So I got my Splawn last week and already I need new tubes. I turned it on and V4 was barely glowing and the amp was making a crackling noise for the first few minutes and when It wasn't in clean. I talked to the previous owner and apparently he got the amp in 2010 and hasn't changed the tubes since Anyways, I'm gonna get the preamps changed first, and have most of them decided. Im thinking JJ ECC83s for V2, Ruby 12AX7 AC5 HG+ for V3, and a JAN 12AT7WC for V4 PI. I cant decide what to do for V1 though. I've heard mixed review about the cleans that Tung Sols deliver. I play mostly metal, but require a good clean as well. Any suggestions?

for reference, the dude in this band uses a heavily modded marshall, and I love his clean tone:


First of all congrats on your Quick Rod and welcome to the club

Post a NAD thread when you get time to write a small review, post pics and or do a clip

Below is the tube layout of most Splawns and a video I made of checking for microphonics. The crackling noise may be coming from a microphonic preamp tube. Tap each tube with a pencil while the amp is on and see if you can hear that tapping through the speaker. If you can, you want to replace it.

In other words you may not want/need to replace them all. That said, your plan for what you want to get is pretty solid. A JAN NOS tube in V4 is a great idea. I run a JAN 5751 in my phase inverter and love it there. Not quite as 'musical' as say a JJ but is dead quiet and has roughly the same characteristics as a JJ. I'm not super fussed on Ruby - they are usually rebranded anyway (probably JJs for that matter). I'm also not super fussed on 'high gain, balanced, low noise, pre-tested, biased' etc etc as I feel most of that is snake oil. I pretty much run all JJ 12AX7s in my amp but I have experimented with Tung Sols, Groove Tubes and the Shuguang 9th gen Chinese tubes with good success. I personally do not care for Tung Sols in any amp that I've tried them in because of their brightness. The Quick Rod is already very bright so maybe that is why. It wouldn't hurt to get one though and try for yourself.

Bottom line, you have a pretty good list going. I personally would replace the JAN AT with a 5751 and maybe get 2 JJs instead of that Ruby but what you have won't hurt. Try the Tung Sol in V2 as well as V1 obviously. If you are going to buy 4 preamp tubes and have the money then buy 5 and have the back up.

Also, I know you don't want to hear this but the crackling could be coming from something else. Most notably a preamp tube pin arc'ing with its' socket or the board. The sockets are not board mounted so that seem less likely but this did happen to me on a different amp. Your best friend in these cases is Dioxit Contact Cleaner. Buy some. You spray the tube pins with it and then work the tube in and out of the socket to clean it out. Never spray directly into the socket. It is also possible that a tube came loose in transit so always make sure your tubes are pushed down nice and snug.

Hope all of this helps and let us know!

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Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 6, 2015,
Thanks 311! I actually just looked and the Ruby is actually just a rebranded JJ. I was actually debating the 5751, on Doug's tubes they just listed the 12at7 as dissipating heat better. I'll probably try the 5751. I'm just looking for something that isn't noisy for my PI. Do you think just going with JJ's for V1-3 would be cool? The amp has a pretty good clean as it is, but like you said, I have the money now, so I might just grab a tung sol just to see what it sounds like in v1.

I will most likely post a demo this weekend. My GF is going out of town so I'll most likely set her Cannon up on a tripod and do some videos.

I played it at practice this weekend and the dudes in my band were raving about it. Our drummer loved it, said it was "so articulate" and that he could " hear every note" this was even in gear 3. I'm very happy, regardless of these temporary issues.
Last edited by letsgetcokes at Jan 6, 2015,
Glad to hear things are working well. Yes, it is a very articulate amp - maybe to a fault

If the drummer is praising your tone and can hear all the notes then you know that's a good thing I'm just a hobbyist and I play a lot of metalcore type riffs and the Splawn just sounds so damn killer. Tight and crunchy yet smooth and not overly saturated like my Rectoverb.

Interesting. I bought my JAN Philips 5751 from Doug. He's the one that turned me onto it. He probably just ran out of them. If I get some spare cash I really need to stock up on NOS tubes before they are all gone or the prices get redic

I run JJs all the way through V1 - V3 and have been very happy with that way. The GT 12AX7s I got from Guitar Center are surprisingly very good too although probably also rebranded. If you have the extra cash now then maybe get a Tung Sol to see what you think but otherwise I'd try to snag some NOS tubes. RCA, Mullard, Amperex, Philips etc. Roc8995 just updated the 'Everything Tubes' thread that has some good info in it.

