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which tubes for max clean headroom? truth or bull-oney about tubes?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by DjimiWrey, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. DjimiWrey

    DjimiWrey Tele-Meister

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    What is tube "hardness"?

    Not being knowledgeable with electronics or experienced with tubes, I've come to tdpri again;
    my go to oracle for advice regarding teles, amps, speakers, and cargo shorts.

    My quest: getting twin reverb tone without the weight by getting the max clean headroom from the super champ x2 in which I've blown the speaker and spent the tubes from having it dimed for hours.

    Some tube manufacturer advertised matched tubes sorted by "hardness" as an indicator of
    how "early" they "break up" and I'm seeking no breakup but rather loudest cleanest.
    everything else in my simple plan can be accomplished with the silly amount of pedals under the bed


    Current plan: put the chassis into an extended 1x12 cab with a ragin cajun or similar
    and check out any tubes you mavens happen to swear by

    please advise, folks

    and is "hardness" a real thing?
    thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Generally, tubes will make a tiny bit of difference only. A different speaker by comparison could be much more change. Get a loud speaker; Weber 12F150 or any number of loud rated Emi's.

    Having said that, there are a few tubes out there which can be a bit nasty etc, both in pretubes and power tubes.

    I would go with JJ 6V6's for best power and clean. I would take out any JJ or Penta 12ax7 tubes other than for Reverb etc. and try some others.
    If the amp is bias able that would get you more, bias it a bit cold.
     
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back in the '90s I swapped three sets of tubes in my old Marshall and they all made the amp sound completely different. What you get though has always seemed kinda random from my experience. So yes, and it possibly depends on the amp, but tubes can make a huge difference.

    I do know you can get more headroom by getting a clean speaker though. I put an Eminence Legend 1058 in my SCXD combo. Takes quite a bit more volume to get it to break up compared to with the stock speaker. Also, if you have yours dimed all the time you should be going deaf. Pre-'rona I don't think I ever had my SCXD past six on the volume dial with my old band.
     
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  4. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Early 70's Twin Reverb with JBL's. No matter what tubes are in it. Loud, clean, tonal bliss.
     
  5. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    A swap of 12ax7 to 12au7 in the preamp can go a long way for what you describe in *some* amps. In general, au7s can give greater headroom and with far less gain. (gain factor is about 20% of a ax7). A NoS 12au7 can go a long way to the goal you mention.

    Of course the standard disclaimer applies: do at your own risk.

    Also totally agree with the speaker swap/upgrade idea as well.
     
  6. Riff Robin

    Riff Robin TDPRI Member

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    I changed out the preamp tube on a hot rod deluxe because they said the George Benson model had one and produced more headroom. I also put in a weber clean speaker. All it did was move the volume taper. So where it used to break up at 4, i would now have to turn it up to 6 or 7 to get the same volume that i had before ..then it started to break up right there! So the net result was there was NO change...i could turn it up to 7 and stay clean, but if i wanted any volume i got the same breakup. my 2c..ymmv
     
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  7. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    I agree with what most of these guys are saying. although I think 6l6's are cleaner than 6v6, even though they are usually considered to act the same. But hey, what do I know.
     
  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    The 12AX7 tube in the Super Champ XD is a phase inverter, not a Gain or tone shaping tube.

    I'd get an Eminence Legend or Ragin' Cajun speaker, JJ 6V6 tubes, and have it bias-adjusted by a pro.
     
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  9. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Beware any tube change (of same value) that will 'transform your amp'. It will merely work your psychoacoustics.
     
  10. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It’s definitely a thing. Some tubes breakup a lot earlier than others, and have a looser response. I use the E34LS tubes in my Marshalls, instead of standard EL34, because of the increased headroom and tighter and punchier response. It makes a difference.

    If you’re trying to avoid breakup, a heavy duty speaker like an EVM12L will also help. But the trade off is they’re freakin HEAVY.

    If you want a really loud, super clean tone, with very little to zero breakup, my advice would be to stop spending money on an amp that doesn’t do that, and get one that does. If you really want loud and clean, I’d suggest something high powered, and analog solid state. Roland Jazz Chorus. Orange CR120C. Peavey teal stripe stereo chorus 212. If you want tubes maybe a twin reverb.

