#1
So I got this Tube Works RT-2100 for $75 last night. Researched it plenty before buying, really like the tube drive sound I heard on YouTube. Buttery, rich, all that goodness.

Bought it knowing it had a few minor issues to work with, but the biggest one is the distortion channel sounds like crap. If the "Drive" knob goes at all over three it just turns into a fizzy harsh nasty buzz. And the "Stack" knob, which is apparently supposed to add "Warmth and fatness" according to the manual, does nothing but turn up the volume.

The guy I bought it from said he had the tubes changed, so maybe he just picked crappy tubes, or maybe a connection is bad after sitting unused?

Anyone else had experience with tubes sounding like metallic crap?
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#2
It's possible the tubes could be crappy or bad. Keep in mind that tubes don't really make or break your sound, they're more for shaping it. It's possible it could need some work under the hood. It's possible that's just what the amp sounds like. What you heard on YouTube with audio compression isn't what the amp actually sounds like.

My old Fender HRD's drive channel sounded like ass, but that's a pretty general consensus. Definitely wasn't the tubes because I had those changed and the amp checked out by a tech.
Fender '72 Telecaster Deluxe RI
Schecter C-1 Artist II
1978 Music Man HD130
+ a bunch of neat pedals

screamy emo band
Last edited by nick.culliton at Feb 24, 2015,
#3
It cost $75 and your really wondering why it sounds like shit?


But for real he could be full of shit.
there could be an issue.
the vi8deo you heard could have had lots of post production
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#4
I'll take it to a shop after class today and see if they have some tubes.

The clean channel sounds FANTASTIC and it'll blow out my apartment windows so it's not the biggest deal; I can run pedals with no problem.
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#5
Quote by offrhode92
The guy I bought it from said he had the tubes changed, so maybe he just picked crappy tubes, or maybe a connection is bad after sitting unused?



Or, maybe he really didn't change the tubes at all.
#6
Quote by offrhode92
I'll take it to a shop after class today and see if they have some tubes.

The clean channel sounds FANTASTIC and it'll blow out my apartment windows so it's not the biggest deal; I can run pedals with no problem.


That being the case, it's probably how the amp sounds or there's something funky with the gain channel.
Fender '72 Telecaster Deluxe RI
Schecter C-1 Artist II
1978 Music Man HD130
+ a bunch of neat pedals

screamy emo band
#7
Quote by offrhode92

The clean channel sounds FANTASTIC and it'll blow out my apartment windows so it's not the biggest deal; I can run pedals with no problem.


This leads me to believe it is not the tubes. it could be a bad pot on the gain knob or something of the sort.
Gibson 58 VOS, Gibson Rich Robinson ES-335, Fender Strat, Fender RoadWorn 50's Tele, Gibson LP Jr Special

Marshall JTM45, Fender BJR NOS
#8
Quote by thejester
This leads me to believe it is not the tubes. it could be a bad pot on the gain knob or something of the sort.


The pots are in dire need of a good cleaning.....
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#9
Cleaning rarely last for long - replace them.

Those amps aren't full tube are they? MOSFET power amp, no? What tubes (both type and brand) are actually in it?
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
#10
Quote by Cathbard
Cleaning rarely last for long - replace them.

Those amps aren't full tube are they? MOSFET power amp, no? What tubes (both type and brand) are actually in it?


I *think* it's just a pair of 12AX7s in the preamp (I can't see what the OP has in his amp, of course), but it's a solid state amp otherwise. Er..."hybrid".
#11
That's what I thought.

Here's how I'd attack it.
1. Replace all the pots and maybe sockets with quality units.
2. Buy a decent 12AX7 and try it in both positions. If it improves it in both positions, buy a second one.
3. If that doesn't fix it, sell the sucka.
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
#12
Yeah I actually have no idea what tubes are in it. I need to open it up and check.

Thanks for all the input guys. Even if it don't fix I've still got 100 watts of killer clean channel and I can do whatever I want with pedals.
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#13
Also, do both tubes have to be 12ax7s or could I get away with a 12ax7 in stage 1 and a 12au7 in stage 2 for a little cleaner tone?
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#14
12AU7 don't always work as a drop in replacement, won't hurt the amp so you can try it. 12AT7 may be better. What each tube does is a mystery unless you can find me a schematic to look at. Just experiment.
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
#15
There's surprisingly little information on the internet about these amps.......... The most I've been able to determine is that both tubes, from the factory, are 12ax7s.

