Tone King Preamp Tubes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by PopsDiesel, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. PopsDiesel

    PopsDiesel Supporting Member

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    I've read about people swapping out the TK Mll power amp tubes with NOS tubes but not much about trying NOS preamp tubes. Has anyone fooled around with NOS tubes in the preamp section of a Meteor ll?
     
  2. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I did a little taste testing in V1 with Telefunken, RFT, GE, and RCA. The stock Svetlana is back in there as I didn't hear much difference. However, I strongly urge you to try power tube swaps, particularly 2x6L6 and 2xEL34. The 2xEL34 configuration really surprised me......much more mids.....made the amp sound much fatter on the clean channel! I actually kinda liked it, but then the voicing of my OD pedal didn't mesh as well as when the amp has 4x6V6.
     
  3. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    Having spent the day yesterday with Mark Bartel (he was doing some repair/upgrades to my Meteor II) he is really convinced that his choice of tubes is likely the best for the amp.

    he has done TONS of expirementation and settled on specific tubes, THEN he adjusted components in the circuit to get the best out of those tubes. For example, the reverb is essentially a Fender Standalone 'verb unit built in but the originals had 6K6 drivers. Since 6K6s are hard to find, he took the 6V6s and adjusted the circuit to make it perform as if you were using a lower gain 6K6 to drive the reverb. So switching to a lower gain tube would be counter-productive.

    his philosophy in design seems to be build an amp that sounds as good with easy to find and less expensive production tubes as vintage circuits using NOS tubes. that way it's infinitely more giggable, serviceable, and cheaper to operate than vintage + NOS, but sounds just as good.

    Although he doesn't have much of a preference for specific brands of tubes, the ones he uses in his amps are the ones that he has found to be less microphonic, less prone to rattle and produce the most consistently good tone. He did mention that JJ preamp tubes are definitely not his favorite for his circuit. They sound more sterile and strident than the sovtecs he is using now.

    That said, he DOES really like the new Tung Sol Reissue 6V6s and now prefers them over the EHs that he has been using.
     
  4. PopsDiesel

    PopsDiesel Supporting Member

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    Geno, did you get a chance to check out the Imperial while you were there?
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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  6. PopsDiesel

    PopsDiesel Supporting Member

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    Riff, killer chops! My old '81 solid state Yamaha would sound good with those licks. As far as the Imperial goes, from what I just heard, it sure sounds like it has enough "ass" and tight low end to gig with. I live in that rockabilly, honky-tonk, surf world where a mushy low end won't cut it. Should I have any concerns with the Imperial?
     
  7. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    With single coils (Strat, Tele) I think you'll be just fine. But don't sell your MII in advance of getting an Imperial. ;)
     
  8. PopsDiesel

    PopsDiesel Supporting Member

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    ...you counting P-90's as single coil?
     
  9. dorianadams

    dorianadams Member

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    Looking at the pic of the chassis on the tone king website it appears that the pre-amp tubes disappear into the chassis. Are the pre-amp tubes sockets on the PC board and not chassis mounted?
     
  10. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    They are on the PC board, but those boards are of such high quality that you will never know it.

    The TK is a PCB amp for the most part (although the components are hand assembled onto the board), but like Fuchs and several other current boutique makers, Mark has the boards made to such high quality standards, it is very unlikely that you will ever have an issue with them. It does eliminate LOTS of wire runs inside the chassis and Mark believes it actually makes the amp quieter and less susceptible to parasitic oscillation and stray inductance/capacitance. He also says that he is able to reduce the run of wire by a large amount compared to if he used wire and is able to mount components MUCH closer to the tube pins this way.

    I think for amps with lots of gain stages (like Mesa and Fuchs) and an amp like the Tone King (with two channels, four knob reverb, tremolo, all the voicing options and bias controls) this is really the only way to do it without making the chassis three times the size.
     
  11. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    FWIW, I tried a couple of NOS tubes from my "Stash" in the Meteor's V1 and V2 slots and I could hear a slight improvement.

    I stuck an RCA 12AT7 in V1 and a Raytheon 12AX7 in V2 and it seemed to add some depth and it even tamed the "Tweed/Lead" channel a little. It may have more to do with the age of the original Sovteks that they replaced than differences in the tubes, but I did hear a difference.
     
  12. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Dorian, yes, preamp tubes are on the boards. Rectifier, reverb driver 6V6, and power tubes are on the chassis.

    Pops, I don't own a P90 guitar any more, so I haven't tried them with the amp. I was referring to Fender single coils. A little clip I made shows how the amp reacts to Fender single coils and humbuckers. I was using a s/s/h Strat type guitar and switched between neck single coil, split bridge humbucker + middle single coil, and bridge humbucker. I had the amp volume at about noon and you can hear it stays clean with singles, overdrives just a tad with bridge humbucker. Fo my gigging situation, this is the perfect scenario.

    http://media.putfile.com/Meteor-clean-channel

    .
     
  13. PopsDiesel

    PopsDiesel Supporting Member

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    I've come full circle already and find that the stock tubes sound best to my ears in this amp...go figure? I've been using a baritone guitar with heavy reverb and trem on the clean channel at my last few gigs. Really a cool tone.
     
  14. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I like to try to coax a little more high high's out of the Tweed side of my M II, and for that I prefer Brimar, Marconi, or if you really want highs, Phillips glass (but you do give up some lows w/ Phillips).

    The stock EH's have more mid-growl IMHO, so I bet that sounds great with a baritone guitar. I'd love to hear that!

    Thanks, Dana O.
     

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