#1
I'l start off by saying that I've always used JJ valves, I bought my 5150 in november 2004. It had old Electro Harmonix valves in there that were pretty dead, so in January 2005 I took it to a tech and he replaced them with a set of JJ's that everyone had been raving about.

I also bought an amp from the tech that he had built, which also had JJ's. I then later revalved my 5150 (again with JJs) and last year I bought my dream amp, a Cornford Hellcat... which believe it or not had JJ's in it. So I have no experience in my own amps with anything other than JJ valves. I always see people suggest different types of valves, some more expensive ones and I get to thinking I'd like to experiment.

So coming june my amp is going to be out on the road with some pretty heavy day to day usage and so I feel it is time to revalve. But I'd like to try something other than JJ's


It's 2 channel amp with a Vintage and Modern channel, the Modern being high gain, 4x EL84 power amp valves putting out around 35w, the preamp has 5 valves. I'l be playing into it with a Strat using a Seymour Duncan JB Jr in the bridge position and Fender single coils mid/neck, in CGCFAD tuning playing rock/metal with a decent ammount of gain, but not excessive.

Example -
https://soundcloud.com/bluelightride/blue-light-ride-define-freedom - This is about as heavy as it gets in regards to gain requirements and its unlikely we would be going into full on metal territory.




So give me some suggestions for quality valves that aren't JJ, more specifically the preamp valves, I want to experiment with different sounds, so that I can get a better understanding of what I like.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Last edited by Bigbazz at May 15, 2013,
#2
RFT is a great preamp tube. I put one in my stiff amps Dirthead and it sounds great. A bit expensive, but worth it in my opinion.

Can't go wrong with JAN GE 5751 or JAN Phillips 5751.
#3
What is your budget for tubes?
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.
#4
Quote by R45VT
What is your budget for tubes?


As much as they cost. Aside from absolutely unreasonable ammounts of money, if you get my drift.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#5
Quote by Grawgos
RFT is a great preamp tube. I put one in my stiff amps Dirthead and it sounds great. A bit expensive, but worth it in my opinion.

Can't go wrong with JAN GE 5751 or JAN Phillips 5751.



5751 are well known hi-fi tubes. if you place them in V1 position (most amps use positions V1 and part or whole position V2 as gain valves), you will recognize more clean headroom, but less gain on 10! Why? 5751 have a lower amplification level
than like a ECC83/12AX7 (the name is the only difference, ECC is the european name
12A... the american)

My current setup:

Marshall DSL100: 4 preamp tubes,

V1: Gain valve, JJ ECC83S = HI-GAIN, low noise
V2: 1/2 Gain, forgot other half, JJ ECC83S = HI-Gain, low noise.
V3: Tone stack, JJ E83CCS = creamy, slightly darker than normal ECCs
V4: Phase-inverter, ECC82S = phase inverter tube has a lower amplification
level than ECC83S, but pushes more signal into the poweramp, adds a little
mor thunder from down under^^, more compression, more volume.

I use a bugera 333xl infinium too with the same valves.

The thing about JJ´s is: They are awesome! they sound great have nice gain structures, lot of gain, low noise level and they are not too expensive.

The different types are doing the same dont matter what company.
The difference are slight and thats because of different constructions.

JJ´s are great quality and sound good with any amp, BUT that doesn´t mean
you can´t go better.

Replacing V1 on my bugera had the effect of Killing pretty much every noise even
with gain on 10. On my marshall the effect was noticeable but not very big.
Would i put a electro harmonix tube in V1, it would pretty much be the same.
would i put it in V3 the tone stack valve, the amp would instantly sound harder, more
edgy than a jj.
Electro harmonix are great on marshall-ish amps when you want to achieve
harder "tighter" sound.
on an already tight and high gain amp, they might sound too harsh, creamy JJ´s for that i use.

your amp has position V1 to V5. First replace V5 (last position is always the phase-inverter) with a ECC82/12AU7.
V1 and V2 will be mostlikely the gain valves.
also V3 and V4 may be the tone stack, or two, maybe a tube based effectsloop,
maybe a reverb. but you dont have to know that.

how did i buy tubes?

i had jj´s in my amps. bought 1 electro harmonix ecc83, 1 tung sol, one fullmusic, one sovtek.

i changed V1 while i left my JJ´s in the other positions. then a jj back in V1 and changed V2 and so on.

