Yngwie#1
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Join date: Oct 2006
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#1
A few days ago I got my first all-tube amp, the VHT Special 6 Ultra. I 'graduated' going from a Roland Cube 20X to a Marshall MG15FX solid state days and never going back!

I'm really impressed with the build quality of the Ultra. It's a heavy amp and bigger than I thought it would be! Here are a couple photos of it fresh out of the box:



It sounds good with the stock tubes that everyone complains about, but I don't know any better never having a tube amp before. Soon I'll buy a replacement set of 12AX7/6V6 plus a EL34 to experiment with. Any VHT owner brand/model recommendations for the preamp tubes and power tube?

Thankfully my pedals sound good (including the 2 DIY one's I built) with the VHT. I hooked up my MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal (and Boss RC-3 Loop Station) to the amp's effects loop and works like a charm, despite some reports to the contrary. I'm pretty happy with it!

The date of manufacture on the back says 12-02-11 and at first I wasn't sure of the date format's year position, but verified with another S6U owner that it is December 2011. I haven't taken it apart yet to verify the fuse has been upgraded (to better handle high powered tubes) like it should be by now (see the VHT quotes below) as I'm not sure when the first production run ended. Here are replies I got from VHT about my initial concerns. They seem very responsive to everything I wrote them about:

Fuse: "No worries, the fuse concern you mention was only on the first production run, the fuse rating was increased after the first production run, so no worries about using EL34 tubes and blowing fuses now. You are right, an EL34 will give a more aggressive Marshall-like character."

Effects Loop: "Since the effects loop is after the preamp, the preamp gain will greatly affect the level at the effects loop. So if you're plugged into the Ultra channel with both volume controls wide open (Ultra and Clean) the level at the effects send can indeed be too hot for some pedals. It's surprising, though, that some people are saying the MXR Carbon Copy can be overdriven to the point of cutoff, the new MXR pedals are expertly designed and should have been designed with enough front-end headroom to accommodate hot effects loop levels, and it's very likely that some people will want to run the Carbon Copy for line level applications, so again it's very surprising that it can't handle hotter signal levels. You might try contacting Dunlop/MXR to see what they say; if the Carbon Copy has limited headroom, they'd surely like to know about it, and perhaps they can offer some advice or other wisdom that can help clarify the question. But again, the effects send level depends on the preamp gain, so if you don't have everything wide open you're less likely to overdrive the Carbon Copy. There's a simple mod that can be done to reduce the effects send level. You can add one resistor in the amp, or make a mini-variable effects send attenuator with a pot, two jacks, and a small enclosure. This box would go between the effects send and the Carbon Copy."

Bear Trap Power Tube Retainer: "The Special 6 Ultra bear-trap should fit an EL34 without any problems. Most 8-pin output tubes have similar base diameters, but if a tube is a little narrower than usual, you can easily squeeze the bear-trap to fit just about any tube. But for KT-66 and KT-88 tubes, you'll need to remove the bear-trap. The socket should have enough grip to hold these tubes without the bear-trap, our tube sockets normally have a very strong grip, but if you encounter a tube with unusually thin pins, then it would be a good idea to use spring retainers."


Finally, my VHT Special 6 Ultra together with my guitars and modest pedalboard rig, see my sig for details:

Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Feb 17, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#3
very nice

Just going by my bog standard special 6 (and also I'm assuming yours has the same speaker as the 1x12 cabinet) i'd swap the speaker before swapping tubes. depends on what type of tone you're after- what type of tone(s) are you after? LOL

for tubes i'd go with a JJ 6v6 and a tungsol 12ax7 most likely, assuming the ultra is on the dark side like the bog standard special 6 is. I don't have any experience with el34s so i can't help there.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Yngwie#1
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#4
Quote by Dave_Mc
...for tubes i'd go with a JJ 6v6 and a tungsol 12ax7 most likely, assuming the ultra is on the dark side...


I've read that a JJ 6V6 sounds more like a 6L6? I was thinking about an Electro-Harmonix 6V6GT (similar sound to a RCA 6V6) that effectively is a Tung-Sol 6V6. They are made in the same factory. For preamp tunes I'm thinking JJ 12AX7's which have slightly less gain than most other 12AX7 brands and might offset a slightly louder EL34 as compared to a 6V6's output. The EL34 should give the amp a somewhat Marshall-like character. The amp is Class A cathode biased so no issues swapping tubes.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
R_Gallagher_Fan
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Join date: Dec 2011
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#5
HNAD! Good choice.

