Tube Tip For D-Style Amp Owners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dave_C, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,147
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    So, I've been going through my 12AX7 tube stash lately trying some different modern production brands in my Quinn SDO Skyline HRM. Of course, they all impart different flavors but one brand really stood put for me - the JJ ECC803S. This tube hasn't done a whole lot for me in other amps, but the SDO was different. The breakup was incredibly smooth and musical and the mids were extremely rich and fat, more so than all other brands I've tried so far in this amp.

    But, what set this tube apart even further was how "uncluttered" the single note overdrive tones were. There was no "haze" or "cloud" around the notes. It was almost as if you were playing a clean channel, but with lots of girth, bloom and sustain. So, the overall tone was amazingly articulate and well-defined. Then, as soon as you hit multiple notes, perfectly delineated crunch ensued, with every note ringing clearly.

    The low end was also much tighter than all other tubes tested, which allowed me to run the bass knob higher and get even more overall girth and gain before the tone got boomy. The highs are so sweet, I was able to run by Treble and Presence knobs 1-2 notches higher and get more overtones without harshness creeping in. Very cool.

    The '803S is lower gain than the JJ '83S or 9th gen Shuguang or Tung Sol (for example) by about 10% from what I read, so you gotta' make up for that at the front panel, but wow, what a tone in this tube! I liked them so much, I went ahead and bucked up for a set of the "Gold Pin" version, which is supposed to be even smoother and more harmonically complex. We'll see. Doug's Tubes carries the regular silver pin version for $13.00 a pop, so they might be worth trying!

    Enjoy...
     
  2. gec78221

    gec78221 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
    In what postions are you using the JJ ECC803S?
     
  3. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,147
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    All of them - V1-3.
     
  4. gec78221

    gec78221 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
    Have you compared them to any nos 12ax7?
     
  5. gec78221

    gec78221 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
  6. scottl

    scottl Member

    Messages:
    17,041
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    I think the ECC803 sounds nice. Problem is all three of mine went terribly microphonic. When they worked, I dug them. Although not as much as my various assorted stash of nice nos such as Siemens, Mullard, Phillips, RCA....

    All of my amp builder buddies won't use the ECC803S because of reliability issues.

     
  7. gec78221

    gec78221 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
    Is the Mullard the smoothes sounding of the bunch? Do the Mullards vary in sound from year to year?
    THANKS, SCOTT
     
  8. scottl

    scottl Member

    Messages:
    17,041
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    I don't know about year to year. I have about 5 of them. Three really strong. I like the Mullards, but I don't find them superior in this circuit. Just really good. I have several dozen nice ANOS tubes. Tested with a VTV tester. I just try them all! I have a blend of RCA, GE, Mullard, Amperex, RFT, Siemens, Brimar, and Phillips in the amps. I have four or five Telefunkens and I did not prefer them so they are stored away....

    Best bet is to just try a bunch. Best bang for the buck may be a nice strong RCA.....

     
  9. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

    Messages:
    5,062
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Location:
    LonGisland
    Bugle Boys and Black Plates work for me.
     
  10. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

    Messages:
    30,036
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Sterling, VA (not far from Washington DC)

    Long plate tubes like the 803S don't tend, on average, to do too well in high gain amps due to microphonics...especially in V1 which is subjected to the most amplification factor (the true definition of "gain"). Yes, Dumble type amps ARE high gain amps as opposed to something like a vintage Fender.

    They do much better in vintage type (like Fender) amps.
     
  11. scottl

    scottl Member

    Messages:
    17,041
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Two of my three failed. Not just microphonic but the pop and do other wierd things! Possessed.....

    Fwiw, most of my slots have long plates in them now. No issues. For me, the ECC803 had similar characteristics to an EI. Much more prone to microphonics than the others. Not just based on my opinion, but Gary at Glaswerks tried them extensively.



     
  12. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

    Messages:
    30,036
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Sterling, VA (not far from Washington DC)
    In an amp like that they'd be better downstream. V2 would even be better than V1.
     
  13. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,147
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Typing from a little pocket PC on vacation, so cannot say much. But, can say that I went through my entire modern production 12AX7 stash and the ECC803S was BY FAR the smoothest, richest, sweetest sounding of the bunch. No modern tube left out except new Russian Mullard RI and TAD. No microphonics yet, just great tone. Have tried no NOS yet, but typically avoid due to cost and availability.
     
  14. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

    Messages:
    30,036
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Sterling, VA (not far from Washington DC)
    No problem with availability yet, and longevity (sually 5:1 conservatively) tends to wash out price differences.
     
  15. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

    Messages:
    11,490
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Stamford CT
    Short,early morning answer,yes. Bob
     
  16. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,147
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    So, Mike, given that I like the ECC803S, which NOS should I try?

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  17. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

    Messages:
    30,036
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Sterling, VA (not far from Washington DC)
    Hmmmm tough call. Possibly a GE or RCA.
     
  18. tejastubes

    tejastubes Member

    Messages:
    1,279
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    I would agree with Mike.

    When a customer of ours has a high gain amp, we tend to steer them towards a short plate tube as oppossed to a long plate. The tube I like in the Dumble style amps are Tungsram 12ax7. These absolutely blow away any thing made today, and are incredibly open and give it up nicely. Of course they, as all tubes, will vary from circuit to circuit, but some of the above comments about relaibility are one reason to go NOS. The other is that until you switch to some NOS tubes in your circuit, you often don't realize how harsh the new production tubes you were using sound.
     
  19. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,792
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    While I agree with the generalization of long plates and high gain amps, IMHO it mainly applies in the case of a high gain stage at V1. Since the Dumble adds a cascaded stage later in the signal path for OD, it's not really the same thing. The V1 stage is not a high gain stage, so I wouldn't rule out a long plate there. Just try it...it's easy.;)

    Personally I prefer the tone and reliability of well tested and sorted old stock tubes. You just gotta try a bunch in all the different slots.
     
  20. scottl

    scottl Member

    Messages:
    17,041
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Yay! We agree ;)

    Love me my stash.....

     

Share This Page