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Originally posted by hechtdavid:

Thanks Myles, And speaking of fx loops... Is it worth it to use them for a few stompboxes? I usually run pretty clean - direct into the amp, but occasionally I use a crybaby wah, MXR phase 90 and boss digital delay/reverb pedal all in line to the amp. Should I be using the loop?

hechtdavid,

 

Using an effects loop in most cases is preferable to plugging the box(es) into the amp input, as when you do that, you loose highs, and mess up a few other things, as most amps front ends are looking to see the loading of a guitar. On cheap effects (that sometimes sound great because they are cheap and cheesy), they can really mess up the front end, tonewise.

 

Wah and Volume pedals work better in the front end, and not in the effects loop.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Myles,

Before I ask another off the wall question, I feel like I owe a bit of gratitude to your generousity. Knowing you are probably too humble to accept any form of barter, do you have a favorite institution or charity I could donate to on your behalf? (struggling musicians pipe down!)

 

Here goes....

I have an old Allied, Microphone-Instrument amplifier I picked up with great hopes of making a guitar amp out of it. It is probably 50's vintage.

I recognized that it was loaded with a pair Mullard EL34's and 4-5 12a??'s. It has reverb as well. It has a master and 4 input channels all with volume and tone. The transformers are identicle in size to most guitar amps.

Fooling around I plugged my guitar into it and connected a 8ohm 12" cab to it. It was obvious the tubes were old but it breaks up to a tone heaven.

 

Do you know of anyone that would take on a challenge like this? Or do you think I'm on crack?

I would do the cabinet work but I would need an expert to re-configure the electronics. I was thinking Voodoo may be interested.??

 

Best Regards,

 

dlb

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Originally posted by PeachPhan:

I have a question for you...

I have a Phillips 5751 in the V2 (phase inverter/driver) slot of my Ghia - both sides are within 4 points of each other per Bob Pletka whom I bought the tube from... Is this close enough to use in the pi/driver slot? Would a closer match be even better?

I'm asking because I've noticed that the "A" note on the 14th fret of the "G" string and the 10th fret of the "B" string doesn't seem to want to sing like the rest of the notes... Is there some reason that could be happening? (it's doesn't "sing" much less, but I do notice it)

PeachPhan,

 

Ghia's, and all Dr. Z amps, really shine with matched output sections... they are loose something when its not matched. This is even more noticible in these amps than in AC-30's and AC-15's.

 

I am not sure what Bob's "4 points" are, but I like to have the same mA on each side of the driver, so something like 1.2 and 1.2, with a transconductance if at 1.2 mA, of 1600 on each side, though a range in TC from 1520 - 1680 or so works fine for me in these amps. Again, the closer the better.

 

If you want to loose a touch of the shrill that you can get at times in some volume settings that are very high, and get a bit more headroom before extreme distortion, then go for something in the 1.0mA range, which is about 83% of what a standard tube would test out at.

 

The symptoms you mention are the precise result of a mismatched output section.

 

Also, make sure your output tubes are really closely matched. A standard EL-84 at industry test settings will be a 48mA tube. In these amps, I like a 2% match, which does not give you that much room to play ( 47mA on the low side and 49mA on the high side, as an example, from industry standard. ) If Bob has some healthy examples, say, 51 mA, that's great too, just make sure they are within 2% of each other.

 

While this might seem pretty intense, as most folks match within 10% at times, and 5% is considered terrific, Bob over at Eurotubes generally matches within 1 mA, so in the above case, within 2% on this tube, and even close on a tube like a 6L6 which would have a 72mA rating, so his 1mA would be a 1.3% match, which is pretty fantastic.

 

Bob Pletka is one of my favorite tube guys. He is very sharp, has some pretty extensive knowledge, but also supplies great products at some pretty insane prices. Just as an example, my "COST" on a JJ 12AX7 from most of my sources is $7.85 to $8.55. Bob's cost I believe is $7.50, though I may have made a mistake, and that is the cost that Bob sells them to anybody for, not just people in the business.

 

A great quad of matched (and I mean MATCHED ... not the sort of matching that some folks do) EL-84's will normally run $40.00 to $50.00. From Bob I think they are $30.00. On top of that, he is small enough that he can still take time to tailor tubes for a specific amp and will talk to the customer.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Thanks Myles!

Here's a bit more...

I think the EL-84's I got from Bob were both at 36 ma... a perfect match, but lower ma than you had mentioned (I think you mentioned 47 ma)... What would be the difference?

I believe the "4 points" I mentioned regarding the 5751 were 4 ma (i.e. both sides were within 4 ma of each other)... so around 2%... That works for the pi/driver slot right?

PeachPhan

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Originally posted by dlb:

Myles,

Before I ask another off the wall question, I feel like I owe a bit of gratitude to your generousity. Knowing you are probably too humble to accept any form of barter, do you have a favorite institution or charity I could donate to on your behalf? (struggling musicians pipe down!)

 

Here goes....

I have an old Allied, Microphone-Instrument amplifier I picked up with great hopes of making a guitar amp out of it. It is probably 50's vintage.

I recognized that it was loaded with a pair Mullard EL34's and 4-5 12a??'s. It has reverb as well. It has a master and 4 input channels all with volume and tone. The transformers are identicle in size to most guitar amps.

Fooling around I plugged my guitar into it and connected a 8ohm 12" cab to it. It was obvious the tubes were old but it breaks up to a tone heaven.

 

Do you know of anyone that would take on a challenge like this? Or do you think I'm on crack?

I would do the cabinet work but I would need an expert to re-configure the electronics. I was thinking Voodoo may be interested.??

 

Best Regards,

 

dlb

dlb,

 

You are more than welcome.

 

I don't have any favorite charity (that's a pretty bad reflection on me I guess, but my wife takes care of that).

 

I guess all I can ask in return, is try to help somebody starting out in music, no matter what their chosen instrument. If you can give some words of advice or encourgement, that's pretty fantastic payment to me. I like the folks I meet here, and this is a nice break between soldering iron sessions and tube testing.

