Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Which Tubes?  (Read 6086 times)

Offline David Tomkins

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1718
Which Tubes?
« on: October 10, 2006, 02:10:53 AM »
I am replacing all the tubes (preamp and power) in my Carvin Legacy(steve vai model).  I am thinking of going with Groove Tubes.  anyone got any opinions on what makes of tubes are good?  (i never realised there was much of a difference until i started looking).
i need some 12ax7 and EL34
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Which Tubes?

Offline Lwinn171

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1860
Which Tubes?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 09:47:51 AM »
I got some tubes for my Boogie about a year & 1/2 ago, from a place called Vacuum Tube Valley @ http://vacuumtube.com (so says the pen I got with my order). I got a pricey NOS RCA 12-AX7 for my V-1 slot (first input stage), and more basic replacements for the rest. Sounds great, and I'd recommend doing something like that. Worked wonders on my Boogie... and didn't cost a fortune. [:D]

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: October 10, 2006, 09:49:34 AM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Which Tubes?

Offline 908ssp

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6365
Which Tubes?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2006, 10:03:03 AM »
Most new tubes sold today are either made in an ex Soviet block country or China, very few exceptions. GT doesn't make their own tubes they claim they do but except for maybe one or two tubes they are re-badged. So you pay extra for the GT label. Same with Mesa it is just a label on a Chinese tube. If you have a Mesa it makes sense because Mesa will test the tubes they sell for the bias they know the amp requires and that allows you to plug and play. Carvin might do the same I don't know. In most cases buying a tube from a local vendor and biasing it yourself or having your local tech do it will get you the best results. By the way all power tubes should be biased no pre-amp tubes require it but some tone tuning can be done by biasing the pre-amps but this is rarely done and not generally worth worrying about.

Your best bet for which tubes to buy is to go to the Carvin board and ask there what those guys are running. I have collected a nice stash of vintage and new tubes and they do make a difference. But only you can judge whether the extra cost is worth it and which tube sound you like the best. The Carvin board might give you some solid advice as to what sounds like what. Good Luck.
[^]

Alex

« Last Edit: October 10, 2006, 10:05:01 AM by 908ssp »
Alex

[IMG]http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r245/908ssp/ThumbNails/_1010802.jpg[/IMG

Which Tubes?

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Which Tubes?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2006, 10:16:10 AM »
I like J&J Tubes. They sound pretty nice, IMO. You can get them at www.eurotubes.com

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com

Which Tubes?

Offline Lwinn171

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1860
Which Tubes?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2006, 10:30:15 AM »
Good information, Alex. Although it may not be worth an overseas call, I got a huge ammount of info over the phone from the company I listed above, and we discussed the best options for my amp. The guy I spoke with was very knowledgable and helpful. He seemed more interested in doing what was best for the amp, and the tone I was after, than in just selling me a bunch of pricey stuff. I can't claim to know much about tubes, my Boogie being the only all tube amp I've ever had, and I only retubed it the one time. Alex is right about finding out what will work best for your amp and tonal tastes. There is no general wisdom that can be applied, as different amps need different tubes to sound their best. I just checked the link I listed and discovered (I remember this now), they only take phone orders, so it may not be of much use to you, David. But surely there are options out there in Googleland. Happy hunting!

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Which Tubes?

Offline David Tomkins

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1718
Which Tubes?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2006, 11:14:16 AM »
thanks guys.  my amp has a biasing switch on the back so hopefully i won't have to tinker with the biasing (is that right?)

The guys in my local shop swear that Electro Harmonix make the best, but as Alex pointed out, they all seem to be eastern european/ chinese in origin.  looks like a minefield of re-badging and paying for the brand.......
Apparently Fender and Marshall use Ruby Tubes.  The carvins are shipped with Groove tubes.

I have looked at the carvin boards but tone is such a subjective thing - one man's ultimate-crunch is another man's mild saturation.....
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Which Tubes?

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Which Tubes?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2006, 01:13:29 PM »
My understanding is that Ruby Tubes are Chinese and Groove Tubes come from the Sovtek factory, and are selected, graded and "re-labeled" to Groove Tubes' specs.

J&J Tubes are made in Czechoslavakia, I believe. I also like the Svetlana tubes which are now called "Winged C". I've had the best experiences with J&J tubes and the Fender labeled Sovtek 5881 tubes that Fender sells seem to be pretty reliable. OTOH, I have had terrible experiences the Sovtek EL34s - like a 40% defective to 60% good tube ratio. [:(!]

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com

Which Tubes?

Offline joems

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 69
Which Tubes?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2006, 07:34:01 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by David Tomkins

thanks guys.  my amp has a biasing switch on the back so hopefully i won't have to tinker with the biasing (is that right?)

