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Tube overdrive pedals?

bigmuff113
April 22nd, 2012, 12:52 AM
Any suggestions for tube overdrive pedals ala the BK Butler tube driver and EHX English Muff'n? And I know there are 50 billion different tube drivers, so I would also like a bit more info on them.

Enaitz
April 22nd, 2012, 10:23 AM
I would suggest you to check out the Marshall Bluesbreaker II (it's a warm buttery overdrive with an included boost, and it's cheap). My two favourite pedals are the BB2 and the EHX Little Big Muff, so, seeing your avatar, we may be sharing tastes.

;-)

BiggerJohn
April 22nd, 2012, 03:25 PM
I think the OP is referring to pedals with *real* tubes in them.

Doesn't Ibanez make a Tube King or some such? Seems like i saw a Youtube vid on one of those some time back. As I recall it runs the tube at high voltage. It was uber gain and distortion as I recall.

I think the Butler pedals run the tubes at 25 volts or something in that area.

From a technical standpoint, I think a higher voltage is better, it gets the tube up into the operating region it was designed for. Maybe the excessive gain and distortion in the Ibanez can be tamed by going to a lower gain tube like a 12AY7 or 12AU7. Or maybe even some guys want that much gain and distortion?

gtrguru
April 22nd, 2012, 03:30 PM
Hiwatt makes a tube overdrive according to their website, but I've never seen or heard one.

bigmuff113
April 22nd, 2012, 03:33 PM
I think the OP is referring to pedals with *real* tubes in them.

Maybe the excessive gain and distortion in the Ibanez can be tamed by going to a lower gain tube like a 12AY7 or 12AU7.

Yeah, I'm not looking for Big Muff gain, as I have a Big Muff for that, I'm looking for a nice , light gain "real tube pedal"

BiggerJohn
April 22nd, 2012, 03:58 PM
Yeah, I'm not looking for Big Muff gain, as I have a Big Muff for that, I'm looking for a nice , light gain "real tube pedal"

In that case, you might want to look into the Ibanez TK999OD, with a tube swap for a lower gain tube.

Alternately there is a booteek tube pedal by Effectrode called "Tube Drive" (who'd have guessed) which uses 3 tubes and is specifically designed to have tubes swapped in and out for different gain and Dist levels. Stock it looks to come with 2 12AX7s and a 12AT7. Saw a Youtube vid with the two 12AX swapped for 12AU and man did that sound better. Instant Keef. I suspect this one may be pricey.

Most of those pedals stock are like Dimebag Darrel levels of distortion.

soul.com
April 22nd, 2012, 04:00 PM
I have, and very much like, three drive units. Two are very flexible and add a lot of color, the Damage Control Womanizer and Demonizer (yes, they are two different pedals for those unlucky in love who might wonder...). The other is more of a unity gain pedal design, the Buffer by Red Iron Amps, but there's a pot that lets a user (over)drive the signal, pushing the final stage amp(s) harder.

The Damage Control pedals add wide-ranging EQ controls as well as a very handy single-knob compressor, besides volume and drive. Unfortunately, they are obsolete, only on the used markets. I have tested the Mesa V-Twin, also well-regarded but now obsolete, has a nice clean setting but the grit is a little too uncontrollable, IMHO.

The Red Iron Amps's Buffer is still in production, uses tiny "pencil" or 6SN7GT octal pre-amp tubes rather than 12A_7s. At unity gain it's like adding a nice fire in a well-decorated living room.

Tubes add one or more gain stages, increasing "warmth" and roundness towards hair, grit, "curd" and distortion the further they are dialed up. They definitely contribute something beneficial to solid state as well as tubed amps, but add much more complexity to their brethren and sistren tubes in the end-stage amplifier or two if you're re-amping or running in stereo.