 

On mic and PA amps, they have a lot of great possibilities. The main drawback, is they are EQ'd for full range, and for some guitar uses, that is not what we are used to hearing. BUT, they make fantastic amps for jazz guitar or acoustic guitar, when the acoustic guitar is set up with a pickup.

 

Your preamp tubes are probably AT7's, AY7's or AU7's as they were more popular in the 50's, but they are ALL interchagable with themselves and with 12AX7's, with no adjustment necessary and no modification of any sort.

 

I would love to know what the plate voltage was on the EL-34's, just for curiosity sake.

 

It may not be an issue of having tubes that are too old. You may just be overloading the input with a guitar, or there is a big impedience mismatch, as a guitar pickup is 5k to 12k and a mic is 600 ohms.

 

The first thing I would try, is get a matching transformer (at any good music store), and that will get your impedience to match your amp.

 

Your 8 ohm cabinet, may or may not be correct. Is there any indication on the back of the amp as to what sort of speaker load it was designed for? Worse comes to worse, you can always have a tech measure the output taps of the output transformer.

 

You may not have as big of a challenge on your hands as you think. I'd first try the matching transformer, and you may find you have a real gem on your hands.

 

If you want to go beyond that, then we need to look at the circuit, which can be done even without prints, but that can be time consuming. You can then change some of the pots, caps, and resistors to make either a Fender, Vox, or Marshall tone stack on the front end.

 

Frankly if you did that, you would just end up with sort of a Marshall 45-50 clone in a way. Your amp was probably a lot more costly than the original Marshall amps of the 60s, and in the 50's, electronics were made even nicer than in the 60's in some cases.

 

I'd keep it as is, and use it for jazz, rhythm, or acoustic. Play a Rickenbacker 12 string through it. With the wide frequency response, it might sound just amazing.

 

I guess you can talk to Trace at Voodoo and get his take on what I have said here, as he might have some other feelings. He's a sharp fellow, and his advice would be worth listening to.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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hi Myles, i have a question about the Ashdown Peacemaker 40 combo:

so you have worked on a few of those? were the problems

minor/major/maint?

i have been seriously mulling over the 40W combo... do you know if they are

hand-wired like the heads, or have schematics around to do a comparison

possibly? you have to submit a reason for wanting their schematics on their

website, and they have never replied with the secret code or whatever it

takes to get in.

If I buy one of these amps, it will have to shipped to me directly from CA

, so it will be a pig in a poke, and i sure could use some enlightened

advice or critiques.

i have heard that they rival the chimey tones of Vox/Matchless, and have

more bottom-end to them, which would be right up my alley, but i am getting

this from a sales-rep, so who knows?

tell me what you think man!

thanks!

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Originally posted by PeachPhan:

Thanks Myles!

Here's a bit more...

I think the EL-84's I got from Bob were both at 36 ma... a perfect match, but lower ma than you had mentioned (I think you mentioned 47 ma)... What would be the difference?

I believe the "4 points" I mentioned regarding the 5751 were 4 ma (i.e. both sides were within 4 ma of each other)... so around 2%... That works for the pi/driver slot right?

PeachPhan

PeachPhan,

 

Bob tests at a different plate voltage than I do, so I draw more current at a lower voltage, and draws less current at a higher voltage. Since Ohms law is always equal, either result is fine.

 

So, since you have two 36mA tubes, you are in great shape.

 

As far as the 5751's four point could not be 4mA, as the tube at reference voltage is 1.2mA as standard, so we'd be about 300% off! Even .4mA would be way too much. If Bob is using something like a Hickock or B&K, they have their own scale. On one of my machines, it is a 4000 point scale, so in that case, four points is a really slim number.

 

I trust Bob a lot, so if he says 4 points on his scale is considered in his realm to be matched, I'd be just fine going along with this, as I know how picky he is. He also has a really great grasp of Dr. Z amps, Matchless, and Vox.

 

Happy playing :)

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Originally posted by telewhacker:

hi Myles, i have a question about the Ashdown Peacemaker 40 combo:

so you have worked on a few of those? were the problems

minor/major/maint?

i have been seriously mulling over the 40W combo... do you know if they are

hand-wired like the heads, or have schematics around to do a comparison

possibly? you have to submit a reason for wanting their schematics on their

website, and they have never replied with the secret code or whatever it

takes to get in.

If I buy one of these amps, it will have to shipped to me directly from CA

, so it will be a pig in a poke, and i sure could use some enlightened

advice or critiques.

i have heard that they rival the chimey tones of Vox/Matchless, and have

more bottom-end to them, which would be right up my alley, but i am getting

this from a sales-rep, so who knows?

tell me what you think man!

thanks!

telewhacker,

 

I am sorry, but the only Ashdown amps I have worked on, or heard for that matter, are the Peacemaker 50 and 100 watt Class A/B heads.

 

I have not heard any of their Class A combos, although I did hear some in the background maybe at the last NAMM show a few months back.

 

I don't know if they are built the same as the heads,

and did not have a chance to look inside any of their 20, 40, or 60 watt models.

 

In fact, I do not even know their tube compliment. I will assume (and maybe incorrectly), that the 20 watter is a 2 x EL-84 amp, with a bit more plate voltage and a Vox AC-15 ... I have been able to get 22 watts out of a AC-15. On the 40 watt version, I will assume (again, maybe off base here), that it is a 4 x EL-84 amp, with a bit more plate voltage than an AC-30 or a Matchless DC-30.

 

On the 60 watter, I have NO IDEA! Maybe its four EL-34's, or something as two of them in Class A could be 22 or so watts, but maybe these are at high voltages to .... or .... 6 EL-84's? That may be interesting. I just have no idea.

 

Maybe ask the sales rep?

 

Sorry.

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Hi Myles - thank you for answering all my questions - here goes - it's from a 3 part email so I apologize for the length -

 

Hi Myles,

>

>An Updated question for you - which tube psotion is

>the phase inverter? In a previous email you stated -

>

>... the most important aspect of your phase inverter

>tube is making sure the two sides match within 0.2 mA.