Noob Q: Wouldn't having two high-gain tubes in the signal path lead to a waaaaay overcooked tone? Seems to me like a low-gain would be better in one of the sockets.
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#16
Quote by offrhode92
There's surprisingly little information on the internet about these amps.......... The most I've been able to determine is that both tubes, from the factory, are 12ax7s.

Noob Q: Wouldn't having two high-gain tubes in the signal path lead to a waaaaay overcooked tone? Seems to me like a low-gain would be better in one of the sockets.

No, the circuit was designed around a certain tube and they do have volume/gain knobs on them

But by all means experiment and find what you like. You could use a 5751 tube also and it has a little less gain than the 12ax7 but they are a suitable replacement
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#17
I just ran into info suggesting the tubes may be running in low-voltage (starved plate) mode. If I remember right, starved plate tubes distort much easier, so a lower-gain tube may give me more control . . . . . . . .?
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#18
I'm not big in the technical area about tubes so I'll let someone better suited answer that.

But you can certainly try a few different tubes out and see if you like the results
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#19
One of the guys I shared rehearsal with had it and he was running some multyifx into it, sounded decent.
Sounds what op describes could be actually something else than tube but he'd have to rule out the tube first.
In this case, use what they recommend for the amp which is 12ax7.
#20
I use 12au7's in v1 pretty regularly on my amps, and haven't experienced any problems. Won't hurt to try.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#21
Quote by offrhode92
There's surprisingly little information on the internet about these amps.......... The most I've been able to determine is that both tubes, from the factory, are 12ax7s.

Noob Q: Wouldn't having two high-gain tubes in the signal path lead to a waaaaay overcooked tone? Seems to me like a low-gain would be better in one of the sockets.


12AX7s are not "high-gain" tubes. They're more or less the standard preamp tube back to the mid last century and this includes completely non-gainy ultra-low-distortion audiophile level tube amplification.

I'd suggest making sure that you have two new, functional 12 AX7 tubes (and clean pots/sockets) before you get into screwithage regarding slightly lower output tubes on a mostly solid state amp. You're getting WAAAAY ahead of yourself.
#22
Quote by dspellman
12AX7s are not "high-gain" tubes. They're more or less the standard preamp tube back to the mid last century and this includes completely non-gainy ultra-low-distortion audiophile level tube amplification.

I'd suggest making sure that you have two new, functional 12 AX7 tubes (and clean pots/sockets) before you get into screwithage regarding slightly lower output tubes on a mostly solid state amp. You're getting WAAAAY ahead of yourself.


You're being pedantic.

Of the 12a?7 family, the 12ax7 IS the highest gain tube, hence the nomenclature.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#23
I played with it more today. I'm pretty sure it's the stage 1 tube (or thereabouts) that's the issue. When using only tube 1, the tone is clean until 3 on the knob, dirties quickly up to 4-4.5, then past 5 the volume stops increasing and it gets more and more compressed and ugly. But if I leave stage 1 around 3 for moderate distortion then crank stage 2, it brings up the volume real smooth and I get a nice Marshall Plexi-esque drive that is quite fun to blast power chords.
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#24
Well, you can get a couple of new preamp tubes for like $30 and keep the old ones as spares. Regardless of which tube you think it is, just replace both of them.
Fender '72 Telecaster Deluxe RI
Schecter C-1 Artist II
1978 Music Man HD130
+ a bunch of neat pedals

screamy emo band
#25
So I went to swap tubes around and turns out some ass glued them in.

Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#26
Are you sure? That goop looks like it's on the socket, not the tubes themselves. Give 'em a little wiggle as you pull on them.
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
#27
Even if it's on the tubes I can't imagine that it stuck well to the glass surface.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#28
Oh it stuck. It took thirty minutes with a razor and rubbing alcohol to get them out. Plus there was glue down in one of the contacts. Methinks a gluey pin might cause some lame-sounding tubes.
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#29
'Twer it mine, I'd replace the sockets too then. Contact cleaner isn't going to remove goop.
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
#30
Rubbing alcohol did a pretty good job breaking down the glue. The tubes will definitely need replaced now, I'll get the sockets done too if it doesn't cost too much
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-
#31
Figured it out... There seems to be a signal leakage. If I turn the second tube off but leave it's respective gain knob all the way up, the signal is "leaking" into that tube and making everything sound like trash. What would cause that?
Agile AL-3010SE Goldtop
Carvin 4-string kit bass
Stradivarius copy cello
-><-