@bigmuff113: try one of the above, or the Buter, Blackstar, Seymour Duncan, etc. at or barely louder than unity gain, for a gentle contribution to your tone.

bigmuff113
April 22nd, 2012, 04:10 PM
I was thinking blacktstar but I can't find any light gain demos

Enaitz
April 22nd, 2012, 04:14 PM
Ah OK, BB2 has no tubes on it, but, anyway, is a subtle low gain overdrive.
Still think it worths a listen.

limbe
April 22nd, 2012, 04:23 PM
I agree with Enaitz. The Marshall Guvīnor pedal is also worth checking out due to itīs tonal variations.(Treble,mid,bass.)Even though I am a "Tube Guy" I think that there are a few SS pedals worth checking out like these and the Rat.

jimmynumber9
April 22nd, 2012, 04:36 PM
If you're looking to get the bluesbreaker II. PM me, I have one I'm not using.

bigmuff113
April 22nd, 2012, 04:38 PM
I have a rat.

Martin R
April 22nd, 2012, 05:13 PM
I've got a Dean Markley Overlord that I've had forever. It's probably the same thing as the RealTube pedal.

Five controls: Volume, Drive, Bass, Mid and Treble, so you get lots of options. I've had a few different tubes in it. They all sound different but I can't say which is "better".

A couple of drawbacks. There's no "click" in the footswitch. You can't feel it when tapped. And it requires AC power. Just something else to plug in. (And before I went to a three prong plug on my BF Deluxe it was 50/50 on getting the ***** shocked out of me.)

It's on the electric rhythm and lead, (with flange), on "Little Blue House" (http://soundcloud.com/e-christina-herr/little-blue-house-031512)

I don't know if they're still being made, but it's an awesome pedal.

smoss469
April 22nd, 2012, 05:14 PM
Most tube distortion/OD pedals don't really use the tube properly. A lot just stick it in and run it at 9v which really doesn't do much.

BiggerJohn
April 22nd, 2012, 06:00 PM
Most tube distortion/OD pedals don't really use the tube properly. A lot just stick it in and run it at 9v which really doesn't do much.

True. However, the Ibanez runs the tube at 100 volts, the Blackstar runs its tube at 300 volts.

richoz
April 23rd, 2012, 12:36 AM
Any insights about Plush Valve Job and Hermida Nu-Valve? As they both using tubes and I'm also interested to try a tube overdrive pedal.

crackpot
April 23rd, 2012, 11:29 AM
Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic (http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/stompboxes/sfx03_twin_tube/). It doesn't get much juice around here but I like it better than my Zen and FDII.

Gold Rush
April 23rd, 2012, 02:33 PM
Here's an early Chandler/Butler "Tube Driver" from around the mid-'80s. I found it in a pawnshop some years ago. Note the "side jacks", unlike the later versions which have them on the north side, and it's also a "patent pending" unit. A/C powered (2 prong-cord), ser. # and "BB" engraved on back. I'm not up to speed on the later variants of these. This one gets nice, tubey cleans at lower drive settings, and can start getting roadhouse rowdy around 9-o'clock, and from there on, full blown saturation. Doesn't like anything but a 12ax7. Never tried it in a live situation, as music is just a hobby for me.

http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/6468/tdrh700x.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/823/tdrh700x.jpg/)

artdecade
April 23rd, 2012, 02:36 PM
Hughes and Kettner Tube Factor. Its my favorite! Stage one is tube and stage two is solid state. Its the best of both worlds. I only use the first stage though because the volume of each setting is poorly matched.

See example: Herring, Jimmy.

blowtorch
April 23rd, 2012, 02:37 PM
I like my Duncan Twin Tube Classic, and also my Real Tube Blue Tube.

BiggerJohn
April 23rd, 2012, 02:39 PM
Any insights about Plush Valve Job and Hermida Nu-Valve? As they both using tubes and I'm also interested to try a tube overdrive pedal.

I personally would only consider real tube units of the tube is run at 100 volts or more. Running tubes in starved plate mode is really not what they were ever designed to do. When considering such a pedal, first thing I'd look into is what voltage they actually run the tube, and then go from there.

No idea on the two you mention regarding operating voltage.

Running a tube at 9 volts is a joke.

soul.com
April 23rd, 2012, 03:17 PM
As long as colleagues have opened the door about solid state OD units they use with or without tube drives too, I'll add $.02, not that I don't love and use tubed pedals:

For some gentle addition, fattening, thickening, sweetening, etc. the less expensive alternative is a Tim pedal. It's excellent, both dimed (step back) and set for low to no gain on the leftmost dial; it has a clean boost switch for a dozen dB as well. Very flexible, musical, low-to-no midrange addition pedal.

