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Old April 27th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How much does a rectifier effect tone? Can a 5Y3 be a substitute for GZ34/5AR4?

Howdy:

Two questions:

1st: How much does a rectifier effect tone? My '66 Princeton Reverb has a no-name Chinese 5AR4. Is there really something to the quest for the Mullard or other NOS rectifiers?


2nd: Can a 5Y3 be a substitute for a GZ34/5AR4? I pulled out a nice G.E. coke bottle 5Y3 from an old radio. It test good on my little "home version" Lafayette tube tester.

Thanks all.

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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I wouldn't make that swap - save it for when you get your hands on an amp that's designed for the 5Y3... (note that I doubt you'd do any damage, but no good point).

So long as you're using the same type rectifier, I'd say it will affect tone BUT it's in the lower tier of things that matter. Why it can affect tone has to do with subtle changes in voltages, which affects how the tubes are biased, which can subtly affect your tone.... small time differences within the same rectifier types. But once you start considering different types - solid state vs 5y3 vs 5u4 vs GZ34... they can somewhat more substantially change the behavior of the amp. They're NOT necessarily interchangeable in any given amp, so do your research before swapping.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I could be wrong, but I understand the rectifier tube can be replaced with an SS component pretty easily, without as much negative effect on tone.

Weber sells a replacement for your GZ34/5AR4 for 22 bucks. http://www.webervst.com/ccap.html Its worth a try. When my NOS RCA 5Y3 gives up teh ghost, I'll use the Copper Cap replacement (I already have it, in fact).

NOS 5Y3 are pretty easy to find (30 bucks at Eurotubes), I don't know about the GZ34/5AR4 though.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There are people who claim to hear a difference between different brands of rectifier tubes of the same type (i.e. Chinese 5AR4 versus Mullard versus JJ), but if the output voltage is close, I have a hard time buying it.

Now, as for swapping a 5Y3 for the 5AR4... the 5Y3 has more internal resistance and less current capability, so your amp will run out of steam a lot sooner with the 5Y3.

Coke-bottle 5Y3G's are rarer than the 5Y3GT's you find most places, so be a little careful with it!

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Old April 27th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A nice sub for a GZ34 if you want a little more sag and earlier breakup is a 5R4 -- offhand I don't remember the exact specs, but it's a safe replacement for a GZ34/5AR4 as far heater current, with a significantly higher internal voltage drop.

Also makes a pretty good sub for a 5U4GB, similar performance but much lower filament draw.

I don't think I'd put a good old stock 5Y3 in a circuit designed for a GZ34, pretty big gap between them in the output rating-- might not fry immediately, but couldn't be good for it.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Custom Deluxe View Post
1st: How much does a rectifier effect tone? My '66 Princeton Reverb has a no-name Chinese 5AR4. Is there really something to the quest for the Mullard or other NOS rectifiers?
Answer #1: It depends. A '66 Princeton PT is a highly stressed piece of gear, don't stick a 5U4G in there. 5AR4 has a 2a filament, 5Y3 has a 2a filamant. 5U4G has a 3a filament. Don't try that one.

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Originally Posted by Custom Deluxe View Post
2nd: Can a 5Y3 be a substitute for a GZ34/5AR4? I pulled out a nice G.E. coke bottle 5Y3 from an old radio. It test good on my little "home version" Lafayette tube tester.
Yeah but why? A 5Y3 has a relatively large voltage drop. You'll hear the effect of a large voltage drop and maybe a few other little things.

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Originally Posted by Commodore 64 View Post
I could be wrong, but I understand the rectifier tube can be replaced with an SS component pretty easily, without as much negative effect on tone.
Depends on what you mean by "SS rectifier" and what you mean by "negative effect". You go on to qualify by saying "Weber Copper Cap" which incorporates a dropping resistor to emulate a tube. It still doesn't behave exactly like a tube.

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Originally Posted by Commodore 64 View Post
NOS 5Y3 are pretty easy to find (30 bucks at Eurotubes), I don't know about the GZ34/5AR4 though.
Thirty bucks is a princely sum for a 5Y3. I ought to go into the tube business!

I know what I need to know about the 5AR4. They're around $135 for an NOS Mullard and around half that for a small bottle GE last time I checked.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 10:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I want to go the opposite direction and replace a 5AR4 with a 5Y3 because my amp sounds a little stiff and I would like more SAG...

Will this help my amp have a little more compression and SAG?

Thanks,

TJ
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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Here is what I understand about rectifiers:

AB763 circuits tend to like GZ34/5AR4 rectifier tubes.

AB568 circuits tend to like 5U4GB rectifier tubes.

The 5U4GB rectifiers draw more current and has more low wattage breakup than the GZ34/5AR4 in lower wattage amplifiers so maybe try that rectifier tube. My 1965 Super Reverb has a 5U4GB and that sounds much better than a GZ34 in that particular amp. My BF'd 1969 Bandmaster Reverb sounds better with a 5U4GB also.

The 5Y3 does not put out enough current or voltage to properly drive the components in your Princeton.

