Tone change after preamp tube swap --crazy?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sixstring531, May 6, 2008.

  1. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    First thing I did when I got the AC30 was change out the speaker and swapped the tubes for an all JJ setup. After reading a few threads the other day I decided to play around with the EH El84 and the Tung-Sol preamps that came with the amp.

    I have never been too happy with my CC2s tone since getting it (my bud has the TB/6 -- and it is absolutely amazing) but after playing around and tube swapping I've noticed a huge different in tone when I change the preamps back to the Tung-Sol. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I swapped the powertubes back to the JJS ( the EH sounded a little thin if I can describe it like that)

    Is it usual to notice such a difference in tone with a preamp tube swap?


    I really don't have the $$ (well, the wife wouldn't appreciate it) to get the NOS tubes everyone raves about -- but the tube swap really beefed up my sound and made it less.....scratchy, muddy...whatever you call it.


    So am I crazy for believing the preamp swap brought me the sound I was looking for or is it all in my head (or on the sides of my head :) )
     
  2. studiodunn

    studiodunn Member

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    welcome to the abyss of tone.



    you're not crazy just a little more enlightened.
     
  3. Tramp

    Tramp Gold Supporting Member

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    Not crazy in the least. My experience with JJs is that they make terrific power tubes--EL84s perhaps most especially--but that there are better choices in current production preamp tubes, including the Tung Sols. Happy hunting!
     
  4. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    Thank you friends. I've been playing for almost 14 years now and feel that, since discovering TGP a little over a year ago, I have learned so much about my rig and directions I want to take with my tone.

    THANK YOU FRIENDS.
     
  5. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Seems to be (to me) as much or more difference from a preamp tube than swapping power tubes.
     
  6. amp boy

    amp boy Member

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    nice speaker combo you put in there.
    sounds like it would work pretty nicely.
     
  7. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    Thanks amp boy. I do like the sound I am getting but am really thinking about going with one or the other. The Red Fang is a little louder, thus drowning out my beloved greenback. So, it's either two greenbacks or two red fangs for me. I don't have the $$ (again, or my wife wouldn't appreciate it) if I switched to the real blues -- too expensive (although, she is graduating with her doctorate in physical therapy next weekend - hurray for that milestone!)

    I really think I am a greenback guy -- they are a little quieter, slightly more clean head room I think a little darker growl.
     
  8. rhythmrocker

    rhythmrocker 1966 Battle of the Bands Supporting Member

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    Yes - I changed out some preamp tubes in my Deluxe Reverb and power tubes in my Ampeg V2 head = viva la diference. But you can go nuts A/B-ing, A/B-ing pickups, speakers, pedals bought sight unseen, amps, preamp tubes, power tubes, tone stacks, floating v. non-floating baffles, clear pine v. cedar cab, ported, non-ported, beam blockers, power supplies, pedal boards, best velcro, and of course, each one of these has sub-categories . . .

    Find what works and move on (am I speaking to myself = yes!;)). Someone here said something like "the best way to improve your tone is to practice".
     
  9. dpeterson

    dpeterson Member

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    what doesnt work for some amps, works for another amp, so dont take the "jj's suck" or insert tube brand here for the law... only way is to get a few different ones and experiment. in my triaxis preamp, i cant belive the difference in sound on different brands.

    good thing is that the newer ones are good and cheap, so you can goof around until you find something you like.

    dave
     
  10. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    +1

    Tube swapping with new-production tubes can get you some great tones for cheap. Just do one at a time and then listen. Making notes as you go along may help too.

    DC
     
  11. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Not crazy at all. Different amps and players will prefer different brands of tubes. The difference between JJ ECC83s and Tung Sol Reissue 12AX7s is very noticable.
     
  12. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Yup, best way to do it is have a friend behind the amp swapping tubes while you play, then you can decide what you like.
    I've tuned a few amps like that and have been surprised at what works in certain circuits sometimes.
     
  13. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    I don't think JJs suck by any means -- I just prefer the Tung Sol in the preamp. I am also about to change to either two greens or two reds for the speakers. I am leaning on the greens right now. Anyone want an almost new red for $140?
     
  14. FloridaSam

    FloridaSam Member

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    I always swap preamp tubes, usually immediately. I have a modest collection of some Mullards, Amprex, Telefunken etc. I have had so-so amps become tone monsters with just a few swaps. I recently retubed a Princeton Reverb that had Groove Tube 12axa's. It sounded... well.... not so good. I retubed with Bugle Boys and a Mullard 12AT7 and voila!! new amp altogether and amazing tone. Night and day between the GT and the NOS.
     
  15. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    The three biggest changes you can make to your amp tone is the V1 preamp tube, speakers and guitar pickups, so I'm not surprised you got the results you did at all.

    So what did you do about pickups? ;)
     
  16. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    Well sir, though you're tone does not require a response, I must say that I am happy with the stock pickups in my Les Paul and the Tv Jones Powertron in the bridge of the Duo Jet with the original filtertron in the neck. Both guitars serve me well.
     
  17. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm not bagging on your selections, don't get that idea at all!

    Sometimes players change many things at once, and it's usually better to do one thing at a time, such as preamp tubes, speaker, pickups, whatever, but do them one at a time to note the changes. You might already know some of this and therefore knew what you were after, too.

    I've just found that changing one at a time usually gives you a better reference of where you've been tone-wise and more detail on what made the changes to where you're going, that's all.

    No worries on my end. Hope you didn't take my post the wrong way. Sorry if you did.
     
  18. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    I was just joshin with ya brother. It is almost useless to convey a sense of conversational/joking tone on a forum or in an email. I know what you meant and didn't take it in a negative manner. This little preamp swap is just one more step in the positive direction down my infinitely long tonal road. It's a great hobby keeps me busy. My wife on the other hand, might disagree :)
     
  19. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I retubed a 65 AC30 using some Russian EL84s (NOS) and the Tung Sol 12AX7s and it's never sounded better. For that particular amp, I think they're the shizzle. Not sure I'd recommend them as the only preamp tube in the world (since I want very different sounds out of my AC30 vs my Fender vs my Marshall) but they work really well there. I'm of the "find something that works and go with it" school, not enough time in my life to spend hours finding the ONE preamp tube that works the best in any given amp. It's hard to imagine, for example, that you're going to go far wrong with a blackplate RCA or GE in a Fender amp.
     
  20. sixstring531

    sixstring531 Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys, this has been a good one for me.
     

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