The very best available, IMHO, is the 2-channel Ethos Overdrive, from gentle to muscular tone additions on the clean channel. The hot(ter) channel offers crazy gain and a clean boost switch. Both Ethos channels have full EQ controls, settings for using an amp or going into a sound card or digital interface to computer, and a "TLE" tighter-low-end switch for less flab on the bottom. The EQ profiles are so good you can set your amp for 12:00 everything and let the Ethos do all the heavy lifting. Check out Tim Lerch videos on YouTube using Ethos, that's what helped convince me.

Both solid state pedals are "Dumble-esque" in transparency, touch sensitivity and overdrive granularity and that, to me, is the Holy Grail of tone for those like me with less than $90K or whatever the market rate for Dumble Overdrive Specials is today.

Lots of great gear out there but older overdrivers tend to prefer Dumbles or Marshall amps. It's Dumbles, for me. Tube colorations - a crapshoot with individualistic tubes - won't improve much over a Tim, or if you can afford it - $475.68 shipped after a lengthy wait - an Ethos, possibly the last drive pedal you will ever need. I still use the Red Iron Buffer at unity gain with them, though. Tubes are great, too!

Jakedog
April 23rd, 2012, 03:32 PM
I was gonna bring up the SD Twin tube. Nice to see it getting some love here. I do not have one, but I would love to. Probably the best sounding drive unit I've ever plugged into.

blowtorch
April 23rd, 2012, 03:44 PM
It's pretty sweet, Jakedog, I still favor my old silver Jekyll and Hyde though.

Jakedog
April 23rd, 2012, 05:36 PM
It's pretty sweet, Jakedog, I still favor my old silver Jekyll and Hyde though.

I have one of the very first red J&H pedals. It's a really nice unit. I also have an FDII Mosfet that lives on my live board. I keep the J&H in my strat case, because it KILLS with a strat. So any time I take that guitar to a gig, the pedal is there, and I can just run it off-board. Also great for jams, rehearsals, and small gigs where I just need the one box.

I've tried the SD several times, and will someday own one. It's just really, really, nice. I've also used an old Mesa V-twin owned by a friend that I thought was very cool. one the local heavy hitters around here uses an old Chandler Tube Driver, and that sounds awesome when he uses it.

There's definitely a ton of options out there. Personally, I never got the hype over having an actual tube in your pedal. Some of them sound great, but so a ton of SS drive boxes. Some of them sound pretty awful, as do some SS drive boxes. It's not like having a tube in one is gonna instantly mean it's a better sounding pedal.

11 Gauge
April 23rd, 2012, 07:54 PM
It's not like having a tube in one is gonna instantly mean it's a better sounding pedal.

That was something that had to be realized with late 80's thru 90's SS amps with just a single preamp tube that was mainly just providing a glow inside the chassis, and little more.

They even found their way into rackmount preamps. If those things ran tubes at nominal voltages, those rack pre's would have just burnt up.

I do remember the Valvestate line by Marshall being pretty popular though (and maybe it still is - I have no idea).

The tube pedal thing will always be a temptation though, because you can attach it (potentially) to any rig you have, and it should be cheaper than the amp that folks imagine they need to get the same sound(s).

I love my little Vox Valvetronix amp, with its single tube. I had the chassis pulled for about a month, and the tube never got hot to the touch during usage. It doesn't matter to me at all - the amp sounds good. Most of that is the result of well done DSP with some strange tricks at the power amp section that does sort of mimic a tube power amp.

...But it's just a little amusing that Vox is the one who IMO figured it out, because other companies have been working on it for longer. I remember some anti-multi effect guys really bonding with the ToneLab stuff when it came out.

Daddy Hojo
April 23rd, 2012, 08:38 PM
I've got a Dean Markley Overlord that I've had forever. It's probably the same thing as the RealTube pedal.

Five controls: Volume, Drive, Bass, Mid and Treble, so you get lots of options. I've had a few different tubes in it. They all sound different but I can't say which is "better".

A couple of drawbacks. There's no "click" in the footswitch. You can't feel it when tapped. And it requires AC power. Just something else to plug in. (And before I went to a three prong plug on my BF Deluxe it was 50/50 on getting the ***** shocked out of me.)

