Route 66 little tube shootout...

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

  1. Fretts

    Fretts Member

    Nov 20, 2003
    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

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

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