Which tube and why?

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by dbb, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    "My take on el84 based amps is that pre-amp design, and output transformers play a huge role in quality clean headroom."

    Ahhh, Carvin uses the same output transformer on my V16 as they do on the 50-watt 4 tube models. The thing is huge. Maybe this is why I have decent headroom?
     
  2. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    EL34 cleans....I'd like to try that sometime.

    Just because an amp can be brutal and dirty doesn't mean that's ALL it can do. Thanks for the insight.
     
  3. thatbastarddon

    thatbastarddon Well-Known Member

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    That, and a low gain pre-amp section would make sense to me...now i'm really curious about that little Carvin...this IS payweek for me...tax time though:ohno:
    Will it handle a 4ohm load though? I thought it only did 8, and 16, and silent(dummy load mode).

    Absolutely agreed! That Mesa DC-5 was such a surprise too, and pleasure to work with in studio as well...great clean tones in that one. Meanwhile, I have little luck coaxing a good clean out of my Dual Rectifier. It's ok, but usually soft, and spongy... I have not found anything close to the Laney for clean, in the Mesa Dual Rectifier. But it does a great crushing metal sound with ease, like no other amp i've owned.

    dbb quote: "You tube amp owners and players, particularly the "I only play tube amp" folks, I ask if you have a preference for one type of tube and if so what is it, and do you use a really clean setting on your amp ever or is it usually set up for breakup?"

    To actually answer your question: If i have a small venue gig(wich is all i ever occasionally have) i have grown to like 15-20watt el84 based tube amps. I set them up for clean sound(when possible), and get my distortion from pedals(mostly).
    i look at the amp at hand, and try to get a feel for it's character. I try to set the amp up to suit it's strength.

    The Tiny Terror likes to break up, so if i will not be playing much clean material...i enjoy using it set to break up a bit.

    The Crate can run pretty clean, but it is a bit crispy around the edges...it's a bit more versatile than the Orange for straight up rock sets that may need some cleans here, and there. The other guitarist in my band has been using it regularly, and seems quite happy with it...he sounds good through it too.

    The homebrew gets set up for it's nice, warm clean sound(i can make it just start to break up with a really heavy pick attack, with guitar volume at full). It does well with dirt pedals, and i can coax the sounds that i like from it reliably...the head, and my 2X12 cab weigh a bit less than the Dual Rectifier head alone, i think. A huge plus for my lazy self.
     
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  4. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    "That, and a low gain pre-amp section would make sense to me...now i'm really curious about that little Carvin...this IS payweek for me...tax time though.

    You can try it out for 10 days, no questions asked return policy. You'd be out return shipping, though, if you just didn't like it. I wish I'd taken pics of its guts when I had it apart.

    "Will it handle a 4ohm load though? I thought it only did 8, and 16, and silent(dummy load mode)."

    Well, it's "underworked" in the V16 config, according to "Barnacle Bob" on the Carvin BBS. His reasoning:

    "The output transformer on the V16 is designed for four power tubes. It has 4, 8, and 16 Ohm outputs in that application. The V16 has two tubes, so it needs to see twice the impedance. They use the 4 Ohm tap with 8 Ohm speakers and the 8 Ohm tap with 16 Ohm speakers. They'd need a 2 Ohm tap that isn't there for a 4 Ohm speaker load. All this is clear in the schematic.

    Carvin output transformers are generally pretty beefy. Running them at half power, like they do in the V16, further cleans up the output a bit, and extends the bass a bit. It's another reason (among many) why the V16 doesn't sound quite Fender."

    Then "hasserl" whose mods for the V16 are pretty famous in Carvin circles (and has a website explaining things further, with pics at hasserl.com), adds:

    "I would not hesitate to run a 4 ohm load on that amp. The output transformer is huge in that application and will not be stressed by running a 4 ohm load on it.

    This subject came up often on this board in the old days when Doc (Carvin technical guru) used to moderate the board. Doc was very confident that running a 4 ohm load on a BelAir (the 8 ohm internal load + an 8 ohm ext cabinet) would cause no harm. And that was with a 4 tube power section pulling far more current than the 2 tube power section of the Vintage 16. IMO a 4 ohm load will be no problem whatsoever for the amp."

    dbb -- sorry to post long technical cut and paste, but t explains much better than I can how determining the voice, break up characteristics, etc. of a given amp are so complex.
     
  5. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    No apology - that's what I'm looking for, varied insights into what works for different people.
     
  6. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    34's vs 84's

    DBB I was totally out of it yesterday from illness. Better today, I screwily read that you had trouble with 34's not 84's.

    At least we got some OTHER posts regarding the ins and outs of pre amp/power amp, cab design, and circuit design having a bearing on sound. As well as the chain of effects one uses.

