Preamp tubes... What y'all using?



Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby misterstomach » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:09 am

interestingly, i just scored some '61 raytheon long black plate 12ax7's for a really good price on my local craigslist this past week. can't wait to see what they're like in my marshall. hopefully tomorrow i'll get a chance.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby Disarm D'arcy » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:13 am

I'm JJ's all the way. i find they have the most consistent production. NOS tubes are a no go here. Supplies are scarce and prices rather high.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby rustywire » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:21 am

I mostly use preamp tubes from the '60s, but also the '50s and '70s in my current amps:

'67 Selmer TNB 50 mk II
v1: MADE IN GT. BRITAIN ecc83/12ax7 Mullard, '60s short plate
v2: MADE IN USA 12ax7 TUNG-SOL, '50s long black plate
v3: MADE IN ENGLAND CV4004 Mullard, '50s box plate

'74 Fender Quad Reverb
Loaded with '60s & '70s RCA, GE, Sylvania 12ax7 & 12at7.

Mid '60s Altec 342B:
Loaded with '60s MADE IN USA-GE (12ax7/6cg7)

'70 Oliver PA100
Loaded with '60s MADE IN GT BRITAIN-Mullard 6eu7 & 6an8

My Fisher, Dyna, Stromberg Carlson & custom HiFi amps get Raytheon, Telefunken, Amperex & Mullards

Other favorite matches:
Orange/Matamp amps get MADE IN HOLLAND ecc83/12ax7 variety (Amperex/Philips)
Vox & Marshalls get '60s Tungsram, Mullards, Raytheon

Of new production tubes, I like Russian Sovtek best. Especially the 12ax7 in distortion circuits.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby Iommic Pope » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:32 pm

Anyone actually bother to get their PI tubes balanced?
I've heard you should, but then I've also been told not to bother.
:idk:
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby conky » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:45 pm

Iommic Pope wrote:Anyone actually bother to get their PI tubes balanced?
I've heard you should, but then I've also been told not to bother.
:idk:



I always get it balanced when I retube. I called Mike from Soldano and asked him about tubes once (come to find out it was microphonic) and he said the power section would like a balanced phase inverter better. Never did it in any of my amps before and never could tell any difference though.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby rustywire » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:39 pm

Some circuits seem to respond to balanced (triodes) tubes more than others; I haven't noticed any meaningful impact in using [them] in the PI in my instrument amps.
When M.Soldano said "the power section would like a balanced PI better" what does that translate to? Better sound? More output power? Longer life?

Trial & error is how I find what sounds best to me...but I'm intrigued by his use of "better" as relayed ITT. I have a stash of already-tested tubes that I'll roll into my instrument amps without even referencing the recorded micromhos readings.
Some are balanced, some aren't. Balancing preamp tubes has never been a personal point of emphasis when making music. Playing music is another story...as are power tubes...which always get matched pairs outside of cathode-bias amps.
I think balanced (various types) tubes throughout the circuit, are more the rule in HiFi applications where 2 (close to) identical signal paths are constructed to respond like one another and create a balanced stereo image.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby misterstomach » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:56 pm

Disarm D'arcy wrote:I'm JJ's all the way. i find they have the most consistent production. NOS tubes are a no go here. Supplies are scarce and prices rather high.

of the two times that i bought a full set of jj's for a full retube on two different amps i had a bad preamp tube both times. between that and not being crazy about the sound i decided they didn't seem like such a good deal.

as far as NOS, i used to feel the same way, being as i'm not a person with much extra income for gear most of the time. but if you look around and are diligent, you can find some really good deals on vintage tubes. often not too much more than current production. you can often find great tubes for $20-50. i just picked up these raytheon black plates for $25 each, which is a killer deal. Good NOS tubes will definitely last significantly longer than modern tubes. like two to three times as long. at that rate, even if they didn't sound better it's more economical to buy them. but on top of that you can really make a difference in your whole sound for the better. often dramatically so. and if money's tough, even just getting a nice tube for the v1 and maybe v2 if you get a deal will help a lot. i just figure, if you're a person who's going to spend $100-200 on nice dirt pedals whenever you can afford it chasing that dream tone, it just makes sense to spend an extra $20 or $50 on preamp tubes to get your base tone a lot closer. it's a more sensible place to start as far as i'm concerned. especially if it lasts a lot longer than your jj's or sovteks are going to anyway.