    In a 112 capacity if you need a smaller size, the orange CR60C, Peavey Bandit 112, an old Peavey teal stripe special 112, there are a lot of options. My DV Mark FGC121 is 120 watt 1x12 that weighs 23 lbs, and will cause physical damage to folks before it breaks up, if I dial it in that way.

    The bottom line is, that amp isn’t designed to do what you’re doing with it. Pretty much the opposite, actually.
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Regarding power tubes, Biasing will dictate what a tube does regardless of the operational parameters...’hardness’???.
    Changing power tubes without knowing the comparative plate dissipation numbers is not a valid assessment. This bias th8ng is also why with a cathode biased amp or even a non-adjustable fixed biased amp one wants to replace power tubes with tubes that have the same operational parameters this is the basis for Mesa Boogie’s ‘suggestion’ that Boogie owners replace power tubes with the appropriate Mesa tube for their Boogie amp. Oh yeah, they have a monetary concern as well fwiw, some of the early Bookie amps had a bias pot in them.
     
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  12. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hardness, maybe thicker glass? (joke) I see the amp has a bias control for fixed bias. In that case any good tubes can be biased for best performance for you. The gain stage/inverter stages are best served with a standard 12AX7, they stay clean until the outputs clip. The bias on the output tubes is set so that you are not getting cross over distortion, there is a little leeway on setting it hotter or colder, a little colder leave a little more room for more power from the tubes. Not that much of a difference though, but if the tubes are biased hot there is less room for the signal. But that aside, you are not going to get a real difference big in volume from the tubes, speaker yes.
     
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  13. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    If the tubes have been well used it is quite likely a new set may make a significant difference. Otherwise, there will probably be just incremental changes but not huge differences. See Pete Thorn's video (below) where he tested 21 different preamp tubes and all but 1 was a 12AX7. There are small differences but nothing like what a speaker might make. Jakedog has the best advice, get the proper amp for tons of clean headroom.
     
  14. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    I have two SCXD and if I had to play them through the combo's 10" speaker, I would have sold them a long time ago. I have to say I don't have à la Fender single coil guitars. I'm P90 and some humbucker. That said, one of the XD got a bigger cab to accomodate a Special Design 12" from a Fender Blues Jr III. It has more clean usable volume like that. The other one I play through a 2X10" ext cab and it's ± 50% louder.

    Do you solely use the clean channel ? If so try voice 1 with gain at 10 and adjust loudness with volume. Pretty sweet close to breakup tones right there.

    ¾  inch baffle-.jpg
    Sépia.jpg
     
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  16. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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  17. DjimiWrey

    DjimiWrey Tele-Meister

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    that's the sound i love and i shclepped a twin in and out of my trunk and up and down stairs for 20 years
    now i'm just not man enough to lift 'em anymore. the 6 of clock position in the scx2 is like a twin at 1
     
  18. DjimiWrey

    DjimiWrey Tele-Meister

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    speaker swap is definitely happening. i'll give the au7 a shot, thanks
     
  19. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds like a more efficient speaker will be more effective if you have a classic amp that just has a V1 pre-amp tube.

    But in an amp that cascades N different preamp tubes into each other and has a separate gain & volume knob it does seem like differences in tubes can make a difference you can hear and/or see on the gain knob. The cascading tubes amplify any differences from downstream.

    There are plenty of sites where they test tubes with electrical equipment and claim the tubes all have different amounts of gain, even within a given type like 12ax7 and even within a specific model/brand of a specific type of 12ax7.

    I have never tested tubes but I have tested transistors, transistors are supposed to be far more consistent with respect to hFE but you can still see a little variance with a tester. I can't say I've ever really found any that made a difference I could hear, but I've never fooled around with Germanium transistors.

    It is also pretty well established different tubes & such can even have differences in frequency response with respect to gain.
     
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  20. DjimiWrey

    DjimiWrey Tele-Meister

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    yes, i only use the clean "twin" voice
    im prolly gonna buy the bigger combo cab for scx2 with 12" opening on ebay for $175
    unless i can find one for le$$
     
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