    On my Marshall 50 watt I did quite a lot of reading a year or so ago and wound up with JJ EL34's and it sounds very sweet to me.

    As soon as I can afford some service to my Red Knob Twin, I need to see about some microphonic issues it is having. Will discuss tubes etc with my tech at that time too. As we know, Fender amps are known for nice cleans.

    Also Dave, I pulled the Specs on my Twin and it has 4 6L6, 5 7025's and 2 12AT7's.
    Here is a You tube sample of my amp, Dave

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S05J6zbPXec[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
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  7. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. I don't try to make one amp do everything...anymore. What I have been tinkering with lately is that "off clean" sound, like I described earlier. I mean, where there is that slight edge, but still essentially clean. My little Vox does that very nicely.
     
  8. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    And there's a fine line between clean enough to play a chord like a Cma9#11 and hear all the tones, that nice just "off clean" rock sound you mention, and the various other tones of amps set to their sweet spots.

    As for " try to make one amp do everything" that's what modeling amps are for, the Swiss Army Knife approach.
     
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  9. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I may have missed, but what Tube AMP/s do you have currently? Combos heads, etc?
     
  10. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Currently I have only one tiny tube amp, a Fender Champion 600 w/ a Jensen MOD speaker, stock otherwise, which is fine for me, since I don't want the tweed thing anyway; it has a 6V6 power tube

    I have a Fender Super Champ XD, which is a tube hybrid modeling amp, DSP for the preamp and FX, and 2 6V6's as a power amp. It's a very nice amp and I use it often.

    All my other amps are SS or digital - my new workhorse Peavey Vypyr VIP-2, a 70's vintage Peavey Backstage 30, a GK M115 bass amp, and a pair of Yamaha G-100 III heads, one of which is now working as a keyboard amp.
     
  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I just learned of these clips of this amp while looking to help Dadou with his noisy Blackstar

    here is a clip from a guy who has a modded and unmodded one

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAccK8Nf6Fs"]EarCandy Recognizing a bad guitar amplifier tube - YouTube[/ame]
     
  12. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAYYJ1zTD5w]EarCandy shows Fender Champion 600 modifed vs. unmodified - YouTube[/ame]
     
  13. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Dave, here is another guy who might also have info for you regarding tubes/valves. You can always post a question on his Page and see what happens.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JFwBOWGYPQ]Modified Fender Champion 600 with Stratocaster - YouTube[/ame]
     
  14. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    And another Trio from another chap

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVGWICF5-i8]Classic Vibes Tele & Fender Champ 600 Demo - YouTube[/ame]
     
  15. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSRy3vtIHoY]Tube Amp Survival Guide #2 - YouTube[/ame]
     
  16. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting.

    The videos about the Champion 600 are typical of the ones I've seen, everyone wants the amp to be a little grittier or something than I do - so other than a better speaker, the stock voicing of mine is pretty much what I want.

    The guys put in Mercury magnetics transformers, tube rectifiers, etc., and contrarily I like the stock Blackface SS rectifier Champion 600 as is.

    Whatever works for them, fine by me, just let me have mine as is.
     
  17. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I found what you said as is to sound more desirable to me too. Just food for thought for you and anyone else hunting ideas.

    Anyone interested can always make a post on the you tube page to see if the poster can lend insight into further questions as well.

    I have an idea what works for you now as well.
    In my case from the last vid, I too learned a little more about the nuances of amp design and up keep. Wonder where his Tutorial part 3 is however.
     
  18. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Well Dave you can tell from my sig pic what I luv having fun with playing through. I use a Weber Mass 150 attenuator to control my volume after I find the bigger amplifiers sweet spot which is where I can get some drive & saturation when I play hard or hit it with a OD pedal or Boost, but if I back up off the volume it all cleans up nicely and still has the harmonic content I have come to love coming from the tubes. In another band that plays musical genre's from A-Z so long as it's danceable, I bring out the Fender SuperSonic 22 Custom V with 2 x 6V6 power tubes. Same thing here but no attenuator, just get the volume where it will drive & saturate when pushing hard and clean up when I back off the guitar volume. I hardly ever use it's drive channel. For an amp that's made today, it is way fun to play.:thumb:

    To me, the beauty of tube amps is that responsiveness it gives back to what ya feed it. Some tube amps seem to come alive. They almost become like another instrument and can be just as important to some players as the guitar itself.

    But thats me. I got crazy tube amps 'cause I'm a hoarder / tube junkie, 'Hooked on the Feelin'. I need help and treatment. Let's talk about you & what works & could work in the lines of amplification that you would be happy with & possibly... even add to your sound making it that much more enjoyable.