Yeh upgraded the tubes then later the speaker. I didn't notice any difference with the tube swap but I did notice a good difference with the speaker swap.

I've had mine for about a year and couldn't complain about it at all.
Dave_Mc
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#7
Quote by Yngwie#1
(a) I've read that a JJ 6V6 sounds more like a 6L6? (b) I was thinking about an Electro-Harmonix 6V6GT (similar sound to a RCA 6V6) that effectively is a Tung-Sol 6V6. They are made in the same factory. (c) For preamp tunes I'm thinking JJ 12AX7's which have slightly less gain than most other 12AX7 brands and might offset a slightly louder EL34 as compared to a 6V6's output. (d) The EL34 should give the amp a somewhat Marshall-like character. (e) The amp is Class A cathode biased so no issues swapping tubes.


(a) maybe. it's definitely pretty loud and quite edgy-sounding. And from what I hear (don't quote me ) it'll survive in (most? some? ) 6L6 amps as a direct swap.

(b) i haven't tried the ehx 6v6, but if it's similar to the tungsol i'd pass... the tungsol 6v6 (the one i tried, anyway) was very smooth and creamy, and generally that's the opposite of what you want in the special 6 which is dark to a fault, stock (IMO). I never got as far as trying it in my special 6, but i tried it in my fame tube 5 (which is a glorified champion 600, so fairly similar to a vht special 6) and it was way too dark and creamy (and since the fame tube 5 is probably brighter than the special 6 i didn't even bother trying it in the special 6). unless your only aim is smoother/creamier/slightly less loud power tube distortion (the last of which shouldn't really be an issue since the ultra has a wattage control) I'd avoid it and go for the JJ instead.

The JJ isn't perfect- it's possibly a little on the edgy/trebly side of things, but the tungsol is way too far the other way. The JJ is slightly too abrasive-sounding; the TungSol is far too dark and creamy (at least in an amp which is already on the dark side). IMO. And bear in mind that I was trying to maximise the sparkly blackfaceyness of my special 6. If you hate blackface fender tones then you may well disagree with my assessment, lol.

(c) again, i'd avoid the JJ 12ax7 because they tend to be on the warm side, and the amp's already warm enough IMO (assuming the ultra is similar in that regard to the bog standard special 6).

(d) it's debatable how marshally an el34 will make it without changing the rest of the circuit, since it's more or less a fender champ with no negative feedback, but it wouldn't hurt to try, either (I never got as far as trying different types of power tube since it sounded pretty much exactly the way i wanted with the JJ 6v6). worst case scenario you don't like the el34 and you're out the cost of one tube.

(e) yup.

As i said, though- swapping the speaker should really be your first port of call. The speaker makes a way bigger difference than tubes, and will also arguably make a bigger difference in making the thing sound more fendery or more marshally, depending on what you're after.

As I said already- what are you after? We'll try our best to help to the best of our ability, but you have to give us something to work with, lol.

Quote by R_Gallagher_Fan
HNAD! Good choice.

Yeh upgraded the tubes then later the speaker. I didn't notice any difference with the tube swap but I did notice a good difference with the speaker swap.

I've had mine for about a year and couldn't complain about it at all.


i did notice a bit of improvement with new tubes, but the speaker made a massive difference. Don't get me wrong- it probably is worth swapping the tubes. but don't swap the tubes and ignore the speaker, kind of thing. if anything, swapping the speaker and ignoring the tubes is the way to do it, if you have to ignore one (because of cost, say).
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Feb 17, 2013,
Yngwie#1
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#8
Quote by Dave_Mc
As I said already- what are you after?


Thanks Dave_Mc. I'd like to give it a Britsh leaning character if possible. Not that I don't like Fender sounds, I do, but I like that Marshall growl with Plexi style leads. One day I will modify the circuit as I study the schematic differenences between Fender and Marshall and DIY some feature changes. For now I'm getting used to it and not necessarily disagreeable to a 6V6 based amp. I love creamy smooth leads and crunchy rhythms with percussive palm muting. I want to hear what the EL34 brings to the table but don't really need increased loudness since it's used as a living room practice amp. My musical taste is classic blues/rock to 80's metal.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Dave_Mc
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#9
ok, thanks

if you want creamy the tungsol 6v6 might actually work well for you without the increase in volume the el34 will bring. though as i said, with the wattage control it shouldn't really be a problem.