I always put a ECC82 in the pi position. you cant boost an amp wit a tube, a lower gain tube in V1 will just lower the overall distortion level. however a real pi tube will
transfer more signal in the power amp, thats the most obvious effect you can achieve by changing tubes.

SO, buy 1 tube of different makes (EH, Sovtek,Tung Sol), play around with different
combinations and positions then buy the setup you liked best.
The only way to find your preference is actually try it yourself, as the differences are too subtle to hear it on youtube etc. also its a matter of taste.

as my ingles suck´s today heres something helpfull:
https://www.tube-town.net/info/doc/tt-tubemap.pdf
Last edited by theScapegoat at May 15, 2013,
#6
The Cornford stuff is heavily SLO inspired, and a lot of guys like RFTs in V1 of the SLO. Kind of a dark tube. I usually put a Telefunken smooth plate in V1 of all my amps. They're super low noise with nice articulation. The rest depends, though I usually put whatever in the PI, as I don't hear a difference there. I think I've got a bunch of cheap NOS GEs in most of my amps right now. Can grab those for ~$20 and they'll last forever.
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#7
played an SLO once and i hated it, harsh and cold. met a guy at a gig who played one,
and it sounded killer. he said he put tubes he ripped out of his 40+ years radio in.
a 5150 (soldano ripoff) with unlimited gain for example, two gain tubes, too much noise
and no actual clean channel, will sound like a total different amp if you put a telefunken tube in V1 and a standard 12ax7 in V2, you will have a cleaner rhythm channel with heavily improved sound, and V2 will still give enough gain for the lead channel, you just
have to push the gain a little higher, but as it has plenty of it it will not be a problem.
Last edited by theScapegoat at May 15, 2013,
#8
Quote by theScapegoat
5751 are well known hi-fi tubes. if you place them in V1 position (most amps use positions V1 and part or whole position V2 as gain valves), you will recognize more clean headroom, but less gain on 10! Why? 5751 have a lower amplification level
than like a ECC83/12AX7 (the name is the only difference, ECC is the european name
12A... the american)

My current setup:

Marshall DSL100: 4 preamp tubes,

V1: Gain valve, JJ ECC83S = HI-GAIN, low noise
V2: 1/2 Gain, forgot other half, JJ ECC83S = HI-Gain, low noise.
V3: Tone stack, JJ E83CCS = creamy, slightly darker than normal ECCs
V4: Phase-inverter, ECC82S = phase inverter tube has a lower amplification
level than ECC83S, but pushes more signal into the poweramp, adds a little
mor thunder from down under^^, more compression, more volume.

I use a bugera 333xl infinium too with the same valves.

The thing about JJ´s is: They are awesome! they sound great have nice gain structures, lot of gain, low noise level and they are not too expensive.

The different types are doing the same dont matter what company.
The difference are slight and thats because of different constructions.

JJ´s are great quality and sound good with any amp, BUT that doesn´t mean
you can´t go better.

Replacing V1 on my bugera had the effect of Killing pretty much every noise even
with gain on 10. On my marshall the effect was noticeable but not very big.
Would i put a electro harmonix tube in V1, it would pretty much be the same.
would i put it in V3 the tone stack valve, the amp would instantly sound harder, more
edgy than a jj.
Electro harmonix are great on marshall-ish amps when you want to achieve
harder "tighter" sound.
on an already tight and high gain amp, they might sound too harsh, creamy JJ´s for that i use.

your amp has position V1 to V5. First replace V5 (last position is always the phase-inverter) with a ECC82/12AU7.
V1 and V2 will be mostlikely the gain valves.
also V3 and V4 may be the tone stack, or two, maybe a tube based effectsloop,
maybe a reverb. but you dont have to know that.

how did i buy tubes?

i had jj´s in my amps. bought 1 electro harmonix ecc83, 1 tung sol, one fullmusic, one sovtek.

i changed V1 while i left my JJ´s in the other positions. then a jj back in V1 and changed V2 and so on.

I always put a ECC82 in the pi position. you cant boost an amp wit a tube, a lower gain tube in V1 will just lower the overall distortion level. however a real pi tube will
transfer more signal in the power amp, thats the most obvious effect you can achieve by changing tubes.

SO, buy 1 tube of different makes (EH, Sovtek,Tung Sol), play around with different
combinations and positions then buy the setup you liked best.
The only way to find your preference is actually try it yourself, as the differences are too subtle to hear it on youtube etc. also its a matter of taste.

as my ingles suck´s today heres something helpfull:
https://www.tube-town.net/info/doc/tt-tubemap.pdf



Thanks for the detailed reply. The set you have in your DSL is if I remember right nearly exactly what I have in my Peavey 5150 at the moment, was a pre-built low gain/noise set from Eurotubes.

