Tubes.....specifically JJs.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by somedude, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Would it be safe to say that JJs give your amp a stronger sounding fundamental frequency at the expense of top end complexity?

    What exactly would be the difference in the way JJ's pre and power tubes 'dull' your tone?

    If I were trying to tame an amp with 'too much going on up top' would I be best off running JJs pre, power, or both?
     
  2. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    Personally, I think that way too much is made of tubes. A few resistor values will have more influence on your tone than this tube or that tube. Tubes give maybe that extra 1 or 2%...it's subtle. Resistor values...not so subtle.

    Just my .02 :)

    JJ's are nice, bold tubes. I do not experience any frequency loss with them. I have a mix of JJ's and Tung Sol's in my preamp, and a pair of JJ 34's in my power section. They're dope.
     
  3. LithiumZero

    LithiumZero Member

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    I am not a fan of JJ preamp tubes but their power tubes are okay. I do find them to be dark and kind of one dimensional. They will definitely tame an overly bright amp but will also make your amp sound dull. That's my 2¢ so take it with a grain of salt. Everyone hears things a bit different.
     
  4. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I like JJ power tubes and use them almost exclusively now. I'm not a NOS or boutique tube guy though. I don't think they do anything detrimental to the sound. I agree with enharmonic that changes to resistor values would have more effect on the tone than tubes, especially power tubes.
     
  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Speakers! The wrong speaker makes an amp sound like sh*t. Some make an amp sound OK. However the "right" speaker will "make" the amp.:) As for the JJ's -try a few in the pre amp and see if it does what you want. Tubes are noticable but more subtle than speakers by a long shot.
     
  6. RichSZ

    RichSZ Member

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    Huh? :confused: What are you asking? What language is this? :jo
     
  7. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Well....for starters I'm not interested in dramatic change which is why I asked about tubes and not about speakers or amp mods.

    I have a couple of JJs pres that I've experimented with and I like in this particular amp (Mesa Mark III)....helps smooth out the harsh top end I get with other tubes.

    But....I have no experience with JJ power tubes. I've read that running both JJ pre and power tubes can be a little too much of a good thing and I was really hoping that someone would shed some light on that.

    Either way, I just ordered a complete set to experiment with so I guess I'll figure things out on my own.
     
  8. Moods

    Moods Supporting Member

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    I've had pretty good experience with JJ power tubes in terms of tone. The EL84's rattle like crazy. I don't use JJ preamp tubes at all any more. They do lack some midrange life. However, I don't find them to be dull. The EL84 power tubes have a tight bold bottom, a semi smooth top (not dull) and some scoop in the midrange frequencies. They sound great with certain amps and not so great with others.

    I don't know what the guys are talking about with "changing resistors"... which resistors are you guys changing to make the amp darker? How many non techs change resistors to flavor the sound? What's the point in making this comparison? Not flaming... just wondering.

    Heck, caps, resistors, wire, lead dress... all make a big difference but I don't think everybody should be messin' with guts of an amp because something is too bright or dark. Tubes can make a significant difference and with very little knowledge anybody can mess with tubes without hurting themselves or the amp.

    YMMV

    <M
     
  9. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    I don't know but that's a killer looking wreck clone. :)


    I agree with the others...I find that tubes generally don't make a huge difference, but some of us tweak, and tweak more! I think your description holds up somewhat, I've used JJ 34, 34L, and KT77 tubes and find them bold and strong, same with the preamp tube. I suppose some might describe them as "less detailed" etc. than others.
     
  10. SteveStrat

    SteveStrat Member

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    I've used JJ tubes in my amps and I love 'em. I have only noticed a slight roll off on top end with the 6L6 tubes and this can easy be compensated by just rolling the treb/pres up more.

    The pre amp tubes are nice and they are relatively quiet too. I don't like them as much as the new Tung-Sols, but their a good durable tube.

    All of JJ's stuff is worth using and any of the tonal differences can easily be adjusted out with the amp.

    If you have a top end heavy amp and you want to tame the bite, try JJ ECC83 pre-amp tubes first. They sounded to me to have the least amount of gain. If those don't work then try RFT ECC83's. They have much more top end roll off than any other I've heard and played.

    Steve
     
  11. ampkitchen

    ampkitchen Member

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    The 6l6 I really like and recently I have seen, "improved larger pins
    from some tube verndors this is a good thing, I use JJ el84 el34 and 6l6
    and EH 12ax7 the JJ are good but they do not have the gain in the preamp
    the 6l6 stands head and shoulders above the others like sovtek
    its not a subtle change its huge , the 84's are killer in the 18
    but hey to each his own
     
  12. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

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    In my experience, it really depends on the amp.