Assuming you want to keep the price down, i'd probably consider an eminence gb128. here in the UK it's the cheapest option for a greenback-ish speaker, but in the USA WGS might be no dearer (and are probably also worth a look).

you could also get something with a bit less in the way of mid-range- that way it'll still sound fairly british but the cleans will be a bit sweeter and more fendery, too. G12h30, g12t75, g12-65, classic lead or something like that. probably the eminence or wgs versions of those, since you're in the USA- eminence wizard, manowar and tonespotter respectively (eminence doesn't do a classic lead style speaker any more) and wgs reaper, reaper 55Hz and reaper HP (all variations of a g12h30), HM75, et65 and british lead respectively.

Out of all of those i've only tried the eminence gb128 and wgs et65 lol. i've tried the celestion versions of all of those, though (apart from the g1265 where i've just tried the wgs version).

bear in mind that it'll only do so much- a british tone comes from using a marshall-style amp with celestion-style speakers. granted the vht has no negative feedback and more mids than fenders usually have so you might get part of the way there. you just need to be careful you don't end up with something that doesn't sound fendery or british, which sounds somewhere in the middle and not really as good as either.

to be fair, none of the british-style speakers i tried with the special 6 really sounded bad, especially the less mid-heavy ones i mentioned. EDIT: i'd probably lean towards the g12h30 for what you play. to my ears and fingers it can handle 80s rock/metal fine, but is more vintage-sounding than the g1265/et65 or (especially) the classic lead or g12t75. a lot of people like the et65 with fendery amps, too, so that's worth bearing in mind.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Feb 17, 2013,
Yngwie#1
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#10
Hey Dave what do you mean by "bog standard special 6"?

Yeah I'd like to upgrade the speaker to a Celestion after I experiment with tubes and learn ultimately what sounds this amp can achieve. Right now I'm using the Clean input (non-boost mode) and with my 'grey spec' clone 250 overdrive pedal. It sounds pretty good if this is what a Fender tweed is like and I like bluesy lead tones anyway. I have to start experimenting next with the volume pull boost mode and the extra gain stage of the Ultra input.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Cathbard
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#11
Being a combo you may have some problems with microphonics but I'd still be tempted to try a JJ ecc803 in it. They have more sparkle than their ecc83s but will still have that midrange growl you are after.

HNAD
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ikey_
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#12
WGS speakers. from WGS a variation of their greenback or reaper would do. brighter options are of course the v30 clone or the retro 30....and if you really want to get heavy they have some deep and throaty speakers....but fi you amp is already dark......

i would say the reaper (g12H30) is a pretty well rounded speaker. thick but not dark, good mix of mids, his, and lows. sounds "big"

dark amp you say? tungsol 12ax7 can help you.

and may i suggest an AB/Y pedal to jump the two channels on the amp? that plus a footswitch for the boost would make that amp pretty versatile, especially with the wattage control .
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Last edited by ikey_ at Feb 18, 2013,
gregs1020
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#13
congrats! man i want to try one of these.
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Dave_Mc
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#14
Quote by Yngwie#1
(a) Hey Dave what do you mean by "bog standard special 6"?

(b) Yeah I'd like to upgrade the speaker to a Celestion after I experiment with tubes and learn ultimately what sounds this amp can achieve. Right now I'm using the Clean input (non-boost mode) and with my 'grey spec' clone 250 overdrive pedal. It sounds pretty good if this is what a Fender tweed is like and I like bluesy lead tones anyway. I have to start experimenting next with the volume pull boost mode and the extra gain stage of the Ultra input.


(a) the vht special 6, rather than the special 6 ultra.

(b) with the boost off it's more blackfacey, i think (albeit with a fairly highly set mid control). with the boost on it's more tweedy.

what i was saying about the g12h30 though might not maximise how marshally it'll sound. something greenbacky is probably the way to maximise how marshally it sounds (though whether that'll do enough, even in combination with the el34, i dunno).

