What happened to Blackheart amps?

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Col Mustard, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    Nice! Happy NAD. They sure do advertise honestly what these amps do and don't do.

    I'm curious how loud yours is through the different speakers? Some people say it's loud-TV loud in the upper end of the dial. That would be about perfect for volume in a typical setting with neighbors around.
     
  2. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Hell That's some nice stuff there the BH looks at home !
    Cabs are built very well too . I don't if I would mod the ant other than maybe OP tranny. The little giant with a few up grades are just awesome
    hell the cabs on these amps are worth the price alone / I have never heard
    anyone having a issue other than once and it was the OPT.
    You have some really nice gear in there Colonel .
    Congrats !
     
  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    yeah, the Roland Micro Cube played through that 400 watt P.A. speaker sounds HUGE.
    And the JC clean model is great, as is the Fender amp model. The Vox VT-30 is my go-to
    amp for all of my guitars, and now the BH is there for fun. I'm looking for a source for the 12AU7 tube for the output side of the BH. And does anybody have a preferred brand for 12AX7 tubes? The guy on MLP recommended Rogers, which I'm not familiar with.

    Oh and as for loudness of the stock amp... I've plugged in the 16 Ohm Eminence, and then alternated to the 8 Ohm cab,
    and the loudness seems about the same. The two speakers (10 & 12) ought to move more air than the one,
    but maybe the designers gave the amp that speaker & cab for a very good reason. I'll assume that while I play it some more.
    I've actually plugged both cabs in simultaneously, and felt like the perceived volume was about the same, even with
    all three going. Maybe there's only so much that one watt can do. *laughs
     
  4. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    I have Sovtek 12AX7 in my Carvin pre amp, and have no complaints. I did see some guy on (MLP or TDPRI can't remember) recommending them as good V2 tubes for the Ant.
     
  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    so I've just been researching online sources for the 12AU7 Output tube.

    can anyone tell me what's the difference if you pay $19.00 for one of these
    or if you pay $65.00? It seems like the price range is very great. And I just
    don't know what to expect.
     
  6. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    $65/tube sounds like NOS. Worth it for some people. Better quality new stuff should be $35 or $40 for a set, or $20 a tube, from the places I've looked.

    Weren't the 12AU7 used in TVs back in the day? Perhaps there's a huge trove of NOS still. :dunno:

    EDIT: I guess it was the 12AX7s that were more common. Check this out, from Wiki:

    "As of 2012 the 12AX7 was made in various versions by two factories in Russia (Winged C, formerly Svetlana, and New Sensor, which produces tubes under the Sovtek, Electro-Harmonix, Svetlana, Tung-Sol, and other brands for which the firm has acquired trademark rights), one in China (Shuguang), and one in Slovakia (JJ), for a total annual production estimated at two million units. The vast majority are used in new-production guitar amplifiers or for replacements in guitar and audio equipment."

    So, people pay a premium for white label tubes that were made on the same line as Sovteks.

    EDIT: Where are you even seeing $65 for 12AU7? I see even Harmonix brand are under $20, and Groove Tubes (who supply the Fender reissues I believe) are under $22. They must be some audiophile NOS from an old warehouse in the mystical land of Corksniffia to cost $65 per tube.
     
  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    here's one:

    12AU7, ECC82, 5814 - Preamp Tubes | Dougstubes.com

    here's another:
    12AU7 / ECC82 / CV4003 / 5814 / 6189

    my instinct tells me to go with something that isn't the cheapest
    but isn't even close to the most expensive... I've seen them as low
    as $10.95 and as high as $75.00 and wondered WTF...

    The most common names I've seen are the Electro-Harmonix (which is actually
    a good brand here in USA) and the Sovtek, which sounds like KGB factories
    employing political prisoners etc.

    So I'm still wondering: What's the difference? Is there one? Is it in tone or in
    longevity? What... is a good brand to buy and install in a working amp?
     
  8. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    "Electro-Harmonix (which is actually
    a good brand here in USA) and the Sovtek, which sounds like KGB factories
    employing political prisoners etc."

    They're made in the same factory, apparently.

    OK, the $70 are definitely NOS, except this one looks cooked lol.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a guy selling a pair for uncer $30. Military version, though, don't know what's up with that other than perhaps ruggedized.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-WELL-MATCHED-PAIR-SYLVANIA-JHS-12AU7A-12AU7-WA-6189-Vintage-Stereo-Tube-NOS-/161302672971?_trksid=p2054897.l4275
     
  9. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    Got some 12AU7 tips from around:

    The NOS ones made for organs (pre-screened at factory for audio, often bearing an organ label) are noted for being very quiet in guitar amps.

    Also, the RCA, Sylvania, GE, Raytheon branded NOS "black plates" are in demand guitar amps for the "fat crunch" they provide. The RCA are preferred among these, but mainly for the looks.

    "The early RCA version has ribbed flat black plates with a top getter and a white label. Still available, and still a bargain since everyone wants the "cleartops". The RCA, Raytheon, and Sylvania blackplates are among the best here. These are very musical tubes with air and sparkle at the top end, warmth in the mids, and great bass. The RCA are drop dead beautiful in guitar amps, even the lower priced greyplate and longplate versions."