>Then also be sure your output set is closely matched

>

>I have a chance to buy a matched pair of RFT ECC83's.

>I'm planning on using it in the V1 position and

>possibly the phase inverter position. My set up would

>be V1 RFT v2 Phillips 12ax7 (If I'm correct the V4 is

>the phase inverter - not sure though) v3 Phillips and

>v4 RFT

>

>Again in my power amp Section I have 2 preamp tubes to

>help w clipping. Right now it goes v1 Phillips 12ax7

>WA and Sovtek 12At7. Would replacing the Sovtek 12At7

>in the pwoer amp section w a 12ax7 cause me to lose

>clarity but more gain? Just curious - I'm working on

>getting a Phillips, or GE 12at7 for that position.

>

>Finally is it important for all the preamp tubes to

>match or mainly the phase inverter tube? Thanks again

>Myles - Hope all is well...

>

>Rai

>

P.S. Would these be good to replace the 12AT7 (not

>sure if an ECC82 is the same as a 12AT7) Here are the

>specs - Would I be better w a 12at7 or 12ax7 for the

>P.I.? How would thee be for the 12At7 in the power amp

>section?

>

>I have 2 pieces of used ECC-82 tubes.

>Made by RFT(Germany).

>Packing:OEM.

>

>15-20 years ago the electron tubes have become

>needless because of modernization

>of a Microwave Laboratory of Technological Institute

>of Budapest.

>

>The tubes have been checked by a calibrated Hickok

>539B tube tester.

>By the operating manual of the tester the typical

>value

>of the MC(Mutual Conductance) of the ECC-82 tube

>is:1950

>This is taken as 100%.

>(Given for each tube System 1 and System 2 [in

>Micromhos]).

>On each tube I placed a little white sticker with the

>measurement results.

>

>MUTUAL CONDUCTANCE TEST: here we can get exact

>numerical value in micromhos.

>The condition of TUT (Tube Under Test) can be

>expressed in percent.

>For example:in case of ECC-82 the listed typical

>value of mutual conductance is 1950 micromhos.

>If the TUT has 2300, the percental condition is

>(2300/1950)x100%=118%.

>

>Result of the mutual conductance test, as follows:

>

>-Nr.001.tube

>triode No.1.=2700/1950x100=(139%),

>triode No.2.=2800/1950x100=(144%).

>

>-Nr.002.tube

>triode No.1.=1800/1950x100=(92%),

>triode No.2.=1900/1950x100=(97%).

>

>

>Thanks Myles...

>

>Rai

>

Well I got my eye on a matchedpair of RFT 12ax7's

>(aside from the ones I sent you specs on) He states

>they are matched to each other but the triodeas are w

>in close spec - here is what he replied.

>

>The pairs are closely matched to within 0.50 db, where

>you will not get

>any skweing of the sound image.

>

>

>Is that close enough? Again they are 12ax7's so I'm

>not sure if that would be decent for the PI position.

>$26 for both so I think I may go for it if you say

>they are decent. I'll probably put them in the front

>section as opposed to the PI if they aren;t close

>enough for the PI.

>

>I talked to Mike at VHT - he broke down what each

>position does in my amp and about the PI section

>

>V-1 Intial stage - important - first gain stage but he

>said V2 and V3 are more of the tone changers as far as

>distortion characteristics - seems a lil weird but

>I'll buy it. v4 is the last gain stage - I guess the

>clean channel goes from v-1 and bypasses 2 and 3 and

>goes to v4 - I'm assuming I'd want a cleaner tube

>there if I want my clean to shine. Anything you could

>recommend for a Fender type direction clean?

>

>As for the PI section get this - the 2 preamp tubes by

>the pwoer section he says are for the PI. 1 12ax7 and

>1 12at7. Right now I have a phillips 12ax7was back

>there w the stock sovtek 12at7. How would i go about

>matching the PI section here? Would I jsut get 2

>matched Inverter tubes (both sides of the triode)?

>

>Thanks for all your patience -you seem to be the one w

>the msot knowledge so I hope I am not bothering you

>too badly...

>

>thank you -

>

>Rai

www.CalyxinRuin.com

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Hi again Myles. I just got some preamp tubes (RFT ECC83) for my Cornford and I was just wondering which tube you would use where. Reason I ask this is because the outputs are 255/252, 258/257 and 250/252 I'm tempted to put the 258/257 one in the v1 position as the output is higher but it is also a better match and so probably the best suited for the phaze splitter? Just wondering if it will make much of a difference as they all seem pretty well matched anyway.

 

Cheers,

 

Ian............

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Originally posted by Rai168:

Hi Myles - thank you for answering all my questions - here goes - it's from a 3 part email so I apologize for the length -

 

Hi Myles,

>

>An Updated question for you - which tube psotion is

>the phase inverter? In a previous email you stated -

>

>... the most important aspect of your phase inverter

>tube is making sure the two sides match within 0.2 mA.

>Then also be sure your output set is closely matched

>

>I have a chance to buy a matched pair of RFT ECC83's.

>I'm planning on using it in the V1 position and

>possibly the phase inverter position. My set up would

>be V1 RFT v2 Phillips 12ax7 (If I'm correct the V4 is

>the phase inverter - not sure though) v3 Phillips and

>v4 RFT

>

>Again in my power amp Section I have 2 preamp tubes to

>help w clipping. Right now it goes v1 Phillips 12ax7

>WA and Sovtek 12At7. Would replacing the Sovtek 12At7

>in the pwoer amp section w a 12ax7 cause me to lose

>clarity but more gain? Just curious - I'm working on

>getting a Phillips, or GE 12at7 for that position.

>

>Finally is it important for all the preamp tubes to

>match or mainly the phase inverter tube? Thanks again

>Myles - Hope all is well...

>

>Rai

>

P.S. Would these be good to replace the 12AT7 (not

>sure if an ECC82 is the same as a 12AT7) Here are the

>specs - Would I be better w a 12at7 or 12ax7 for the

>P.I.? How would thee be for the 12At7 in the power amp

>section?

