Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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xyrium
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Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by xyrium » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:45 pm

I'm about to try replacing tubes to fix the crackling I'm hearing, and someone recommended I just retube the whole preamp section. Has anyone noticed a tremendous difference going with the tone kit from Doug's, over just going all Tung Sol?

http://www.dougstubes.com/guitar-amp-tu ... ax7-7.html

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swbo101
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by swbo101 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:11 am

I've never used Doug's tone kit. I just create my own pre-amp mix. However, with that said I would not use ALL Tung-Sol in the pre-amp section, just in the V1. Otherwise it'll be too bright. I use it only in the V1 of my Mark IV and it's perfect there, at least for me.
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xyrium
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by xyrium » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:10 pm

Gotcha. I find that channel two is pretty dark, so I'd be afraid to put even darker tubes in there. However, maybe I'll give the JJ ECC83S a shot, and go for the "high gain" option that Doug offers. I wasn't even aware that you could tweak a tube for high gain. I thought you just get what the manufacturer specs it out to be.

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by crane » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:59 pm

JJ are dark tubes. They bring something smooth to the overdrive, but lacks "wide" or "open" tone. Try a new Mullard in V1, V2 or PI (but no more than one in all 7 12ax7)
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swbo101
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by swbo101 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:09 pm

crane wrote:JJ are dark tubes. They bring something smooth to the overdrive, but lacks "wide" or "open" tone. Try a new Mullard in V1, V2 or PI (but no more than one in all 7 12ax7)

I'd go with the new Mullard in the PI slot, just my .02
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Triaxstasy
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by Triaxstasy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:02 am

TungSol 12AX7 RI in V1, Mullard RI in V2, JJ ECC803 in the PI slot....

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by bandit2013 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:38 am

I had no idea that Doug's tubes exhisted until joining the site and trying to figure out issues I was having with my MKV.
Someone posted a link to the tone kit. Since my stock power tubes did not last very long, blew out both primary tubes (more than likely failure caused by transport, bought amp in PA and live in NC, and rt 95 is not all that smooth).

I cannot comment on the tone kit in its entirety since I also installed a matched quad Tung Sol 7581's. At first I was not impressed but considering length of burn in time the amp is beginning to wake up. So far, on the first day and 4 hours, WOW, the amp is no longer a treble monster (stock tubes were too bright). The kit I got from Doug did not have the JJ tube. However, it was replaced with Ruby HG

V1 tung sol, v2 ruby 12ax7ac7 (marked as HG), v3 ruby 12ax7acz HG) v4-v6 Penta anb PI Sovtek 12ax7LPS
Channel 2 has a bit more edge to it, before the tube change I could not tell the difference between CH2 and CH3 in character except for volume difference. Mark 1 mode is greatly improved ( I may even start liking it ). Huge difference in CH3, sounds awsome. Improvement on CH1 in volume, not as dim as it was. A few more hours to go until the tubes settle in. Now I am running through evm12L in my 412 cab (cab is 13 years old and bought it with my MKIV combo, V30's just were not living up to my expectations).

I never really considered different preamp tubes or tube rolling as a means to alter tone characteristics, basically I would just keep the all the same.

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by farren » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:15 pm

(As you probably know) that is my configuration, too, with one exception: the Ruby 12AX7ACZ HG is actually a re-labeled JJ ECC83 and is usually placed in V2 as it's a high-gain tube meant to bring the second channel to life. Most people would switch your current V2 and V3 tubes. If you like it that way, though, by all means stick with it.

I agree with pretty much everything you've said (well, not regarding speakers :P), except I found the stock Mesa (which are Ruby) tubes a bit dark. I had to dial back treble, presence, 6600 hz a little bit after the upgrade. This could just be a product of the higher gain tubes, though.

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by jnoel64 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:48 pm

I put Doug's tone kit in my ED, and I was not impressed. I wound up putting Tung Sols in V1-V3. Then I have EH in V4 and JJ in V5. The ED is a bit dark anyway, and I found having the Tung Sols in the first 3 really brought the the Vintage Lo & Vintage Hi to life; added a lot more headroom. I also prefer EL34s in my power section and stuck with all Tung Sols there, too. Those choices made me love my amp even more. But, my hearing is damaged, so what do I know?
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by farren » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:21 pm

Looking at the tube layout of the ED, it's quite different so we can't really compare the same tube set in a Mark V and an ED. Doug's kit isn't marketed towards any one amp, but I put together a very similar set of tubes to order for my particular needs based on what each tube does in the Mark V, and once I stumbled on Doug's kit, it happened to line up almost perfectly so I just went with it. It almost seems like the set is designed for the Mark V's tube layout, but perhaps it's just a coincidence. The highest gain tube (JJ) going in V2, for example, for a CH2 gain boost to liven up Crunch mode which isn't as awesome at low volumes straight out of the box.