The guys in my local shop swear that Electro Harmonix make the best, but as Alex pointed out, they all seem to be eastern european/ chinese in origin.  looks like a minefield of re-badging and paying for the brand.......
Apparently Fender and Marshall use Ruby Tubes.  The carvins are shipped with Groove tubes.

I have looked at the carvin boards but tone is such a subjective thing - one man's ultimate-crunch is another man's mild saturation.....



On  my preamps, I did tried EHX on my MTS combo and never liked it then replaced with the EHX with Tungsol. I got the sound I like out of it.

Fly Classic - Romanized with SD Black Back pup
Fly Delux Majic Blu
Ibanez RG350 w/ EMG 81/s/8?
G&l Tribute s500 w/ Sustainiac
REVEREND 390

Fly Delux Majic Blu


Which Tubes?

jwrooker

  • Guest
Which Tubes?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2006, 08:02:12 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by David Tomkins

I am replacing all the tubes (preamp and power) in my Carvin Legacy(steve vai model).  I am thinking of going with Groove Tubes.  anyone got any opinions on what makes of tubes are good?  (i never realised there was much of a difference until i started looking).
i need some 12ax7 and EL34



If you want to spend some time and probably some money, look around for some NOS Mullards for your EL34's.  Those things will make a Marshall sing pretty.  Does your Legacy have adjustable bias?  When you retube, get the bias set right for your tubes.

John Rooker
Rochester, NY

Which Tubes?

Offline David Tomkins

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1718
Which Tubes?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2006, 09:53:27 AM »
cheers guys.  the carvin forums had this to say about groove tubes:
GT12AX7C = 9th gen Chinese
GT12AX7M = Mullard re-issue made by Shuguang for GT
GTECC83 = JJ ECC83 S
GT7025 = EI 12AX7
GT12AX7R = Sovtek 12AX7WA/WB Worst sounding 12AX7 IMO GT12AX7R1 = Sovtek 12AX7LPS
GT12AX7R2 = Electro Harmonix 12AX7EH
GTEL34-C + Chinese EL34, these are NOT the Shuguang EL34STB that TAD and Ruby sell, those are exclusive to only TAD and Ruby
GTEL34R = General Generic Sovtek EL34 basically Blah
GTEL34R2 = SED (real Svetlana EL34)
GTE34LS = Basically a JJ E34L with heat dissapation plates for more power
GTEL34M = XF2 Mullard Re-issue made by the Chinese Shuguang plant exclusively for GT

just posting it here as a reference
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Which Tubes?

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Which Tubes?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2006, 10:28:51 AM »
Thanks for the info David. Very interesting. [8D]

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com

Which Tubes?

Offline David Tomkins

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1718
Which Tubes?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2006, 02:09:59 AM »
decided to go with ruby tubes silver special.  will let you know how they sound.....
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Which Tubes?

Offline David Tomkins

  • Advanced Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1718
Which Tubes?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2006, 10:55:34 AM »
the rubies are marked as JJ which are what groove tubes use.  so my amp sounds exactly the same as before except my wallet is a bit thinner.  they needed replacing so i don't really mind, but i was hoping to hear an improvement.
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Which Tubes?

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Which Tubes?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2006, 02:18:45 PM »
quote:
they needed replacing so i don't really mind, but i was hoping to hear an improvement.


You'll probably hear more changes in the sound of your amp trying different preamp tubes, unless your amp is designed specifically for power tube distortion. In most amps, the distortion is generated in the preamp stages. You could probably tweak the power tube bias some to change the sound/change the point where "breakup" occurs, which may also shorten the life of the tubes some...

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com

Which Tubes?

Offline Binner

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 428
Which Tubes?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2006, 09:45:09 PM »
Depending on the circuit, a real popular combination is JJ/Tesla's in the power section and Electro-Harmonix in the pre-amp. It has worked out pretty well in a number of my amps.
'97 Fly Classic with Steve's Special/Air Norton
'05 Mojo Flame (Green) with SD Distortion/Jazz
'03 Parker 5-String (Natural) Duncan AJB-5s
'89 Hamer with Sustainiac
'95 Ovation Standard Elite (Green Burst)
'98 Ovation Balladeer (Red burst)
PRS Custom 24
Fender American Deluxe Strat
a bunch of Jacksons
a bunch of Charvels
a bunch of Peaveys (Vandenbergs)
Mesa RoadKing II
Mesa Mark IV Long Head
Mesa Stiletto Deuce II
Mesa F-30
Mesa 4x12
Peavey Triple X 2x12
Peavey 4x12 with two V30s and 2 G12T 75s
SWR Bass 750 with Mesa 4x10 and 1x15
Mesa Bass 400+
...and a bunch of other stuff