Route 66 little tube shootout...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Fretts, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Fretts

    Fretts Member

    Messages:
    363
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Monica, CA
    Time to retube the 66. I've had the Route 66 for years and never retubed. At Brent Ferguson's advice, I got Genalex Gold Lion KT66s instead of the Groove Tube units that have been in there since day one.
    Also tested brand new Winged C EF86, a JJ Gold Pin 12AX7 and a new Russian Tung-Sol 12AX7.

    It's nighttime and I can't do a full-bore test, so this is about listening at a low, clear level. Maybe I can repeat it sometime soon "at volume"...

    To really tell what I was hearing, I recorded a few chords, some single lines and some Tone-Bender fuzztone into a looper.
    Then I played it back through the stock tubes and recorded into an Edirol R09 handheld recorder.
    Then I made these changes, playing the same loop for the recorder each time:
    1. Change out the KT66s
    2. Swap in the Tung-Sol 12AX7
    3. Swap in the JJ Gold Pin 12AX7
    4. Swap the EF86 for the new one
    5. Put the original Sovtek 12AX7LPS back in.

    I loaded all the sound files into Audacity and lined them all up time-wise. I soloed the 6 tracks all over the place during the playback about 50 times.
    I have to tell you, the improvement and difference was all the KT66s. The GL's sound deeper, clearer, bigger. I could only hear the tiniest bare sliver of a difference between any of the other tubes. I mean it was next to nothing. So I put the original Sovtek 12AX7 back in! Maybe I have a freak miracle Sovtek because I usually don't like them very much. I expected a night and day difference, figured none of the tubes had any tread left on them...

    Later on, we'll see how things change when we're cranked a bit, but this was a surprising outcome. I expected some major differences even at this level.
     
  2. LarryN

    LarryN Member

    Messages:
    959
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Sovtek LPS is a great sounding tube, IMO and I have lots of NOS.
     

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