Curious - did we talk in a thread before you bought the QR?
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Curious - did we talk in a thread before you bought the QR?

Yeah, I was the dude who was debating between the TSL 100 and the Dual Rectifier. A Quickrod randomly popped up on craigslist right as I got my funds in order.

Yeah, I know what you mean about almost too articulate. It definitely points out any mistakes. I cant wait to gig with it. I play black metal with some hardcore and post-metal influence, it has a great amount of gain, but you can still hear every note.

I'm also thinking about changing my whole thought process, and getting something to drive the amp. Usually I'm against using overdrive and distortion pedals cause I like amp distortion and drive sounds more, but...I've recently been thinking of getting something just to tighten up the really heavy parts. I don't like thick, palm muted riffs to sound like they're being played through a wool sweater.
Last edited by letsgetcokes at Jan 6, 2015,
just did the pencil test and got some interesting results; V1 and V2 were very noisy when tapping on them. V1 in particular was making a strange "wahhh-ooo" noise every other tap almost. Sounded like a noise my refrigerator would make. Also, v4 is a tung sol. All the other tubes seem good, do you think it might be good to just go ahead and get a full retube on hand just because it's a 4 year old amp that hasn't been retubed? I also noticed that my preamp tubes don't have covers...that doesn't seem right.
Last edited by letsgetcokes at Jan 6, 2015,
Ah. OK. I remember now. Well the Quick Rod is no Dual Rectifier. I love them both but for different reasons. A buddy of mine came over recently and he's in a melodic/math/tech death metal band and he was pretty surprised at how much gain and thickness the Splawn had (with some pedals - see below). He loved the thick tone. We did a clip of him playing and what he said (that we all hear a lot) is that it sounds more gainey recorded then live. I'll see if I can find it.

I'm not an Overdrive pedal nut either but I have used my Digitech Bad Monkey pretty regularly for years now (on all kinds of amps). It will tighten things up a bit more and give your notes some pop. It is a Tubescreamer clone with a little less bass cut as well as a bass and treble control. You run these types of pedals with the Gain on '0' and the Drive on '10'. I think you will be really happy with the results. Lots of people will tell you how great such and such OD pedal is for such and such price but I'm tellin' ya, a $50 Bad Monkey is all you need.

Now for a real secret treat....Get an EQ pedal if you can and put it in your effects loops. Set it to taste. You'll love it. I have a cheap $35 Danoelectric 6 band EQ and my buddy has the ultimate MXR 10 band and we could barely tell a difference in the two. I set mine in what I think is called a 'Nyquest' EQ curve if I remember correctly. Basically it boosts the lower mids, drops the middle mids and boosts the highs just a bit. Splawns have lots of mids as I'm sure you've found out. The EQ will boost your signal as well as most have a volume slider. I put my volume on 6 out of 10 (where 5 would be no change).

Try these pedals - especially for what you play. Forget about distortion pedals. If you need a distortion pedal then you have the wrong amp. Maybe you should look at a Ampeg VH40C

As far as your tubes. Could you hear the tapping come through the speaker or just a weird noise? Did the weird noise only happen when you tapped on the tube? It is probably going microphonic and not completely gone yet. There is no reason to do a complete retube. Tubes can literally last 20 years or 20 minutes. If they work and sound good keep them. For sure keep them as spares.
For now, I would move the Tung Sol to V1 or V2 and move your V1 tube somewhere else and see what happens with the noise you are getting.

Spend the $85 on the Bad Monkey and Dano EQ and then maybe grab a JJ and a 5751.

The aluminum cylinders are not critical. Supposedly they protect the preamp tubes from additional outside interference but I could never tell a difference so I leave them off of all of my amps.

As far as power tubes - lets save that for another day as I'm whipped but I will paste in a Blog I made on how to Bias a Splawn (Marshall type) amp.

Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 6, 2015,
Go ahead and do a full retube. (Or not, you decide) Keep the old tubes just in case. Diagnostic purposes or for something else.

You can probably buy the preamp tube shields if it bothers you. Apparently they protect the tubes from microphonics and other nasties you don't want in your sound. I'm not a scientist, don't quote me on that.