Quote by Cathbard
Being a combo you may have some problems with microphonics but I'd still be tempted to try a JJ ecc803 in it. They have more sparkle than their ecc83s but will still have that midrange growl you are after.

HNAD


that's another good point, while i think the JJs are the wrong way to go for preamp tubes, I'm not trying to make mine sound like a marshall, lol. JJs may well help in that respect too (at least a little).
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Feb 18, 2013,
Yngwie#1
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#15
Thanks! I'm really digging this amp. Sounds pretty good stock but I'll try different tubes to open up its potential.I'm getting used to the 6V6 sound, more of a smooth growl as compared to a Marshall. My father-in-law says he has an old RCA 6V6 and some other tubes. I'm going to have to get those from him by this weekend. I want to see how the stock speaker sounds after it breaks in before replacing that, probably with a Greenback.

Haven't really messed much with the added Ultra gain stage (it roars) other than out of the box before adding my pedalboard so I can alternate between the Clean input stage and my overdrive pedal. So I'm using it more like a regular Special 6 but with the added features of the watts attenuator and depth/texture controls.

Has anyone studied the Clean gain circuit vs the Ultra gain circuit? Are they based more or less on any particular amp?

Overall I like its midrange feel. Besides my Neo-Classic preferences it puts me into a Neo-Blues mood too
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Feb 18, 2013,
R45VT
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#16
Pretty cool.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
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Dave_Mc
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#17
assuming the clean circuit is the same as the special 6 (i think it is but i haven't looked that closely into it) it's more or less a fender champ with no negative feedback. not sure if the ultra circuit is based on anything or whether it's just another preamp gain stage jammed in there.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Cathbard
Grumpy Old Tech
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#18
I get a pretty nice crunch out of my Champ using a JJ 6V6. Great tube.
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Yngwie#1
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#19
Five weeks ago I got my Special 6 Ultra and love it. So far I've changed my power tube to a '58 GE 6V6GT, from my father-in-law. The preamp tube V1 is shared by both the Clean and Ultra inputs. V2 is purely the FX loop tube buffer. The schematic shows this. So I was thinking what would be the result of using a 12AX7 in V1 and a lower gain 12AT7 or 12AU7 in V2?

In a couple weeks I hope to pick up replacement preamp tubes and an EL34 power tube at a local computerfest/radio electronics show and find out.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
gregs1020
Hi mom!
Join date: Dec 2007
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#20
you can pop a el34 in there without worrying about bias etc?

man i want to try one of these.


edit: on the V2 question, i'm not sure if it would bring just the effect level down or if it would taper off the entire signal somewhat. sorry - idk.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Mar 20, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#21
^^ ah right it was you posting on tgp

I thought vht said the ultra had an extra switchable gain stage over and above the bog standard special 6? I only have a very basic knowledge of electronics, though, which often serves to give me the wrong end of the stick I can (sort of) read a schematic but I wouldn't put any money on having read it correctly, kind of thing.

what i would say is (assuming you have the combo), put a new speaker in there before spending tons on tubes. That's not to say tubes won't make a difference, but a speaker will make a far bigger one.

EDIT: ^ yep, it's single-ended so no biasing. I think it can use most octal tubes. I think vht said a couple of the less common ones ran a bit hot, so not to run them for too long, but yeah.

I've only tried a 6v6 as it did the sound i wanted and I'm lazy.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Mar 20, 2013,
gregs1020
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#22
very cool, i was just reading about that. i'm almost tempted to try to find a used on on the usual sites just to try it out.
Dave_Mc
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#23
it'll even take an el84 if you buy the vht adaptor (which isn't that much... how well it works, though, i dunno).

but yeah it seems quite cool. i got my special 6 before the ultra came out.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

311ZOSOVHJH
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#24
HVHTD


Quote by Yngwie#1
For preamp tunes I'm thinking JJ 12AX7's which have slightly less gain than most other 12AX7 brands


Quote by Dave_Mc
The JJ isn't perfect- it's possibly a little on the edgy/trebly side of things, but the tungsol is way too far the other way. The JJ is slightly too abrasive-sounding; the TungSol is far too dark and creamy (at least in an amp which is already on the dark side).


