC83S in V2 with the GT tube as well. Just goes to show how tubes give different results in different amps.

    IMO the ECC83S is by far more midrangy than the fairly balanced sounding (and much sweeter) ECC803S. I think the ECC803S is actually a lot like the Svetlana ("winged C") 12AX7 that I currently use in V3. The Svetlana is slightly sweeter IMO though but doesn't work well in V2 in this amp.
     
  9. baron55

    baron55 Member

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    I too find that the ECC803 is a little too open in high gain gain amps. It is not as tight or focused sounding. That is why when I use them, I like them in the V2, V3 etc posistions.

    The ECC83 is very tight focused plenty of bass, mids, and gain, but the deal killer for me is the dull muted high end response. These tubes are too dark for my tastes, the blanket over the cab sound is a good description. But in overly bright amps, these tubes seem to work well.
     
  10. wixedmords

    wixedmords Member

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    In some amps, I like the combination of the JJ ECC83S and the JJ ECC803S.

    I usually find 2 or more JJ ECC83S's far too middy a combination. The previous mentioned, actually works in some brighter amps.

    Great tube. Excellent product from JJ.
     
  11. rjmmusic

    rjmmusic Member

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    Lately, I've been using a GT12AX7M in V1 and a ECC803S in the PI slot of my Elmwood. The GT does a great job of rounding out the mids - a lot better than the stock Chinese tubes, which had a high mid peak. This is especially helpful because I switched from EL34s to 6L6s which scooped the mids a bit. There was a slight reduction in gain, but this amp has gain to spare. (And I have two NOS RFTs in V2 and V3, which sure helps, gain-wise).

    The ECC803S in the PI slot did a nice job of improving overall clarity and "bigness" over the stock Sovtek that was in there. So far, I like the ECC803S a lot better than the JJ ECC83.
     
  12. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    I use the JJ 803s in v1 of my blues jr. The best tube for that slot so far. The combination of the 803 and JJ el84s really produces the chime. But as stated above, not so good when the gain is turned up. No problem with microphonics. Good tube IMO.
     
  13. Jimetti

    Jimetti Member

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    The Tung-Sol 12AX7s sound better to me and are are much more consistent than the JJs.

    Tung-Sol 12AX7s 12.95

    Tung-Sol 803S Gold Pins $60.00

    The Tung-Sol 803S gold pins sound exactly like a Telefunkin 12AX7. Ive compared them extensively and did blind tests with folks and you're hard pressed to tell the difference!

    The Tung-Sol 12AX7s are almost as good and cost 13 bucks...

    Mark.

    With tubes this good, I stopped looking for NOS...
     
  14. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

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    Jimetti:

    As I posted in another thread, I have one of the Tung-Sol 12AX7's on the way from LV. (included with another order) I'm looking forward to trying it when it arrives.

    Chuck
     

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