>

>I have 2 pieces of used ECC-82 tubes.

>Made by RFT(Germany).

>Packing:OEM.

>

>15-20 years ago the electron tubes have become

>needless because of modernization

>of a Microwave Laboratory of Technological Institute

>of Budapest.

>

>The tubes have been checked by a calibrated Hickok

>539B tube tester.

>By the operating manual of the tester the typical

>value

>of the MC(Mutual Conductance) of the ECC-82 tube

>is:1950

>This is taken as 100%.

>(Given for each tube System 1 and System 2 [in

>Micromhos]).

>On each tube I placed a little white sticker with the

>measurement results.

>

>MUTUAL CONDUCTANCE TEST: here we can get exact

>numerical value in micromhos.

>The condition of TUT (Tube Under Test) can be

>expressed in percent.

>For example:in case of ECC-82 the listed typical

>value of mutual conductance is 1950 micromhos.

>If the TUT has 2300, the percental condition is

>(2300/1950)x100%=118%.

>

>Result of the mutual conductance test, as follows:

>

>-Nr.001.tube

>triode No.1.=2700/1950x100=(139%),

>triode No.2.=2800/1950x100=(144%).

>

>-Nr.002.tube

>triode No.1.=1800/1950x100=(92%),

>triode No.2.=1900/1950x100=(97%).

>

>

>Thanks Myles...

>

>Rai

>

Well I got my eye on a matchedpair of RFT 12ax7's

>(aside from the ones I sent you specs on) He states

>they are matched to each other but the triodeas are w

>in close spec - here is what he replied.

>

>The pairs are closely matched to within 0.50 db, where

>you will not get

>any skweing of the sound image.

>

>

>Is that close enough? Again they are 12ax7's so I'm

>not sure if that would be decent for the PI position.

>$26 for both so I think I may go for it if you say

>they are decent. I'll probably put them in the front

>section as opposed to the PI if they aren;t close

>enough for the PI.

>

>I talked to Mike at VHT - he broke down what each

>position does in my amp and about the PI section

>

>V-1 Intial stage - important - first gain stage but he

>said V2 and V3 are more of the tone changers as far as

>distortion characteristics - seems a lil weird but

>I'll buy it. v4 is the last gain stage - I guess the

>clean channel goes from v-1 and bypasses 2 and 3 and

>goes to v4 - I'm assuming I'd want a cleaner tube

>there if I want my clean to shine. Anything you could

>recommend for a Fender type direction clean?

>

>As for the PI section get this - the 2 preamp tubes by

>the pwoer section he says are for the PI. 1 12ax7 and

>1 12at7. Right now I have a phillips 12ax7was back

>there w the stock sovtek 12at7. How would i go about

>matching the PI section here? Would I jsut get 2

>matched Inverter tubes (both sides of the triode)?

>

>Thanks for all your patience -you seem to be the one w

>the msot knowledge so I hope I am not bothering you

>too badly...

>

>thank you -

>

>Rai

www.CalyxinRuin.com

Rai,

 

I'll try to get through this, but may miss a bit due to the length.

 

It may be best in the future, to ask a few specific questions in a given post.

 

Using a 12AT7 in the place of a 12AX7 in V1 will reduce your gain.

 

It is NOT important for all the preamp tubes to match one another. The only critical tube is the phase inverter, as far as matching of the A and B sides.

 

It is however, very advantageous to know what those other tubes are doing, especially the tube in the first gain stage. This is where a vendor such as Watford Valves has an advantage over most of the other vendors, they have a rating system.

 

On your MC data, you are on the right track, but

there are a few other factors that I look at, such

as raw gain, transconductance, and then the actual

curve characteristics.

 

That 0.50db spec is something that I don't understand. Looking at how and where a tube is used, and its basic amplification factor, I don't know if that db is a converted number of some sort, or an end value based on a mic in front of a speaker at the old dbSpl @ 1 meter on axix reading, or what.

 

If you talk to Mike again at VHT, if he is the same Mike that worked at Rivera for many years, please say hello from me. If its the Mike I think it is, you can go with what he tells you with confidence.

 

For a Fender sort of clean, you need a Fender sort of tone stack. That's pretty much the bottom line here. There are too many Marshall folks that I talk to that want more of a Fender sound. I tell them to buy a older Bassman head or Bandmaster head, and an A/B switch and use their Marshall and the Fender.

 

I hope I covered most of your questions. If I missed things, which I am sure I did, just post them, sort of in question format, with a question or two per post maybe.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Originally posted by Ian-UK:

Hi again Myles. I just got some preamp tubes (RFT ECC83) for my Cornford and I was just wondering which tube you would use where. Reason I ask this is because the outputs are 255/252, 258/257 and 250/252 I'm tempted to put the 258/257 one in the v1 position as the output is higher but it is also a better match and so probably the best suited for the phaze splitter? Just wondering if it will make much of a difference as they all seem pretty well matched anyway.

 

Cheers,

 

Ian............

Ian,

 

Derek's scale over at Watford is very precise, and really breaks things down to a precise value, so a few points difference on his scale is still so much closer than one can imagine, its scary.

 

I don't remember what his point spread is on what he considers a "balanced" valve, but the closer is always better.

 

I would probably use the 250/252 in the phase inverter position, as here we are generally looking for current drive more than voltage gain, and frankly, a 99.2% match is pretty darn close!

 

All these tubes (valves) are so close, that moving them around, even in V1, or the first gain stage, is probably not going to be a perceived difference. If you want to try something different down the road, then perhaps try in V1 one of his valves in the 190 or so range. That will drop gain in the front end a lot and give you a lot more headroom, if you have a need for a clean sound for a particular situation.

 

The "problem" with Watford Valves, is you do get, and you do know, what you have in your hands, so at times its can be more tempting to buy two or three tubes from them when you initially only wanted to replace a single bad one :)

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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I am new to this forum, so thanks for having something like this to bounce questions and such.

