Lower Power large bottle tubes.

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YellowJacket
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Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by YellowJacket » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:13 am

Guys,
I'm trying to look up info on gain threshold for tube models and nothing is coming up right now. Maybe I'm just tired.

I have heard that you can buy some models of tubes that clip at a lower wattage level (Less headroom) and I'm wondering if this may be a worthwhile investment for my never ending quest for crunch at low volumes. Like you know, right? One model of EL-34 puts out lets say 15 watts clean, and another puts out 11.5 watts clean. If you set the amp up right, you could have both preamp and power amp tubes that sound cranked at reasonably lower volumes. It just might be helpful!

thoughts?

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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by MrMarkIII » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:15 pm

Loudness is measured in decibels.
Decibels are a logarithmic scale, which means loudness is like the Richter scale. An earthquake is twice as big when the energy released is 10 times larger.
For amplifiers, this means 100 watt amp is (only) twice as loud as a 10 watt amp. Going the other direction, to get an map half as loud as a 10 watt amp, you need a ONE watt amp.
Merely cutting the power in half will only result in a barely noticeable loudness drop.
A 50 watt amp is not half as loud as a 100 watt amp. It's about 3 dB quieter. Noticeable, but not by your neighbors.
And 'gain" does not equate to "loudness". It just means you have to drive the lower gain power tube harder to get it to breakup.
A tube that breaks up earlier than another will not necessarily be a more quiet tube volume-wise, just cleaner.
This will all be on the final. :D

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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by YellowJacket » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:17 pm

Well, I know all about psycho acoustics already so I did not desire / need a lecture on it.
Realistically, we really only gig while demanding around 10watts of our high power amps. Practice / bedroom levels are definitely demanding below one watt of power. 95% of guitarists do not run their amps wide open. Furthermore, most boogies rely on the preamp -not the power amp- to generate crunch tones. Attenuators are for people who clip the power section of the amp.

To clarify, I was asking about tubes with a lower threshold of distortion. Basically, this means more distortion at lower volumes which means that a pissy amp (the Electra Dyne, for instance) can get a reasonable crunch tone without turning the master up to 10:00. I also know how speakers work so I don't need a lecture on efficiency or 'speaker rounding' either.

So ya, what tubes have a lower clip threshold?

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crane
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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by crane » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:48 am

About MB tubes, there is a color code on them, rating the sooner or later breakup (search about that on the forum).
Otherwise, some people use and are happy with 6V6 replacing their 6L6GC (JJ are the ones who can afford the high voltage) on rectifiers for examples. Take a look at Eurotube.
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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by J.J » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:19 am

Sorry YJ, but low volume crunch is not giong to happen with early breakup power tubes. Early breakup tubes are pretty much just the tubes with lower cathode emissions, which will show lower plate current for a given bias voltage. They will clip a little earlier, but only by a few dB. They could be handy if you just need to take a bit of the edge off at a gig, but at home you are still going to be loud.

Call me skeptical, but early breakup tubes could be considered rejects as they don't make the grade. Tube shops don't want to just though them away, so the early breakup marketing idea was born. It does have its place, but I think a lot of people buy them in the hope they will loose that 10dB of volume required to get a decent volume drop.

I tried both ends of the Mesa spectrum of tubes in my Express and you can tell the difference when pushing things (gig volume), but the 5 watt mode (making about 1.5 watts RMS) was still to loud to rock out with at home.
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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by MrMarkIII » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:38 am

YellowJacket wrote:Well, I know all about psycho acoustics already so I did not desire / need a lecture on it.
Realistically, we really only gig while demanding around 10watts of our high power amps. Practice / bedroom levels are definitely demanding below one watt of power. 95% of guitarists do not run their amps wide open. Furthermore, most boogies rely on the preamp -not the power amp- to generate crunch tones. Attenuators are for people who clip the power section of the amp.

To clarify, I was asking about tubes with a lower threshold of distortion. Basically, this means more distortion at lower volumes which means that a pissy amp (the Electra Dyne, for instance) can get a reasonable crunch tone without turning the master up to 10:00. I also know how speakers work so I don't need a lecture on efficiency or 'speaker rounding' either.

So ya, what tubes have a lower clip threshold?
So, buttercup, does it hurt much when you sit down with that stick up your ass?

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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by YellowJacket » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:30 am

crane wrote:About MB tubes, there is a color code on them, rating the sooner or later breakup (search about that on the forum).
Otherwise, some people use and are happy with 6V6 replacing their 6L6GC (JJ are the ones who can afford the high voltage) on rectifiers for examples. Take a look at Eurotube.
I have heard this before about the 6V6s. My friend put a set of them in his Recto and he swears by them. I wonder how they change the tone?
J.J wrote:Sorry YJ, but low volume crunch is not giong to happen with early breakup power tubes. Early breakup tubes are pretty much just the tubes with lower cathode emissions, which will show lower plate current for a given bias voltage. They will clip a little earlier, but only by a few dB. They could be handy if you just need to take a bit of the edge off at a gig, but at home you are still going to be loud.

Call me skeptical, but early breakup tubes could be considered rejects as they don't make the grade. Tube shops don't want to just though them away, so the early breakup marketing idea was born. It does have its place, but I think a lot of people buy them in the hope they will loose that 10dB of volume required to get a decent volume drop.

I tried both ends of the Mesa spectrum of tubes in my Express and you can tell the difference when pushing things (gig volume), but the 5 watt mode (making about 1.5 watts RMS) was still to loud to rock out with at home.
Now this is a useful response. Thanks.

I was not aware that 'early breakup tubes' was a marketing gimmick. People try everything to get us to part with our money, huh? The more I look into things, the more I see there really is not a satisfactory answer besides moving to an acreage and playing in a barn with earplugs in.

The only other feasible solution would be to use the amp for clean tones and use a good dirt box for overdrive.

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Jackie
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Re: Lower Power large bottle tubes.

Post by Jackie » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:13 pm

My experience is: it's just a color code.

The stock single EL84 in my dad's Marshall Class5 is probably a "normal" tube, whereas I bought two Sovtek GrooveTubes EL84s which were supposedly "early distortion" (I didn't pick that's all the store had).
All I ever did to that amp was dime it so believe me if it broke up any earlier I'd notice. After we put the GT tube in, if there was a difference, I didn't notice it. That amp starts breaking up at around 10 o'clock on the single "volume" knob it has, and maybe it broke up like 2 minutes earlier with the "early breakup" tube. Certainly not a big twist of the volume knob or perceivable difference either.

My other experience with powertube breakup is: it needs to happen like it was intended to happen. Speakers have to move air. And distort if that's your thing (Greenbacks). Tranny has to sag. Etcetera. I don't know why people can't accept this. It's like cars. You can't have the feeling of speed driving 30MPH! Not even if you put the car on a dyno and your speedometer shows 100MPH you're still not experiencing tunnel vision and your body pressing to the chair.
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