TuBe NooB Help!

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by VeganThump, Oct 22, 2013.


  1. VeganThump

    VeganThump

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    South Jersey
    I'm about to buy a used SVT-CL and I know absolutely nothing about tube heads, like literally nothing at all, except that they sound awesome and I need one. Can anyone tell me what sort of things I might look for whilst checking out a used one? Also, is there anyway for me to check out the condition of the tubes, and if so, what sort of things should I be looking/listening for?

    Ps I'm sure this has been discussed before but I'm using the iPhone app and the search function sucks.
  2. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    Location:
    Sneedville
    It's just an amp. It's not some mythical beast to be feared or worshiped. OTOH, if it was a vintage SVT... ;)

    With any used amp, but especially a used tube bass amp, it is important to budget for a thorough inspection by a qualified technician. Unless a problem is discovered, a cursory inspection and tuneup (bias check) can often prevent worse, expensive problems down the road and most techs are more than happy to make many minor adjustments and suggestions which will help educate you about the amp and save you major expense down the road.

    Read the Amps forum FAQ about tube amps, but be sure and read ALL of it, not just the first few posts. Some of the initial statements are addressed to tube amps in general and not tube bass amps, which can be much less forgiving of user error.

    Tube life is a widely misunderstood subject. Put simply, unless you're touring and playing five nights a week, you should never have to replace any of the amp's tubes from wear in your playing lifetime if they're in good condition. I have 60's Fender amps with their entire original tube complement that still sound awesome.

    As far as diagnosing any problems by playing through it, make sure there are no hums, buzzes or weird noises. If the amp powers up and doesn't fault and plays and sounds stable for an hour or so, chances are that it probably IS stable. Like any other amp, if it sounds weird or bad or funny to you, don't just assume that it is a small problem that can be easily fixed regardless of what the owner may say. Quite often, they are clueless or dishonest, and you shouldn't have to pay to fix someone else's problem.

    If anything doesn't sound, feel or even smell 'right,' walk away. There are plenty of great reliable used amps out there and an amp you've never played in person doesn't always match up to the sound in your head. Don't be afraid to not like it, and don't think that you HAVE to buy it just because you think you should. Good luck.
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

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    Also keep in mind you should run that Ampeg with a 4 or 2 Ohm load only.
  4. VeganThump

    VeganThump

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    South Jersey
    Thanks psychobassguy, I hear what you're saying, I was more or less referring to some buzz terms I hear sometimes, like a "microphonic tube" or something like that. I have no idea what that is and i didn't know if there are certain litmus tests to check things out before buying.
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  6. VeganThump

    VeganThump

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    South Jersey

    Yup, I knew that from reading up on the SVT-CL, that won't be a problem though because I have an 810, this is just my first foray into the world of tube amps.
  7. Psychobassguy

    Psychobassguy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
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    That will fall under the 'funny noises' bit. Microphonic preamp tubes are tubes with a loose internal structure that amplifies vibrations as well as the audio signal fed into it. They have a sound that's hard to explain, but you;ll know it when you hear it. Microphonic power tubes are dangerous because they have larger voltages which can arc or short and severely damage the amp or you. They will sound like a seashell when you tap on the amp while it's running without having any input signal. If you hear that, run.

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