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Do different tubes really change the tonality of an amp...

Discussion in 'Andy Sneap' started by Altitudes, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Altitudes

    Altitudes Stay Frosty

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    ... or is it the fact that when you replace old tubes in an amp (with new ones, naturally) you immediately notice the difference? I don't understand the science behind it, but right now I don't see how different brands can differ greatly or at all. Can anyone vouch for this or disprove me? Clip comparisons would be great!

    I ask because because I don't want to overpay for preamp tubes :lol:
     
  2. bpcrshooter15

    bpcrshooter15 Member

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    I can't say 100% w/ proof, as I've never A/B'ed them. But I'm sure there is a difference based on the stereotypes associated with different tubes (ex. el34 = British, Marshall crunch). I'm sure someone more knowledgeable can share the science.
     
  3. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

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    i've heard a/b tests where the difference was extremely subtle, and somewhere there was a highly obvious difference
    i think it was lasse (but dont quote me on that) that posted an a/b one day with one brand of tubes and JJ's for the other set and i remember the jj's having bass up the ass while the other tubes sounded a whole lot different.
    but it seems like for the most part, the difference isnt too huge.
     
  4. David Lee Hasselhoff

    David Lee Hasselhoff New Metal Member

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    If you're really keen on finding out, you might wanna toy around with the Revalver III demo where you have the possibility to change the tubes/tube characteristics in the amp simulations. Some changes make for pretty audible differences in tone. I replaced the tubes (el34) in my old JCM 800 once and the sound and response changed quite a bit afterwards.
     
  5. Ben Johnson

    Ben Johnson SSSSSSSSSSSSSS

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    You should never have to replace preamp tubes, unless they sustain some sort of physical damage. They don't undergo the same heavy voltages that power tubes do, so under normal use the preamp tubes should last pretty much "forever."

    I don't think you'd notice a huge difference in replacing the preamp tubes, unless they were damaged.

    YMMV
     
  6. Notuern

    Notuern Bloody vaginal belch

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    Ive been talking to several amp-techs, and they say that there is a HUGE difference between good and bad tubes, but not much difference at all between different brands/types of tubes as long as they all are of the same quality.
     
  7. poidaobi

    poidaobi Held in Hollows

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    From my experience tube changes are grossly exaggerated.

    "omg...my amp sounded like shit and now with the new tubes it's awesome!"

    :lol:

    ***cough placebo cough***
     
  8. slayercannibalsuffohead

    slayercannibalsuffohead Get a dog up ya!

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    From my experiences, the louder you go the more you can hear the difference. I swapped my ruby 6L6s out of my XXX for JJ el34s and noticed a difference in the aggression of the amp. As for pre amp tubes, I have a lot more differences in those, going from chinese shittas to the JJs made a big difference in my 5150.
     
  9. Trevoire520

    Trevoire520 Member

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    I changed from stock Marshall tubes in my DSL50 to Groovetube E34-L's, the only difference was that the E34-L's stopped the power amp sag at high volumes. Changing the bias makes much more difference in tone than changing the valves I found.
     
  10. kaomao

    kaomao Member

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    Posted clips months ago, tubes were JJ's and Svetlana winged-c, amp dual rectifier.
    Not so much of a difference, maybe some tightness with svetlana's.

    EDIT: I'm talking about poweramp tubes by the way.
     
  11. Jevil

    Jevil Pro Evolution Fucker

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    There is a subtle difference but there is, any human being with 2 healthy ears and more than 70 IQ would notice the diifference between shitty and awesome tubes.

    I'm talking about preamp.

    By the way, what tubes would you setup in a Triaxis?
     
  12. Torniojaws

    Torniojaws They call me Juha

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    Powertubes don't really change the sound, while the first preamp tube (closest to the input jack) will make a HELLUVA big difference between a poor one and a good one. It's the difference between a thin, shrill tone and a full bodied tone, and also the type of the preamp tube affects how much gain is "how much", ie. the "gain position". With a 12AX7 (the usual high gain preamp tube type) you might have the best gain at 3-5/10, and going above that only gives more buzz/fizz. When you swap in a lower-gained tube like the 12AT7, the same gain sweet spot might be at 7-8/10, giving you more usable gain range. The rest of the preamp tubes don't affect the sound too much.
     
  13. Metaltastic

    Metaltastic Member

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    +@*#5q2935q728943089rtq7924875q38074398tp7423858490198574571-98457149-87598-4719-875968176894 (man, being a recent member at the boogie board, I always have to bite my tongue when I see such posts :loco: Though someone did make a good point about power tubes; namely that the differences may not show up at anything other than large gig volumes, when they're really pushed, and the breakup is subtly different; mostly I'd say that goes for EL34's vs. 6L6's though, rather than different brands of either)
     
  14. Sacha

    Sacha Throbbing Member

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    They definitely make a difference but not as big as say, speakers. Reliability is probably the more important factor when evaluating tubes, but there are very real tonal differences as well.
     
  15. ParsonsMatt

    ParsonsMatt Alas, Tyranny

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    Tubes don't make a big difference but if you've dialed in the rest of your rig to be perfect, messing with the tubes is a good way to get it all the way there.

    Here are some comparison clips I made a while back. Same performance, settings, signal chain, etc. each time, direct in with an impulse.

    Sovtek LPS: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=442291&songID=6593626
    Tung Sol: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=442291&songID=6593647
    Shuguang: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=442291&songID=6593634
    JAN Philips: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=442291&songID=6593641

    All 12AX7s with the exception of the JAN Philips, which is a 12AT7. Tung Sols are relabeled Shuguangs, I believe, so it makes sense that they are very close, but the difference between the Russian tube and the Chinese are pretty obvious IMO, even with the mp3 compression and direct-in, not to mention the sub-par conversion/Hi-Z inputs/mic preamps of the Firepod that I did the test with.
     
  16. PhilTheBeard

    PhilTheBeard "The Beard"

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    Most big brand tubes are all made by the manufatuer the bigger comp's just throw there brand name on them. like electo harmonix, groove tube, mesa, and sovteks are all made in the same russian factory. i know jj has there own plant where they make there own tubes. but pre amp tubes can sometimes have a lil diffrence but not that much of a diffrence in sound imo. but of course i havent gotten to try every tube out.
     
  17. nwright

    nwright Member

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    I think it also depends on how old the power tubes being replaced were...I think preamp tube changes can be more dramatic than power tube...That said, I think any tube change is subtle, but present.

    If you don't want to spend too much, go to www.dougstubes.com .
     
  18. PhilTheBeard

    PhilTheBeard "The Beard"

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    yeah old tubes def dont sound as good as brand new tubes with like 24 hours or break in time on them or more.
     
  19. SimonSez

    SimonSez Member

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    Changing the pre-amp tubes to Shuguang and Tung-Sol in my amp definitely made a difference. The amp sounds like it has more gain and more harmonics.
     
  20. Executioner213

    Executioner213 Ultimate Meatbag

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    Mesa, unless your warranty is done/void...
     

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