Tubes are tubes.....right?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jimmyohio75, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    How is it that different brands of tubes produce different (warmer, clearer, brighter) sound? Isn't it true that a tube does nothing but provide power to different parts of the amp?

    What are some of the better tubes out there?
    I am getting ready to take my Fender Supersonic to a local shop that specializes in tube electronics, most notably guitar amps. I don't want to get ripped off because I am dumb regarding tubes. How much should I pay for a decent tube(preamp and power)?
     
  2. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    Tubes have differences in construction and materials.

    Everything you need to know about good tubes.

    http://www.techtubevalves.com/about_us/film_reels.php
     
  3. fetishfrog

    fetishfrog Member

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    Yep, and these differences can make a difference in performance, longevity, etc. That said, I do agree with Mike Soldano in regards to tube swapping in that there are far more effective ways of changing an amp's tone, in particular, speaker swapping.
     
  4. frmorales52

    frmorales52 Member

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    Dude, take the techs advice. That''s what you're paying him for - and go with current production tubes. Leave the NOS stuff for tone tweakers. It'll save you a lot of money....
     
  5. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    This guy quoted me $100 just to change the preamp tubes. Am I nuts or is this a lot? I can get an entire retube kit with JJ's from Eurotubes for $94 (power and preamp tubes). Also, what makes the biggest difference in sound, changing the power tubes or preamp tubes?
     
  6. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    For sure speakers make a huge delta.

    Just takes longer to change.
     
  7. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    Tubes can make a huge difference, well worth a $100 investment, especially if the tech biases the amp too.

    NOS tubes in a stage or two, V1 on my amps, can make a significant improvement, and I've found the JAN Phillips 12AX7's I use to be as reliable as current tubes.
     
  8. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Change the preamp tubes yourself. Save the $$. No need to have a tech do it, especially since there is no "right" answer. You use what you like. Take some advice from here and buy the tubes yourself from Doug's Tubes or Mike at KCA. You will get good stuff and save lots of coin.
     
  9. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    Are there any tubes I should stay away from?
    What are your favorites? I am looking to warm up my Supersonic while retaining the same level of gain from the burn channel.
     
  10. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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  11. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    I stay away from Chinese power tubes. Some like them but I don't for tone and reliability purposes. The JJ ECC83/12ax7 is a warm sounding tube.
     
  12. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    How much can I expect to pay for these tubes? Are these preamp tubes or Power tubes?
     
  13. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Whats the fun in that?

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]



    A hoarding I will go,a hoarding I will go .....

    Seriously Winged "C" SED 6L6's for the power tubes. Have them biased up to 33ma. As others suggested put the pre's in yourself. Anything is better than the stock Sovtek 12AX7wa's. Bob
     
  14. ukslinger

    ukslinger Member

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    Can't go wrong with JJ's as both pre and power tubes. Very affordable and sound good. You could spend a ton on NOS or rare tubes but the sound difference IMO is fairly minimal when compared to different guitars, pickups, and speakers. I also like electro-harmonix preamps but haven't tried their power tubes. For EL-34's SED winged C's are awesome, but a little more pricey than the JJ's. Worth it, however IMO.

    If it were me I'd go all JJ's and call it a day. Maybe get a few different preamps to mess with as their just pull and plug. Maybe you'll find a combination that you like better.
     
  15. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    What will affect the tone more....Changing the power tubes or the preamp tubes? I simply want to warm up the amp a bit and try to stay under $150 to do it.
     
  16. impactblue

    impactblue Member

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    Preamp tubes :AOK

    The Power Tubes dont do much until you raise the volume a bit...it adds warmth and compression
     
  17. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Then make sure the bias is correct whatever you do. These amps came thru terribly underbiased(cold). Bob
     
  18. ukslinger

    ukslinger Member

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    Unless the tech charges you an arm and a leg you should be able to go well under $150. I think preamp tubes change the tone more, but if the power tubes are worn out, you'll notice the most dramatic difference from changing those.

    I seem to remember the electro-harmonix preamp being a "rounder" sounding tube. Should warm it up, maybe more than the JJ's but I like both. From my experince I'd stay away from the new tung-sols for warmth, but a lot of people really like them. The JJ's and EH's are around $6-8 per preamp tube. The tung-sol is around $12-14 per. Not sure about either power tube, but I can't imagine them being over $15-18 per tube.
     
  19. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Supporting Member

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    Go to wikipedia and look up New Sensor Corp. If you go to New Sensor Corp's web site http://www.newsensor.com/ notice all the brands they sell. New Sensor Corp makes most of those brands. They are the real substance behind Electro-Harmonix.

    Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube and scroll down to the section titled "Modern Manufacturers" and notice under "Russia" which brands are marketed as Sovtek, Svetlana, EHX, Winged C, etc....

    Then when you are tempted to decide that Winged C tubes are much better or way different than Sovtek tubes, remember that they are manufactured under the New Sensor Corp umbrella.

    1. Yes, do the preamp tubes yourself, buy a Russian made tube (your choice) online (Antique Electronic Supply is a decent seller also) and pay maybe $50-60 bucks for 4 good ones (I assume your Supersonic has 4 12AX7's?)

    2. Find out if the Supersonic is self biasing, if it is then change the power tubes yourself also. In fact, if the amp needs to be biased then it is much cheaper - and FAR more gratifying - to buy a digital volt/ohm meter, call Fender for instructions, and learn how goll darn easy it is to bias the thing yourself. If you learn to do it yourself (no, you dont need a degree, and you wont get shocked cuz you shouldn't have to take the amp apart to do it) you will kick yourself for ever paying a tech a $100 bucks (or more) to do it for you. Never pay a tech to replace your preamp tubes. If you cant do that then why not buy a Line 6 and call it a day?

    3. You will, in the end, realize that the only difference you and your non-musician friends can really hear in your amp is the difference between Chinese made tubes and Russian made tubes. If you have ears similar to mine, you will undoubtedly end up having an unbending preference for the Russian tubes.

    4. After you get past that hurdle, you can start to learn how different speakers and different types of cabinets effect the tone, followed by learning how different pickups change the sound of your guitar, then you will want to master the pedal board........

    Can you say "Black Hole" boys and girls! :AOK
     
  20. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    The amp is brand new. It sounds like I just want to change the preamp tubes and rebias it higher?
     

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