I haven't had a Princeton in a long time but I have several Deluxe Reverbs, the older ones had a GZ34 on the tube charts, the newer (early/mid 70's) ones had a 5U4GB on the tube chart but all ended up with GZ34 rectifier tubes as I thought those sounded better in those amps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjnugent View Post
I want to go the opposite direction and replace a 5AR4 with a 5Y3 because my amp sounds a little stiff and I would like more SAG...

Will this help my amp have a little more compression and SAG?

Thanks,

TJ
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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The amp I want to change the rectifier is a Fender 68' Custom Deluxe Reverb... One of the newly released Silverface amps.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjnugent View Post
The amp I want to change the rectifier is a Fender 68' Custom Deluxe Reverb... One of the newly released Silverface amps.
I'd try a 5V4 instead.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you for guiding me on this one... I don't care much for the 80 watt V Type Celestion in it. Any recommendations on a way to bring this amp back down to earth with a decent speaker? lol

TJ
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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you for guiding me on this one... I don't care much for the 80 watt V Type Celestion in it. Any recommendations on a way to bring this amp back down to earth with a decent speaker? lol

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Old February 9th, 2015, 01:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you!
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Old February 9th, 2015, 02:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The original poster was asking about a '66 Princeton so I was answering that one specifically. Didn't mean to cause any confusion with your amp which I haven't done any work on the '68 Custom DRRI's. I grabbed the wrong post to add my 2 cents to.

Quote:
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The amp I want to change the rectifier is a Fender 68' Custom Deluxe Reverb... One of the newly released Silverface amps.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 05:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Being as this thread was Princeton Reverb specific:

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.d.sound-guy View Post
Here is what I understand about rectifiers:

AB763 circuits tend to like GZ34/5AR4 rectifier tubes.

AB568 circuits tend to like 5U4GB rectifier tubes.

The 5U4GB rectifiers draw more current and has more low wattage breakup than the GZ34/5AR4 in lower wattage amplifiers so maybe try that rectifier tube. My 1965 Super Reverb has a 5U4GB and that sounds much better than a GZ34 in that particular amp. My BF'd 1969 Bandmaster Reverb sounds better with a 5U4GB also.
Fender swapped from the nice 125P1B power transformer to the 022772 "Champ" transformer around mid- '66 and used them through mid- '70. The 022772 supports a 2 amp filament while a 5U4G draws three amps. That means the filament winding is dramatically overloaded in late- '60s Princeton Reverbs with the stock 022772 transformer when using a 5U4G rectifier. There is an AA1164 Princeton Reverb schematic showing a 5U4G rectifier so most techs think it's o.k.. Same guys must enjoy swapping a ten buck 5U4G for a hundred buck 5AR4.

Quote:
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The 5Y3 does not put out enough current or voltage to properly drive the components in your Princeton.
Yes it does. There are plenty of P.A. amps, phonograph amps, old tape decks and a few guitar amps that run the same or similar tubes using a 5Y3. For example a tweed Deluxe has 2x 6V6 and a couple preamp tubes. Preamp tubes draw practically nothing although if you're using 30 of them as found in an old organ it adds up.

Old Bogen P.A. amps ran 2x 6L6 using a 5Y3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.d.sound-guy View Post
I haven't had a Princeton in a long time but I have several Deluxe Reverbs, the older ones had a GZ34 on the tube charts, the newer (early/mid 70's) ones had a 5U4GB on the tube chart but all ended up with GZ34 rectifier tubes as I thought those sounded better in those amps.
The thing to watch in Princeton Reverbs of any era... the supply voltage is crazy high while the available current is embarrassingly low.

Most '70s SF Princeton Reverbs use a 5U4G as Fender swapped to a power transformer that will support it some time late in 1970. I've measured the supply voltage in those right around 450v, crazy high for 6V6s and right at the limit of the filter caps.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 09:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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The original Ampeg Reverberockets used a 5Y3, two 6v6s, two 6SL7s, two 6SN7s. I have two of those amps here the older one still has the Ampeg branded 5Y3 while the slightly newer one has a replacement.
Real simple math there Ampeg increased the first filter cap past the point a 5Y3 can take. (think it's 60uf) The fix was they went to a solid state rectifier. My fix is recapping it with the original values.

Point is a PR will be fine with a 5Y3 just get a real one that says Made in USA.
Grab one out of an old radio they last for ever.
My BFDR has been running a radio pulled 5Y3 for a couple of years now.

Be a real good time to put in a bias pot because rectifiers change things there.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 09:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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the modern sovtek 5Y3 is a relabeled GZ34. (this is what my Bias Rite shows) So yes, for all the wrong reasons, it can be substituted
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Old February 25th, 2015, 04:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Most '70s SF Princeton Reverbs use a 5U4G as Fender swapped to a power transformer that will support it some time late in 1970. I've measured the supply voltage in those right around 450v, crazy high for 6V6s and right at the limit of the filter caps.
My 72 SFPR shows a plate voltage of 427V at the power tubes, should I go to a 5AR4 or GZ34?
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Old February 25th, 2015, 04:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Zombie thread back from the dead!
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Old February 25th, 2015, 06:36 PM   #20 (permalink)
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My 72 SFPR shows a plate voltage of 427V at the power tubes, should I go to a 5AR4 or GZ34?
Which rectifier was in it when you took your plate voltage?
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