Tube Choices?

Dual/Triple Rectos, Maverick, Blue Angel, Nomad, Road King, F-Series, Lone Star & Stiletto

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musicbox
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Tube Choices?

Post by musicbox » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:16 am

This is a subject that hasn't seemed to be addressed much yet, but is probably the most important in everyones quest for tone. What brand of tubes are you using in your boogie. NOS, the expensive reissues, Mesa, or one of the few factory productions? Why are you using them? Pro's and Con's? Please keep this as structured and reader friendly as possible so that we can all easily digest the opinions and ratings...

6L6?
6V6?
El34?
El84?
Rectifiers?
Anyone running Kt88's?
Pre-amp tubes?

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jbird
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Post by jbird » Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:25 am

I run stock Mesa branded tubes, EL34's in my Dual Rec to be exact. I'm satisfied with the tone I get and the local Mesa dealer is a couple minutes from my place! It's sort of like pups in my PRS guitars, I leave em stock, the way the builder intended them to sound. I feel the same about my Mesa amp, leave it as was intended. I think some people go through learning ruts, and to get through the down cycle, they go on wild tone changing quests. Me, I'd rather change strings! :lol:

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Post by cvansickle » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:36 am

When I had my DC-5, I retubed it entirely with Electro-Harmonix 12AX7EH and 6L6EH tubes. It was a change for the better. I also tried Mesa's 5881 tubes in the DC-5. They sounded good too, but were very different and ultimately I prefered the 6L6 sound.

So far, I've only swapped the stock tubes of my Nomad 100 with 6L6EHs, and I'm happy with those in that amp too.
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Post by codeorama » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:53 am

I put JJ e34l's in my recto and a JJ recto tube as well.

I love the tone, I won't go back to the stock mesa power tubes.

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Post by nu-tra » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:06 pm

The 12AX7s that come in the mesa are the electro harmonix brand relabled...
I decided to call the tube store and order a matched quad of 6l6 tubes for my dual recto... They burn the tube to match the bias in boogies... I ordered Svetlana "C" logo 6l6's and they sound great. You can pretty much pic any tube and they will burn it to work with your mesa. It's fun!

haha

http://www.tubestore.com/index.html

V

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Red Barchetta
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Post by Red Barchetta » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:36 pm

I use the stock Mesas in my Road King. I tried Groove Tubes and Sovteks just for sh!t and giggles, but didn't like the outcome. I agree...use what the amp builder intended.



RB

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Post by nu-tra » Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:34 am

most amp builders put in whatever (cheap) works out of the box... The mesa tubes are sovteks... The preamp tubes are relabled electro harmonix and are awesome.

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Post by cvansickle » Wed Mar 23, 2005 7:13 am

Mesa's relabled tubes are Sovtek tubes, not the EH versions. There is a difference that I know of first hand. The 6L6EH is more powerful, lasts longer and sounds better, at least to my ears, than the STR430 or 6L6WXT+.
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Post by screamingdaisy » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:20 am

6L6 STR-420 - China - One of our brightest and sweetest sounding 6L6's - A long standing favorite for overall classic 6L6 tone suitable for clean to high gain use - Crisp sparkling highs and classic "fat" lows - Wonderful tonal qualities but moderate life expectancy - Recommended for lower to average voltage requirements


6L6 STR-427 - China - One of our more structurally rugged 6L6's with added focus on mid range punch and clarity - Designed to be a value priced, high quality 6L6 that is capable of handling higher voltage requirements - Good for any styles where tighter lows and focused mid punch are needed


6L6 STR-430 - Russia/Sovtek - One of our best overall 6L6's to date - Extremely balanced 6L6 character, fat lows, very pleasing mid range punch and nicely tailored highs - Excellent structural quality provides exceptional consistency and reliability - Rivals NOS durability and sonic character - Amazing for all styles of music


6L6 STR-454 - Russia/Svetlana - The 454 is a premium quality, US equivalent 6L6 power tube, comparable to the legendary Sylvania 415 - Remarkable bass definition, articulate mids and simmering highs keeps every note amazingly intelligible - Smooth, creamy and punchy - Premium structural quality, provides exceptional consistency and reliability - Recommended for higher voltage requirements


5881 STR-425 - Russia/Sovtek - Russian military grade 6L6 that was designed with an emphasis on rugged durability and consistency, capable of handling high voltage requirements - Produces a dark, mid-rangey tone with tapered highs that lends itself to styles of jazz, fusion and some blues - Any style where tapered highs and a dark round tone are needed - If you find your amp to be too bright or harsh with standard 6L6's, the 5881 may be your passion


6V6 STR-417 - China - This little brother to the 6L6 is all about the classic American tube tone from yesteryear - Extremely sweet and bubbly with a beautifully deep bass and spacious shimmering highs - This tube defines Vintage American "Tweed Amp" styled tone and has proven to be a consistent and durable performer in both Class A and Class A/B power sections


