#1
Oh sh*t, yet another "VS" thread....

But seriously. I would really appreciate if you could share your experience in terms of preamp tubes. I am experimenting with the preamp of my Laney Ironheart 30. I have already compared the stock Ruby tubes with JJs - the result: now the amp sounds a bit smoother, more round, but as if it lost a bit of gain, I mean top-end gain, not low-end growl. Am I just deaf, or could really be the JJs weaker in terms of gain?
Now the next tubes I´m about to try out, are TungSols - I´ve heard they are very tight, aggressive on upper mids and highs, which could be fine. BTW: I have changed the sh*tty spiky and brittle stock speaker for a fat and juicy sounding Celestion K100. I can imagine buying a few TungSols and experimenting, taking my chance, TungSols are not expensive.
But I would definitely need your advice as for Mullard Reissue 12AX7 - they are not cheap and I don´t want to waste my money just like that, blindfolded.... So can you please tell me how would the Mullard RIs sound? In that amp? With that speaker? Compared to JJs and TungSols?

That´s about it, thanx a lot for all your replies, folks!
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#2
I use the new mallard in my Marshall 12ax7 in V1 and V2/3 are JJ Ecc83 and a Sovtek 12ax7LPS in the PI and it sounds good to me.

The new Mullard CV4004 is a better tube than the Mulard 12ax7, but the Mullard 12ax7 has the most gain of any new production tube.

Here is a chart that will help you
www.tubesandmore.com/tech_corner/12ax7_comparison_of_current_made_tubes


www.tubedepot.com has USA made 12ax7 (various brands) that are pulls but test good for $19 and you really can't beat that price at all. It is worth getting 1 or 2 to try in your amp
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Dec 5, 2015,
#3
Don't put Mullards or TungSols in any stage with a cathode follower. So, FX send and tone stack.
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#4
Quote by Cathbard
Don't put Mullards or TungSols in any stage with a cathode follower. So, FX send and tone stack.


Sorry, I´m not a tech guy and English is not my first language. So can you please provide an idiot-proof translation?
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Last edited by Airfish at Dec 5, 2015,
#5
Quote by Robbgnarly
I use the new mallard in my Marshall 12ax7 in V1 and V2/3 are JJ Ecc83 and a Sovtek 12ax7LPS in the PI and it sounds good to me.

The new Mullard CV4004 is a better tube than the Mulard 12ax7, but the Mullard 12ax7 has the most gain of any new production tube.

Here is a chart that will help you
www.tubesandmore.com/tech_corner/12ax7_comparison_of_current_made_tubes


www.tubedepot.com has USA made 12ax7 (various brands) that are pulls but test good for $19 and you really can't beat that price at all. It is worth getting 1 or 2 to try in your amp


Thank you, that chart is really interesting.

But as for buying tubes, I would rather stick to nearby European stores, with lower (or zero) shipping costs to my place and no customs/VAT bullsh*t....

A question about your Marshall: people say that JJs are helpful when you need to tame the brittle, harsh and thin tone of your amp. Was this your case, too? And did it work?
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#6
www.watfordvalves.com is a good reputable dealer in the UK.

TAD has tubes made for them at certain spec's, and they are good tubes www.tubeampdoctor.com/de/

JJ's tend to have a darker tone, but the Mullards are IMO kinda bright sounding. I like tube swapping in amps, so I experiment from time to time. The Mullard/JJ/sovtek setup I have right now sounds pretty good to me.
A lot of the time "brittle/harsh" tone can be fixed with an EQ adjustment. If you can't fix it with your EQ then tubes are not very likely to help that much. Preamp tubes are like a fine adjustment
2002 PRS CE22
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Dec 5, 2015,
#7
Quote by Robbgnarly
www.watfordvalves.com is a good reputable dealer in the UK.

TAD has tubes made for them at certain spec's, and they are good tubes www.tubeampdoctor.com/de/

JJ's tend to have a darker tone, but the Mullards are IMO kinda bright sounding. I like tube swapping in amps, so I experiment from time to time. The Mullard/JJ/sovtek setup I have right now sounds pretty good to me.
A lot of the time "brittle/harsh" tone can be fixed with an EQ adjustment. If you can't fix it with your EQ then tubes are not very likely to help that much. Preamp tubes are like a fine adjustment


No, brittle/harsh is not my problem, I have solved it by changing the speaker, as I already mentioned.... I was just curious, since you have a Marshall....

