#1
Hey everyone,

I've been reading a little bit about overdrive pedals that use actual preamp tubes instead of a solid state circuits, and I was wondering what the advantages of using these pedals are. Right now I'm boosting the lead channel of my Bugera 6262 with a Digitech Bad Monkey, and it sounds good, but I'm wondering if it would be worth slamming my preamp with a tube circuit as opposed to a solid state one. If anyone has any experience with these kinds of pedals, your input would be greatly appreciated. I play high gain modern metal, but I love an overdriven clean tone as well, would a tube pedal give enough tonal benefits to warrant a purchase?
#2
They're really meant to be used on their own, not as boosts. Most are a gimmick as they run at a voltage much lower than the tube is designed for and typically they use it in place of a clipping diode. There are some that run at higher voltages but not many and IMO none of them sound all that great.

I can suggest a good OD depending on your needs. What kind of music do you play? What's your budget? What do you want the OD to do?
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#3
IIRC the Maxon pedals run at several hundred volts so it's less of a gimmick provided they don't use op amps and diodes like Blackstar's pedals do.
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#4
maxon OD 808 is probably your best bet to boost your highgain amp for a metal sound.

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#5
The Maxon OD808 is a repackaged TS7 with true bypass. Skip it.

EDIT: I'm not sure how the subminatures work but 30V could be enough to give some benefit. But the clipping is still achieved by an op amp/diode config from the description.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Jul 3, 2010,
#6
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#7
Quote by Azertiosa
**** this - none reads these soughts of threads down to this level, I can say what ever i like. Damn **** sucking ******s all gay have aids, women are useless - except for having babies and washing up **** dick shit


*reported*

Just leave if you don't like it here.
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#9
IIRC the Tube Drivers use some kind of clever +12,-12 voltage thing. I'll have to find the schem. They don't really sound like a high voltage tube preamp though.
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#14
Quote by mmolteratx
Most are a gimmick as they run at a voltage much lower than the tube is designed for and typically they use it in place of a clipping diode.

Every time a thread on tube pedals comes up, someone says this, and yet every reasonably popular tube pedal I'm aware of runs the tube at a decent voltage. What tube pedals do you have in mind that don't put proper voltage on the plates?

Not arguing, it's a genuine question since I see it repeated so often.
#15
Really just a lot of the boutique stuff like the Hermida, which I know uses the two halves of the 12AX7 as diodes. I know a few like the EH stuff use a little toroidal transformer to bump up the voltage to suitable levels. I don't think the ToneBone stuff bumps it up, not sure how they're using the tube though, same with the Maxon.
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#16
Quote by iceh88
maxon OD 808 is probably your best bet to boost your highgain amp for a metal sound.



Maxon or the Ibanez TS808 would be your best bet imo. Some say the Maxon's sound better, but I honestly have heard no difference at all when comparing.
#17
^The TS7 is a much cheaper alternative to both. The Maxon is the exact same circuit and they both have one resistor not present in the 808 along with a 2 different output resistors. Any slight, slight difference you'd hear would be lost when used as a boost.
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#18
The tonebone units starve the plates, but that's not necessarily a bad design. Using a tube in place of a clipping diode is marginally useful, but a starved-plate tube is not necessarily a gimmick. It's a decent application if done right, and 30 volts on the plates is enough to be useful. It doesn't have to be 250.

I'm not sure about the maxon design.
#19
I stand corrected then. Based on what the description of the Maxon said, I'd assume they're not used as diodes.
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#20
The big difference is dynamics. At 30 volts a 12AX7 doesn't clean up well at all, so the advantage is only in the tube's warmth and smoother clipping. That's why a 250 volt pedal is a "proper" tube pedal, in that it's essentially a preamp, and has all the advantages of one. A 30 volt tube pedal can still be quite good as an OD/distortion.
#21
If you need any more gain than that amp can provide... you have problems.
If you are using the Bad Monkey for anything else than a clean boost.. you have problems.
Save your money, you don't need another od.
#22
for what he's looking for the TS7 would not be very good. the ts7 is a cheap imitation TS imo.
Last edited by handbanana at Jul 3, 2010,
#23
If you absolutely want a Tube OD, look at Blackstar. If you decide that you don't care, MXR Wylde OD.
NT

BE QUICK OR BE DEAD SON
#24
Quote by handbanana
for what he's looking for the TS7 would not be very good. the ts7 is a cheap imitation TS imo.


