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Updated Solid State V Unreliable Tubes

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by casterpicker, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    No I haven't tried those. Wouldn't mind though, but the JJ's in my three 6V6 amps will likely be going when I'm dead and gone... being old!
     
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  2. Johnnykuz

    Johnnykuz TDPRI Member

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    I bought a matched pair of them last year for a Bad Cat Classic Deluxe 20R that kept blowing the HT fuse. The amp still kept blowing them so I sent the chassis back to Bad Cat for repair. They sent it back with new JJ tubes in it and said that the pair of 6V6's were both bad along with one of the 12AX7's. I won't touch Mullards ever again. Guess I bought them on name recognition. I'll stick with JJ's from now on.
     
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  3. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I've had fewer tube failures than that in 50 years of tube amp playing. But, I've suffered many other kinds of vintage amp problems. Old amps are gonna need maintenance and work.
    I really think amps are a lot like cars. New ones have a long engine life, but they do break down, often because of design flaws ... Honda, put bigger trannies in your SUVs and minivans! When they break out of warranty, it'll be expensive.
    Old cars (pre '70) don't run as long between rebuilds, but they are easy to maintain, work on, no computers, and they LOOK AND SOUND SO GOOD.
     
  4. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    yeah, which is why i say it's always better to go with a modern tube amp with all the design bells and whistles. whether or not fender or vox or marshall can provide that is one thing, but i think it can be done by someone qualified.
     
  5. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks maybe best to stick with the JJ 6v6 that I also bought brand new
     
  6. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Sure why not? Many techs I know won't work on Blues Jr or Blues Deluxe type amps because the PC board is so fragile to solder and so flexible it gets damaged removing and reinstalling.
     
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  7. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I had an amp eating tubes I would find out why. Mind you I know my way around an amp a little. If I found everything to spec. and still have a problem I would drop the voltage in the amp. Actually I would do that to my amps if I were concerned about replacing tubes. I went on a little buying spree years ago and bought more old tubes than I will use in my lifetime. Tubes run at voltages they were designed for last for year, guitar amps usually go over suggestions on the tube datasheet to squeeze the most power out of them. But this shortens life. Mind you some amps sound the way they do when run at their voltages.
     
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  8. Alex_C

    Alex_C Tele-Meister

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    I've had many bad tubes as in microphonic. Total failures, I can't remember ever having one. I'd recommend a good tech take a look at your amp.
     
  9. casterpicker

    casterpicker TDPRI Member

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    I have been playing pro and semi-pro since 1959. I bought my first Fender amp in 1962. Have always played Twin Reverbs and Showman models. I have never had a problem with valves (tubes) on any of the older amps, other than changing tubes after a long life. However the modern Fender tube amp (Twin Reverb) that I bought has gone through 4 X 6L6 and 1 12AX7 in 6 months. I use an engineer that is extremely competent with Valve amps. He tells me that the general quality of some newly manufactured tubes is very variable. I never had a problem with the old tubes like RCA, Mullard, Sylvania etc.
     
  10. casterpicker

    casterpicker TDPRI Member

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    I agree with you. My older Tube amps always seem to deliver, but I was intrigued to see the adverts for the Tonemaster Twin. Have you heard one or played one? From the pictures of it, it is hard to tell it apart from the tube Twin Reverb.
     
  11. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    In the 40 years I am playing guitar and during countless gigs,tours and recording dates I never had a tube fail on me (vintage or new).
    Preamp tubes always lasted "for ever" in my various amps and power amp tubes lasted well into 2 years even with heavy gigging.
    You must be really unlucky my friend or there's something wrong with your amp.Maybe you should let a qualified tech do a once over?
     
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  12. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Output transformers and high voltage filter caps are not usually found in solid state amps. Tubes are high voltage, low current; FETs are the opposite.

    Did these things fail during performance? (ouch) I know a few gigging guitarists that got tired of swapping out hot tubes during a show... Do you change to new tubes after some number of hours?
     
  13. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah so? I do not see the significance of the voltage parts are run at (Mosfets can be high voltage, IRF830 Drain-Source Voltage 500V). I have had a number of solid state, low voltage failures.
     
  14. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Well, a couple related topics here. The post I was replying to listed filter caps and OTs as fail points common to any amp, so I was trying to point out some differences.

    Solid state devices can provide power gain at much lower voltages than tubes can. As far as the amps I'm familiar with, the solid state amps don't run at much over 50 or 70V internally at any point and many have no OT at all, so no failure point (or weight or cost) from an OT. (Tube amps usually require OTs to convert power from high impedance (high voltage, low current) to low speaker impedances (low voltage, high current).)

    Then, given the lower operating voltages, the supply bypass caps are running at much lower voltages than in tube amps (200 to >400V). All else being equal, higher voltage rated caps need thicker dielectrics, which increases the volume (size) of the capacitor and cost. It's easier to overspec smaller, lower cost caps than larger, expensive ones, and I'm used to seeing tube amp supply caps rated at much closer to their operating voltage than in ss amps.

    But sure, anything can and eventually will fail. (I have a first run GK 250 ML that had a power FET fail, too, after 15 or 20 years.) There are certainly other issues that are common to both, e.g. how ovespec'd the components are, heat management issues, general quality of construction, mechanical issues, etc. And, yes, there are a lot of unreliable ss product designs out there, too.
     
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  15. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was just curious as to why high voltage and output transformers were more easier damaged. Running parts at or above their operating voltage is a recipe for trouble. Kind of the same with SS amps where the manufacturer decides on using lower grade parts or does not have the proper protection circuitry or design for the product. Kind of like a powered mixer that I almost picked up that had a blown amp but the mixer part still worked. And with direct coupled design when a power amp goes it takes a number of parts with it. I just got the impression from your post it was the fact that the product worked on high voltage that caused the issues, not questionable spec'ed parts.
     
  16. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic

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    I've considered getting training in tube amp repair so I could do it as a retirement job.
     
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  17. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic

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    If tubes are what you like, then get to know a good technician and use tubes. Your amp may have an issue. But yes, when I played tube amps, I had to replace tubes sometimes, and I bought a few that were bum tubes.

    I honestly like my solid state amps better. I can afford any tube amp I might want, I don't have to move my amps much (although it is a nice bonus to be able to move them easily), and I don't need the massive real-time stage versatility of a modeler. I just like how they work. Others don't.
     
  18. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    I was told that stock tubes from groove tubes used by fender will break your amp.

    The tech said they cause many problems and he recommends JJ tubes.

    He said though, that most of his repairs are ss amps... But that is probably because they are more common.

    I went 5 years with my BJR before needing a repair, and I played the heck out of it.

    We will see, now with much better quality tubes, how long she can go.

    I like the idea of reliable SS amps like the blues cube hot.. I just haven't been able to play one yet... Guitar center won't stock em'.
     
  19. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Solid state amps do not have output transformers. And, many modeling and SS guitars amps made these days use class D power amps with switching power supplies that are more efficient than standard class AB designs.
     
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  20. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's pure BS! Fender owns Groove Tubes, and if their tubes were destroying their amps that would cause a lot of costly warranty repairs and also give them a bad reputation which they obviously don't want. Perhaps your tech is pushing JJ tubes because he gets them cheaper and makes more profit when he sells them to you for your amps that he's servicing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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