Tubes ordered

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by J Bird, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    55
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    From my experience most Marshall-type amps will work with any quality tube brand.
    The most tube-sensitive amp I ever owned was my Mesa MKIII. The most problematic tube was preamp position V1. Mesa is offering a special type of 12AX7 for that position. The 12SPAX which is lesser microphonic thanks to some heat-shrink-tubing.
    In the late 90ies/ early 2000 it was next to impossible to get these special tubes in a good quality. Obviously Mesa had to switch their supplier and the quality went down south. In fact I had to stop using this amp for years because of that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  2. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Ooh - 12DW7 - something I don't have...
     
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  3. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I remember that. V1 is always the problem position.
     
  4. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    I guess I'm not done yet. Apparently, at 5am this morning, right after I got up, I ordered a matched pair of anos Sylvania 6v6gt.

    You'd think that would be enough impulse purchases for one day, but no. I just ordered a matched pair of the original Tung Sol 5881's.

    I figure, what the heck, it's my birthday.
     
  5. capnhiho

    capnhiho Country Gent

    Feb 16, 2013
    California
    Now that’s thinking!!
    I like your logic!
     
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  6. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    Well I haven't purchased any tubes today, yet. I've started a new list, though.

    A 12DW7, sure looks like something I'd like.

    A matched triode for the PI? I had no idea that this branch of the rabbit hole even existed until a couple of days ago. In fact, I kinda thought you guys were pulling my leg.

    I'm also looking for a 12ay7 in v1 and a 12au7(a) in v2 of my 5e3 clone, both nos. I know v2 is supposed to have a 12ax7, but the 12au7 is what it came with, and with good reason. The old ge's that are in there now sound great, better than new production tubes. My hope is to improve on those ge's, affordably.

    There are some really good shops and resources out there and the one I keep going back to is audiotubes.com. I haven't bought anything from them, yet. But, I have a feeling that won't last long.
     
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  7. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    Well, I got the 50s Sylvania (re-branded) 6v6gt matched pair. I compared the Groove Tube 6v6gt-r that I had in my 5e3 clone to these Sylvanias and the difference is minute, negligible. Which is fine and good. I'll leave the Sylvanias in and keep the GTs as backup.
     
  8. J Bird

    J Bird Gretschie

    The old ('57 and '60) Tung Sol 5881's arrived! I'm impressed. Versus the new jj 5881's, and the old jj 6l6gc's, the Tung Sol's have more musical highs and more gristle in the mids. They will definitely stay in the Thunderbolt.

    Now, say, if someone surreptitiously switched them out, would I be able to tell? I don't think so. I may have a decent ear for tone, but that only goes so far.

    There isn't a night and day difference, in my amps, so far, between new production tubes and old vintage 6v6gt or 5881 tubes. There are differences, though they are subtle.

    I still have yet to try the 6v6gt's in my Champ, nor have I put the jj 5881's in my TR. Definitely something to look forward to, especially to see if the Champ yields more detailed differences between 6v6gt's.

    For now, I'm done shopping for tubes. It was a fun endeavor that wasn't too expensive. In fact, (A)NOS tubes don't have to be cost prohibitive. Trusted dealers have rebranded RCA's (for example) for just about what you'd pay for say, something in the TAD price range.

    I am still curious about the 12DW7. Does it have the gain of a 12ax7 and the lowered output (or volume or headroom) of a 12au7?
     
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  9. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    My conclusion is similar. I quit using OS tubes a few years back. Too much noise and messing around. I have some Brown Base 5881 Tung Sols around but haven't used them. Have some favorite 6L6's too.
    I buy exclusively RI Mullard in Pre tubes now and JJ for 6V6's, TAD maybe others for 6L6's. I have some good old 6L6's though so still use those. Sylvania and GE old 6L6's are often great and not expensive.

    In any OS tubes I avoid 50's ones. Too many failures, they lose their vacuum on a moments notice sometimes.
     
    J Bird likes this.
  10. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Good move with the Tung Sol. I have two ANOS pairs and they sound fantastic.

    With ANOS and NOS 6V6, there are some holy grails. I think maybe one of them is definitely Sylvania. I have a pair that I really like. Of all the power tubes, I’ve always found more variation in 6V6 modern tubes. So many of them seem to be kind of muddy and lacking in clarity.
     
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  11. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    658
    Oct 21, 2012
    Maryland
    Back in the 1980s my grandfather bought me a lifetime supply of tubes from General Electric for (iirc) $1 or 25 centers, which was the lowest price their company store could accept as payment. I literally have hundreds of 6v6, 6l6, 12a*7, etc….. I have enough to to last my lifetime and my kids’ lifetimes and their kids’ lifetimes.