    What gets left out in 'most' Solid State equations is what the tubes actually bring to the table. As you know Dave, tubes can actually add to the guitars signal & tone by contributing even order harmonics that we humans find musical & pleasing to the ear. That beautiful sounding element can be found in a whole bunch of quality made tube amps before they ever reach those levels of distortion that you abhor. That is important to realize. There is a magic to be found before distortion.

    Now I know you have gotten real used to your Yamaha SS amps but I can't help but feel that you are denying yourself some of the added beauty & tone that you could have when you do play. As well as an added joy that only comes from a responsive tube amp that responds to your playing in ways that SS amps do not. I mean its that simple. Solid State adds no additional content (as in frequencies) unless designed to do so. That means you are simply amplifying the guitar as it is & not fattening up or broadening the signal with a tubes adding it's even order harmonics to that guitar signal. Of course you don't need it, but why do you deny yourself this elemental pleasure that comes with playing a quality tube amplifier?

    Being you like the cleans I would think that you would actually enjoy playing through a Fender Hot Rod Deville 6l6 power tube setup & using the clean channel as your main base tone. The signal will travel through 12ax7 tubes onto two 6L6 power tubes and offer a significant amount of clean power & tube thickened tone before you ever experience distortion. I have always felt like that was the tube amp for you Dave! And I have thought about this a bunch of times as a matter of fact.

    If you cared to go retro, I could see you totally diggin on an old Fender Showman or Dual Showman. These offer that musical tube harmonics in a very usable & powerful linear volume that never really distorts in the typical sense of the word. For instance, If you cranked the Dual Showman & its four 6l6 power tubes it will be so loud you can't stand it, but it won't be distorting like a Marshall.

    But are you really interested at this point in life in going tube amp Dave? I mean big usable clean sounding tube amp?? You aren't actually saying you are personally thinking about going tube amp but are quite possibly just making general conversation around what tubes we all like here & why?

    If that is your only intended motive, it would be interesting to note that while each tube type has its basic defined & noted characteristics, actual amp design can really turn what you expect from a tube around so it now behaves & sounds different. Amp design has a whole lot to do with end result.

    As far as me, I really like, borderline love, old vintage amps of every sort, shape & style. To me, they are instruments that are almost as important as the guitar (without the guitar you wouldn't need the guitar amp so the guitar has to be more important for that reason alone) and each design offers it's own unique spin & characteristic tone. Once you open that Pandora's Box & get into these old tube amps there seemingly is no stopping that love from growing. There will be no putting the tube amp Genie back in it's bottle bro. My love has turned into an all out addiction. I have turned the corner on being a collector & now border on being a hoarder. I'll spend hours each day on ebay looking through vintage amps, tubes & audio gear! I'll even buy stuff I don't really know about because it has tubes & is old & cool looking & Hey Look! I won the auction! I wonder why no-one else bid??:hmm: You get the idea. I have lots of real good collectable stuff but I also have weird $#!t, broken $#!t & tube equipment of little value because I am hooked on it!

    Maybe you are better just leaving that bottle corked & staying happy with your Yamy's.
     
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  19. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Those big Yamaha beasts rarely get used these days, like I said I'm using one as a keyboard amp, and it eats the other guitar player's big Mesa rig too!

    But most of my playing on guitar is on either the Vypyr VIP-2, the Fender Super ChampXD, or the little all-tube Champion 600.

    As a guy that's always used many tones, sort of thinking of myself as a "studio guitarist" that can reproduce a wide variety of styles, the modeling amps are ideal, as I can get the widest range of tones from them.

    It's funny how prescient you are - the last large all-tube amp I owned, and to this day defines the sound I like, was a 6L6 tube BF Fender Showman w/ JBL speakers!

    The basic channel of the SCXD, loaded with my old vintage JBL speaker, sure can sound like a miniature version of that Showman sound - and that leaves the other channel for distortion, using Marshall or other models, or even cleaner jazz tones using the Jazz King model.

    I do understand that the amp design is a big part of it too, not just simply which tube is used.
     
  20. SG John

    SG John Well-Known Member

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    I like all the above, and for different reasons. With the Fender amps, the 6L6 and 6V6 tubes have a bit more headroom and stay cleaner slightly louder. I prefer the older RCA and Raytheon tubes. They still break up nicely, but need to be hot with volume. You might like trying a Deluxe, Deluxe Reverb, or Princeton. They can get loud, but the still do break up. If you want something that stays clean, then a Twin would be a good choice (but they're heavy and big). The Showman is also a nice choice. Something in the middle would be a Bandmaster, and they can still be found relatively inexpensive.

    My AC-30 clone has EL84 tubes. I have Telefunken tubes in that amp. It reminds me of Rory Gallagher's amp in his early days.

    As for my Marshalls, they have old EL34s in them. If I could fit a KT66 in my JTM45, I would in a heartbeat. The sockets are too close to the transformer. These tubes have a nice saturation to them.
     

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