 

I am looking for a decent acoustic amp and, of course, on a budget. Can you help?

 

To make it worse, I would like to be able to get an electric amp that would work well for my acoustic.

 

Anything like that out there.

 

Thanks again!

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Originally posted by myles111:

Originally posted by Ian-UK:

Hi again Myles. I just got some preamp tubes (RFT ECC83) for my Cornford and I was just wondering which tube you would use where. Reason I ask this is because the outputs are 255/252, 258/257 and 250/252 I'm tempted to put the 258/257 one in the v1 position as the output is higher but it is also a better match and so probably the best suited for the phaze splitter? Just wondering if it will make much of a difference as they all seem pretty well matched anyway.

 

Cheers,

 

Ian............

Ian,

 

Derek's scale over at Watford is very precise, and really breaks things down to a precise value, so a few points difference on his scale is still so much closer than one can imagine, its scary.

 

I don't remember what his point spread is on what he considers a "balanced" valve, but the closer is always better.

 

I would probably use the 250/252 in the phase inverter position, as here we are generally looking for current drive more than voltage gain, and frankly, a 99.2% match is pretty darn close!

 

All these tubes (valves) are so close, that moving them around, even in V1, or the first gain stage, is probably not going to be a perceived difference. If you want to try something different down the road, then perhaps try in V1 one of his valves in the 190 or so range. That will drop gain in the front end a lot and give you a lot more headroom, if you have a need for a clean sound for a particular situation.

 

The "problem" with Watford Valves, is you do get, and you do know, what you have in your hands, so at times its can be more tempting to buy two or three tubes from them when you initially only wanted to replace a single bad one :)

 

Regards,

Thaks Myles, always informative :)
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Originally posted by Mike6112:

I am new to this forum, so thanks for having something like this to bounce questions and such.

 

I am looking for a decent acoustic amp and, of course, on a budget. Can you help?

 

To make it worse, I would like to be able to get an electric amp that would work well for my acoustic.

 

Anything like that out there.

 

Thanks again!

Mike,

 

There are a lot of products out there, but its all personal preference.

 

This may be a great question to post on its own to all the folks here. There are a lot of issues to consider.

 

There are a lot of what I call, "converted" guitar amps that use a speaker cabinet that was originally optimized for electric guitar. Some even use the same circuit with a bit of EQ changes.

 

With acoustic guitar, in my opinion, one is looking to make the guitar louder, and keep as much of the original instruments sound as possible, with as little coloration as possible.

 

One amp I like a lot is a solid state amp made by a German company called AER. ( http://www.aer-amps.de/ )

 

They have a pretty wide product line, but start at amp $1000 retail and go up a lot from there.

 

There are amps by Trace Elliott and Fender that you can look at, and quite a few from other folks too.

 

I think the best idea would be to ask folks here.

 

Sorry I could not help very much

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Originally posted by Ian-UK:

Originally posted by myles111:

[qb]

Originally posted by Ian-UK:

[qb]Hi again Myles. I just got some preamp tubes (RFT ECC83) for my Cornford and I was just wondering which tube you would.....

Ian,

 

No problem and you are welcome ....

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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I have a JCM900 50Watt head, and the tubes are about a year old. When I first bought it used, it was pretty loud in a band setting on like 5-6. But that was up against a SS crate head. Now I'm up against a 5150, and I have to turn my amp up to 11. And the clean is barely there anymore. Is that just the tubes that need changing? Will a retubed JCM900 be able to compete in volume with the 5150? I have a LP Gothic, and my guitarist has a Custom 22 PRS. I also have a SD Custom custom in the bridge.

 

My main question is, do I need a more wattage to cut through in the band? or will my JCM900 50 watt head, work?

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Originally posted by jivey311:

I have a JCM900 50Watt head, and the tubes are about a year old. When I first bought it used, it was pretty loud in a band setting on like 5-6. But that was up against a SS crate head. Now I'm up against a 5150, and I have to turn my amp up to 11. And the clean is barely there anymore. Is that just the tubes that need changing? Will a retubed JCM900 be able to compete in volume with the 5150? I have a LP Gothic, and my guitarist has a Custom 22 PRS. I also have a SD Custom custom in the bridge.

 

My main question is, do I need a more wattage to cut through in the band? or will my JCM900 50 watt head, work?

jivey311,

 

Piece of cake ....

 

First off, 100 watts is only 3db louder than 50 watts.

 

What speaker config are you using.

 

To increase your sound level by a factor of four, you double your speaker area. That means, if you are using a 4x12, you then use 2 4x12 cabinets.

 

That's one way.

 

Another, if you are using a 4x12, get a more efficient cabinet with a larger sound dispersion area. Go listen to a THD 2x12 ported cabinet with your head at a THD dealer. You'll be surprise.

 

Another way ....

 

Have your amp made correct and optimized. Most amps are far from being set up correctly.

 

The process here is something of a subset of what I call blueprinting, which is explained a bit on my website.

 

I can typically get over 70 watts out of a Marshall 50 watt head without any modification with 25 watt EL-34 output tubes.

 

I's first look at your V1 preamp tube. It is very likely that is may be down up to 40% in gain as compared to what a stock ECC83 is supposed to put out. Most I find are in the 0.9 mA range instead of the 1.2 mA spec. You'd first want to get a good tube in here, something in a range even above 1.2 mA. There are not too many people that do this. I do this for my clients, but do not sell tubes. I would suggest you contact Watford Valves (look at www.watfordvalves.com ) and get what they call a "driver" tube from them, and ECC83, with a rating of about 260-270. That right there, will bring your gain up considerably.

 

Now, if you want to take it a bit further, and have more "balls" over the entire spectrum, you contact Bob Pletka at www.eurotubes.com and get a JJ EL-34L or S, not sure of his designation these days, but in any case, not the normal EL-34. The L or S tubes have a different plate structure, and are 30 watt tubes, not the 25 watt type that is normal for an EL-34. These are the tubes used by Joe Walsh, Joe Perry, and Billy Gibbons from ZZ top.