It's on the electric rhythm and lead, (with flange), on "Little Blue House" (http://soundcloud.com/e-christina-herr/little-blue-house-031512)

I don't know if they're still being made, but it's an awesome pedal.

I've got one. I don't think there are many left. Really nice if you resist the temptation to crank the drive. Its almost like a little amp.

swleamon
April 23rd, 2012, 11:31 PM
Most tube distortion/OD pedals don't really use the tube properly. A lot just stick it in and run it at 9v which really doesn't do much.

Exactly. Which is commonly referred to as a starved plate. I've yet to find one that operates properly, if one did exist it would likely cost as much as high end preamps.

BiggerJohn
April 23rd, 2012, 11:43 PM
Exactly. Which is commonly referred to as a starved plate. I've yet to find one that operates properly, if one did exist it would likely cost as much as high end preamps.

Are you saying that the Ibanez Tube King and the Blackstar pedals do not operate the tube properly? do you have any data to back that up?

swleamon
April 24th, 2012, 12:36 AM
Are you saying that the Ibanez Tube King and the Blackstar pedals do not operate the tube properly? do you have any data to back that up?

So apparently the newer version of the Ibanez runs dual voltage. Neato. It is still sounds fizzy and gimmicky. Only data I have is my ears...

I don't understand the allure of these pedals. Is it for those with budget amps with crappy preamps sections? Why not just hit the front end of your amp harder? Need more gain... plenty of OD boxes that use very high end components. Boost + OD + great preamp. Done.

What am I missing here? Are these for the scooped mids, fizzy, buzz saw sounding guitar tone crowd?

Pajama
April 24th, 2012, 06:39 AM
Still dig my Tonebone Classic. Sounds great alone or stacked w/ other pedals.

PJ

11 Gauge
April 24th, 2012, 10:16 AM
What am I missing here? Are these for the scooped mids, fizzy, buzz saw sounding guitar tone crowd?

It's marketing.

B.K. Butler essentially made the first one with a practical application for Billy Gibbons. But the intention was never to get the same thing as running a 12AX7 at its intended voltages.

IOW, even the Butler designs primarily use op amps to supply the gain, and the tube is really more like the equivalent of a clipping diode. Even though you only need ~6.3VAC to heat the plates, there is an ungodly amount of current required if you are going to supply the plates with the standard designed values of ~200VDC.

...There's just no cheating your way around the design of the 12AX7 and how it operates. AAMOF, the gain is insufficient at low voltages altogether, TTBOMK. IOW, you can't even get linear operation from it.

This isn't to say that when the plates are starved that you can't get some interesting distortion sounds, but they have nothing in common with a triode that was designed not to operate in that manner. And there is probably a good dose of clipping from at least one op amp stage that is doing the "boosting."

Many of the newer generation tube pedals even have clipping diodes, too! Since the tube is wired in parallel, you could probably pull it and hear how it affects the sound.

I think Hermida basically said that the Zendrive II is the same as VI except the clipping diodes were replaced with a starved plate design.

There are a handful of actual "tube preamps on the floor," but they are obviously at least double the price of the starved plate designs, and obviously need to be plugged into wall power and then conditioned just like if they were internal to the amp. The odd thing with them is that you then have a tube preamp feeding into a tube preamp, unless you are using a SS amp.

IMO, the only "real tube OD" that is practical AND has the tubes potentially supplying 100% of the signal to the point of being overdriven are some of the submini tube designs. That said, even those will not sound exactly like a typical tube preamp, because the submini's design is fundamentally different. We are talking thermionic valves here, and they all have very different mechanical specifications. It is no different than comparing a EL84 to a KT88 - very different responses, differing amplitude, etc.

If you consider that most of the cheaper starved plate designs use a 12AX7 essentially as clipping diodes, it kind of becomes clear (IMO) that there is no absolute benefit to that way of doing it - either passive diodes or even distortion at the semiconductors themselves can produce just as good of clipping, perhaps even better. It is now well documented that jFET/mosFET-type circuits can usually emulate the taper of the upper order harmonics in a tube amp - you need up to about the 5th upper order, but only in a tiny amount. And - you need even AND odd.

...The biggest "challenge" with a SS design that mimics tubes IMO is preventing strong upper order harmonics at the 6th and beyond.