I'm thinking about removing the shields from my 5150 III 50 watt. I sometimes see the glow, but not enough of it.
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Last edited by lemurflames at Jan 7, 2015,
That is mainly why I leave the shields off so I can see what my tubes are doing. If a tube goes super bright on you or completely dead there is a problem.

To your original question in the OP - a slightly dimmer tube is not a big deal. They won't always have the same brightness.

Here is a clip I did last weekend while my buddy Steve was here. I can't find his clip right now but I'll keep looking. I think we were both using the Bad Monkey and the EQ pedal. I'm always in Gear 2/OD 2. I think he used Gear 3.


Here is the blog I was talking about for biasing an amp (power tube related).

Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 10, 2015,
I could definitely here the tapping on both tubes coming out of the speakers. Forgot to mention that there is also a *chirp* noise when powering off.
If you can hear the tapping coming through the speakers then the tube is microphonic. Replace them. My video is not the greatest quality but it demonstrates this very well. You'll notice I have the amp head as far away from the speaker cabinet as possible with a very long speaker cable (always use a speaker cable obviously).

The chirp sound is normal. If it bothers you then turn the amps volume off before shutting down. I usually turn off (on) the standby switch and wait 5 seconds or so first but most would say that is not necessary.
jjs are hard to beat.

i found new tung sols to be very clean, clear tubes which are good to get rid of fizzy messes. i almost think tehy are too clean and clear to the point they almost lack character. they did everything well, but for some reason i didnt think they have the mojo of a JJ. they are brighter by a little.

i like the JJs in my current amp.

i pretty much hate most sovteks, except the LPS which is great in the PI position.

i generally like 12at7s in the PI, but not in my carvin. put a 12ax7 back there. its a per amp basis type of thing for me.

5751 is great. they do lower gain a tad, but what you get is more clarity and a more usable gain range. if your amp is fizzy, or you want that fine. a splawn has plenty of gain anyways so i doubt it will take anything from you.
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5751 safe to use as a 12AX7 replacement?
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Yeah, they are. There isn't a lot of difference between a 5751 and a 12AX7. A NOS American/European 5751 will have just as much gain as most modern 12AX7's anyway.
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Quote by letsgetcokes
Have you tried the gold pin JJs in your Splawn?

No. I have not.

As I may have mentioned, I don't really get into all the 'salesy' or 'snake oil'ish' type things. Gold Pins definitely fall into that category for me. I'm certainly not going to pay extra for it. The only thing I'll pay extra for is NOS tubes. That's where it is at.

Some on here may disagree but gold plated pins would seem to only be of benefit if the sockets were gold too. Otherwise, it seems like a waste. Maybe someone else has a different opinion. The standard JJs are just fine for cheap current production tubes.

Also - I've ran the JAN 5751 in just about every slot and it seems to work fine all the way through. I only notice a slight slight drop in gain but the smoothness and clarity make up for it. Not sure if it is safe to run in all slots - maybe someone else knows. As far as I know they are a strait up replacement.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 8, 2015,
i have never felt the need to boost either of my splawns. once you get the volume up they have the balls. if i were to boost it i would use a timmy.
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I ended up getting the standard JJecc83 instead of the gold pins. I read too many mixed reviews on them. 311, you should post a pic or something of that EQ curve on your pedal if you could.
I got a modded Bad Monkey off Reverb for $45 and an 6 band Eq for $38. Got new tubes on the way too. Monday is gonna be a busy, loud evening.

Make sure you report back.

Also, I know it will be tempting to just throw all of your new stuff at it right away but my suggestion is to do one at a time and play a fair bit in between and make mental notes on the changes. It will help you in your future as reference points. You know what I mean? Tubes first. Then the OD. Then the EQ.

In other words:

You want to hear and feel how the tube swaps changed your tone
You want to hear and feel how the OD pedal changed your tone
You want to hear and feel how the EQ pedal changed your tone

Does the EQ you are getting have a volume/level slider control? That is kind of key. For the OD, set your gain on '0' and the level on '10' and the tone controls to taste. What mod are you getting? The transparent mod? Also make sure you have the correct AC Adapters and extra cables and such for your new toys.


Please report back - I'll be curious as to your thoughts.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 10, 2015,