Quote by Dave_Mc
i think the JJs are the wrong way to go for preamp tubes,



I. Don't. Even.

Yngwie#1
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#25
Quote by Dave_Mc
^^ ah right it was you posting on tgp

I thought vht said the ultra had an extra switchable gain stage over and above the bog standard special 6? what i would say is (assuming you have the combo), put a new speaker in there before spending tons on tubes. That's not to say tubes won't make a difference, but a speaker will make a far bigger one. I've only tried a 6v6 as it did the sound i wanted and I'm lazy.


^ Yeah, wish I could get my account name here reset to my real name. I'm getting tired of Yngwie, LOL. Still into the neoclassic genre but listening more to new blood playing that style now.

The first 'preamp' tube in the V1 position acts like 2 gain stages. The Clean input uses 1/2 and the Ultra uses both halves of the tube. I had that misconception too. As far as the stock VHT Chromeback speaker I actually like it because it seems to be British voiced which some people refer to as a darker sound. But I do plan on changing it to a 12" Celestion Greenback eventually.

Right now I'm in my tube experimentation phase. I got 2 NOS 'made in USA' tubes from my father-in-law; a '58 GE 6V6GT in it now which I like, and a '53 RCA 6V6GT that I haven't tried yet. The RCA tube has a slight ridge around the base which I'm told means it was run hot in the past. But I really want to try an EL34 power tube that in combination with a Celestion speaker should sound great.

I'm asking about the V2 'FX loop buffer' tube position thinking that a lower gain preamp tube might be better used there since all the real gain and character comes from the V1 tube position and don't need any further amplification through the FX loop. So I'm thinking of using a 12AX7 in V1, and either a 12AT7 or 12AU7 in V2. But I'm looking again at the schematic and see 1/2 of V2 is used in the effects loop and the other half acts as preamp gain to the power tube! So maybe I should leave well enough alone.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Mar 20, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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#26
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH

I. Don't. Even.





JJ 12ax7s are pretty dark but the JJ 6v6 is pretty bright (and tungsol seems to be vice-versa). that's what i meant. since the vht is a pretty dark amp stock i'd avoid JJ for the preamp tubes (and maybe go with tungsol) but grab a JJ 6v6 for the poweramp. Obviously YMMV and all that.

Quote by Yngwie#1
(a) ^ Yeah, wish I could get my account name here reset to my real name. I'm getting tired of Yngwie, LOL. Still into the neoclassic genre but listening more to new blood playing that style now.

(b) The first 'preamp' tube in the V1 position acts like 2 gain stages. The Clean input uses 1/2 and the Ultra uses both halves of the tube. I had that misconception too. (c) As far as the stock VHT Chromeback speaker I actually like it because it seems to be British voiced which some people refer to as a darker sound. But I do plan on changing it to a 12" Celestion Greenback eventually.

(d) Right now I'm in my tube experimentation phase. I got 2 NOS 'made in USA' tubes from my father-in-law; a '58 GE 6V6GT in it now which I like, and a '53 RCA 6V6GT that I haven't tried yet. The RCA tube has a slight ridge around the base which I'm told means it was run hot in the past. But I really want to try an EL34 power tube that in combination with a Celestion speaker should sound great.

(e) I'm asking about the V2 'FX loop buffer' tube position thinking that a lower gain preamp tube might be better used there since all the real gain and character comes from the V1 tube position and don't need any further amplification through the FX loop. So I'm thinking of using a 12AX7 in V1, and either a 12AT7 or 12AU7 in V2. But I'm looking again at the schematic and see 1/2 of V2 is used in the effects loop and the other half acts as preamp gain to the power tube! So maybe I should leave well enough alone.


(a)

(b) yeah I'm aware that 12ax7s are dual triodes, but in the special 6 its preamp uses both triodes. Granted you can get more or less gain out of a gain stage depending on how the circuit is designed etc. But it does make me wonder about the claims of the ultra's clean channel being the same as the regular special 6, and the claims that the ultra has an extra gain stage.

Unless I misread the ad copy. Or unless we've misread the schematic (that's certainly a definite possibility in my case)

(c) I didn't really like the stock speaker (assuming the speaker in the 1x12 extension cab is the same as in your combo, of course). It seemed very muffled etc. I don't think it sounded that much like a greenback. Admittedly- i only tried it for a few minutes to see what it was like, as I already had a replacement eminence gb128 that I was itching to get loaded up. It's entirely possible (make that "probable") that breaking the stock speaker in better would have helped the tone a lot. But certainly out of the box, the eminence smoked it.