But IMO putting the word "tube" or "valve" in any drive box's name is more a matter of marketing, even if it actually has one in it.

BiggerJohn
April 24th, 2012, 02:00 PM
I agree to a great extent with 11, it is marketing. I agree that designs running the 12AX7 at 9 volts or so in starved plate mode are really a bit misleading, the tubes were never designed to work at such low voltages and to a great extent do work as clipping diodes.

Yes, in the BK Butler design, that is even a somewhat starved design, the later units run the tube at 24 volts or so, which is still basically starved plate, and most of the gain in a Butler comes from cascaded op-amps.

However, I must respectfully differ on the comment "ungodly amount of current". Consider a 12AX7 in a typical amp circuit with the 1.5k cathode bias resistor and the 100k plate resistor. the Q point on those stages is about a milliamp or so. So 2 stages is a couple mils. Let's be generous and say 3 mils total for the 2 stages. Now a 12AX7 is just perfectly happy running from a B+ supply of 300 volts. So we have a 300 volt supply delivering 3 mils of current. That is 0.9 Watts of power. Now let us assume the power converter is 85% efficient, which is reasonable. So to deliver that 0.9 Watts, the converter will consume 1.06 Watts. Now if our prime power feeding the converter is 12 volts, the current consumed by the converter is 88.3 mils. While opinions may vary, to me, 88 mA is not "ungodly". That much current is easily supplied by even the cheezyest of wall warts. The heater in the tube pulls more current!

I know most wall warts put out DC, but there are some that put out 9 volts AC. If there are some which put out 12 volts AC, it should be easy to make a high voltage pedal. Use one wall wart to provide 12 VAC to the pedal. Take the 12VAC and use it to directly run the tube's heater with the 2 sections series connected. Have a second 12 VAC wall wart (or just a transformer) inside the pedal hooked up backwards to give back the 115 VAC wall voltage. Take the 115VAC and run it into a voltage doubler rectifier assembly. That will provide you plenty of juice for your 12AX7 plate supply. Do filter the crap out of it. You could even run a voltage tripler. There ya go, cheap and easy HV supply.

11 Gauge
April 24th, 2012, 02:22 PM
However, I must respectfully differ on the comment "ungodly amount of current"....

....The heater in the tube pulls more current!

That is what I was referring to. And I also mean current relative to what the most hungry SS non-power amp-type device consumes.

IOW, part of the beauty of pedals is their modularity and "independence." When they require their own internal or external power supplies, it kind of negates their flexibility a bit.

Use one wall wart to provide 12 VAC to the pedal. Take the 12VAC and use it to directly run the tube's heater with the 2 sections series connected. Have a second 12 VAC wall wart (or just a transformer) inside the pedal hooked up backwards to give back the 115 VAC wall voltage. Take the 115VAC and run it into a voltage doubler rectifier assembly. That will provide you plenty of juice for your 12AX7 plate supply. Do filter the crap out of it. You could even run a voltage tripler. There ya go, cheap and easy HV supply.

Cheap and easy, but still probably big/clunky/impractical, especially compared to 99% of SS stompboxes. The current trend is to have a nice drive box in an enclosure the size of the MXR stuff, maybe "one size up" in some cases. Most guys I know have cramped pedalboards, and some stuff with an unavoidable big footprint hogs enough space as it is. You know - the DL4's, the "horizontal layout 2-in-1" boutique pedals, etc. ANY of the EHX pedals with all the delay/modulation/etc. tweakability.

...The last thing these folks tend to want is some monster sized (or weight, or special power requirement) tube drive pedal.

That's why IMO, if it must be tubes (for whatever reason, either logical or not), it really should be submini tubes. They are friendly in regards to most stompbox criteria. If 12AX7's were just a little bulkier, I bet there would be a lot less effort to try and cram one into a pedal.

The other thing that cracks me up with some of the tube pedals is that LED's are used to "enhance the glow." I can't blame the pedal companies for this though - apparently some amp company came up with that slick trick first.

imsilly
April 24th, 2012, 04:04 PM
The Kingsley range of tube based overdrives and boosts are very good.

