More important tonally: Power tubes or preamp tubes

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by TelZilla, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    I'm sure this is on here, but I searched for 5 minutes and I have some actual work to get done so here goes:

    Power tubes are more important to an amp's tone than preamp, right?

    Like, if I was only going to upgrade one section of a BFDR, I'd get more impact from upgrading the power section (2 6v6's) than the preamp/effects (4 12AX7Bs, 2 12AT7s) or the recto (WZ34)?

    Agreed?
     
  2. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I feel the pre-amp tube gives you MOST of what you hear, more so than the power tube.

    Steve
     
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  3. purpletele

    purpletele Friend of Leo's

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    re

    I don't think there's an easy answer to this question. They both affect the tone of the amp. It might be easier to say, "What is it about your amps tone you want to change?" It could come down to a resister, or SS rectifier vs tube. Good tubes vs. crappy tubes. and so on, and on... and on....
     
  4. 94bamf

    94bamf Tele-Meister

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    I think damn near anybody can hear a difference between a really great preamp tube and a really bad preamp tube...

    I don't think so with power amp tubes, especially if you are not turning it up loud enough to get into power amp tube breakup..

    I would always do preamp tubes first..
     
  5. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    They all may shape the tone along with the other parts resistors/ caps ect but I would think the preamp tubes would have the most to do with it. Though that is a guess on my part. I know I found out on my Silvertone 1472 that different output tubes can make a difference in how much or little the amp breaks up when driven.
     
  6. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    in my experience, it's easy to hear the tone-shaping qualities of preamp tubes in your living room, but the impact of power tubes is best experienced at gig volume onstage, in the mix ...
     
  7. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    Piece o' cake. ;-)

    [​IMG]

    Just for want of an analogy, IMO power tubes are the cake, and pre-amp tubes are the icing (frosting). :idea: But that's just my opinion. What do YOU think? ;-) CS
     
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  8. Opaltone

    Opaltone Tele-Holic

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    Preamp tubes? Power tubes? Depends entirely on which amp, how the amp is being used, and whose taste is involved in the selection process. If you're playing at "bedroom volume" then you're likely to get better results with preamp tubes. Gig volume, go for the power tubes.

    My answer: optimize the entire set of amp tubes to my playing style/taste/volume. And don't forget the rectifier tube, if you've got one.

    - Thom
     
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  9. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    The input tube creates the initial signal that get amplified over and over at each stage of the amp, thus this tube plays the most critical role.
     
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  10. aunchaki

    aunchaki Friend of Leo's

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    +1

    For my use (home, practice, very small venue) I think it's definitely the preamp tubes, but I like what woodman has to say here. At blistering stage volumes, the power tubes probably take center stage, tone-wise.
     
  11. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Well, Bob from Eurotubes agrees with Woodman, Aunchaki et. al.:

    "You will likely notice more character from preamp tubes at lower volumes, while more moderate to higher volume settings will open up the power tubes"

    Also, he suggested a full retube (which is probably what I'll do anyway). Are you as shocked as me?;)

    Honestly, he's probably right, and no self respecting bidnessman would have done otherwise.
     
  12. TexGoneNW

    TexGoneNW Tele-Afflicted

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    It's all interactive.
     
  13. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    In my case my stage volume is coming from the Preamp section as I have a Preamp line out modded on my Silvertone 1472. That line out is run to the lower inpedence input jack of a Larger SS Bass Head into either my Kustom III or my Traynor Mono Block into a 2x12 cab and a PR 80 gives me my effects including reverb.
     
  14. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    You'll never get agreement in real life :)

    IDK, my opinion is that it sort of depends on the amp AND the use.

    A tweed/BF/SF Champ = preamp and power amp tubes equally important, rectifier doesn't matter.

    A tweed/BF/SF Deluxe = preamp and power amp tubes may be equally important if you play very loudly.

    Twins = power amp are important if low end and unmuddy mids are important.

    Rectifiers = if you play near dimed volumes and you want more compression and sag, the rectifier tube is important.

    As with tube amps, ALL tube sections are important - in my book (even reverb drivers)... while preamp tubes do a lot of heavy lifting with shaping and amplifying the initial input guitar signal, a power tube can affect response, bass, and volume of the end product as well.

    Its all academic - if you're retubing because of poor sound - do them all. If you're doing it for slight taste differences, you can tailor the sounds by playing with either/both pre and power depending on what you're looking to do.
     
  15. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    My amp tech doesn't believe in changing preamp tubes unless they're microphonic or making other bad sounds. Dunno if I agree but I do know that they can last forever pretty much.
     
  16. Scotland

    Scotland Poster Extraordinaire

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    So that's how you get such a fat sound Chris ! :lol:
     
  17. Massimo636

    Massimo636 TDPRI Member

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    I get that warm fuzzy feeling playing through tube preamps and solid state power amps, but I don't get the same feeling at all playing through solid state preamp and tube power amp.

    (I unearthed a classic apparently)
     
  18. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Old thread, but essentially, the earlier the tube, in the circuit, the more sonic effect it will have. So v1 Preamp tends to be the most drastic change in tone and noise. Power tube difference may not even be noticeable, unless you're pushing the amp to its limits and clipping the output tubes significantly.

    Tube rolling preamp tubes is definitely more effective if you're looking for small tonal changes between tubes.
     
  19. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I've never found that to be the case, and it stands out most in my SF Princeton Reverb and my SF Twin Reverb ... EH 6V6s sound airy and a bit fuzzy at higher volumes, but JJ 6V6s have a big, full range clout and they clarify the low end. In the Twin, Soviet 5881s really make for a quieter, more textured tone, while most of the NOS 6L6s I've tried sound good and loud, but make it hard to find a nuanced bit of edge, and it's just a lot harder to find pleasing settings on the tone knobs ... get the Bass low enough, the low-mids are wobbly, get the highs high enough, the amp gets piercing. I've noticed the same thing on both my BF and SF Bassman amps. I have to try several sets of power tubes on those amps (and Showman) to get the right quality to the higher volume sounds. Preamp tubes haven't made a remarkable difference in any of my amps (including the SF Champ) as long as the tubes aren't microphonic or rattley in the high gain positions.
     
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