I don't own an ED, but I don't think I would use the same kit for it, certainly not in the same order. I'd base it entirely on what I felt was missing with the Mesa tubes, then go from there based on the tube layout of that particular amp. Another difference is I run 6L6s.

But, it's just tubes... Many would think I'm overstating the importance of them (other than the more significant choice which few people downplay: 6L6 vs EL34), but really different preamp tubes are generally just a way to make an amp you really like that much better. I was already in love with my amp as I have been for years, so this just made things a little more perfect for me. YMMV :P

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by jnoel64 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:59 pm

I thought it was a little odd that Doug would recommend the same tubes for any amp with 7 pre-amp tubes. I told him what I had, and he pointed me to the same set for any amp with 7. I know there is no comparison between a MV and an ED, totally different amps. Just saying my experience with Doug felt more like I was getting a generic application.
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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by farren » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:57 pm

I agree with you, it certainly does sound that way and it's not very cool of him to recommend something for a very different amp he's apparently not as familiar with. There's no such thing as a single set of preamp tubes perfect for every situation. There's enough tube snake oil out there without supposed universal solution kits...

Check out page 66 of this PDF (page 62 if you go by the manual pages) for the valve layout on the MV and I think you'll agree it looks like Doug's kit was designed with it specifically in mind: http://www.mesaboogie.com/manuals/MkV_100303.pdf I have no idea how long he's offered it, though. It could predate the Mark V for all I know.

But like I said, could be a bizarre coincidence. I just doubt it ;)

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by bandit2013 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:31 am

Not all amps even if identical will have exaclty the same tone, same applies for the preamp tubes. Many other factors influence the overall tone, speaker configuration and type, power tubes, etc.... Also do not forget about the guitar that you are using. I found that I have tailored my V to enhance the guitars character that I play the most. With that being said, my guitars are equiped with active tone controls that are capable of boosting or cutting low and high tones similar to the parametric EQ on each channel. Amplitudes of the guitar signal can reach above 1.1v peak. I measured the signal ouput by capturing a few chords on a digital storage oscilloscope. Too bad I do not have a signal analyzer at my disposal. I orginally started with Dougs cocktail of tubes and finally found the right mix for my tastes.

I opted for JAN/GE 5751 for V1. If you decide to try out this type of tube only opt for the NOS. The current production 5751 tubes are not that much different than the 12AX7. I mentioned that to Doug through an email, his response on the current production 5751 were not all that great and not worth getting. Military grade JAN's would be the way to go if you can find them. The purpose for the 5751 would be to cut down on brightness and increase headroom for gain settings on each channel. Other than that, I opted for tung sol's in V4-V6 due to their robust construction. I found the Penta's to be sensitive and easily go microphonic. As for V7, get that with the triodes matched for ballanced power output since the phase inverter is similar to a push-pull amplifer circuit (class A/B). As for all of the other preamp tubes, they are all class A circuits so matching the triodes in them is not that critical. If you want to experiment with different tubes in any of the sockets, have them all matched so you can opt for a different tube in V7. As for V4 and V5 of the Mark V, they are basic driver circuits. I found that the Tung Sol's to be very rich, not harsh in tone character. If dark is the proper term for nice bass response? Overall, I can still get the amp bright without that ear drilling screach.

What works for me so far:
V1 Jan/GE 5751
V2 JJ 12ax7a
V3 Ruby 12ax7aczHG
V4 tung sol 12ax7
v5 tung sol 12ax7
v6 tung sol 12ax7
v7 sovetek 12ax7lps matched triodes

For the power section, Tung Sol 7581
For the final tone character: 412 rectro slant cab equipped with EVM12L black label. (tone did not change much compared to the V30's only noticable difference is how hard you can drive the EV without breakup and lacked the beaming character the open vented cone design of the Celestion).

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by mesaboogie6L6 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:52 pm

Hey bandit2013,

Did you change the speakers in your cab yourself or did someone do it for you? Just curious because I'm going to change mine in a straight recto with classic EV's soon.

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Re: Doug's tone kit, any opinions for a Mark V?

Post by bandit2013 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:25 pm

I changed the speakers myself. It took a while to break the seal of the cabinet. I had to remove the side handles to tap on the bottom of the rear panel from the inside with a hammer to break it loose. Those magnets on the V30's are very strong and will grab your hammer on you. It will not take much force, just light to moderate taps.

You will need a soldering Iron to free the wires from the Celestion speakers. Installing the EVM is easy. The existing bolt is long enough to thread the nut back on. I was considering adding 4 screws to each speaker from the back side to increase the clamping force around the speaker. As for weight, the V30's weigh the same as the EVM12L so additional screws will not be required.

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