They run off a 12v AC supply and operate in a very similar way to an amp's preamp section. I've found them to be just a little bit better then my favorite solid-state overdrives. I know for most people they won't be suitable, but if it's the kind of thing you are after then give them a shot. My only complaint is that they can be a bit bright on certain settings, but when you find the sweet spot they are very nice.

artdecade
April 24th, 2012, 04:21 PM
The Kingsley range of tube based overdrives and boosts are very good.

I've found them to be just a little bit better then my favorite solid-state overdrives.

If you spend 300-400 bucks on a Kingsley, I wouldn't consider "being a little better" as a good endorsement.

11 Gauge
April 24th, 2012, 04:44 PM
I think that even if there was a way to make a better sounding OD with a tube that was both cheap and elegant, there are still issues...

I'm kinda gentle with my pedals, but not everyone is. And I've dropped or kicked them on occasion.

Tubes are glass. They need to be secured or shock-insulated so as not to shatter.

Tubes require sockets. Pins get bent and dirty. Sockets come loose. PCB mounted sockets are more prone to cause PCB failures in the way of torn traces, cracks, etc.

Tubes (at proper operating voltage) are prone to noise - hum, buzz, microphonics, etc. If you design a tube pedal so that you can't get to the tube easily, it is useless on the gig.

But if you design the enclosure so you can get at the tubes, they are usually at least partially in harm's way.

SS pedals can sometimes take a little moisture and be okay. Not so much with anything tube driven.

Since the optimal tube circuit requires both high voltage and rectification, that means it needs decent filtering. That means it will need to be recapped at periodic intervals, and it also requires filter caps that are spec'ed at 400VDC to 600VDC.

With a SS pedal, you can cheaply obtain caps with a working voltage of 50VDC (or even 25VDC) and just forget about it.

Long story short - there just needs to be a HUGE upshot to choosing tubes over other component types. And if you make a list of the pluses and minuses, the tube boxes just come up short IMO in at least a third of the important categories, and usually many more than that.

soul.com
April 27th, 2012, 02:44 PM
Sometimes, "great" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive terms. I have heard, but didn't buy the SD, Mesa and Butler because they were more expensive or less tone-enriching than the Damage Control and Red Iron tubed units.

If you primarily want the addition of mostly transparent, high-quality tubed warmth, depth and roundness, get the Red Iron Buffer and set the pot at unity gain or a little above. The Butler might do something similar, but it's even more expensive with the "bias" dial, which is the only configuration I would buy. (I read the Chandler copy is unauthorized and is not the same design and construction as the Butler.) Some very good players use Butlers, so it might be worth trying one if there's an absolute "satisfaction" guarantee for a month or so.

If you will ever want significantly more boost potential, generous EQ flexibility and one-dial compression, get the Damage Control Demonizer and/or Womanizer. They came with 12AX7s and are driven at full plate voltage, 250V, no "starvation" or under-performing transformers to save them $$.

I had to replace one of their stock 12AX7s in a third pedal, the Damage Control Timeline, after many hundreds of hours engaged; the hardest part was gently removing the glob of gummy stuff affixing a top edge of it to an inert piece of metal, greatly reinforcing the toughness against kicks and drops. It's not that big a deal if you are patient, don't have "sausage fingers" and have ever removed and installed tubes. Otherwise, get a tech or a twelve-year-old with smaller fingers to gently do it for you.

The Womanizer has color at and above what you apparently need, BigMuff113. I prefer the Demonizer with even stronger gain colors and a 20 dB "nuclear" clean boost, but it might be overkill for your desires. The 250V crank up the gain and grain from those 12AX7s right quick, IMHO way better than all but a few SS overdrive pedals like the Tim and Ethos, as well as the Klon, Fireball II and Jersey Girl Fulltender, which still don't have the inherent advantages of more pleasant-sounding, tube signal compression.

You can happily play with swaps or "rolling" different nine-pin tubes all the live-long day, finding different color profiles, but very few of us are willing to grab soldering pencils and swap out transistors and resistors on SS units, germanium replacing silicon and the like. Each has sonic virtues and deficiencies, and most players wouldn't have it it any other way. You are pretty much stuck with whatever components the SS circuit designer used. Tubed stuff is usually way easier to open, tweak and fix.

