NOS Tubes: My recent experience

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by iim7v7im7, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. iim7v7im7

    iim7v7im7 Member

    Mar 9, 2008
    New Jersey

    I wanted to relate my recent experience in re-tubing my Allen Accomplice from the stock set-up from David (4x Tung-sol 12AX7, 2x Tung-sol 6L6 and 1x JJ GZ34). The amp sounded OK, Fendery with an out-of-balance reverb (a bit surf guitar like). Distortion was somewhat harsh and crunchy and the onset was somewhat sudden when the amp was set on edge.

    Being a "fiddler" I thought that I would try some 6L6s in the amp. I saw how expensive the NOS tubes appeared, so I figured to research best in class new tubes. I purchased some SED Winged "C"s and was quite pleased with the Fendery clean tones and the improved headroom and bass definition. I still was unsatisfied with the reverb and the distortion was not exactly what I was looking for (not bad though).

    In an effort to remmedy the reverb, I spoke with David who recommended that I try a 12AT7 as a reverb driver, but he did not like any of the current 12AT7s. This brought me back to looking at NOS tubes (Thanks to Mike K. @ KCANOS). I ended up replacing the entire pre-amp:

    V1 NOS RFT 12AX7-ECC83
    V2 NOS Mullard CV4024-ECC81-12AT7
    V3 ANOS GE 12AX7/WA (Long Plate)
    V4 ANOS GE 12AX7/WA (Long Plate, Balanced Triodes)

    This improved both the intensity of the reverb and the euphonic color of the amp. Having been "bitten" by NOS success, I swapped out the power tubes with 2x NOS Jan Philips 6L6WGBs. This also was a great improvement, specifically in the smothness of the breakup. Like most drug addictions, I thought, well I have always loved the sound of a Deluxe Reverb played on edge, why not try 6V6s again? Enter a pair of NOS RCA 6V6GTAs. All I can say, if I compare the amp today to what I purchased 6 months ago, there is just no comparison. It produces spanky chimey Fender cleans and creamy, touch sensitive distortion, rich with harmonics. For those of you who have not tried NOS tubes, I truly recommend you consider it. Additionally, I fully recommend dealing with Mike at KCANOS as well.

    My $.02

    (minus the cost of the tubes!)

  2. myles111

    myles111 Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Los Angeles CA
    Mike at is probably my main goto guy for NOS stuff and I send my clients to him as well.
  3. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Ya,Mikes awesome. Has a great assortment of tubes too.

    I had some NOS tubes in various amps,a Tweed Deluxe clone and a DRRI to name a couple.They made a huge difference in both.

    I have a BlackHeart on the way and will be contacting Mike ASAP.

    I will never use current tubes again.
  4. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Stamford CT
    I like to post this pic as a warning....I too got biten... Theres about 1000 12AX7's etc here. I have more now...

    The "right" tube , in the right spot, can make the difference between good and great... Bob

  5. xcycle

    xcycle Member

    Jun 22, 2006
    Another Accomplice owner here and the NOS Jan Philips 6L6WGBs also made a big difference. Really smoothed out the amp. I also went with RCA blackplates all the way through and another noticible improvement. Made the amp a bit bigger sounding with more articulation and dynamics when manipulating a Strat.

    I tried some Blackplate RCA 6l6's but went right back to the Jan Phillips. Perfect match for me. Early grind but in a good way.

    Tried JJ 6v6's but just seemed to lose the mojo.

  6. bunuel

    bunuel Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    lemony fresh
  7. JJGross

    JJGross Member

    May 14, 2007
    53538, USA
    Count me in!

    I gig and record as well as practice at home with mostly old tubes that blow any new ones out of the water so far they land on arctic gravel. :crazy:crazy

    I really like GE or other 50s to 70s USA tubes in V1 of Fender amps (about all I use these days) & good tested & balanced JJs or vintage USA tubes in V2 & up and for phase splitters. I've been messing with 6L6 tubes of varying vintages in the power section but I think I like the warmth of 6V6 or El84s pushing the output. I rarely need a truly Uber-Clean sound of the warmer power tubes suit me best.

    I've got about 100 tubes here of varying vintage and in about 90% or better of every time I've swapped them around, the 40+ year old tubes stomp the crap out of anything new. The only thing that comes close to vintage for warmth and overall good solid sound for me without the brittle 'chewing on broken light bulbs' sound of modern tubes are the JJ Teslas. Bob @ Eurotubes is also a good guy to deal with who will answer emails in a timely fashion with civility and good advice so he gets all my modern tube business. Old stuff I haunt everthing from Cl to Ebay to local junk sales. You'd be surprised what some people will put out on their curbs on 'big trash day'! :NUTS

    YMMV and all that crud.

    - JJ (not the tube 'JJ', just me ... as in 'Jeffrey Joe') :p

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