 

Tell Bob to pick you out some healthy ones, at the high end of his scale.

 

Then your amp needs to be re-biased for these tubes, no matter what their scale.

 

If you have a tech or know your B+ voltage (with the old tubes IN THE CIRCUIT) ... not one pulled to measure the B+, but measure it from the wire side of the socket, then let me know, and I can get your tech in the ballpark for idle dissapation.

 

Part of a Marshall's sound comes from a part of the crossover notch distorion still in the output waveform, so you should not have the bias set with a simple device such as a bias probe. These work great on a lot of amps, but not Marshalls. For the Marshall, your tech will need a signal generator and a scope.

 

With normal 25 watt tubes like Svetlana's, I can get about 65-70 watts out of your head if its B+ voltage is up to factory spec. With the L or S EL-34's, I can usually get 75-80 watts pretty easily with those 30 watt tubes.

 

I'd also have Watford send you a V2 tube (also ECC83) with a rating of 250 or higher, and a matched "balanced valve" as they call it. This will assure a matched output section, also explained on my website.

 

There is no reason that your 800 cannot be just as loud, or even a bit louder with its pushed midrange, as a 5150, playing though the same cabinets.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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I bought an old blackface bassman that had old sylvania power tubes. I played it one day with no problem. A couple of days later, i fired it up and get nothing but barely audible preamp saturation. I swaped the power tubes and it worked fine. The sylvania don't ligh at all. What i would like to know is does this sound like the normal death of tubes or is there something wrong with the amp that caused the tubes to fail?

thanks

matt

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Originally posted by mmenard79:

I bought an old blackface bassman that had old sylvania power tubes. I played it one day with no problem. A couple of days later, i fired it up and get nothing but barely audible preamp saturation. I swaped the power tubes and it worked fine. The sylvania don't ligh at all. What i would like to know is does this sound like the normal death of tubes or is there something wrong with the amp that caused the tubes to fail?

thanks

matt

Matt,

 

Blackface Bassmans are pretty sturdy amps. If the tubes did not light at all, even the heaters, then I would say your 6.3 volt heater supply failed, but this would have also caused the preamp tubes to not work either. On some 6L6's it hard to see the heater, so perhaps it was just tube failure.

 

Since replacing the output tubes (I hope you replaced both at the same time), fixed the problem, it seems that your power transformer, and output transformer are fine.

 

To be on the safe side, you may want to replace the preamp tube that is the most close to the output tubes, as that is the phase inverter than drives your output section. If its old, it may be suspect, and perhaps changing to new output tubes loaded the phase inverter differently, so it worked fairly well again.

 

I'd have your bias checked, since you replaced the output tubes, as Fender amps can sound good or great, depending a lot on the bias setting. This also has a lot to do with tube life.

 

I don't know if you are in my area, Los Angeles, but if you are, I'd be happy to check your bias for you at our upcoming amp clinic. There is no charge for the clinic, so its a nice way to avoid a $40-$60 bench charge, and learn a lot more about your amp and its other areas at the same time.

 

Regards,

 

Myles

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Last summer, I purchased a 1979-80 Hiwatt DR504 (the "Custom 50" fifty watt, 2 input model from the Joyce era). Unfortunately, since then I've had issues with it. The main one being that after 15 or 20 minutes of moderate playing, the sound "dissipates" to a feeble that you can talk comfortably over.

 

Sometimes this is temporary -- and the amp will "catch its breath" and suddenly rejuvenate back to Hiwatt roar. Other times it won't, but will go back to normal after about 30 seconds of a rest on stand-by.

 

Right away, I took it in to a trusted local tech who specializes in British amps (Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO), and he suggested it was the filter caps. So, we replaced all of the filter caps -- and I put some THD Yellowjackets in there as well, as the old EL34s were mismatched and ready for retirement.

 

This seemed to solve the problem, but within a few weeks, the problem of sound dissipation came back. At first it was minimal, but now it is chronic to the point where I can't play the amp for any longer than 15 minutes without all of my volume and tone going down the toilet.

 

I've perhaps found perhaps another tech to take it to -- but my options seem rather limited in this area, especially for this sort of amp and this sort of problem. So before I do, I'm wondering given your experience you might have an idea of what this amp needs. I know it's hard to diagnose an amp by e-mail without hearing it, but perhaps you have an idea of what could be causing this; and, if it is easily fixable; or if I should give up and get another amp?

 

Know that it seems that in the amps lifetime, someone tried a lot of Frankenstein mods to it: adding an effects loop; and rigging the normal "channel" of the amp to behave like a gain stage for the bright channel...most of these have been removed, but remnants of them still remain.

 

Anyway, I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this matter. My band is rather serious and I need a road-worthy, no-hassle amp that will excel at mostly Byrdsy sort of jangle with a touch of some spacey rock stuff... so maybe the Hiwatt is not the ticket for this application after all.

 

I hope to hear from you soon.

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I recently retubed my CAE se3+ - it used to have Chinese tubes, but I replaced them (due to microphonics) with Sovtek 12ax7wb's. I believe that some of the harsh, compressed upper midrange and poor tone comes from these tubes. What's your recommendation - which tubes will be optimal for this preamp?

 

Also, where is the driver tube located in these amps - there's no schematics available...

 

Thanks!

 

Boanerges

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Hi Myles,

We have just purchased, (based in part on your recommendation!), a second hand .50+ for my son. His first "real" amp and it really hits the spot! :thu: At the moment it has what seem to be the original tubes in it: STR 12AX7-A, STR SPAX7-A, STR 12AX7-A, STR 12AT7, and a STR 12AX7-A on the end of the line. Power is 6L6 STR 420. All marked Mesa. For the time being he will keep these going, but we would like to know what other options are and if they would make the amp sound still better. What would you suggest?

I have a lead on half a dozen SIEMENS CV492 / ECC83. Do you know these. Are they worth perusing for this amp? They have been tested on a FUNKE W19 and are good. Or is it better to play it safe and go straight to Watford?