i've never played a $200 tube and probably never will. i'm not going to try to make the argument that the really high end stuff "just makes sense" for regular folks. i can't afford that stuff. i just think it's a common misconception that good vintage preamp tubes are out of reach or not a viable option for regular working class musicians. i had that misconception myself for a long time.

for the record, i've never tried NOS power tubes as they're way more expensive. i'm not trying to apply this logic there. i've found power tubes that i like that are already pricier than some and i'm happy with that for now. i kind of think the preamp tubes matter more anyway.

Iommic Pope wrote:Anyone actually bother to get their PI tubes balanced?
I've heard you should, but then I've also been told not to bother.
:idk:


I was wondering about this myself. i've always bought balanced tubes for the PI. but now that i've got these handful of fancy pants tubes, i wondering if it's worth it to put one in the PI? will it even make much of a difference sound wise? am i better off just leaving the balanced jj that's in there now or replacing it with unbalanced vintage voodoo tube?
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby Iommic Pope » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:21 pm

I think the issue with balancing the PI is more to do with the actual physics of how the power section works than the sound quality (which I guess will be effected by performance, but still probably not perceptible). But again I've heard claims that discredit that argument as well, so it is confusing.
It would be nice to hear from a builder, but if Mike Soldano told Conky that's fucking good enough for me.

rustywire wrote:I think balanced (various types) tubes throughout the circuit, are more the rule in HiFi applications where 2 (close to) identical signal paths are constructed to respond like one another and create a balanced stereo image.


I've heard this as well and that balancing actually creates an undesired tone for guitar purposes, but again, if someone could clarify that the point of balancing was functional as opposed to cork sniffing, that would help.

Also those old JAN 12at7s are great if you wanna clean things up in the pre.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby whiskey_face » Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:42 pm

im a NOS tube fan. . . in old amps.

my new classics all have JJs and I DGAF

but my bluelines? fuckign NOS or none.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby christianatl » Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:38 am

Ei 12AX7s in my old Marshall, a mix of GE and Jan Phillips 12AT7s and 12AU7s in my RI.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby whiskey_face » Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:40 am

so theyre marshalls? i never knew. :poke:
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby misterstomach » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:52 am

christianatl wrote:Ei 12AX7s in my old Marshall, a mix of GE and Jan Phillips 12AT7s and 12AU7s in my RI.


very interesting. no 12ax7's in the one amp? i had a jan phillips 12ax7 i pulled from my amp that i wasn't blown away by, but i'm holding onto it. i don't know many people that use 12at7's. i have a US made vintage magnavox 12at7 that i pulled from an old hifi that i have no use for. i'm pretty sure it works great cause the hifi worked when i got it. might last for years, who knows? it's a short gray plate. i have no idea if it's cool in a guitar amp, but i would love for someone to have a use for it. if you want it i'll send it to you. pm me your address and i'm likely to get to the post office soon to mail it. i don't want money but i'd love it if you'd light a candle and say "here's to your fuck, parker." let me know.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby Iommic Pope » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:05 am

Dude, of you've tried that 12at7 and didn't like it I will definitely relieve you of it (if someone else hasn't already).
I love my JAN in V1. Give it a try.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby conky » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:33 pm

I tried a 12at7 and 12au7 in v1 in my Soldano and it killed my volume. I usually run it on 4 but I had to crank it to 7 just to get it loud enough for band volume. I didn't try them in any other positions though.
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Re: Preamp tubes... What y'all using?

Postby Iommic Pope » Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:37 pm

Not being an expert on that preamp, (edit, or any preamp, really) conk, it would be hard to say why that happened. A 12au7 will definitely knock the arse out of the gain, but a large volume loss? That's interesting.
I guess it would depending on which tubes were engaged on each channel and how you were running the amp, but again, no idea how Mr. Soldano set that one up.
I run my AOR real clean so I can go as loud and clean as possible, same with the sovtek. Didn't notice a volume loss with the 12at7 in either of those. The AOR did seem a bit quieter afterwards though, as far as hum goes.
All amps are different though, so yeah man, do what works for you.
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