#1
Hey!

I play a Bugera 333xl Infinium (into a harley benton g212 vintage if it matters).
I'm pretty happy with the amp, especially considering the price. Had it since December last year without complications, and I've gigged several times with it.

I do think it's kind of rough and life-less though? I still have the stock EL34 bugera tubes in there, do you think switching those with let's say JJ EL34's + pre amp tubes would improve the sound of my amp? I can only expect Bugera tubes to sound cheaper tbh..

Thanks!
#2
only one way to find out
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#4
People say tubes changes can be a night and day difference. In my opinion, the only time it is a night/day difference is if your amp blows a tube and wont work until you replace it. Other than that, tube changes have resulted in very minor changes in tone in my experience.
Get a tubescreamer for your bugera. They work extremely well with TSs. And use your amp eq more. The 333 and 333xl have a huge sweep in eq, which is awesome in my opinion. You can get a lot of sounds. Try more mids and highs if it sounds lifeless
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#5
It won't be a huge difference. A bit more subtle change but not huge.
As Watterboy said, huge changes would come from an OD and proper equing.
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#6
If it still has the stock tubes then maybe. The Bugera stock tubes aren't great.
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#8
Quote by moses132049
tubes should be changed yearly.

Who told you this line of crap?
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#9
It should help some. Not sure exactly what you mean by "rough and lifeless". Changing/experimenting with the preamps might help the most. I use a Tung-Sol 12AX7 to "breathe life" into my dullish ValveKing. Works great for sparky Church band music, a nice amount of clarity added. If you're having too much gain, you might want to look into getting a lower-gain 12A(x)7.
#10
Yeah it'll help. I think preamp tubes can make a decent difference in tone to an amp that you already like. They are only complimentary adjustment however.
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#11
Quote by Robbgnarly
Who told you this line of crap?


I mean if you're an actively gigging musician and/or play loudly often, power tubes should be replaced every 1-2 years. But for the average player, every year is definitely excessive.
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#12
Quote by nick.culliton
I mean if you're an actively gigging musician and/or play loudly often, power tubes should be replaced every 1-2 years. But for the average player, every year is definitely excessive.

Not true. I'm in a heavily touring/gigging band and the power tubes in my Marshall are 10 yrs old. but they are really good tubes. Some tubes can last years and are completely fine others last minutes at best so yes a lot of people will err on the side of caution and do "routine maintenance".

But that being said, I do advocate having a spare set because you never know. and tube rolling is always cool
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#13
Okay, so maybe changing preamp tubes could show some interesting results?
I have been playing with the eq a lot, and I've landed on a tone I find to suit my needs somewhat, but with the gain on 10-11 o' clock, I get way more gain than I really wish..

Not a big knower when it comes to tubes, but what preamp tubes would you guys recommend for perhaps a bit less gain?
#14
Get a few JJ 5751's they have less gain than a 12ax7, but they are a drop in replacement.
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#16
Different preamp tubes make a big difference in sound, not necessarily better, but different. Some tubes sound bright, some sound dark, some sound weak and flimsy, some punchy and articulate. I recently "tubed rolled" my amp with probably 2 dozen different tubes, it was an amusing, grueling, educational, boring thing to do, very enlightening though. If you still have stock preamp tubes and they're not up to par, I'd bet some spiffy preamp tubes would bring out a lot more character in your amp. It won't make your amp something its not, but it'll help get the best out of your amp
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#17
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I would personally take those crappy Bugera tubes out of there and put JJ's in so...Yes.

Changing tubes every year just to do it is ridiculous. Change them only when they need to be changed.


+311

i would throw new ones in. keep the originals for backup. i can't imagine stock tubes are good.

+3.1415 to rob, keep backups and don't worry about scheduled replacements, and keep them with you if you are gigging.
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#18
if you call someplace like Doug's tubes or Eurotubes then tell them what amp you have , what kind of music you play and they can set you up ..... I just got a assortment of tubes to try , some for more gain , some for less gain , some with more low end some with less , ect , ect like all ready mentioned ......nice for a subtle change but its not like a pedal or anything major like that
#19
I just changed the tubes in my JCA50. I had the stock ones in, and the preamp tubes started dying, so i took it to a tech and he retubed the whole thing, preamp and power amp tubes. JJ's on the power and EHX on the preamp.

I hear no difference. The amp responds a bit different to the gain control, but sound wise, he might have just put the old tubes in. I know people say its this amaing difference, but i havent noticed it. Maybe if i had a good cab and all that, but still.
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#20
I think the amount of difference you hear depends on two factors:

1. What the amp had before you changed the tubes
2. How advanced your "ear" is for subtle tone changes

Regarding number 1, this can be a big difference. My 6505+, for example, came stock with Ruby 12AX7s and 6L6 GC power tubes. After some later research, I found that they were cheap Chinese Shuguang tubes, not rebranded JJs like Rubys sometimes are.

