Ok, so I recently got a Carvin MTS head off of eBay, but I'm having to problems with it (the tone anyway). First, it's too harsh, and second, I'd like a little more gain. So, I was thinking about either changing the tubes, or getting an overdrive pedal (or both eventually.)

Right now it has Chinese Shuguang 12ax7 preamp tubes. Does anyone know how good these are? They're supposed to be favorites in marshalls for "gain and bite", but I'm thinking about changing these out with EHX 12ax7s. For powertubes, it has EHX El34s in it, which are also favorites in Marshalls; and also the Carvin is supposed to be voiced like a marshall, and I don't want a Marshall sound, so I'm thinking that might be my problem. I would replace the powers with 6L6's, probably JJ's.

Or, I could get an OD pedal for more gain. I find I have to turn my treble way up to make it sound more saturated, which probably contributes to the harshness. I would probably get the Digitech Bad Monkey, because it's so cheap and supposedly a good copy of the TubeScreamer.

So basically, which do you think would help my tone out more in this case? I'd appreciate any advice, thanks
there's a website somewhere that gives descriptions of all the tube manufacturers and their models. i thought it was on http://www.eurotubes.com but its not, but you may want to check out that site too.
from what i remember reading, all chinese tubes (surprise surprise) suck.
but i would change the tubes first. and the power tubes if those are chinese too
Last edited by sethp at Jan 26, 2007,
I think you're talking about thetubestore.com, and I have read some of the reviews, but for the tubes mine has all it says is that they're favored in Marshalls for gain and bite... I have heard that most Chinese tubes suck though, changing them would probably a good idea even if I already liked the sound.
I retubed my MTS 3200 with JJ ECC83S' in the preamp and E34L's in the poweramp. It used to have the 5881's and 12ax7's and the retube brought the amp to life. I used an EQ in front, though. A TS808 will work nice, but if you go Bad Monkey, go with the modded one by Mark Humphries off ebay called the Badder Maonkey. Wayyy better. http://cgi.ebay.com/HUMPHREY-AUDIO-MODS-New-Digitech-BADDER-Monkey-OD_W0QQitemZ110082542350QQihZ001QQcategoryZ41416QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
I actually have one and I may sell it for 45 bucks.
Read thru The Tube Thread stickied above. Roc put a lot of work into it, a lot of great info in there.

The Tung-Sol 12ax7's are getting rave reviews, don't know much about yours.

With a good pedal, you'd be able to dial in more of the sounds you're looking for to a point. I think if you're really unhappy with the sound of your amp, you probably want to change the tubes. Once you have your amp sounding closer to the way you want, you can fine tune it with stomp boxes. Getting into an e-mail conversation with the guys at Doug's Tubes might be a good start. Bob at Eurotubes is cool, but as discussed in another thread, he only sells JJ's.
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