.011 is also right about tubes representing significant investments in time, trouble and treasure, and the marketplace has some cheapo and not-so-cheapo duds giving tubed gear a bad name. The great ones sound better than a rarefied few SS drive circuits, configured and used properly. "Properly" means no starved-plates! The great ones are also very tough, using military spec, top-shelf components, silver wiring, etc. designed for use in submarines that can dive 1,600 feet or more. Some tubed and SS gear is built to survive war; get that when you can.

On the positive side, don't we all know that many of the best amateur and pro guitar players use tubed amps and pre-amps in rack-mounts and floor pedals, because their complex, "even-order harmonics" sound better than their competition, giving them an edge? It's art but it's also business, evolution, adaptability and survival of the best-sounding!

Please don't bleed or pour beer, Jack or whatever on tubed or SS pedals. None of them take particularly well to baths, which is why they put the tubes and transistors INSIDE the submarines...

jipp
April 28th, 2012, 06:40 PM
hi, im glad i read through this before buying one of these. another topic got me looking ay the symour duncons version using military tubes apparently no problem with them heating up. anyhow, here is why i wanted one. i have a 1960s solid state head. i have no idea who made it yet, but it wears the sears badge. it was made in canada. its 30 wats and sounds great. cleanest sounding amp iv heard. with such a great reverb. you add a little course reverb. and you get that surf tone. if surf music comes back this head would be in demand. hahah. anyhow, the only problem with it isthe pots are scratchy. sounds great through a 4x12 cab with unknown speakers. ( was given to me not open up see whats in side. funny how these 4x12 cabs seem go for cheap simply because they are a pain to move/sell ship. etc.

anyhow, i was searching ebay and came across
BEHRINGER VINTAGE TUBE OVERDRIVE PEDAL
video of the sounds of different tubes in this pedal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqaj1l8UvYQ&feature=player_embedded

for 50.00 now i know most of there effects are in cheap plastic cases etc. anyhow, this one is metal. and it has a video of the guy switching different tubes. and it sure made a difference on tone which tube he used.. to my ear i thought the jj tube sounded the best.

anyhow that video convince me i could build a 2x10 cab for this head, and build this effect into it some how.. maybe a pull out trey or something not thought that far head. but after reading this thread. i guess for this to work you would need to spend like 1k on a properly one to work right.. thats the impression im getting. but the reviews of the seymourduncons pedal has got good reviews.

i do understand the whole liquid and tubes no mix.. def would be a issue if i was ever to get on stage but im a noob att his stuff.. and to old to even dream of such things, ill let the teens do that.

anyhow, thank you for saving me 50.00.. even tho i was tempted to buy the more expensive seymore but the video on the other one man.. sold me. was cool seeing how different tubes effected it.

( i have not own a tube amp yet. i tried to buy one cheap harmony but when it got to my door and i plugged it in all that happen was the tube went a dull orange and no sound.. so i just unplug it and put it beside my desk to remind me to never buy something with out research ( it would need a new plug too as it has no third prong). i did get a old school metronome tho with it and the total cost was like 50.00 if memory servs, and the amp is original. and over all in good pyiscal shape one owner from hawai. but thats whole another story ( and maybe ill try to see if i can fix it, but first things first collecting tools to build my first guitar). have not figure out what my first tube amp is gonna be yet. but i do know i want to save up for the tweed deluxe.. 5e3 i think it is..... but till then maybe a champ 600 will have to do. im tired of practicing with my roland microcube. and the line six beast the sales man sold me is just way to much stuff going on so i do not use it, and there is no resale value in them so ill keep it around for my sisters kid to play with when he gets older, already got him his first guitar for his first birthday. heh, sis did not seem to thrill when i told her a amp to come soon, so he can make all kind of fun noises. LOL.. im a simple guy, and want to keep things simple. )

also been reading reviews on the barbq eq. maybe thats a better option for such a neutral clean sounding amp.
http://www.barberelectronics.com/barb_eq.html

it seems they do not make them any more but i have found you can still buy them on line pretty easy for about 80.00
chris.

Paul in Colorado
April 28th, 2012, 10:10 PM
I have an older Ibanez TK999US that was a gift from a friend who owns a thrift store. I find it usable in certain situations. I'm not sure the tube is doing all that much. It's got a lot of gain and drive. I like it more then I expected to.

