Subway Blues retube - need advice!!

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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Pyramid Head
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:58 pm

Subway Blues retube - need advice!!

Post by Pyramid Head » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:55 am


My Subway Blues is in need of a complete retube.
The tone was PERFECT (well.. close) with the tubes I had in it, but I think there's room for improvement.

The tubes I used were:
V1- Electro-Harmonix 12AX7EH
V2-V3-V4- Sovtek 12AX7WA
Power tubes: 2x Mesa EL84 (Sovtek, confirmed by Mesa)

***EDIT: When I asked Mesa about their EL84's provenance, including the year of manufacture, they told me that they used Sovtek. But after buying a quad of Sovtek EL84, I can definitely say that the Mesa tech did BULLSH*T me! The Mesa EL84's I loved so much are in fact Electro-Harmonix tubes. Haven't tried my new Sovtek yet, but construction is SO close to the EHX I'm pretty sure they'll sound pretty similar. Will report back on this.

I had tried many other EL84's, and the Mesa were simply the best. With the amp fully dialed in, the Crunch was perfect! My college guitar teacher asked me every week if I had made a new recording (in the Studio classes) he could listen to, and the first time he heard my Subway Blues fully dialed in on a rock song he asked me if I had used an old Marshall head with a 4x12" to tape that awesome sound. When I told him no, he said: THAT'S YOUR LITTLE BOOGIE? Man was that priceless!

So you can see why I'll stick with those EL84's.

Where I need your help is with the Preamp Tubes.
I'm not going for 5751's or 12AT7's.

The EH in V1 brought some sparkle and gain.
I know the Sovtek 12AX7WA's in V2-V3-V4 might seem like a strange choice, but they gave me the best tone compared to the other tubes I tried at the time (JJ ECC83S, Sovtek 12AX7 WB & WC and Electro-Harmonix 12AX7EH (although I don't remember why I didn't like a second EH).

Looking for Current Production Tubes only (no NOS).

I'd like to know:
->What preamp tubes do you like in your Subway Blues?
->Any suggestions? I want to keep building on the same kind of tone I had, replacing those Sovtek WA especially. But I'm also looking for other kinds of tones as it's always good to have more options in the Studio.

Thanks for any help you can offer!

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