EL34 STR-442 - Russia/Svetlana -An incredibly warm and rich sounding EL-34 that is reminiscent of the US 6CA7 - Thick rich low end that is still defined and light, with a Euro-voiced mid range edge and sparkling highs that are incredibly smooth and musical - Its tonal character falls between and EL-34 and a 6L6, striking a perfect balance of the best attributes from both - Excellent build quality provides exceptional consistency and reliability - Capable of handling higher voltage requirements


EL-34 STR-447 - Russia/Sovtek - Traditional EL-34 tone & feel - Very urgent and aggressive - An excellent choice for all styles of gain, especially classic rock, alternative rock & metal - This tube is true to the crown with focused low end, crushing mid range crunch and crystal-like highs - This is one of our favorites for authentic English tone - Excellent structural quality provides exceptional consistency and reliability


EL34 STR-450 - German/Siemens - Genuine "A" quality NOS German made Siemens EL-34 - This is a legendary European EL-34 known for its unsurpassed "bell tone" clarity and touch sensitive sustain & articulation - Premium German engineering provided unsurpassed structural quality that makes this one of the most consistent and reliable EL-34 you can buy - A great choice whenever premium performance is required, especially for high voltage requirements


EL84/6BQ5 - Russia/Sovtek - This little brother to the EL-34 is a European classic that lead the English invasion - Tight and aggressive yet smooth and wark with an amazing chiming mid and top end - Brilliant focus with a frequency response that always brings your guitar to the front of the mix - This tube is true to its classic roots and is extremely consistent and reliable


EL84/6BQ5 - USA/Sylvania - Genuine "A" quality NOS American made Sylvania EL84/6BQ5 - This premium quality tube produces all of the favorable attributes of our standard EL84 with the added benefit of a higher output and a punchier overall performance - Unsurpassed US design and manufacturing provide exceptional structural quality, consistency and reliabilty
Ignore the hype and trust your ears. Play more, buy less = better tone.

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Post by screamingdaisy » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:25 am

I use Svetlana 6L6GCs from www.thetubestore.com

I wanted something that gave me virtually the same sound as I had come to love from the stock Sovtecs that were in there, and I was told the STR-454s would get me there, so I bought the same tube off thetubestore and couldn't have been happier.

They sound killer, very harmonically rich, and are everything the 430s are, but better.


I'm also thinking of trying out a set of JJ/Telsa 6L6s, but I really like the way my amp sounds right now, and I'm not so sure I'd like the darker character they'd offer. I might try it anyway, but dropping the $$$ a set of 8 matched tubes is expensive.
Ignore the hype and trust your ears. Play more, buy less = better tone.

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Post by nu-tra » Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:16 pm

No Mesa's 12ax7 is a relabled EH. The 6l6 are sovtek
cvansickle wrote:Mesa's relabled tubes are Sovtek tubes, not the EH versions. There is a difference that I know of first hand. The 6L6EH is more powerful, lasts longer and sounds better, at least to my ears, than the STR430 or 6L6WXT+.

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Post by CudBucket » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:22 pm

Red Barchetta wrote:I use the stock Mesas in my Road King. I tried Groove Tubes and Sovteks just for sh!t and giggles, but didn't like the outcome. I agree...use what the amp builder intended.
RB
Well what does Mesa "intend"? They offer several versions of preamp tubes and power amp tubes all with their label. And still, the tubes are not manufactured by Mesa.

Use what sounds good.

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Post by musicbox » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:59 pm

what are you blue angel guys using for 6v6's? im going to use a jj 5ar4, but im up in the air over the 6v6. EH or JJ? Dougstubes has these Tung-Sol 6V6s, any word on those?

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Post by Dale B. » Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:27 pm

Mesa relabels the following preamp tubes:

1. Their Standard 12ax7a is a Chinese tube

2. Their 12ax7a that is labeled Russian 1 is a Sovtek 12ax7wb or 12ax7wa (can't remember which one)

3. Their 12ax7a that is labeled Russian 2 is an EH

4. Their SPAX7 that has that rubber coating on the top of 1/2 of the glass is a low noise Chinese.

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Post by NoGlassNoClass » Thu Mar 24, 2005 3:21 am

I have JJ ECC83S's graded for high gain in V1-2-3, a standard gain ECC83S in V4 and a balanced one in the PI. Mesa STR454"s in the power section, and JJ GZ34/5AR4 rectos. Honestly the only reason I retubed was because the amp was 2 years old and it was time. IMO the JJ pre's are far superior to the Russian2's that were in there. I am also a huge fan of the GZ34's as they are much tighter-sounding than the stock 5U4's, but not as harsh as the diodes, especially for clean tones and hi-gain soloing.
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