    I don’t understand the obsession over such things but otoh I’ve only used new tubes a few times in my life. if it makes people feel good about spending money all the power to the “nos” tube sellers then go for it.

    I did take a new amp and put a bunch of old tubes in it and wasn’t sure if I heard a difference or not so I put the new ones back in. Not saying there’s no difference just I didn’t hear a night and day difference. The amp was a Vibro King if that matters.

    just ask yourself that if people have been selling new old tubes since the late 90s when that became a thing what are you really buying? If you get them at a flea market or something it’s one thing but I’ve sold a lot of NOS tube boxes over the years.
     
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  12. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I do the same. I think I did get a xouple NOS power tubes but they weren't particularly expensive. I mainly got them to have a back up set, although I did swap them all, got a different tone (not better or worse, just different) and realized I had no idea which tube did what for the tone so I just left them in. I can't muster the energy and patience to play with tubes.
     
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  13. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    I've been lucky enough to have had a fair tube stash over the years

    One of my "Holy Grail" 6v6's are the Coke Bottle version.

    I had two, and only one 6v6 powered amp.

    Love them in this amp.

    20200626_112457.jpg 20210206_144257.jpg 20210130_150750.jpg
     
  14. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    There are two triodes in a 12**7. In most, the two triodes have (for all intents and purposes) equal gain. (There is usually a minor difference, hence the discussion of matched triodes for positions where it might matter, such as phase inverters, but not enough difference to really matter in this particular explanation.) So for most preamps, each tube is going to be two gain stages. (There are amps that only use a single stage in some positions, but they are the exception to the rule and not relevant to this example.) Look at it like: input > 1st tube 1st triode > 1st tube 2nd triode > 2nd tube 1st triode > 2nd tube 2nd triode > phase inverter > power section > output transformer > speakers. That would be four gain stages in the preamp. With 12AX7s, you'll have lots of gain at each pair of triodes. With 12AU7s, you'll have less gain at each pair of triodes. So you are tied to having your 1st and 2nd gain stages being more or less equal levels of gain. (Component values have some impact on this, but we'll pretend each gain stage is set up more or less the same, circuit wise.) If you swap for a 12DW7, you have two drastically different amounts of gain between the two triodes, so if you put one in the 1st position you may have lower gain for your first stage, therefore not driving the second stage so hard. (Or the circuit may wind up being the other way around, and your 1st stage will be hitting the second hard, while the second is lower gain. There is a variant that has the triodes opposite of a 12DW7 but I can't remember what it is...ah, ECC823.)

    In my 6505+, one preamp tube has one triode as a gain stage on the clean channel and the other triode as a gain stage on the dirty channel. Using a 12DW7 allowed me to dramatically clean up the clean channel without sacrificing gain on the dirty channel.

    In my Epi Valve Jr, using a 12DW7 allowed me to crank the amp louder with less preamp breakup.

    It's really a tube that you'll have to experiment with to determine if it's for you or not, and you may love it in one amp and hate it in another, or even love it in one position and hate it in a different position on the same amp.

    -m
     
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  15. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
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  16. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    658
    Oct 21, 2012
    Maryland
    Here's a good test for people who spend a lot of money on NOS tubes.

    1- Record your guitar into your DAW of choice with regular good new tubes

    2- Record your guitar into your DAW of choice with expensive NOS tubes

    3- Be careful not to change mic position, knobs, guitar, etc....

    4- Flip the phase on one of the recordings

    I did this a while back and everything nulled. If nothing else you actually can hear how much of a difference is for what you're spending.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
    mr coffee likes this.
  17. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    That's pretty great, I never thought of it.

    I don't have any expensive NOS tubes, I bought them when they were a small premium. I have a couple of pairs of Tung Sol 5881 types and they sound fantastic. Then I bought a "new" set because they were cheap and they sound great too.

    But one of the things you get with NOS tubes quite often is longevity.
     
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  18. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    If you re-amped and did this, it would be even better. It hadn't occurred to me to flip phase...

    -m
     
  19. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    658
    Oct 21, 2012
    Maryland
    It’s really the only way to know what you’re really hearing. Like I said, I use old tubes because I got a truckload of them in the late 80s. In new amps I’ve never heard (or recorded anything as described) that’s made a difference.

    the longevity thing is probably correct but if you’re paying $300 or something for one tube vs $20 or something is it really worth it? Plus consider the NOS tube market has existed for years now and it’s a big fad so how many out there are new and how many are used or pulls?

    Do what you want but don’t be an idiot. If it makes you feel better to spend the money go for it but at least figure out if you’re actually getting any difference.
     
  20. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    658
    Oct 21, 2012
    Maryland
    Yeah this is prob the best way to do it. Especially if you’re not used to tight double tracking.
     
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