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Tube epiphany - that V1 tube is where it's at

Paul86

Member
Messages
1,504
This might be old news to most people here, but I've just tried out some tubes in my amp, and of all the permutations the one tube that seems to make the most difference is the first pre-amp tube, the one receiving the signal of the guitar. In my case I tried out a few different tubes, but there is this one that really makes everything better! The overall tone of the amp, the signal to noise ratio, everything is just better with that one tube.
I know that a tube amp is a system, and everything works together to create sound, from the input tube all the way to the output transformer, but talk about an inexpensive 'mod' that works!
Anybody here has had a similar experience?
 

Monstercastle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,182
Yes. V1 is where the magic starts, and what comes out gets amplified by the downstream gain stages. How much difference between tube brands depends to some degree on the circuit supporting it.
 

jlinde

Member
Messages
1,625
V1 is important...but on many amps, V2 runs the dirty channel..so V2 can be equally important for dirt tones. Depending on the amp of course. I prefer a clean and clear V1 such as an RCA long plate, and a nice hot and wolly sounding tube such as sylvania long plate for V2 and PI....at the moment atleast. Once and a while it's fun tube rolling for different flavors.
 

DeaconBlues

Member
Messages
2,978
Yep, V1 is a very important part of the amp's tone, as are the rest of your preamp tubes. The preamp is where the magic of any amp lives. When you crank an amp the power tubes will then add some of their flavor to the mix, as well.
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,077
Really a function of the circuit, no? In a lot of popular designs, yes, the preamp tube really makes a big diff...but I've got some amps where the phase inverter is as or more influential on the amp's performance, particularly when overdrive is real important.
 

roverdog

Member
Messages
442
Usually, BUT!
Fender BF and SF 2 channel amps, yes, if you use the Normal Channel but if you use the Vibrato(Tremolo) channel V2 is just as important. I've seen some recommendations that if you want more gain from the Second channel in a Fender, and don't use the normal channel, you can pull out the V1 tube.

On Mesa 5:25's the first tube the guitar signal hits is in V2, not V1.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,017
Yeah, kinda. Like Leonc says, in some amps the PI is just as important, and as jlinde says, in amps with an "overdrive channel" V2 is important. The best plan is to learn which tubes do what functions in your amp, and use the right tube in each slot. This is liberating info, as you can then use your cheap tubes in less critical spots, make sure a robust tube is in cathode follower spots, your tubes that distort musically are in the places they'll be distorted, tubes with a good current drive are in the PI slot, and tubes that have a great clean tone are in places like V1.
 

lkft

Member
Messages
1,271
This might be old news to most people here, but I've just tried out some tubes in my amp, and of all the permutations the one tube that seems to make the most difference is the first pre-amp tube, the one receiving the signal of the guitar. In my case I tried out a few different tubes, but there is this one that really makes everything better! The overall tone of the amp, the signal to noise ratio, everything is just better with that one tube.
I know that a tube amp is a system, and everything works together to create sound, from the input tube all the way to the output transformer, but talk about an inexpensive 'mod' that works!
Anybody here has had a similar experience?
And what V1 tube was the one that floated the boat?
 
Messages
3,855
ive got several single channel amps worked on a few others and ive never played an amp that i could even tell a difference when i replaced the PI tube. i do anyway when im replacing the others but v1 is the only preamp tube that had an audible effect to me.

maybe multiple channel amps are different.
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,712
An Amperex bugle boy
And what amp? It all adds up. Without telling us what circuit it's in somebody who reads this won't know if your magic tube will fit their needs. Every amp is different. I also ended up with Amperex in v1 of my lil' Rickenbacker M-8, surprised me, I thought a old RCA or GE would probably be the secret sauce, but Amperex was just perfection in this little 1 knob squank box with 1-6v6 and 8" speaker. Just made it pure and buttery when in OD, took a little edge off but also made it more harmonically rich.
 

jlinde

Member
Messages
1,625
ive got several single channel amps worked on a few others and ive never played an amp that i could even tell a difference when i replaced the PI tube. i do anyway when im replacing the others but v1 is the only preamp tube that had an audible effect to me.

maybe multiple channel amps are different.
Man my budda superdrive 18 PI swap is very audible. But I agree, some amps aren't as fussy as others are.
 

Timbre Wolf

Hyperspatial Gravity Surfer
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
9,855
And what amp?
well, first things first... which "Amperex bugle boy"?
An Amperex bugle boy
Philips painted that bugle boy and Amperex name on tubes from Hamburg (Valvo), Blackburn (Mullard), Munich (Siemens), as well as Heerlen (Holland) and others. Amperex bugle boy doesn't identify a particular tube. The Philips factory and date codes will help narrow it down. Then there is the type code, as well, to make further distinctions. Could be a long-plate, or a short-plate, too.

Do you have the codes from the lower side of the tube's glass?a

- Thom
 

Paul86

Member
Messages
1,504
Gosh, and here I was thinking a new something.
Timbre Wolf, I'll try and have a look this weekend.
But I agree with DaveKS above. Every amp is different. All I want to say on the matter is that swapping tubes is a simple enough "mod" that anybody can do, and they get to hear the results immediately. And they can then decide if they like what they hear or not. Really, it's that simple, just like trying out a new set / gauge of strings for your guitar.
I wonder why it took me so long...
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,205
ive got several single channel amps worked on a few others and ive never played an amp that i could even tell a difference when i replaced the PI tube. i do anyway when im replacing the others but v1 is the only preamp tube that had an audible effect to me.

maybe multiple channel amps are different.
My Redplate sings with a new issue Long Plate Telefunken 12AX7. Replace that with some other tube, even a different Telefunken, and that amp flattens out, no sing.
 




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