Many thanks! How do you find the time to be so helpful?

Dan

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Originally posted by deke1000:

Last summer, I purchased a 1979-80 Hiwatt DR504 (the "Custom 50" fifty watt, 2 input model from the Joyce era). Unfortunately, since then I've had issues with it. The main one being that after 15 or 20 minutes of moderate playing, the sound "dissipates" to a feeble that you can talk comfortably over.

 

Sometimes this is temporary -- and the amp will "catch its breath" and suddenly rejuvenate back to Hiwatt roar. Other times it won't, but will go back to normal after about 30 seconds of a rest on stand-by.

 

Right away, I took it in to a trusted local tech who specializes in British amps (Acme Guitars in St. Louis, MO), and he suggested it was the filter caps. So, we replaced all of the filter caps -- and I put some THD Yellowjackets in there as well, as the old EL34s were mismatched and ready for retirement.

 

This seemed to solve the problem, but within a few weeks, the problem of sound dissipation came back. At first it was minimal, but now it is chronic to the point where I can't play the amp for any longer than 15 minutes without all of my volume and tone going down the toilet.

 

I've perhaps found perhaps another tech to take it to -- but my options seem rather limited in this area, especially for this sort of amp and this sort of problem. So before I do, I'm wondering given your experience you might have an idea of what this amp needs. I know it's hard to diagnose an amp by e-mail without hearing it, but perhaps you have an idea of what could be causing this; and, if it is easily fixable; or if I should give up and get another amp?

 

Know that it seems that in the amps lifetime, someone tried a lot of Frankenstein mods to it: adding an effects loop; and rigging the normal "channel" of the amp to behave like a gain stage for the bright channel...most of these have been removed, but remnants of them still remain.

 

Anyway, I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this matter. My band is rather serious and I need a road-worthy, no-hassle amp that will excel at mostly Byrdsy sort of jangle with a touch of some spacey rock stuff... so maybe the Hiwatt is not the ticket for this application after all.

 

I hope to hear from you soon.

Deke,

 

Has anybody looked at the output tubes and the power supply output? Having the amp work fine for 20 minutes and then die to a whisper, sounds like a bad output tube, a bad phase inverter, or a power supply issue.

 

I don't think this would be filter caps, as when a cap is bad, it is pretty much bad. Also, with a bad filter cap on the power supply, you would hear 60 cycle hum all the time, or you would have strange harmonics that would be heard off the note you were playing.

 

The installation of Yellow Jackets would have no impact on the amp, other than if you had bad output tubes, then the YJ's with their fresh EL-84's would eliminate that problem.

 

I would have asked the tech to look at your B+ voltage, and make sure it was within range of spec, and also to look at how much ripple there was on the high voltage, before replacing the filter caps.

 

I would also want to know the B+ voltage when the problem showed up, just by keeping the amp chassis open and a lead clipped to pin 3 of the output tube socket with the amp running, and seeing the voltage there when it died.

 

I would also have the bias checked.

 

I think any decent tech can check the things above.

 

This should be a pretty easily (and cheaply) rectified problem. If its a heat sensitive diode in the bridge rectifier, that is a cheap fix too. The only time it may get expensive, is if the output transformer is bad, but there would be signs pointing to something like that.

 

I think this problem should be able to be found without resorting to the shotgun approach of replacing parts such as caps. This should be able to be found for a normal minimum bench charge of a hour, as a lot of folks have, which should range from maybe $45 to $75 for a basic checkout. In my case, when an amp has a heat sensitive possible problem, I just leave it hooked up to a load, and go work on something else, leaving a meter or scope on it, so I can look around once in a while. That way the clock stops for the customer.

 

The issue gets complicated with mods, unless there were prints and doumentation supplied when you bought the amp. I typically stay away from modded amps, unless I can see it was a good job. I will work on modded amps if it was done by somebody like Voodoo or Torres Engineering.

 

I would try to get rid of any parts of the old mods, especially since the mods are not all intact.

 

If you do Byrds sorts of things, Rickenbacker stuff, then a Hiwatt is great, as they are clean amps. The best amps to reproduce the Byrds from the mid 60's era is probably the Fender Twin Reverb, or a Showman, which was also used by them and the Jefferson Airplane before Grace Slick came into the picture.

 

In that sort of music, a cleaner amp is the ticket, and a Hiwatt was a clean amp. The tone stack though, is a Marshall tone stack, which is a lot different than a Fender tone stack, so you may want to try a Twin Reverb reissue. With a few tube changes and a few adjustments, they are right in the ballpark with the originals.

 

You may also be able to find a Silver Face twin reverb, with can really do very nicely, and are not all that expensive.

 

Hope this helped a little at least.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Hey Myles

 

I emailed you but you mentioned it would be easier to get ahold of you on one of the forums, so here goes.

 

Love your articles…really neat stuff. I recently upgraded to JJ tubes at your recommendation and am very pleased. Anyhow, I have a quick question for you, since you're one of the people I KNOW has a good ear for sound. My rig is built around a Les Paul with Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro (bridge) and '59 (neck) pickups and a Mesa Boogie Maverick. Both the guitar and amp produce nice, warm, vintage-y tones. The Maverick is similar in design to the Vox AC30 in regards to tubes…I'm using 6x JJ ecc83s and 4x JJ el84s; the Maverick I have is a 4x10 combo with Jensen P10R alnico speakers. It also has two channels—one cleaner and one that pushes the gain. However, I do not have much opportunity to play my amp to its fullest potential—normally, I'll end up w/ the master about ¼ way up. I've done my best to find a workable setting between the master and gain; but because of volume limitations (I'm pushing it as it is) I have to have the gain up around 5-6 to get a good crunch.

