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New (used) Sommatone Roaring 40... need tube recommendations

GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,298
I picked up a Roaring 40 today. What workmanship! A fine amp by any standard!

It sounded great, but not quite what I expected, but after a tube swap (it had all JJs in it, but I think they were pretty used up, (I replaced the because of some sever filament rattle) and when I put in some spares it really opened the amp up!!!

Amazing tones, as bright or as dark as you like, the 'presence' control makes a huge difference, and the interactive volumes make it one of the most flexible and useful single channel amps I have ever played.
It will definitely reduce or eliminate my pedal board right away (guitar volume manipulation combined with the 'boost' function on the amp footswitch provides 3 excellent tonal options), since I can get a nice "almost fender-y" clean with my Fat Strat on a single coil with the volume backed off a couple of notches, then flip to the bridge humbucker for a beefy, meaty, grindy-but-smooth overdriven rhythm; dime the volume for more gain and a slight bump in presence and volume; kick on the boost and you get just bit more volume but a noticeable increase in gain (perfect for leads!)... Amazing amp...

Now, if I can just figure out the best tubes for this type of amp... I have never had a 'real' EL84 amp before, so I am at your mercy for recommendations there. It's a combo, so hardiness and resistance to filament rattle is important, although with the Vox-style chassis, they are hanging in direct line of the speaker like most other amps.

I like midrange, I like deep, chimey cleans, and I like smooth grinding, chewy overdrive.

Any recommendations would be appreciated... if you could provide your tonal impressions along with the recommendation I would be grateful as well.

Thanks,

Geno
 

KeithC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,339
I've got a Roaring 40 head and it has NOS Tesla EL84's in it.
So far so good with them.
Mine has pretty much all JJ preamp's but I am going to try some different ones in there.

It really is a versatile amp. Like you said the channel blending is great.
Really nice two knob Reverb too.
1/2 power switch! What more could a guy ask?

As far as cleans....with my band's volume I can get really nice Fender like cleans with my Strats too.

I bought mine used and emailed Jimmy with a bunch of questions a bunch of times and he was very helpful.
Didn't mind a bit helping me out even though I was the second owner.

I have not been an EL84 guy before and didn't bond well at all with a Dr. Z but this Sommatone is a whole different deal.

Have fun with it!
 

GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,298
Keith... mind if I ask what speaker(s) you're using??? THis combo came with a Red, White, and Blues... sounds pretty good so far.
 

KeithC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,339
I really liked Jimmy's Strat clips and I asked him about the speakers. He said those were done with Eminence Private Jacks.

What I have in my 212 cab now is a Emi Legend GB128 and a Weber 12A125. The GB12 is supposedly close to the PJ.

I will probably get a Private Jack to use with the GB12 though.

Although, the two I have in there now sound pretty darn good.
I would think the RW&B would be a good choice too.

He seems to really like the Eminence line for his amps.
 

Jimmy Somma

Member
Messages
154
I picked up a Roaring 40 today. What workmanship! A fine amp by any standard!

It sounded great, but not quite what I expected, but after a tube swap (it had all JJs in it, but I think they were pretty used up, (I replaced the because of some sever filament rattle) and when I put in some spares it really opened the amp up!!!

Now, if I can just figure out the best tubes for this type of amp... I have never had a 'real' EL84 amp before, so I am at your mercy for recommendations there. It's a combo, so hardiness and resistance to filament rattle is important, although with the Vox-style chassis, they are hanging in direct line of the speaker like most other amps.

I like midrange, I like deep, chimey cleans, and I like smooth grinding, chewy overdrive.

Any recommendations would be appreciated... if you could provide your tonal impressions along with the recommendation I would be grateful as well.

Thanks,

Geno
Hi Geno,

The Roaring-20 & 40 were voiced around the JJ tubes... more then likely the tubes in the amp were just tired. I highly recommend them... they sound great and they're extremely durable. Our amps have a tendency to eat EL-84's but the JJ's hold up great.

If your looking for a cleaner tone with more headroom swap out the V1 12AX7 for a 12AY7. V1 is located closest to the input jack. You can also swap the 12AX7 phase inverter (closest to the power tubes) to a 12AT7 for even more headroom. Doing this will give you more of a Fendery Tweed tone.

As far as the tube rattle goes, (big problem in EL-84 combos) we came up with an idea that virtually eliminates it. We call them tube condoms. It's basically a Silicone O-ring that we have custom made for us. It works on EL-84's and most small bottle preamp tubes. They dampen tube rattle and microphonics... now all the Sommatone amps come with them installed. Let me know if you're interested and I'll send you some.

Enjoy the amp... designing and building these is a true labor of love! I'm so glad your happy with it!
 




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