    My Mesa Triaxis/2:90 setup benefitted greatly from JJ preamp tubes...the gain structures improved and had more detail, sounded alive, and had better feedback on demand. I did not notice much difference in power tubes, probably because mesa gear is more oriented towards preamp distortion than power amp distortion. JJ preamps tubes literally tuned this equipment into "keeper" gear rather than the plans I had to sell it.

    Upon buying a bogner shiva I figured the experience would be the same, but it was not. The Shiva sounded too harsh to my ears and I thought the JJ's would bring the warmth, detail, complexity and response that it had for the mesa gear. In reality it made the shiva sound horrible, dull and lifeless...quite an unexpected result. The JJ power tubes (EL34L) did not make an appreciable difference.

    so for my experience, compared to other experiences voice above
    1) tubes can make a huge difference (as can component values and speakers)
    2) that difference depends on the amp
     
  13. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Cool.

    I've had a similar experience with the couple of JJ pre tubes I've had. They've helped in my Mesa but they killed the tone of my Orange (it sounded like I threw a blanket over it and turned down the gain knob a few notches). I'm mainly looking to see if I can get more benifit from running all JJ or if it might take things too far.....but after talking to a few Mesa users over a couple of different forums it seems that I'm heading in the right direction.
     
  14. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Get a bunch of different tubes. Try them out. Let your own ears be the judge.
     
  15. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Ok. I'll just spend all my money on gear just to learn that it doesn't suit my needs instead of asking questions of those who've already been there and done that.

    Good advice.
     
  16. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    I dont care for JJ El34's, but I do like their EL84's.:)
     
  17. Chuckracer

    Chuckracer Supporting Member

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    I always thought the "Winged C" Svet's were supposed to be the schtuff in EL34 land, at least "thats what everybody says" 'till mine in my 100 watt JMP Marshall were getting pretty tired. Just happened to have a fairly new set of JJ EL34's laying there, so I plugged them in.

    Holy Smokes! Warmth and Grind! Wonderful stuff. I dig 'em now!

    Don't believe everything you read. Hell, don't believe any of it. Including what I say!!
     
  18. Hacksaw

    Hacksaw Time Warped Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with teleplayer, I tried a few suggestions but, they didnt give me what I wanted. I ended up getting preamp tubes etc and trying them. for example, my splawn has all jj's and its great, shiva has a jj in v2 and thats it. just depends what you want to hear out of the amp. and trying 3 different new tubes will be enough to get started at close. not that much money, mix and match with what you have
     
  19. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Depends on the amp. But here's my take on this question, after experimenting with 50+ types of NOS preamp tubes, and many, many NOS power tubes:

    A tube that doesn't allow clear upper-mid and treble frequencies to shine through will also be deficient in lower-mids and bass definition. The low-frequency impact (punch) will be relatively diminished. This is a clarity characteristic of the tube. A tube can be clear and still not accentuate the upper frequencies (like a long gray-plate GE 12AX7, for instance), or can lack clarity and have rolled-off highs (like RFT ECC83). Or be clear and bright (like Tesla E83CC), or be murky and bright (like Mesa-branded Chinese 12AX7).

    I find the JJE83CC to be on the murky end of the spectrum of 12AX7s, and my experience has taught me that such a tube will never yield as satisfying lows as a more clear option, such as that true Tesla E83CC.

    JJEL84 are good working stock tubes, but I find they also lack clarity when compared to many NOS options. If you want improved low frequency response, but don't want treble trouble, I recommend the long-plate GE 12AX7 and oval-plate GE EL84 (don't even know what power tube type you're discussing, though :jo). New-production Russian "Tung-Sol" 12AX7 have better clarity than JJE83CC, in my experience, and will also subtly mellow the higher frequencies.

    - T
     
  20. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Sorry....I should've made that clearer, but at first I was looking for general impressions so I didn't want to mention the amp.

    Mesa MarkIII Simul-Class. I need 12ax7, EL34s and 6L6s.

    Currently I'm using about 40ft of unbuffered cable to bleed enough top end off for rhythm playing and using an OD to boost the treble back up for leads. The method works but it leaves things feeling a little one-dimentional.

    I'm hoping that the right choice of tubes will smooth things out enough that I can shorten the cable and open my tone back up.
     

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