(d) nice

(e) that makes more sense, and ties in with the suggestions that it has an extra gain stage

It may well be worth emailing vht, any time i emailed them they were more than happy to get technical (the vht/axl main dude who designed the amp answered!)- they could clarify for sure how many gain stages the thing has, what effect different tubes will have, etc. etc.

good luck
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Yngwie#1
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2006
140 IQ
#27
Oh, VHT says the 12" Chromeback speaker is British voiced. But based on YouTube sound comparisons of different speakers (but not with the Chromeback) the Celestion Greenback sounds a bit brighter to me. An EL34 power tube swap should help the Celestion sound slightly more Marshall-esque I suppose. Plus the amp is mod-friendly so over time I'll be making some changes. VHT support like you said is very responsive. I've emailed them many times before and after purchasing the amp and they've answered every question very promptly! They even said doing mods won't violate the warranty and will stand behind the quality of their components within reason of course as long as you don't do anything crazy.
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Mar 20, 2013,
Dave_Mc
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Join date: Mar 2005
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#28
yeah it may well be british-voiced, but as you said, the greenback is a fair bit brighter. there's warm (which the greenback is) and then there's muffled (which the vht speaker was- granted, it wasn't broken in).

Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Yngwie#1
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2006
140 IQ
#29
Yes well I'm thinking near the end of May I'll justify to my wife the speaker upgrade for my birthday
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Dave_Mc
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#30
hahahaha

yeah i sorta forget that i'm my own boss (within reason), and i only have to justify this stuff to myself. Which isn't as hard as it sounds
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

T7E
All smiles :)
Join date: Jun 2009
50 IQ
#31
These cop shit because of the whole Fryette name situation, but honestly, people really need to actually listen to these amps before judging them purely on legal matters. They are a great amp at this price point, and I play through them every time I test guitars at my local shop.
A great overall product. Good buy man, good buy.

HNAD
Yngwie#1
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Join date: Oct 2006
140 IQ
#32
Tonight I installed a '53 RCA 6V6GT power tube in my Special 6 Ultra that I got from my father-in-law and it still works! Hard to tell from memory if it sounds different than the '58 GE 6V6GT that I also got from him. Never thought I'd dig using a 6V6 before I got this amp. Next weekend I hope to score some more vintage era tubes from the yearly Computerfest/Ham Radio show event at my State Fairgrounds. I'll try an EL34 if I get one there, since that should be different sounding. That will also help determine getting either a 16 ohm or 8 ohm Celestion V30 speaker if I like it with the stock speaker. VHT told me if I stick with an EL34 an 8 ohm speaker would be a more optimal for that tube's output, but it would still work with a 16 ohm speaker.

Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Flux'D
Plays a pitchfork
Join date: May 2006
493 IQ
#33
6V6 amps are very underrated with today's guitarist. They've got their own thing going on (in a good way), and vintage ones aren't through the roof like 6L6's or EL34's. I wonder if that will take a 6L6B or whatever it was, the low power 6L6. I've got a couple floating around somewhere.. I've been tempted to try one in my Champ, but I don't wanna risk blowing the original OT in it .

There was a regular Special 6 that popped up on my CL a few days ago for a decent price, I was very tempted to buy it but feared it *might* weasel out my Champ


EDIT: I just skimmed over this, but I believe you're going for a warmer tone yes? Try finding a vintage American Tung Sol and try it in there, they're my favorite of the American tubes and have a chimey warm tone to them. My next favorite are the RCA 7025's which you might like as well, though they are pricey

A speaker upgrade will have a LOT more bank for your buck. I wish I could help suggest a speaker but I wouldn't know where to start on such a low wattage amp, I kept the stock CTS speaker in my Champ. Currently my favorite speaker for blues/light rock is a G12H30, the anniversary edition. Fat bottom end
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Last edited by Flux'D at Mar 31, 2013,
Dave_Mc
Chirp and Swirl
Join date: Mar 2005
440 IQ
#34
ah right i didn't realise that about different power tubes affecting the impedance (but it stands to sense, i guess), thanks for the info.