So maybe I will buy a couple of Mullards and TugSols, compare them and see (hear) what I like....
I just wonder what Cathbard wanted to say in his reply.... maybe you understand what he said?
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#8
Quote by Airfish
No, brittle/harsh is not my problem, I have solved it by changing the speaker, as I already mentioned.... I was just curious, since you have a Marshall....

So maybe I will buy a couple of Mullards and TugSols, compare them and see (hear) what I like....
I just wonder what Cathbard wanted to say in his reply.... maybe you understand what he said?

some amps have a cathode follower in certain spots of the amps circuit. some tubes can not handle being put in these positions and will fail in a very short time.

Now the exact reason and technical talk, I don't have a clue

And if you have a question about if your amp has them, you'll need to wait on someone like Cath that can read your schematic properly
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
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#9
Ask the Manufacturer if the amp has cathode followers/send Cath the schematic. Also sending Cath $10 AUD might help him give you an answer quicker.

Very generally, here is how I perceive those three preamps to sound:

JJ: Smoother/Darker
Tungsol: Open/Brighter
Mullard: Open/Gainy

Really the best thing is to just try them out. Sovtek 12AX7LPS in the Phase Inverter position. V1 often has the most influence on your tone compared to the other positions, so try there first. If it is too bright, try a JJ in V1. If it is too dark, Tungsol. Mullard in a gain position, and the Sovtek in PI.
Last edited by Will Lane at Dec 5, 2015,
#10
Quote by Will Lane
Ask the Manufacturer if the amp has cathode followers/send Cath the schematic. Also sending Cath $10 AUD might help him give you an answer quicker.

Very generally, here is how I perceive those three preamps to sound:

JJ: Smoother/Darker
Tungsol: Open/Brighter
Mullard: Open/Gainy

Really the best thing is to just try them out. Sovtek 12AX7LPS in the Phase Inverter position. V1 often has the most influence on your tone compared to the other positions, so try there first. If it is too bright, try a JJ in V1. If it is too dark, Tungsol. Mullard in a gain position, and the Sovtek in PI.



Oh, I see.... tech know-how is not cheap, not even down under....
And thank you for your advice!
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#11
Quote by Airfish
Sorry, I´m not a tech guy and English is not my first language. So can you please provide an idiot-proof translation?



I'm not a tech and not an expert like Cath but I quickly made some deductions off of google hits. As I suspected the Ironheart (like most Laneys) is based off of the Marshall tone stack which generally means that V2 is going to be a cathode follower. Not always a guarantee so it is always best to check vs guessing. I would get a mix of tubes with a JJ for V2. Also consider a 5751 tube for your Phase Inverter (last preamp). JAN 5751.

Check out the first couple of links:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Laney+Ironheart+cathode+follower&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=639&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJmdD468TJAhWlnoMKHXqQAWUQ_AUIBSgA&dpr=1.25


The V2 position in your amp is the driver and cathode follower for the tone controls. Here you can again increase or decrease the gain, or even smooth it out with a Gold Pin tube. Please see click on the "More Details" button to get an in-depth description of the tonal differences. (found here: )

http://www.eurotubes.com/store/pc/configurePrd.asp?idProduct=1122


The cathode follower is a common arrangement which converts a high impedance, low current input to a low impedance, high current output. It outputs a high enough current to get the signal through the tone stack. This is where they are usually located. It would occur in a stage prior to the tone stack, which would be prior to the PI. The PI tube is usually the closest tube to the power tubes, but not always. Just most of the time. There shouldn't be any reason for a PI to destroy a tube in 10 minutes. It was probably a bad tube. The PI drives a tube harder than other locations in the preamp and you will wear one out about as fast as a set of power tubes. But tearing one up quick means a bad tube or faulty component around that socket to drive it that hard. That's unlikely. Some like a 12at7 for the PI some prefer a cheap chinese 12ax7 that would be kind of hot or maybe even harsh in a preamp position. Ultimately, it's a matter of preference. Use whatever sounds good to your ear but use the ones you already have with confidence. (found here: )

http://www.laney-posse.co.uk/theposse/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6700


More:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Laney+Ironheart+cathode+follower&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=639&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJmdD468TJAhWlnoMKHXqQAWUQ_AUIBSgA&dpr=1.25#q=Laney+Ironheart+tube+layout
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Dec 5, 2015,
#12
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I'm not a tech and not an expert like Cath but I quickly made some deductions off of google hits. As I suspected the Ironheart (like mose Laneys) is based off of the Marshall tone stack which generally means that V2 is going to be a cathode follower. Not always a guarantee so it is always best to check vs guessing. I would get a mix of tubes with a JJ for V2. Also consider a 5751 tube for your Phase Inverter (last preamp). JAN 5751.

Check out the first couple of links:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Laney+Ironheart+cathode+follower&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=639&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJmdD468TJAhWlnoMKHXqQAWUQ_AUIBSgA&dpr=1.25


The V2 position in your amp is the driver and cathode follower for the tone controls. Here you can again increase or decrease the gain, or even smooth it out with a Gold Pin tube. Please see click on the "More Details" button to get an in-depth description of the tonal differences. (found here: )

http://www.eurotubes.com/store/pc/configurePrd.asp?idProduct=1122


The cathode follower is a common arrangement which converts a high impedance, low current input to a low impedance, high current output. It outputs a high enough current to get the signal through the tone stack. This is where they are usually located. It would occur in a stage prior to the tone stack, which would be prior to the PI. The PI tube is usually the closest tube to the power tubes, but not always. Just most of the time. There shouldn't be any reason for a PI to destroy a tube in 10 minutes. It was probably a bad tube. The PI drives a tube harder than other locations in the preamp and you will wear one out about as fast as a set of power tubes. But tearing one up quick means a bad tube or faulty component around that socket to drive it that hard. That's unlikely. Some like a 12at7 for the PI some prefer a cheap chinese 12ax7 that would be kind of hot or maybe even harsh in a preamp position. Ultimately, it's a matter of preference. Use whatever sounds good to your ear but use the ones you already have with confidence. (found here: )

http://www.laney-posse.co.uk/theposse/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6700


More:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Laney+Ironheart+cathode+follower&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=639&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJmdD468TJAhWlnoMKHXqQAWUQ_AUIBSgA&dpr=1.25#q=Laney+Ironheart+tube+layout



Wow, man, that´s a whole lot of stuff for reading! Thanx!

Meanwhile I have found out, that getting a detailed schematic from Laney is like Mission: Impossible. There is a schematic in the User guide, but just a simple block schematic and I have no idea whether that one is good enough to make sure about that cathode follower....
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#13
311 knows his stuff, and I'd be inclined to agree with his assumptions
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#14
V2 is the problem one with that amp.
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#15
Quote by Cathbard
V2 is the problem one with that amp.


Thank you sir! So I will not put TungSol or Mullard in V2.

But will putting them in V1 and V3 change the tone in terms of gain? As far as I understand, V2 is the position, responsible for gain.

Or let me put it this way: Now I have JJs in all 3 preamp positions. The gain is smooth, but the tone is a bit dark. If I want a bit more gain with a bit more top-end bite, what should the combination be? OK, JJ for V2, but how about V1 and V3? OK, Sovtek for V3... so how about V1? TungSol or Mullard? Does the tube in V1 influence gain at all?
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#16
I always found Tung Sols way to bright for me. I've tried it a Valveking, a Splawn and a Mesa Rectoverb and it is currently sitting a box because I hate it.

Before you run out a buy more tubes (which I still recommend BTW because only you can tell what your ears like best with your amp) I say try an OD pedal infront of the amp. I run JJs in just about every position in my amps and cannot complain about the gain at all (but I do know what you mean).

You need an OD pedal anyway IMO.

Then if you still want to experiment with tubes I'd buy 1 Mullard, 1 Tung Sol, 1 Sovtek LPS and 1 JAN 5751.