When I outfitted my amp with all JJs it was an immense improvement. I first upgraded the preamp tubes and could tell a big difference in the "richness" of the tone. Then, a little while later I replaced the power tubes with JJs and was really blown away. The JJs were much louder, ballsy, with a ton more low-end -- yet still have clarity and warmth on the top end. Much, much better sound than the stock tubes. Your Bugera probably has absolute shit for tubes, same as my 6505+ 112 -- I'd change them out ASAP.

Regarding factor number 2, it depends on the person and experience. I can tell a difference when changing just one preamp tube to something else. It's not a huge difference, but I can tell. This is where using different models than stock comes into play. I'd install a 5751 tube in both V1 and the phase inverter position if I were you. They are slightly lower in gain than standard 12ax7s, and will make your gain knob more useable. Not only that, they improve the clarity of your distortion and seem to enrich the overtones, at least on my 6505 they do. They will also probably improve your cleans. It is not the same kind of difference you could expect from say, going from one amp to another, but it's a difference you'll hear when you're experienced with subtle tone tweaking.
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Last edited by KailM at Mar 30, 2015,
#21
Quote by KailM
I think the amount of difference you hear depends on two factors:

1. What the amp had before you changed the tubes
2. How advanced your "ear" is for subtle tone changes

Regarding number 1, this can be a big difference. My 6505+, for example, came stock with Ruby 12AX7s and 6L6 GC power tubes. After some later research, I found that they were cheap Chinese Shuguang tubes, not rebranded JJs like Rubys sometimes are.

When I outfitted my amp with all JJs it was an immense improvement. I first upgraded the preamp tubes and could tell a big difference in the "richness" of the tone. Then, a little while later I replaced the power tubes with JJs and was really blown away. The JJs were much louder, ballsy, with a ton more low-end -- yet still have clarity and warmth on the top end. Much, much better sound than the stock tubes. Your Bugera probably has absolute shit for tubes, same as my 6505+ 112 -- I'd change them out ASAP.

Regarding factor number 2, it depends on the person and experience. I can tell a difference when changing just one preamp tube to something else. It's not a huge difference, but I can tell. This is where using different models than stock comes into play. I'd install a 5751 tube in both V1 and the phase inverter position if I were you. They are slightly lower in gain than standard 12ax7s, and will make your gain knob more useable. Not only that, they improve the clarity of your distortion and seem to enrich the overtones, at least on my 6505 they do. They will also probably improve your cleans. It is not the same kind of difference you could expect from say, going from one amp to another, but it's a difference you'll hear when you're experienced with subtle tone tweaking.

I reckon alot of this stuff is subjective and varies from person to person. But I own a bugera 333, and I swapped out the "junky" stock tubes for JJ 6l6s, and honestly the difference was negligible. If anything, it was reassuring to have a fresh set of tubes in, since everybody says the stock ones are junk. But in reality it didnt change a whole lot in terms of sound
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#22
Okay, getting a lot of different inputs here, which is great!

What I really feel like I'm missing in my tone is clarity and punch, but I guess I'll need a pair of backup tubes, so I might aswell replace them now. What set of tubes do you think might get me closer to achieving this in my tone?
5751's doesn't seem to be available here in Sweden though, not even Thomann has them.
#25
@Juliusxxxrock: You might be better served by adding a good EQ pedal to your effects loop. I'm not that familiar with how the 333's eq works, but having a multiband EQ pedal such as an MXR 10-band has worked wonders for the tone of my 6505+. The tone I get now is not possible with the amp's EQ alone.

However, regarding the tube change -- again, I don't know what tubes your amp came with -- but when I changed out my cheap Chinese ones for all JJs, it wasn't just a "subjective" change -- it was a HUGE improvement and I think 10/10 people would have agreed having heard it both ways. In any case, you will need new tubes eventually, you might as well experiment and keep the old ones as spares.
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#26
BAD tubes to GOOD tubes will make an audible difference. for example, get rid of the garbage sovtek 12ax7wa's that probably come in that amp.

i replaced that with a 5751 in my bugera v22 and it was a LARGE difference. perhaps not in actual EQ type tone, but in gain structure. less fiz and mess and more clarity.

i would say power tubes may help some. depends if they are getting worn, like s tire on your car. they have a lifespan. but really, change that v1 tube for a 5751. for sure.

if you can spend teh cash, probably just replace all the preamp tubes. teh stock ones are undoubtedly garbage. i would probably go for a JJ 5751 in v1 and probably regular JJs or tung sol re-issues in the rest. i commonly like a 12AT7 in the last position.
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#27
i think there are far more factors into how much of a difference that new tubes make. some may even be a result of an amp's design.

however when i threw JJ's in my tremoverb it did make a pretty big difference. much more with a 12AT7 in the first position and phase inverter. it totally changed the way the gain responded and really worked better.

my 18watt made a huge difference between a tung sol and a JJ in V1, way more than in any other amp i have. and they were both 12AX7's.

i also agree that old tubes lose a little luster and new tubes do make a difference being newer, and likely better tubes, in the OP's scenario.

i would agree with that 5751 or 12AT7 in V1 and phase inverter. you will still have plenty of gain.
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