I would need to buy and try, as the most important factor for me is probably the playing response I get from the amp and the finer subtle elements in the sound. Buying a selection is what I need to do, but I cant just waste money and buy a load of them, just enough to replace what I have (so 5-6).

JJ have served me well and I may end up back with those, but atleast need to try a few others. Perhaps some NOS examples if I can get hold of them. But I feel I'm fairly clueless when it comes to the specifics of actual valves.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#9
be careful with the nos thing, most of that stuff is just new but written nos on it so they can charge you more, go for dealers with a good rep only!

i tried a lot of tubes but with my amps i love those jjs.
i also know guys that put like 5 different tubes and makes in their amps, but i never heard big differences that justify a €300+ tube set. it is a subtle thing and the only thing that matters is taste in the end.
#10
Quote by theScapegoat
played an SLO once and i hated it, harsh and cold. met a guy at a gig who played one,
and it sounded killer. he said he put tubes he ripped out of his 40+ years radio in.
a 5150 (soldano ripoff) with unlimited gain for example, two gain tubes, too much noise
and no actual clean channel, will sound like a total different amp if you put a telefunken tube in V1 and a standard 12ax7 in V2, you will have a cleaner rhythm channel with heavily improved sound, and V2 will still give enough gain for the lead channel, you just
have to push the gain a little higher, but as it has plenty of it it will not be a problem.


Uh, Telefunken 12AX7s tend to have more gain than just about any other tube. Have you ever actually used one? And in a 5150, every preamp tube is used as an amplifier stage, and they're all shared across both channels.
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#11
A lot of this talk about the Soldano SLO, which is very similar in sound to the 5150, but the Hellcat doesn't sound like, or have the dynamics/response that is even remotely close to a 5150. The Hellcat is a very dynamic amp, a very honest sounding amp that needs to be played, where as the 5150 is a lot more compressed, breathes less and is smoother/tighter sounding.

With that said, http://www.watfordvalves.com/product_detail.asp?id=2735 for the reverb, perhaps.

The 5 valves I'm assuming

Reverb, Effects loop, 2x gain stages for Vintage Channel and 3x for the Modern? It's not easy to find out what each preamp valve does on this amp
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#12
the 5150 has 5 tubes 2 gain tubes 1 for the tone stack 1 as a buffer and 1 pi.
of course it shares both gain tubes. when i play a 5150 i never turn the gain past
five on lead and 1 on clean is still not clean because of the shared gain tubes.
changing the V1, the input tube to a low gain liek a 12ay7 tube will result in increased clean
headroom. leaving V2 as a normal 12ax7 will leave enough overall gain. so on clean i can turn the gain a bit higher like 3 or4 on lead i have turn it a bit higher like 6 to7. thats what i said.

to the telefunken, theres a limited amount of gain a tube can provide and the differences
are small as they have to be the same type.
yeah, the telefunkens i ever used were no 12ax7 but i cant really say which i used as
i got them used from a radio repair shop and i couldnt read thestamp anymore, sorry if i messed that up.
#13
Quote by theScapegoat
the 5150 has 5 tubes 2 gain tubes 1 for the tone stack 1 as a buffer and 1 pi.


What are you talking about? There are 7 common cathode stages, 1 cathode follower and two triodes for the PI. You're using terms that don't exist, and would be nonsensical if they did. There are two triodes in a 12AX7 (hence it's called a dual triode), and each can be configured however you wish. They're all cascaded in single ended class A. The tone stack is driven by the plate of V5A. V1A, V1B, V2A, V2B, V5A, V5B and V3A are all gain stages. Anyways, what does a 5150 have to do with this thread?
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#14
Quote by Bigbazz
A lot of this talk about the Soldano SLO, which is very similar in sound to the 5150, but the Hellcat doesn't sound like, or have the dynamics/response that is even remotely close to a 5150. The Hellcat is a very dynamic amp, a very honest sounding amp that needs to be played, where as the 5150 is a lot more compressed, breathes less and is smoother/tighter sounding.

With that said, http://www.watfordvalves.com/product_detail.asp?id=2735 for the reverb, perhaps.