The JAN 5751 is great for the PI slot and even V1 as well. So various combinations might look like this

Mullard - JJ - whatever - 5751
Mullard - JJ - whatever - Sovtek LPS
5751 - JJ - Mullard - whatever
Tung Sol - JJ - Mullard - 5751

etc etc
#17
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I always found Tung Sols way to bright for me. I've tried it a Valveking, a Splawn and a Mesa Rectoverb and it is currently sitting a box because I hate it.

Before you run out a buy more tubes (which I still recommend BTW because only you can tell what your ears like best with your amp) I say try an OD pedal infront of the amp. I run JJs in just about every position in my amps and cannot complain about the gain at all (but I do know what you mean).

You need an OD pedal anyway IMO.

Then if you still want to experiment with tubes I'd buy 1 Mullard, 1 Tung Sol, 1 Sovtek LPS and 1 JAN 5751.

The JAN 5751 is great for the PI slot and even V1 as well. So various combinations might look like this

Mullard - JJ - whatever - 5751
Mullard - JJ - whatever - Sovtek LPS
5751 - JJ - Mullard - whatever
Tung Sol - JJ - Mullard - 5751

etc etc


No, an OD pedal is not my case. I have a sh*tload of pedals in front of my main rig (Engl preamp, Marshall poweramp, in a rack, two 212 cabs), including two different ODs (Xotic and Maxon), many other pedals and MILES of cables. The Laney combo is my B-amp, my home amp, my "quick" sort of "plug-and-play" amp, just one guitar, one cable and one amp. Nothing else. So that´s why I´m trying to get a bit more gain directly from it, without adding anything else.

But thank you for your combination examples, I guess I will find some inspiration there, and of course I will follow my ear. One thing is sure right now: I will NOT touch the JJ that I have in V2. Or if I will, then I will change it for a one with golden pins, which should add some gain compared to the regular ones, at least according to the chart I got from Robbgnarly.
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#18
V1 is producing most of the gain. That's the one to experiment with.
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#19
Great information.
Be aware that your new speaker will break in a bit (probably not as much as, say, Vintage 30's do) over time, and that your sound will change. The tubes will also change slightly over time.

And finally, be aware that both Mullard and TungSol (and, for that matter, Genalex) are simply brand names now owned by the New Sensor Corporation, and that those tubes are all manufactured at the Reflektor plant in Saratov, Russia. Rubys are re-branded Shugang (chinese) tubes.
Last edited by dspellman at Dec 5, 2015,
#20
Quote by dspellman
Great information.
Be aware that your new speaker will break in a bit (probably not as much as, say, Vintage 30's do) over time, and that your sound will change. The tubes will also change slightly over time.

And finally, be aware that both Mullard and TungSol (and, for that matter, Genalex) are simply brand names now owned by the New Sensor Corporation, and that those tubes are all manufactured at the Reflektor plant in Saratov, Russia. Rubys are re-branded Shugang (chinese) tubes.

Good points. The new speaker should actually 'warm up' after break in. Become less stiff and harsh. Also, I think Ruby rebrands JJs too.
#21
Quote by dspellman
And finally, be aware that both Mullard and TungSol (and, for that matter, Genalex) are simply brand names now owned by the New Sensor Corporation, and that those tubes are all manufactured at the Reflektor plant in Saratov, Russia. Rubys are re-branded Shugang (chinese) tubes.


Some Ruby's are JJ


and at one point they were using SED =C= EL34's
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#22
Quote by Robbgnarly
Some Ruby's are JJ


and at one point they were using SED =C= EL34's


From Svetlana (another Russian tube mfgr)?

This gets confusing, because New Sensor owns the Svetlana name in the US, but Svetlana in Russia owns the winged C (=C=) brand.
Last edited by dspellman at Dec 5, 2015,
#23
Thank you all, good folks, for your valuable posts, I really appreciate it!

And yes, it´s funny and confusing, with that ownership and rebranding....

At least I can say, that I was born in Czechoslovakia, the land of the original Tesla tubes (and other Tesla brand consumer Electronics) and now I live in Slovakia, the land where JJs are produced.
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#24
Quote by Airfish

At least I can say, that I was born in Czechoslovakia, the land of the original Tesla tubes (and other Tesla brand consumer Electronics) and now I live in Slovakia, the land where JJs are produced.