It's the exact same pedal. Same mojo chip and everything as the Maxon OD808. There are literally no differences whatsoever, even in board quality, other than the true bypass of the Maxon. Even with the very slight differences from the 9/808, you would not here any difference whatsoever when using them as a boost.
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#25
Are you sure it's the same as the Maxon and not the Ibanez TS808? You'd think Maxon would change some of their shit up after splitting with Ibanez...


The TS7 isn't a "cheap imitation" though, it's just a Tubescreamer with manufacturing corners cut. Non true bypass, cheap housing and jacks and switches soldered right to the board and whatnot (I think?).


Usually people use Tube pedals with their cheaper SS amps, basically as a tube-preamp. A real rack tube preamp would probably be much more useful and sound better, but at that point you might as well just buy a fully tube amp, unless you need a rack setup or something.
#26
According to Analog Man, it is. And from what the description on the Maxon site says (changed output resistors), I'm inclined to believe. There was some guy on a metal forum who reversed one and said they were the same too. I can't hear the difference when used as a boost. And compared to the Ibanez 808, the difference is very slight when used as an OD. I haven't tried the Maxon and it side by side.
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#27
You might try the Jekyll & Hyde pedal by visual sound. I believe Hyde is a TS clone with a bass boost. It's not a tube pedal, but it does the job pretty well imo. Some of my friends like the rocktron silver dragon, although I don't really know anything about it myself.
#28
i dunno when i tried the nu-valve and the zendrive 2 I thought they sounded great. I talked to alf about them for a while too. I don't think it's necessarily that one is better then the other it just provides a different feel and character for the overdrive.

I definitely wouldn't get the blackstar garbage though. Not when Alfonso will make you a great sounding high gain pedal for a lot less.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#29
I'm not saying the don't sound great, they just use tubes as clipping diodes. I loved my Zen 2 when I owned it.
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#30
ya, i think that's the point right? to make the tube in place of the clipping diode. I think that's the only difference between a zendrive and a zendrive 2.

I would think that powering it up to the level of a true tube preamp would blow all your shit up?
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#31
Yea, the tube just works differently in a normal preamp circuit. Instead of being run as an amplifier it's a diode. And yea, that's the only difference between the two. Despite that, the sound is considerably different to my ears, although neither sounds more "tubey" than the other.
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#32
That Butler circuit just looks wrong to me. Diode clipping and two opamps when you have two triodes at your disposal? Then I look at the power supply. Is that for everything? ie are they running V++ at 12V? On a 12AX7? If it was a 12AU7 (or even better, a 12U7) then I'd cop it sweet but a 12AX7? Please tell me I'm reading it wrong. If I'm not then no wonder the opamps are there, they'd be doing all the work. I think I might just call shenanigans on that one.
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#33
Nah, the op amps are there in the one I used to own. That schem is verified. There are pics and a copy of the PCB layout in this thread if you want to check for yourself. http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1171

I used a 12AU7 in mine, it sounded better IMO.
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#34
Quote by mmolteratx
I used a 12AU7 in mine, it sounded better IMO.

I'm not surprised. A 12AX7 with 12V plate voltage would just be a resistor wouldn't it?
Just for shits and giggles, try a 12U7. They were designed to run at a 12V plate for use in vehicles. 32V is the highest they'll handle iirc. I remember an old valve radio in my fathers truck, that's what it would have had. You can still scrounge them up if you look around.
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#35
I don't own it anymore, although I've been considering picking up another. I'll give a 12U7 a try if I do. It's a pretty lousy stand alone OD though, IMO. It works much nicer to add a bit of gain and boost to a dirty amp.
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#36
'twer me I'd also remove those diodes. If you're running the right valve you should be able to totally bypass the opamps too. Just a pure valve boost. Well, if you can't it aint the right valve and the valve is actually serving no purpose is it?
Well I'm doing it:

SHENANIGANS!!


12V 12AX7 indeed, what a load of bollocks ... grumble ..... grumble .... *walks away*
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#37
Hey, sorry it took so long to respond guys, I wasn't expecting much of a response from this thread. So basically the differences between solid state and tube overdrive pedals are negligible when being used as a boost? I usually keep mine on all the time with very low amp gain (around like 3.5) and I love the tone it gives, thanks for the help guys, I think I may just upgrade to a better solid state overdrive instead of a tube one.

Edit: I noticed people talking about tube preamps, are there any benefits of running a tube preamp into a fully functioning amp? Wouldn't the extra preamp be redundant for a Bugera 6262?
Last edited by CerebralEdge at Jul 4, 2010,
#38
Yea, a preamp is part of an amp so it's redundant unless you want it for totally different tones.
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