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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:27 pm 
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Mark IV
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Today I sat down and recorded an impromtu (very mediocre at best :lol: ) shootout of the Sylvania vs. Ruby MSTR vs. Mesa branded 5881 for anyone interested. Since I wasn't at our studio, all I had was my AD/DA (which is awful) and a crappy cab that isn't mine but you can hear the differences. I'm going to put it up as a video on ye olde YouTube, but if anyone wants the raw audio i'll find a way to get it to you so it's not all super compressed.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:20 pm 
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Mark IV
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Here ya go! The video came out decent enough, Sony Vegas did a good job of preserving the high end information lost through the LAME compression process. I would say this is a pretty accurate representaion, with the loss of some low end detail. The Sylvania's and Ruby tubes actually sounded much more full on the bottom end. YouTube's compression actually didn't hurt the audio quality much, Vegas is what hurt the bottom end the most, but the audio is true.

No changes in EQ/volume/presence or input gain on the mic between tube changes. 10 minute cooldown inbetween changes. 3 minute warmup and 3 minute playtime so the tubes got hot before recording. On each clip I switched to the neck pickup and rolled the volume to 3, played a lick, then rolled the tone to zero, played a lick, then back to full, played a lick, then back to bridge dimed so you could hear all the high end detail on all the tubes. Clearly you can hear how musical the Sylvania's are versus the rest, but the 5881's actually did better than I recalled them being. On full blast the Ruby's did well, but are still kinda dull sounding to me.

You be the judges though:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLwgFHTLo5Q

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:13 am 
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Mark III

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The subtleties of tone....The only way I can tell between very slight tonal differences is by the 'feel' of the amp, meaning, the way my pick feels when it hits the strings, and by the 'kick' I get from it....go figure.

Here's what I think I heard: The Sylvania's were more detailed, and sounded the best with the clean tones. I actually found them a little too shrill for the crunch tone. The Ruby;s sounded a little washed out. I like the last set of tubes 425's? (are those the 5881's) best with the crunch sound...not as much shrillness - a little smoother, but not as detailed.

One thing you want to check next time you do a soundtest, is make sure the tubes are all from the same color series. I noticed that the last set of tubes were "yellows", which are very cold running tubes. I usually can only buy Mesa greens at our local store, but when I order specialty tubes (TheTubeStore) I like em selected to be at about 27, which is really running hot for a Mesa. Very clear difference in tone between my =C= 17's vs =C= 27's. That makes more difference than I could hear on your video.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:31 am 
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Mark IV
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Nope, your ears didn't fool you. I'm glad I recorded this with a cheapo cab and a crap Shure I had laying around versus the nicer equipment at the studio (i'm tempted to redo this test!), it lets you know the differences are still very real, but similar nonetheless. During the lead lines, I was barely playing on the Sylvania's. They are so musical, the notes just leap out harmonically. The STR-425's are indeed a little smoother on the high end with a flat midrange plateau.

As for the bias thing, I don't have a great selection of biased stuff around yet. The 5881's were all I could grab when i did (we were sold out of Mesa 6L6s and all we had were Mesa 5881's in yellow or blue, but 2 full boxes of Ruby singles!) The true test of these tubes is the clean channel, IMO, and the R2 channel. You can really hear how these tubes change their harmonic content. If I do another tube shootout i'll include all 3 channels.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:25 pm 
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nice job... the sylvanias sounded really good followed by the 5881's...

scott

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:09 pm 
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Real nice test. Could you post the amp settings with the video?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:50 am 
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Mark IV
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Thanks guys.

The settings are:
V1 - 7.8 (pulled)
Treb - 8 (pulled)
Bass - 1.9 (pushed)
Mid - 3 (pulled)
Master - 1.5 (pulled)
Lead Drive - 7 (pulled)
Lead Master - 5.5 (pushed)
Presence - 7.2
R2 vol - 5

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:34 pm 
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Mark II

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nice job... the sylvanias sounded really good followed by the 5881's...


plus 1. The Sylvania's sounded hairy and scary. Very cool.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:10 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:29 am
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Excellent test man. This can be very useful for someone who wants to re-tube a mark... The Sylvania provides such a warm and full sound!

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 3:41 pm 
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Mark IV

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Don't forget that you can mix pairs of tubes. So you can use 2 420's as an outside or inside pair and 440's as the other pair this way you can really tweak your sound.

In my Mark III, I currently use 415's on the inside and 430's on the outside.


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