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Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by budda, Jul 6, 2018.
I'm not a EE but I don't think an 18-year-old amp needs a recap quite yet...
18-20 years or so is generally when it can start being considered. That depends on a lot of course though... how much it is used, if it is high gain, if it is noisy, etc....
18-20 years is sort of the minimum for more expensive amps. Cheaper amps you should consider it sooner because they use cheaper caps (e.g. my Mesa has all Spragues, which pretty much guaranteed last longer than the no-name Chinese stuff in my Jet City).
Would be cool to hear your findings on that. My Rivera is one of the heaviest amps I've ever picked up outside a bass amp. I don't think it need more iron. The Mesa though... I've heard people have good results with changing transformers out. Particularly the OT. Mine's still under warranty, so no experimenting for me. Yet.
Those of you who use big boy power tubes (that is, KT88s and 6550s) - are the Tung-Sol 6550s any good?
I don't know about those specific tubes. But I've not had any issues with any tubes from that plant. Man, if you can get some of the Gold Lion power tubes. Holy shit. I had some Gold Lion KT66s in a Budda Superdrive and that amp was monster without them. With them...
I miss that amp.
Supposedly bright sounding. Like anything New Sensor: may or may not actually be built to 6550 spec, and cannot consistently handle the same plate voltages as NOS.
I managed to snag an attenuator. I found an Audiostorm (UK brand) 120 8ohm for half price and went for it. Seems nicely built but the only drawback is that it has two settings practice and studio. The studio setting is supposedly giving you a quarter volume and the practice one tenth. With the practice setting I managed to get the Laney at about 5.5 volume where I can tolerate the sound. I mean instead of playing at 1 the same volume was about 2.5-3 so I'm not sure that's a tenth of the original volume. I did manage to tweak the sound a bit more and using the low input gave me a better, clearer sound. I still need to experiment but I think next tube swap I'm going with EL34's.
The Peavey was a similar situation. I did enjoy however the green channel set for distortion more than the red. The red needs more tweaking on higher volumes hmmmm.
So attenuator was a good call and I'll see if I can grab something down the line with more attenuation.
I'm also GASing for a Mesa Roadster and a Marshal JCM2000 DSL. I know that JCM800 is the holy grail for a lot of people but the Laney GL100 (and the VH100R which I have) are supposed to do that sound really well with EL34'S.
I feel like we're kind of fucked with new production power tubes. New Sensor plays fast and loose with spec, JJ is a total crapshoot in terms of reliability (they do sound damn good, though...), and Chinese tubes either pop spontaneously or just sound bad.
With New Sensor some of their tubes are actually various Russian designs instead of what they sell them as, from what I remember. I'd have to look it up to confirm which ones, but for instance I think their 5881 is actually a 6P3S or something like that.
I have found JJ power tubes to be good and reliable (relatively speaking) other than EL34. There are no good EL34s since Winged C disappeared. I haven't tried some of the more esoteric tubes from them though.
How about the JJEL34 II? They seem quite interesting and I'm thinking of getting those for my Laney.
5881WXT = 6P3S-E
6L6WXT/6L6EH = 6P3S-EV
EL84M = 6P14P-EV (IIRC)
12AX7WA/B/C is a rewired 6N2P.
I have a quad. I like them a lot generally - a bit smoother than the E34L but a nice fat low end. They handle higher G2 voltages than they're rated for pretty well.
You’re right. New Sensor was able to purchase the name and logos of the tube brands, but not their construction techniques or materials. So you wind up with a lot of low tolerance tubes that bear no resemblance to the original tube that made the name respected. It’s like Steve Fryette selling the VHT logo and branding to China in a way.
Thank you for the input! The 6L6 are trying their best with the Laney but I feel the EL34's would suit them better. Being a bright amp it might benefit for the smoother sound.
Do make sure the screen resistors are the correct value and the heater supply can handle another 2.4A (1.5A per tube EL34s vs 0.9A 6L6s).
I've had great results with JJ and EHX for my KT88 amps
I ran a sextet of JJ EL34s in a Triple Rectifier for a few years with no issues that was 2010-2013, so maybe the JJ issues are much more recent? I've heard Dave Friedman talk a lot about how the JJ 34's are pretty bad now. I have a pair of =C= EL34s for my VHT 50/CL that are great, but I also really like the sound of a pair of EHX I put in there recently. So far so good as far as reliability, though I'm not touring or even cranking my amps very often.
Speaking of my 50/CL, when I was rolling tubes in a few of my amps, I noticed the OT in it was around the same size as the OT in my Mark V, maybe even bigger maybe it's over-engineered for being a 50w amp, but damn does it sound good
The amp has a bias switch for 6L6 and EL34s so I'm guessing it should lol. These ship out with EL34s but the previous owner had 6L6s in and went with that when I retubed.
Big iron and bright tubes.
On the topic of big iron, if I were to upgrade my Mesa's OT what would you guys recommend? I'd be looking for the 2k plate-plate area, maybe that Classictone "Project" transformer that's supposed to be in the ballpark of the SLO OT?
Also, tube rectifiers are a lot more fun than I expected. They have this subtle mush playing rhythm parts that's super satisfying for modern rock.
Got my hand on a 5150 II. I somehow forgot how enormous the iron in those things is. And what better way to make it better than to add even more iron? Choke coming tomorrow.