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Thread: new tubes

  1. #1
    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    new tubes

    Did a complete retube on 5150 last week. JJs in all positions, man does it sound better. I let old tubes go too long. Kind of like a new amp!

  2. #2
    Sometimes it makes such a great difference to re-tube!

    I've had new amps sound better with different tubes, too.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  3. #3
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    I love new tubes. Fresh and clean.
    Plank Owner

  4. #4
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    On the flip side, since I retubed my power amp it's become very bright and brash. The tubes are new and I hate to pull, em but I'm not sure if I can take it much more. Maybe I'll try to change the pre's back out to something else first.

  5. #5
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    A few weeks ago my amp could do no wrong. Lately it can do no right. Ordering new tubes first thing Monday morning. The pre-amp tubes are about a year old with an average of two hours a day of use. I really hope the new tubes will bring back the magic so I don't have to invest in new fingers.
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  6. #6
    Preamp tubes should last a lot longer than power amp tubes. Honestly. You can expect 6 months to a year with power amp tubes if the amp is played regularly, but several years if not decades with preamp tubes.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 11-10-2013 at 01:38 PM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    FYI- my preamp tubes were original stock. I bought the amp in 1994 so that's how long the pres were in there. Main tubes seem to last longer in this amp for some reason as this is the 3rd set. Back in the day I played a marshall and it was a tube hungry beast.

    To tiboy, do the research as there are many choices for tubes and the choices can produce very different results. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Preamp tubes should last a lot longer than power amp tubes. Honestly. You can expect 6 months to a year with power amp tubes if the amp is played regularly, but several years if not decades with preamp tubes.
    Very true. Pretty sure the phase inverter preamp tube is the one that takes the most beating out of any pre's....the others can last for forever.

  9. #9
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    I've had a couple amps that were worlds apart with new glass, and some that I couldn't tell much difference at all. I was pretty happy when I opened up my PRS amp and saw that it came stock with JJ pre's and Tung Sol power tubes, so I haven't had to toy around with mine yet. On the other hand, I have a modded out Valve Jr. that I had a blast with when I came upon a super stash of vintage preamp tubes.
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

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  10. #10
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I'm due for new power tubes. I can hear it. Preamp tubes can last a really long time, but I have to do power tubes at least every 12-18 months these days. It used to be 4-6 months in my crazier days playing in two bands and gigging every week. I have been playing the same amp for so long that I know when I'm at practice or at a show and I start thinking, "Maybe it's time for a new amp, this one is just sort of blah" that the power tubes have run their course - and I'm at that place now, those thoughts have been creeping in the last few practices.

    As for which tubes, Tung Sols are my new faves both for preamp and power amp. I have tried JJs all around and really do not care for any of their offerings. We did a preamp tube shootout in my wife's Ampeg SVT2 and found Electro Harmonix 12AX7s to be very round an warm, very full in the lows. Tung Sols were more aggressive and punchy, and JJs were neither warm nor aggressive, they were just "blah". It was a big enough difference that even the drummer noticed. (hahaha)

    For around 14 years I ran the same three preamp tubes. I bought a JCM800 in 1995 that came with three 12AX7 tubes labeled ECC83 Made In India - no other markings. I never found another tube that could match both the amount of gain and smoothness that those tubes delivered. I can only compare their sound to the way great single malt scotch tastes. For a long time I couldn't even find anyone who knew that tubes were ever manufactured in India in the 1st place. Many years of casual research turned up these were made by a company called BEI. I managed to procure some more with BEI markings, but none lasted. Half of them blew up in just a few hours of use. Over the years, two of the original three went microphonic. It wasn't until I tried the Tung Sols about two years ago that I was ever happy with anything else out there.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    As for which tubes, Tung Sols are my new faves both for preamp and power amp. I have tried JJs all around and really do not care for any of their offerings. We did a preamp tube shootout in my wife's Ampeg SVT2 and found Electro Harmonix 12AX7s to be very round an warm, very full in the lows. Tung Sols were more aggressive and punchy, and JJs were neither warm nor aggressive, they were just "blah". It was a big enough difference that even the drummer noticed. (hahaha)

    For around 14 years I ran the same three preamp tubes. I bought a JCM800 in 1995 that came with three 12AX7 tubes labeled ECC83 Made In India - no other markings. I never found another tube that could match both the amount of gain and smoothness that those tubes delivered. I can only compare their sound to the way great single malt scotch tastes. For a long time I couldn't even find anyone who knew that tubes were ever manufactured in India in the 1st place. Many years of casual research turned up these were made by a company called BEI. I managed to procure some more with BEI markings, but none lasted. Half of them blew up in just a few hours of use. Over the years, two of the original three went microphonic. It wasn't until I tried the Tung Sols about two years ago that I was ever happy with anything else out there.
    I find that so much depends on the amp when it comes to preamp tubes. I had a Two-Rock a few years ago that came with NOS 80s Chinese preamp tubes, and NOS Phillips power tubes. The amp sounded great. But I decided that I'd "upgrade" to even better NOS preamp tubes. So I bought some NOS RCAs and some NOS Telefunkens, and tried sets of each in the amp.

    Yes, the changes sounded good. No, they didn't sound "better," just different. I wound up preferring the amp with its original NOS Chinese tubes. It was a little raunchier that way, a little more "rock and roll." I later had a Two-Rock that came with the Tung Sols that sounded very good indeed.

    The JJs that came in my Roccaforte sounded more the way I wanted the amp to sound than the NOS tubes as well. The HX/DA came with JJs, and I wouldn't think of making a change, it sounds so good.

    I think most higher end amp makers choose their preamp tubes carefully, and often a change isn't warranted.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  12. #12
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I think most higher end amp makers choose their preamp tubes carefully, and often a change isn't warranted.
    I would expect so - they probably have a preferred brand and use them when honing their designs. I don't have much experience with high end tube amps, just never got into it really. But the three tube amps in my house (Egnater TOL50, Egnater Tweaker 15 and a Ampeg SVT2 Pro) were all dull and lifeless with JJs, compared directly to the other tubes.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  13. #13
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I was sad to find out my wife's preferred Winged C brand tubes (Svetlana for everyone in the world except North America) are no longer made. If she wants to keep using Winged C the price is currently around $450 for the sextet of 6550s she needs in her SVT.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  14. #14
    Actually, Winged C go for around $50 each at most tube places...incidentally, PRS EL34 CAD amps come with them.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Actually, Winged C go for around $50 each at most tube places...incidentally, PRS EL34 CAD amps come with them.
    I think I need to get my Shiva looked at...it takes Winged C EL34's.
    Plank Owner

  16. #16
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Winged C 6550s currently are $89.95 at the Tube Store and $76.50 at Antique Electronic Supply. I am having trouble finding them anywhere else.

    I bought some Tung Sol EL34s last week from AES and put them in this weekend. I can't believe how much better my amp sounds with the new power tubes. It was sounding small and quiet and now it's back to where it should be - BIG and LOUD. I also bought some 6V6 Tung Sols to try out in my 15 watt Tweaker. It's had JJs in there for a couple years, and the tone is fine, but I haven't tried anything else in there.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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