Yeah I like 6v6es. Enough that I never bothered experimenting with other power amp tubes, lol.

as i've said before, i agree that a new speaker probably has more bang for the buck than tubes.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Yngwie#1
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2006
140 IQ
#35
The stock speaker gives this amp a warm or dark tone right out of the box. I like it but want to try a 12" Celestion Vintage 30, which will probably make it 'seem' brighter in comparision, and I'm not sure if I should buy an 16 ohm or 8 ohm version depending on the power tube used. The amp has a 4ohm/8ohm/16ohm selector switch that works for both external cabs and the internal speaker. So I want to settle on which tubes I like, especially the power tube type between 6V6GT/EL34 first. At the Computerfest/Radio show (actually more of an electronics flea market) there will be a lot of low price vintage NOS tubes for sale. I will buy a selection of them. Here is the most recent VHT tech support email reply I got over the issue of EL34 and matching a replacement speaker's 16 ohm vs 8 ohm impedance:

"You are correct about the impedance, when substituting tubes like an EL34, to be theoretically correct, the impedance selector should be set to twice the speaker impedance. To say it another way, to be theoretically correct, you should use the 16 ohm impedance selector setting with an 8 ohm speaker. Of course the stock speaker is 16 ohms, so theoretically it would need a 32 ohm impedance selector setting, and of course the Ultra doesn't have a 32 ohm output setting. The good news is the impedance setting isn't as critical as some people think, so you can run the stock 16 ohm speaker with an EL34 without any problems. No worries. If you're considering a replacement speaker to run with an EL34, you should consider an 8 ohm speaker, as it will give you the option of being theoretically correct, and it will also allow you to experiment with different impedances as well. The key to understanding how this works is understanding that a speaker's rated impedance is a "nominal" impedance, and a speaker's actually impedance varies greatly with frequency, so it's really only "8 ohms" at certain frequencies, and generally much higher at other frequencies. Hope this helps, no worries, feel free to experiment, thanks for contacting VHT Customer Support."
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Mar 31, 2013,
Dave_Mc
Chirp and Swirl
Join date: Mar 2005
440 IQ
#36
ah yeah that's a good point, you can't decide on the speaker to a certain extent until you've decided on the tubes because of the impedance thing. sorry about that, had a bit of a "there's a hole in the bucket" moment there

And yeah i mean if you can pick up a bunch of cheap NOS tubes then do that

thanks for the info from VHT, too.

EDIT: yeah the v30 can be either brightish or darkish depending on how you look at it. it's bright because it doesn't have much bass and has a lot of upper mids, but it's also quite dark if you consider the top-end is rolled off. It's also brighter before it's been broken in.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

ikey_
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2009
370 IQ
#37
i would not recommend a 12AU7 in place of the 12ax7 in the preamp. that is a very drastic drop in gain and your amp might not be designed for it.

12at7 in the last spot generally works fine, but even then, do your research and make sure the amp can take it. the current of a 12at7 is like 10x that of a 12ax7 (though lower gain...or something like that). i rock 12at7s in the last, i like the effect.
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Yngwie#1
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Join date: Oct 2006
140 IQ
#38
At the local Computerfest Hamboree show yesterday I ended up getting an Electro-Harmonix EL34 for $12 and two Tung-Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes for $10 each. Surprisingly I didn't like the Electro-Harmonix EL34 that I bought not because of the tone, but because it felt like the speaker was buzzing or distorting. This was probably because to be optimal with the output impedance change an EL34 really needs an 8 Ohm speaker in this amp instead of the stock 16 Ohm.



So in the end I'm running the two Tung-Sol 12AX7's and any one of my RCA 6V6GT's - right now the 1961 one just to check that one out too. All the vintage GE and RCA 6V6GT's that I tried sound good in this amp.



How would you rank these NOS vintage 6V6GT power tubes to each other? I've tried the following in my 'S6U' and they all sound great - 1953 GE 6V6GT, 1958 RCA 6V6GT Grey Glass, and 1961 RCA 6V6GT Clear Glass. Are there any favorites?
Fender Malmsteen Strat > Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor > NS2 Send > NeoClassic 3080 Compressor > NeoClassic 741 Overdrive > NS2 Return > NS2 Output > VHT Special 6 Ultra Amp > Amp Send > MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay > Boss RC3 Loop Station > Amp Return
Last edited by Yngwie#1 at Apr 7, 2013,