    "12AU7 RCA blackplate, Old Logo, or made for organ brands. Fine 1950s vintage tube. A nice USA 1950s tube that was widely used in organs and hi-fi units. Great warm blackplate sound with a nice top end. MATCHED PAIRS ARE JUST $50.00. Price each: $20.00 In stock" From here:

    http://www.audiotubes.com/12au7.htm

    Now, for the V1 slot, and 12AX7s, this guy is also a wealth of information:

    "12AX7A: This version can be used in series or parallel filament circuits. These usually date to the 1960s and have greyplates. Vintage versions of these are about the most sought after tubes of any type today. Often RCA and GE made these for electronic organ manufacturers, and have the organ brand name on the label. These are usually specially selected tubes, and are a great buy---when available! Sometimes, 12AX7A tubes made for the US Military are labeled 12AX7WA, and I have seen WB and WC versions. The W is the military type code, A,B, and C are progressively later productions. These are nice military spec tubes. DO NOT confuse these with current production Russian or Chinese crap with the suffix WX, WB, or WC! These are not military tubes and are not NOS tubes at all!"


    12AX7 Sylvania -- "New Old Stock in original and whiteboxes. A nice vintage 12AX7 that is still a bargain! Client comments: "Brent, Just a note to say the NOS Sylvania 12AX7's sound great in my older Fender guitar amps. What a buy!"

    JHS12AX7A, 12AX7WA and 6681 JAN Sylvania: "New Old Stock in original military boxes. Rugged military Sylvania tubes that sound great, some of the JAN tubes are relabeled for Philips but are USA Sylvania made. The WA type is military and the 6681 type is industrial. A nice vintage 12AX7 that is still a bargain"
     
  10. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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  11. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Col Mustard likes this.
  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    OK, thanks for the links... I just ordered myself an EH 12AU7 for small money.
    this will be my first mod of my BH Killer Ant.

    I still don't understand why there is such a huge price difference, and I don't
    understand what I'd get if I paid $100 for the same 12AU7 that I just ordered for $11.95

    does anybody know?

    I'm going to try the less expensive tubes first. Lead, if you're getting the Mil-Spec versions
    of the NOS tubes, let me know how that works. My bull sh*t meter goes off the scale when
    I look at some of this hype. I just don't know what to believe, so I don't believe anything.
     
  13. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    Some of these tubes are used by audiophiles, for high-end stereos. Even the 12AX7s. From that guy's site, there are some that cost $300 (!), while others are $20 -- same style and general specs. But the really expensive ones are prized by those dudes that spend $100,000 on a stereo.

    Apparently, the Russian factory that makes Sovtek bought up some venerable brand names, including Tung Sol -- which sounds Chinese but was in Newark, New Jersey!

    I like my Sovteks, both the 12AX7s in the pre-amp and the EL84s on the output side. The sound is clean, the amp is responsive the tone is quite nice to my ear (and other guys who've played lots more amps than me).

    But with the Ant I may just cobble together a USA NOS set and see what happens.

    Colonel, have you figured out how to bias your Ant yet? I posted a link to download the Killer Ant user manual, but I'm less than confident it provides enough info. to bias for those 12AU7s. Maybe that fella on MLP has the directions. He sure knew his way around an Ant.
     
  14. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I have NOT figured out how to do that. I'm still playing it stock, to get a good handle on what it's like before I change anything. I'm playing a festival this weekend, but by the time I get home I may have some packages waiting. I ordered the Bitmo mod kit for the BH Killer Ant. I may end up taking the whole setup to an amp tech guy that I know, and pay him to do a pro installation...because he'll know how to do this right. He'll be my Ace in the hole.

    I'll read the instructions first, and if I feel like I understand them I'll venture to do this myself. I can use a drill and a soldering iron. And I modded my Vox VT-30 to great effect. I like the Killer Ant the way it is right now, and have high hopes that the mod kit will help me get a good clean tone, which is the only thing I'm missing. I will love having a line out.
     
  15. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    The Bitmo mod does seem like a terrific upgrade for small money. He says it's not too hard an install but like you I want to be sure.

    The Mercury Magnetics transformer upgrade is enticing, too, but $99 is steep for an Ant. They do have some unusual specs on that output transformer, so I'm nervous about any cross-reference to save money. That upgrade could be a ticket to a bit more clean headroom, so it is enticing.

    Can't wait to get my Ant and hook it up. I'll just use the GT12 speaker in my combo and see how it sounds with the different guitars.
     
  16. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    So an Ant walks in the door today. The bartender says, "what is it with you guys; you always head straight for my best cookies?" The ant says, "what can I say, we like the crunch."

    I'm finding this thing is *fairly* clean up until about 3-4, (where it's actually at "bedroom" volume) -- and impossible after about 8. It's quite a bit louder than I was expecting it to be. I've been using the speaker in my Carvin. But at 5 it's good fun. A very nice addition indeed!
     
  17. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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  18. potatofarmer

    potatofarmer Member

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    That "Russian Factory" aka Reflektor is owned and run by New Sensor (EHX). Mike Matthews has bought up a bunch of old tube brand names and it's earned him some detractors in the tube world. Still, it's nice to have several companies making tubes.

    All these tubes come from the same factory:
    Electro-Harmonix
    Sovtek
    Gold Lion (reissue)
    Tung-Sol (reissue)
    Svetlana (only in US)
    Mullard (reissue)
     
    eS.G. and LeadFinger like this.
  19. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    bait and switch... and if we think we know about cork sniffers around here
    we ain't seen nothin' compared to some of those stereo 'Hi-Fi" aficionados...

    they'll pay high prices for the same russian tubes and then brag about it.
    From Russia with Love. "Size does matter, Mr. Bond."
     
    LeadFinger likes this.
  20. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    Wish I could help..I am off the tube, joined TA, gone topless,,,er tubeless yeah thats it....Had a spare that came with the Bugera but that thing didn't even gather a speck a dust on its way through and sent the spare along with it.
    I am certain others will be able to assist. I mainly wanted to say congrats on that nifty ANT and also, very NICE music room Sir, very nice!:thumb:
     
    Col Mustard likes this.

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