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The best article I've ever read on selecting tubes!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by fierce_carrot, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. fierce_carrot

    fierce_carrot Former Member

    984
    Sep 11, 2006
    Iowa
    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!
     
  2. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    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 !
     
  3. fierce_carrot

    fierce_carrot Former Member

    984
    Sep 11, 2006
    Iowa
    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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  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    Interesting, could you elaborate? Wider tonal range?
     
  6. markophonic

    markophonic Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Michigan
    Totally agree.

    Great article!
     
  7. fierce_carrot

    fierce_carrot Former Member

    984
    Sep 11, 2006
    Iowa
    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....
     
  8. Big Lug

    Big Lug Tele-Holic

    714
    Aug 19, 2003
    BC, Canada
    I foresee much experimenting :idea: this Sunday.
     
  9. nonvintage

    nonvintage Tele-Holic

    649
    Mar 3, 2006
    San Diego
    fierce: he's talking about mixing preamp tubes.
     
  10. CancerLeoCam

    CancerLeoCam Friend of Leo's

    Jul 20, 2005
    OC, CA
    ..and that is sound advice.
     
  11. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    my take on the article leads me to believe that he wasn't restricting the discussion to only preamp tubes....
     
  12. ANashMan

    ANashMan TDPRI Member

    14
    Jun 21, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    I seem to remember a Cesar Diaz Tonequest interview where he suggested that un-balanced power tubes might be desirable.
     
  13. Bluesbob

    Bluesbob Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    East Suffolk L.I.
    I get it!
     
  14. fierce_carrot

    fierce_carrot Former Member

    984
    Sep 11, 2006
    Iowa
    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.
     
  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    This is a great discussion. Keep us posted, fierce.
     
  16. nonvintage

    nonvintage Tele-Holic

    649
    Mar 3, 2006
    San Diego
    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.
     
  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    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.
     
  18. 1293

    1293 Friend of Leo's

    May 18, 2006
    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".
     
  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
     
  20. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    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.
     
  21. Wally

    Wally Telefied

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    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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