 

Let me explain what I am looking for: I want to be able to use this one amp (as I cannot afford another one) and get some el84-sounding distortion as well as a nice clean sound. I am buying a hotplate this summer, so I will be able to get it up to levels right before the el84s begin breaking up, but I'm still stuck using the preamp distortion (which is good, but just not power amp sounding). I've included a few hundred dollars in my summer budget to buy some distortion/overdrive/boost pedals; what should I get in order to have a nice distortion sound that's as close as I can get to el84 breakup without going all the way? At this point, I'm looking primarily at the Menatone Top Boost in a Can, the Vox V810 Valve Tone, and the Vox V830 Distortion Booster.

 

I play Brit pop / alternative music (heavy influences are U2, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Oasis, etc. along with some more American-sounding bands such as Third Eye Blind and Goo Goo Dolls along w/ all the classic stuff-Hendrix, Zeppelin, Beatles, etc). Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

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Originally posted by boanerges:

I recently retubed my CAE se3+ - it used to have Chinese tubes, but I replaced them (due to microphonics) with Sovtek 12ax7wb's. I believe that some of the harsh, compressed upper midrange and poor tone comes from these tubes. What's your recommendation - which tubes will be optimal for this preamp?

 

Also, where is the driver tube located in these amps - there's no schematics available...

 

Thanks!

 

Boanerges

Boanerges,

 

I'd get a generic JAN NOS 12AX7WA as a start for your V1 position. That is the preamp tube the closest to the input jack. If you want more treble and brighness, then try a 7025 in that same position. If you want a "different" sort of sound from the 12AX7 that is hard to quantify, try an ECC83.

 

If in those tubes, you want more or less gain, then you need to talk to the following folks....

 

For more gain, go to Watford Valves for the 12AX7's and ask for something around "250-270".

 

For your ECC83, go to Bob Pletka at Eurotubes and ask him for a tube with higher gain than average.

 

Watford can also help with a 7025.

 

Most of my clients have all three on hand, as they are all a different sound.

 

As far as the phase inverter, it is the preamp tube that is physically the closest to the output tubes. In this position you can use a 12AX7 for the normal sound, or get more clean headroom by using a 12AT7. In either case, here you need a tube that has the A and B sides closely matched, much more so than current production tubes are that are generally found. With tubes off the shelf, this is a crap shoot, and the odds are against you. I have said before, on a good day 1 in 20 tubes are matched, and on an average day its more like 1 in 50.

 

Either Watford Valves or Eurotubes can supply a matched phase inverter tube. In the case of Watford Valves in the U.K. they call this a "balanced" valve, rather than a phase inverter/driver tube as we say here in the U.S. Just because it is termed "balanced", you still need to tell them you'd want this to me "matched on the A and B sides".

 

Bob Pletka at Eurotubes can also supply matched phase inverters.

 

There may be other folks that can do this when it comes to new tubes, but these two folks are the only ones that have shown over time to us that they do this flawlessly.

 

I hope this helped.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Originally posted by Mr. Dan Licks:

Hi Myles,

We have just purchased, (based in part on your recommendation!), a second hand .50+ for my son. His first "real" amp and it really hits the spot! :thu: At the moment it has what seem to be the original tubes in it: STR 12AX7-A, STR SPAX7-A, STR 12AX7-A, STR 12AT7, and a STR 12AX7-A on the end of the line. Power is 6L6 STR 420. All marked Mesa. For the time being he will keep these going, but we would like to know what other options are and if they would make the amp sound still better. What would you suggest?

I have a lead on half a dozen SIEMENS CV492 / ECC83. Do you know these. Are they worth perusing for this amp? They have been tested on a FUNKE W19 and are good. Or is it better to play it safe and go straight to Watford?

Many thanks! How do you find the time to be so helpful?

Dan

Dan,

 

I am sure you son will be happy with the amp. Its a lot nicer than what I had when I was his age.

 

The original Mesa tubes (which are generally Sovtek or at times Chinese) in the preamp section are probably fine for now. They are selected to be pretty free from microphonics, and are good enough tubes.

 

In the case of the power tubes, the STR-420's there are too issues that might have you consider replacement of those. One, they are Chinese. The sound quite awful, really holding back the sound that amp is capable of producing. If you like the amp now, you will like it a lot more without the Chinese power tubes. The other problem, Chinese or not, with Mesa tubes in their narrow range to match their fixed bias, the tubes are overbiased, so the amp runs on the cool side, and has a bit more of a grainy nature than you really want.

 

What I would suggest is that you go to a Svetlana 6L6, as this tube has a nice broad tone spectrum. You can also go to a JJ 6L6, but the Svetlana is a little more neutral.

 

These are both available from Watford and Groove Tubes. In the case of a JJ tube, you can get those from Watford, Eurotubes, Groove Tubes, and a lot of other folks.

 

The issue here, is that you want a tube that is a bit outside of the Mesa range. What you'd want to tell folks if you order a set of these, is that you want something that would be about the same as a Groove Tubes #7 rating.

 

In the case of Watford Valves, if you tell them what your amp is, they know all of this, and just tell them you want tubes in a range that are better suited for a Mesa amp than the Mesa colder tubes.

 

The Siemens tubes you have would be better suited for use in a Marshall amp, as the Mesa front end would not make as much of an advantage here. The Mesa's front end is engineered for a neutral or generic 12AX7. It would sound better in some ways, and more articulate, but in the Mesa, there is a lot of other signal processing going on that will mask some of the nice features of a Siemens tube. If you get them for cheap, then by all means, throw one into the first preamp position (V1) and listen to see if you like it more than a 12AX7. That all boils down to personal taste. V1 and V2 are the only positions in this amp that will make a tone change, so you do not have to go and change a lot of things. V1 is actually the primary first gain stage here too, so it is more important, in a manner of speaking, than V2.

 

How I find time ... sometimes its pretty easy, as I just have up a PC when I am working, and waiting for things to heat up, cool down, or bake.

 

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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Thanks so much Myles! I am giving your suggestions to my tech this weekend... hopefully it will be a cheap easy fix and I'll be back in business. Meanwhile, I'll be borrowing a buddy's Twin while the amp is in the shop -- we'll see how we gel. Thanks again for the tips!
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