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Old September 29th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The best article I've ever read on selecting tubes!

If you really want to read an entirely new perspective on tubes, especially NOS tubes, read the November 2007 Vintage Guitar article "Talkin Amps with Terry Kilgore"..

Those who are familiar with Terry Kilgore aka "the Tube tramp" know of his incredible knowledge and expertise regarding music in general, but his article on tubes is a must read for anybody who tinkers with amps.

His article is a hit on traditional tube selection for amps..a hit between the eyes.

Read it, it's worth the price of the magazine...which I think is the best around anyway!

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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i wrote him at the address supplied at the end of the article, and got a very nice response....seems he favors 6V6s like i do...

yes, an interesting article indeed.....not being technically amp savvy, i can't comment about his statements, but concerning tube longevity, they do seem to make sense !
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Old September 30th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I really enjoyed reading where he doesn't advocate using all power tubes of the same manufacturer....follows the same theory as mismatching speakers which ten years ago was unheard of, but today is very common.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fierce_carrot View Post
I really enjoyed reading where he doesn't advocate using all power tubes of the same manufacturer....follows the same theory as mismatching speakers which ten years ago was unheard of, but today is very common.
Interesting, could you elaborate? Wider tonal range?
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Old September 30th, 2007, 11:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Totally agree.

Great article!
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Old September 30th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Interesting, could you elaborate? Wider tonal range?
thats pretty much it..he advocates using different power tubes from different manufacturers to add "color" to the sound which really makes alot of sense....for power output he would use a mullard with a tungsram with a ge with a????

it's a really great article and Terry is about as smart as one can get in this area....
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Old September 30th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I foresee much experimenting this Sunday.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 02:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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fierce: he's talking about mixing preamp tubes.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 02:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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fierce: he's talking about mixing preamp tubes.
..and that is sound advice.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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my take on the article leads me to believe that he wasn't restricting the discussion to only preamp tubes....
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I seem to remember a Cesar Diaz Tonequest interview where he suggested that un-balanced power tubes might be desirable.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 04:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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..and that is sound advice.
I get it!
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Old October 1st, 2007, 08:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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fierce: he's talking about mixing preamp tubes.
I dunno...reading the article carefully again, he says

"You don't need to have an entire line of Mullards in the back of your amp. You need on in the driver seat and that one tube will color you sound, the rest are just POWERING your amp".

I'm reading this as he's mixing power tubes...I think I'll write Terry and clarify this...to me it makes alot of sense...mixing power output tubes as output tubes have a big effect on the overall tone of the amp.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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This is a great discussion. Keep us posted, fierce.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 10:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I agree, not much clarity in what Terry's saying. You don't hear much about Mullard Power tubes. Their rectifiers and preamp tubes are legendary. In my experience preamp tubes shape tone and power tubes shate overdrive characteristics when they're driven. But V1 gets driven too, so that is what I've been referring to as far as mixing them.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 09:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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If we look at the basic premise of how a class AB power section works, mismatching power tubes probably isn't a good idea...

Even "matched" power tubes tend to be ~3-4 mA apart, and even more at full blast.

I think that the best argument that's been made is when you have reasonably matched power tubes, the differences between the two can add some character.

Even so, there are vendors (Sonic Deli) that offer products with dual bias circuits, to get each power tube exact (at idle).

Mismatched power tubes increase the possibility of hum, ghost notes, and other nasty side effects that are usually absent with matched tubes.

Now, mixing preamp tubes, I can certainly understand. I tend to have a different one for each slot. For instance, many Marshalls (IME) tend to sound best with a long plate (LPS) for V1. I also tend to favor a (real) 7025 as the first tube in most of my amps.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 08:18 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I just read Part II of the interview in the current VG. It turns out he was talking about mismatched power tubes. +/- 15-20 mA, IIRC. He says it adds complexity to the sound of the amp. I'm sure it does, but I'm not sure that "complexity" would be appealing. He does say that a mismatch is contraindicated if you're looking for a good clean sound. IMO, any benefit gained in the overdrive would be outweighed by the detriment to the cleans, hurting the versatility of the amp. But he does call himself "Sgt. Overdrive".
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Old October 19th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=nonvintage;949380]I agree, not much clarity in what Terry's saying. You don't hear much about Mullard Power tubes. Their rectifiers and preamp tubes are legendary. QUOTE]


Well, if I had a box full of NOS Mullard El-34's, I am sure that I would have no trouble at all filling the requests that would surely be forthcoming.
MIsmatching power tubes....I agree that a few..<5 ma...milliamps of mismatch are nothing to worry about. More than that, and things can get troublesome. Ex: I just overhauled a BF Deluxe for fellow TDPRI member Jeff James. HE got it off of ebay with some new tubes in it. AFter recapping and sorting out some ground problems, I fired it up. What is that hum? Checking the current draw I found a difference of almost 9 ma between the two power tubes. I switched the tubes' position just to make sure the tubes were the problem. The current draw follwed the tubes. I installed a set of JJ 6V6's, fired it up and knew that things were better...no hum. I set the curent draw for somewhere near 22.5ma...there was very small difference in the draw between these tubes at idle...less than 2ma. The amp works flawlessly and sounds wonderful according to Jeff. IT made him grin all through his gig the night he picked it up.
I am from the school that says that the 'match' needs to be considered throughout the power section. It doesn't have to be perfect, but 20ma mismatch???? I have never seen that work well.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 12:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Dear Wally,

I really appreciate and value your contributions to the forum. As a novice in amp building, I gain a lot of insights from your posts.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Larry, thanks...I am learning all the time from this forum and other sources. There's always something new.
Regarding using power tubes from different manufacturer's, as long as the set-up results in no hum or other problems, I can see soem validity in the use of tubes with different sonics characteristics. The analogy with the speakers is valid, imo.
The comment about C. Diaz advocating mismatching is interesting. I read another thread somewhere last week about SRV's recently recovered stolen Super REverb. Tone Quest did an article on it and remarked about the heat/biasing of the power tubes. Mismatching could certainly result in some problems there if one were pushing the current draw to the limit on the hot side of things.
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