Tubes Tubes Tubes!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Lemuel.Tan, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Lemuel.Tan

    Lemuel.Tan Member

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    I've been messing around with my Fender amp's preamp section lately. I thought I was set on the tubes I had until I started looking at NOS ones. So I got myself a pair of Telefunken 12AX7s and now I'm not sure where to put them! My amp has 5 preamp tube slots, one of which is of course the reverb one that is covered by my Mullard 12AT7, so I wanna hear what you guys think of which should head where. :)

    2 x Telefunken
    2 x Tungsram
    4 x SED Winged C

    The above are my current stash of 12AX7s. Also, would changing my power tubes from the SED Winged C 6L6GC to the NOS RCA Black Plate really make much of a difference, if any, in terms of tone? Would appreciate some advice here! Thanks.
     
  2. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Which Fender amps? If any are the 2 channel reverb models read this.

    http://www.kcanostubes.com/content/newsletter_details.asp?ArticleID=5

    Everyone is different in what they hear and what they WANT to hear, so it's impossible to say if you'd prefer RCA blackplates over SEDs. SED's are quite good tonally. RCAs should last 5X as long or longer.

    Trial and error is the only way to solve the tone puzzle. ;)
     
  3. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Trial and success is the way I phrase it :AOK


    Mike is right about how taste differs amongst players. For instance, the pair of Telefunken 12AX7 I now have left (after having sold off the others) have found their home, after many amp "trials" - in my tube drawer. I find that I usually prefer old ('50s) US-made tubes instead.

    Good luck, have fun, and don't overlook the less expensive non-Telefunken (or Mullard) tubes.

    - Thom
     
  4. Lemuel.Tan

    Lemuel.Tan Member

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    Yeah actually I was just thinking if the NOS tubes will really make a difference to the tone. Was swapping around here and there and realised that hmmm... The difference in tone isn't as great as the price's. Is there anyone else who thinks like that or is it me? Haha so yeah I definitely won't be overlooking some nice current production ones. Oh and my only puzzle left is which position is for what? So that I can better decide where to place what with the stash of tubes I have now. Mine is a Fender Super 60 modded to PTP wiring, dual channel Rivera-designed red knob series.

    Thanks a bunch! :BEER
     
  5. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    It always seems like so many here are so certain about this tube over that one after they try out a few (or many). I don't mean that how it sounds, I would bet that in most cases if I heard it live before and after I'd be agreeing....

    The problem I guess for me is, my tone memory. I think too...I have to pick a day where my ears, concentration, and judgement is at its best. Patience I guess is called for too. So far, I have a hard time being sure if I like the one preamp tube over the other. Sometimes the difference is small, somtimes I like both...

    I don't think I am wishy-washy...but in any case, I think I would have to spend a good deal of time with one, then change and see what my initial impressions are.

    I think the biggest thing, is to be relaxed, and in the right mood to try out more than one tube.

    I do anyway. Often, after changing I still am not always sure it was the better tube for the job.
    Anyone else like me about this issue?
     
  6. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    I was swapping pre-amp tubes and had a bunch of old-stocks and some new ones EH, Amperex, Sovtek etc, and the differences were nominal . . . . but then I popped in a this one GE 12AX7 and it was like a whole new amp!!

    Made me a convert to GE tubes right there boyee!

    BTW: I've always noticed the biggest change in V1 with my Bassman.
     
  7. DICKIE C

    DICKIE C Member

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    In my experience, tube swapping did not really do much for pcb amps I owned in the past, but with ptp amps there was a very noticeable difference. I found that swapping out a JJ for an EH12ax7 in my amp really fattened up my strat tone nicely! Go figure...
     
  8. doublee

    doublee Member

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    The NOS are likely, at least in my experience, to last but a few months. Not sure on what the longevity selling point is based on? Just my experience.
     
  9. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    On average (there are always a few exceptions) NOS tubes last 5 times as long as new production tubes.
     
  10. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe a run of bad luck or maybe they weren't actually NOS. I have some RCA 12ax7a's that have been in an amp for years and the amp gets regular use.
     
  11. chaz

    chaz Member

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    My ears like the clean tones with Telefunkens better, but the old RCA 7025's are more than repsectable in that regard and handle being driven by pedals better for me. Blackplate 6L6's sound less muddy than SED. But your own ears are the best judge!
     
  12. gldtp99

    gldtp99 Member

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    It just depends on the individual amp---- one XYZ, etc amp will sound best with a certain tube set---- another of the exact same model and yr might or might not perform to the same tone level with the same types of tubes in the same positions.
    For example: i've swapped tubes sets out my of fav personal BF Fender amp into another of the same model---- trying to see if the magic of my fav is in the set of tubes--- the very same tubes didn't lift the other amp to the same tone level of my favorite BF.
    As part of the process of checking out amps i've built, i might try 25 different preamp tubes--- even different tubes of the same NOS brand can sound much different from each other.
    Not long ago we were trying out tube sets in a '74 Hiwatt DR504 i'd serviced for someone--- the owner got it with all JJ tubes installed------ to my suprise, the amp sounded best with JJ ECC83S tubes in V2 and V3---- we tried GE, RCA, Mullard, Telefunken, Amperex Bugle Boy, etc, etc----- we ended up with one particular Blackburn Mullard in V1 and a GE 12at7 in the PI---- and the JJ's in the other two slots.
    That's what sounded best in this amp---- and it's not what i expected--- my Hiwatts and my Hiwatt clones i've built don't sound best with JJ preamp tubes---- but this '74 DR504 does----- Why ?--- "Because it Does".
    Also this Hiwatt had Real Mullard xf2 EL34's i put in that were an improvement over the JJ E34L's that came with it.
    My point is: You never know exactly what tubes will work best in any amp until you try out a bunch of different ones and see how they sound----- with some experience, some decent guesses can be made but nobody (and i mean Nobody) can really know what any particular tube will sound like in anybody else's amp.
    So's you pays your money and you makes your pick---- and tube sellers play the odds and recommend what is most likely to produce good tone in somebody's amp.
    The good news is that almost any quality tube will produce good tone in most applications---- but dialing in tone to a player/amp by trying out many different examples of many different high quality tubes is the only way i know of to get the best sound for that one individual amp and player.
    And then they might take the amp home and plug a POD into it and you could have saved all the trouble of tweaking the amp -:NUTS
     

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