Newfablesam
April 29th, 2012, 01:45 AM
I too used an older hughes and kettner tube factor. Made in germany. Wonderful sound on factor one. Not a big fan of anything over low gain settings on factor two. Thanks to the voicing knob it can go from midrange ts smooth territor to big open 'american' scoopy sound. They market it as 'real bypass' but based on how it colored my tone when it was off I don't think that is true bypass. Probably hard bypass or something.

dB
April 29th, 2012, 02:24 AM
[I] I can't blame the pedal companies for this though - apparently some amp company came up with that slick trick first.

My Crate Blue Voodoo did that, back in the day. :wink:

I kinda miss it, actually.

11 Gauge
April 29th, 2012, 10:35 AM
My Crate Blue Voodoo did that, back in the day. :wink:

I kinda miss it, actually.

That's who it was! I only remember someone in an amp forum being harshly critical of it, but you have to admit that it's CLEVER.

At the end of the day, these things are products much more than they are "tonal solutions." They tend to be more appealing (which means they will actually sell) if they appear (visually) to create a tube sound, or if the packaging itself leans towards a "visual indicator" of a tube sound.

With a starved plate design, the tube really need not even be visible. If you tucked away a tube like that in an amp, it would be a really bad thing. In fact, it would typically require a fan like a computer does. But the "visible tube" or "visible glow" is important to the marketing. The use of a 12AX7 instead of a better candidate is critical to marketing IMO.

IMO, because of the marketing, many tube OD pedals "sound better visually" because of the very nature of how they are packaged. If the average consumer didn't know there was a tube in one and it looked like any typical (SS) pedal, I think many would get passed over (i.e. never even purchased in the first place).

...With that in mind, it is the job of companies who make tube OD pedals to keep the price down, which means very little goes to actual circuit design. IOW, SS circuitry could be used instead. And, it oftentimes is what is actually doing the heavy lifting in many of these pedals anyway. In essence, starved plate designs should probably be classified as SS, since the tube is simply a passive device that is similar to clipping diodes, and really not much more.

It is all quite clever, IMO.

teza
September 24th, 2013, 10:35 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o3z-Jt7FsM

teza
September 24th, 2013, 10:43 PM
I don't think David Gilmour will agree with my friend as a Tube Driver been on pedal board for years....

11 Gauge
September 24th, 2013, 11:21 PM
I don't think David Gilmour will agree with my friend as a Tube Driver been on pedal board for years....

Well, I think your friend will get over it. What works for David and what works for him (or her) are two totally different scenarios. David has the luxury of playing HiWatt amps and having Cornish re-work everything for him, right down to having his old ram's head Muff completely reworked into something that Pete charges at least $700USD for.

Gilmour has gear that works because he spends his time making it work. He also really doesn't use drive boxes in isolation - it's typically the Muff with a Power Booster and a compressor, or more.

So while it's easy to say Gilmour tone = ram's head Muff, or Gilmour tone = Tube Driver, or Gilmour tone = Cornish G2, or Gilmour tone = black Strat into HiWatt, they are all only pieces of the whole thing.

Obsessed
September 25th, 2013, 12:22 AM
In today's rage of low wattage amps, wouldn't it be cheaper and more versatile to add a low watt tube amp (say a Greta) into the front of your amp instead? Maybe even a pedal switch to bypass the small amp?

pete-strych
September 25th, 2013, 09:39 AM
I've got a Dean Markley Overlord that I've had forever. It's probably the same thing as the RealTube pedal.

Five controls: Volume, Drive, Bass, Mid and Treble, so you get lots of options. I've had a few different tubes in it. They all sound different but I can't say which is "better".

A couple of drawbacks. There's no "click" in the footswitch. You can't feel it when tapped. And it requires AC power. Just something else to plug in. (And before I went to a three prong plug on my BF Deluxe it was 50/50 on getting the ***** shocked out of me.)

It's on the electric rhythm and lead, (with flange), on "Little Blue House" (http://soundcloud.com/e-christina-herr/little-blue-house-031512)

I don't know if they're still being made, but it's an awesome pedal.

The Dean Markley Overlord V.1&2 are super cool pedals. Beware of overlord 3 with NO tube. I like experimenting with swapping out tubes (new vs. NOS) to get different tones in these tube overdrive pedals.

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