The 5 valves I'm assuming

Reverb, Effects loop, 2x gain stages for Vintage Channel and 3x for the Modern? It's not easy to find out what each preamp valve does on this amp


yes, i never heard of an amp with more than 2 gain valves, i would say your amp would use one for a tone stack(s?) but then it would lack a pi.
hard to say.
my version: two gain, 1 tone stack, 1 reverb 1 pi and a solid state eff. loop
#15
Quote by mmolteratx
What are you talking about? There are 7 common cathode stages, 1 cathode follower and two triodes for the PI. You're using terms that don't exist, and would be nonsensical if they did. There are two triodes in a 12AX7 (hence it's called a dual triode), and each can be configured however you wish. They're all cascaded in single ended class A. The tone stack is driven by the plate of V5A. V1A, V1B, V2A, V2B, V5A, V5B and V3A are all gain stages. Anyways, what does a 5150 have to do with this thread?


well, ts has one and as we are talking about tubes and their effects, its a pretty good
example.

also, why does the evh 5150 have 8 Valves?
#16
^ i'm guessing because it, er, uses 8 valves?

what's your point?

Quote by mmolteratx
The Cornford stuff is heavily SLO inspired, and a lot of guys like RFTs in V1 of the SLO. Kind of a dark tube. I usually put a Telefunken smooth plate in V1 of all my amps. They're super low noise with nice articulation. The rest depends, though I usually put whatever in the PI, as I don't hear a difference there. I think I've got a bunch of cheap NOS GEs in most of my amps right now. Can grab those for ~$20 and they'll last forever.


not sure i'd put an rft in if it's dark- the cornfords are pretty dark (i've heard before that they're soldano-inspired, and from the sound of them they do sound like they are, but they're darker as well, i think).
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at May 15, 2013,
#17
The EVH has an extra channel completely separate from the other two. It's a bit of a cluster****, TBH. Channel three is seven stages and basically lifted from the Peavey. Channels one and two are both 5 stages, and share everything, IIRC. Everything about the design screams unnecessary, but it sounds pretty damn good, so no one is complaining. Looking at the schem, there's really no reason for channel 3 to have its own chain. Look at the Diezel VH4 schema and there's just one signal chain with all of the stages switched in and out, meaning there only need to be 5 stages in total, plus three stages for the (fantastic) effects loop and then the PI. It makes for a pretty complicated switching scheme though, and pretty much requires the use of a microcontroller.
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#18
Quote by mmolteratx
The EVH has an extra channel completely separate from the other two. It's a bit of a cluster****, TBH. Channel three is seven stages and basically lifted from the Peavey. Channels one and two are both 5 stages, and share everything, IIRC. Everything about the design screams unnecessary, but it sounds pretty damn good, so no one is complaining. Looking at the schem, there's really no reason for channel 3 to have its own chain. Look at the Diezel VH4 schema and there's just one signal chain with all of the stages switched in and out, meaning there only need to be 5 stages in total, plus three stages for the (fantastic) effects loop and then the PI. It makes for a pretty complicated switching scheme though, and pretty much requires the use of a microcontroller.



Now Diezel? well, looking at the vh4 front panel, im not interestet in looking at the shema^^.
i just got distracted by you saying all valves on the 5150 doing the same.
im not interested in schemes of tube layouts as im no tech. I know one, the same
guy who works on my amps. i understand the simple layouts on my amps as we put a lot of work into them, and tube technologie is basicly pretty simple.
the point is, every tube has its purposes, and different tubes can serve different purposes better or worse. its great to know what which one does, and how it affects the sound.
#19
Just to clarify this is about the Cornford Hellcat and not the 5150, just used it as an example ^^. The 5150 has 5 preamp valves 3 gain, 1 PI and 1 Effects loop. The Hellcat also has 5 preamp valves, with the Vintage channel having 2 gain stages and the Modern channel having 3 gain stages (2 that it shares with the Vintage channel).

This is as much as I've been told about it. I'm no amp tech either so anything past basic maintainence such as biasing, replacing valves/fuses is beyond my knowledge.

If we're comparing the Hellcat and 5150 side by side then the Hellcat is the brighter amp, less gain, more open and much more dynamic, more of a rock amp than a full out high gain metal monster like the 5150, which sounds a little bland/uninspiring compared (though the 5150 is certaintly tighter/more aggressive with its high gain).

The original post had a soundclip that I recorded with my amp and a Shure SM7B, to get the idea.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Last edited by Bigbazz at May 15, 2013,