#1
I figured there might be some sweet deals people on here know about when it comes to buying duets/quartets of tubes for tube amps. Does anyone have any recommendations?
#2
Usually, cheap sets of tubes haven't been properly tested or matched.
Tubedepot, KCANOStubes, and Doug's tubes tend to be the better retailers.
#3
Quick side-question: what does it mean when it says "medium"/"soft"/"hard" duets?
#4
It refers to how quickly power tubes break up. Soft have the quickest breakup, hard have the most headroom.
#6
If you want to save money have a look at the Shuguang valves from China. They are actually quite a nice valve and are substantially cheaper. I have them in my Marshall and they sound sweet.
soft/medium/hard refers to how the valve breaks up distortion wise:
soft break up slowly effectively giving you more gradual distortion and higher headroom
Hard break up hard, fast and early giving a harsher distortion and less headroom (and less warning)
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#7
There's no reason for them to cost different amounts. They're the same tube, it's just that some come from the factory with a little more gain than others so they give you the choice.
#8
Hey Roc and Cath, you both have opposite explanations on soft/hard valves, which one is correct?
Matthew 7:7 ""Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Pop Punk! Check us out!: Flinch
Last edited by tr3nt at Jan 8, 2010,
#9
Quote by tr3nt
Hey Roc and Cath, you both have opposite explanations on soft/hard valves, which one is correct?

lol i noticed that too and now im really worried that i ordered the wrong kind
#10
Checking online, it seems that Musician's Friend has decided that Hard has the least headroom, and since they have the biggest online presence, that's what pops up when you search. Unfortunately, they've either gotten it wrong or are trying to change the original system.

Groove tubes, as far as I know, pioneered the Soft/Medium/Hard system and have always had it so Soft tubes had the least headroom. That's how it's been for years, and until I checked today and saw all the descriptions on MF (which are copied and pasted for each tube, so I wouldn't rule out a mistake), I hadn't seen it the other way. It originally referred to the vacuum in the tube - a tube with a "hard" i.e. a particularly good vacuum would be more efficient (more headroom) than one with a "soft" vacuum, i.e. more gas presence.

The good news is if you go to a good tube dealer (NOT MF) and ask for 'hot' or 'cold' (or, even simpler, "high gain" or "low gain") tubes, they'll know what you mean.
#11
Good tubes ain't cheap. Since they serve almost no purpose other than for amplifiers anymore, the prices reflect their limited market. A cheap tube is no bargain if it fries out in three months. Get good tubes and consider the cost as part of the price of having a tube amplifier.
#12
^ This is true. A pair of Winged C EL34s for the 800 will set me back nearly $70, just for the power section.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#13
Quote by bubb_tubbs
^ This is true. A pair of Winged C EL34s for the 800 will set me back nearly $70, just for the power section.


Yeah I got an amp with 4 power valves, 6 pre and two rectifiers
Matthew 7:7 ""Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Pop Punk! Check us out!: Flinch
#14
It's like this, once a hard valve distorts it distorts fast and more full on. A Soft valve will breakup gently at first and as you keep driving it it will gradually distort more. Which has more headroom? Well that can vary in reality and it also depends how one is judging where the top of the headroom begins. Technically speaking I guess the hard one has more headroom but with a soft valve the transition is more gradual so you get more "playable" headroom. The higher gain of a hard valve will push that threshold further along the graph so in strict "measured on a meter" headroom the hard valve can have more headroom but when you hit that threshold it's blatant but it's a gradual change on a soft one.
You could probably think of it this way when it comes to practicality:
soft = blues
hard = metal
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Jan 8, 2010,
#15
What do you look for if you play the stuff inbetween? Rawk n Roll.
Matthew 7:7 ""Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Pop Punk! Check us out!: Flinch
#16
i play shoegaze
and i already ordered a hard quartet
...am i ok? cause i need pristine cleans mixed with very heavy distortion. so since i got hard does that just mean i could get intentional distortion easier?
Last edited by Lrn2play at Jan 8, 2010,
#17
Quote by tr3nt
What do you look for if you play the stuff inbetween? Rawk n Roll.

there are mediums
#18
Quote by Lrn2play
i play shoegaze
and i already ordered a hard quartet
...am i ok? cause i need pristine cleans mixed with very heavy distortion. so since i got hard does that just mean i could get intentional distortion easier?

What amp are you putting them in? What brand did you get?
#19
Quote by Roc8995
What amp are you putting them in? What brand did you get?

fender '65 twin reverb RI. 2 grove tubes gold series 12AT7, 4 electro-harmonix 12AX7, and 4 Hard Quartet Electro-Harmonix 6L6 Matched Power Tubes.
#20
Hard valves don't mean it's easier to get OT distortion easier, it means you have to turn it up REAL loud to get any amd then it's distorting like a mofo. Metal distortion is mostly preamp distortion (or pedals) so you aren't even pushing the output hard, you need clean headroom and that's where hard valves are useful.
OT distortion is more for Blues and Rock and you want it controllable, therefore softer valves.
For shoegaze - depends on style. I'd say soft so you can get some nice coloured rhythms but a lot of shoegaze is just pedals into a clean amp and in that situation - hard.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band