So I have recently changed the speaker and phase inverter preamp tube in my valve king. It made a drastic improvement in the tone this amp can achieve (huge thanks to everyone on the vk thread and wiki page). I am now GASing to change out the v1 and v2 preamp tubes to get this thing to its full potential.

Now keep in mind I'm after blues/grunge/alternative and rock tones. Not ultra high gain and absurd distortion. I am pretty happy with the clean I have now but have heard the original rubys are junk, so I might be able to improve it a bit. Mainly I would like to improve the dirty channel. The 12at7 made the dirty channel much more usable. But it still has some fizz and is a touch darker then I'd like.

I was thinking maybe a tubestore preferred series 12ax7 in the v1 and a tung-sol in the v2. Does anyone have experience with the tubestore tubes? Can anyone suggest something else if they don't think that's a good choice?
Those "preferred series" look an awful lot like they came out of the New Sensor factory with all of the other "purchased pedigree" tubes like the current production Golden Lion and Mullard.

There aren't that many tube factories out there, I don't think this website is making their own tubes. Best case, they spec'd a tube for the Sensor factory and they're making them next to the EHX tubes. More likely, they just test a little better and they're the same tube. Worst case, they're exactly the same and you pay $10 extra for thinking you have a special tube.

Anyway, with all the rebranding shenanigans that go on with tubes, I'm always skeptical about these "special reserve" tubes that obviously come out of one of the 3 or 4 remaining factories in the world that make tubes. I'd suggest getting a Tung-Sol and a JJ and maybe a Sino and swap those all around, see what sounds best. You can also still get JAN 5751s for a fairly good price, might be worth trying one of those as well to get rid of some fizz.
+1 Roc

I did a fair amount of tube swapping in my VK when I had it and I recommend JJs and the JAN 5751.

What did you put in the Phase Inverter? Sovtek LPS?

IMO the EHX tubes I've tried are just junk.

The Tung-Sols, while possibly better quality on par with say a JJ, just do not get along with me. A bit too shrill and bright.

Also, check out these places to shop. I would prefer them personally.

Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Aug 1, 2014,
Nice. Thanks for the input guys. This is my first all tube amp and the number of different tubes and configurations can be an over load at time s.

I went with a JJ 12at7 in the phase inverter. I still have stock rubys in the v1 and v2 . My main goal is to brighten up the distortion just a tad but mainly get rid of the fizz.
Have you tried the JJ in V1 or V2?

Try it just for fun. I'd maybe get 2 of the following: JJ 12AX7, Tun-Sol 12AX7, and a JAN 5751 if you can afford it. Then start swapping tubes around until you find the right combination. That way, you'll have some spare preamp tubes laying around which is always a good thing.

What speaker did you get? If it is a new speaker it could take up to 20 hours of solid playing on it to break it in (loosen up the cone).

Also, an EQ pedal in the effects loop does wonders. You can a Danelectro Fish n Chips EQ for like $35. Totally worth it.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Aug 1, 2014,
Thanks 311... You seem to really know your stuff. And thanks for the other websites

No I have not swapped the JJ I currently have around. Like I said earlier this is my first tube amp. I loved it in the store and when I first brought it home. But the more I played the more the quirks bothered me. When I put that 12at7 in the V3 it just seemed like it was right where it belonged. I'll probably play with it a little more now. I can afford a few tubes in the 10-20 range but I'm not looking to pay 40+ for one tube. Lol.

I went with a guitar warehouse et65 for the speaker. Celestion was out of my price range. I was set on eminence for a long time. I actually emailed eminence a few times and they pretty much told me what I was looking for was not a good fit... But gave me some other recommendations. I finally settled on the et65 based on sound clips and the fact that if I didn't like it a 65$ loss is easier then a 100-130$ loss.

BTW. I have been looking at the fish and chips since I had my old amp. Truth be told I have never used an EQ pedal before and thought it would be better to dial in my amp as close to what I'm looking for then just use a bit of eq on it. But I will probably be buying one in the next month or 2. Just wanted to a dress the tubes first
Last edited by Smigzy at Aug 1, 2014,
Oh yeah WGS is good stuff. I think the et65 is a take on the Celestion G12H30?

Get a JJ and Tung-Sol 12AX7 and call it good.

IIRC I also had good experiences with the Penta Labs 9th Gen (Shaguang/Sino) and also Groove Tube 12AX7s.

Send Doug an email and get his suggestion. Good guy and ships fast.