I'm in LA, and I'm MUCH too lazy to spend a lot of time poking various brands in and out of my tube mongers. And it gets expensive; I've got a tube power amp (three 12AX7s, four EL34s), a Carvin Quad-X preamp (nine 12 AX7s) and a Triaxis (mesa) preamp (another five 12AX7 tubes). So I just buy JJ's and be done with it. But here's the thing. Bob at Eurotubes has some of the best testing gear of the various tube sources, so the tubes I get from him are rarely bad. I *have* heard some tales regarding JJ's from other dealers -- maybe they're Bob's rejects?
#25
Quote by dspellman
I'm in LA, and I'm MUCH too lazy to spend a lot of time poking various brands in and out of my tube mongers. And it gets expensive; I've got a tube power amp (three 12AX7s, four EL34s), a Carvin Quad-X preamp (nine 12 AX7s) and a Triaxis (mesa) preamp (another five 12AX7 tubes). So I just buy JJ's and be done with it. But here's the thing. Bob at Eurotubes has some of the best testing gear of the various tube sources, so the tubes I get from him are rarely bad. I *have* heard some tales regarding JJ's from other dealers -- maybe they're Bob's rejects?



No idea.... I´m even lazy to do any research about my own home brand....
But I´ve heard, that there are JJs and JJs.... I even read somewhere, that some Mesa tubes are rebranded JJs, hand-picked and tested.... And yes, people say you need to buy JJs from a good source. I buy mine from tube-town.net - a very reliable German eshop (just like Germans in general), they do their own testing and matching, they sell special series with balanced gain, special series for V1, etc. And they do care answering your questions and giving you advice every time you need. But I always need to hear more people´s opinion, that´s why I´m here.
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Last edited by Airfish at Dec 5, 2015,
#26
Really, I'd put JJ's everywhere and then find a nice American, British or western European NOS tube for V1. No modern tube sounds as good or will last as long. It's worth spending a little more on V1.
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Boss GT-100


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My band
#27
I like the Shuguang 12ax7s much better than the jj's. These are rebranded for Groove Tubes as the 12ax7c. This tube has more gain and sounds so much better than jjs to my ear and are cheaper. Best bang for the buck tube imo. Tungsols are worth trying. I have a deluxe reverb and nos sylvania, phillips, and GE tubes destroy any current production tubes that I've tried but are also more expensive. Have not tried the mullards...
#28
Hi everyone,

coming back one final time to close this thread (at least from my side)....

I have already done a bit of experimenting and from the original trio:
V1: JJ ECC 83 S
V2: JJ ECC 803 S
V3: JJ ECC 83 S....

....I ended up with this new trio:
V1: TungSol Reissue ECC 83
V2: JJ ECC 803 S gold-pin
V3: Sovtek ECC 83 LPS

The result is more gain in the mids and high frequencies, the bottom end remained powerful as it was, maybe it´s just a tiny bit tighter, but still not thin, even my A-tuned baritone sounds ballsy as it should. I haven´t however tried the pricey Mullards and I don´t think I need to, I´m already satisfied and basta. That´s it. Thank you all again for your valuable advice. And have one on me....
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Last edited by Airfish at Dec 11, 2015,
#29
Sweet, tube cocktails are the way to go.
2002 PRS CE22
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MXR Smart Gate
#30
i personally like 5751s in V1. yes slightly less gain, but not noticable in like "i cant get the gian tone i want" it manifests itself into greater clarity and power because it took "some fuzz out"

i like JJs. i like tung sols but they are more clear, lots of clarity, glassy, not as much character, could be considered "brittle or sterile". but if an amp needs a bit of edge and treble bite, more clarity, tehy are a good v1 tube.

keep in mind these differences are very subtle.

i think the biggest difference is gain factor, so i think teh 12ax7 to 5751 is a definitely noticable trait in a good way.

conversely, sovtek 12ax7wa's are straight crap. box of bees. worst fizzy, fuzzy mess. i pull them out of any amp i own, even if i havent turned it on yet on general principle. they are strictly relegated to an emergency backup need.
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Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)