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12ax7 SHOOTOUT!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bean639, Jan 14, 2012.


  1. Bean639

    Bean639

    Aug 18, 2010
    Richmond, Va
    I am starting my research for a nice single 12ax7 for my EdenWT800. As far as tubes go I am quickly realizing that I am basically a NOOB. Usually that's okay because I always have the world wide web at my disposal. ONE PROBLEM. gui****s have totally overrun the net with reviews. (not surprised really) As of now I'm just reading gui****s reviews and hoping it will pretty much translate to a bass amp. Good idea???

    I have found two tubes that interest me so far.
    - Gold Lion (reissue) $40
    - Mullard Blackburn (1964) $65

    Any other suggestions?
    How do other TBers feel about buying a 45year old tube off of Ebay :meh:

    Most important. Do these audio forum/guitar forum reviews translate into bass very well???

    I understand that my amp is a hybrid (weak on the tube side), but I have been playing with tubes lately and it does make quite the difference.

    I did some searches and had trouble finding much of anything on these subjects. Since I'm pretty much a tube noob :)D) any kind of discussion would be productive for me.

    Thanks again TB :bassist::bassist::bassist:
     
  2. 4-string

    4-string

    Jul 23, 2006
    Norway
    For your WT800 I would suggest JJ, just something that works and is reliable.

    Buying vintage, NOS or other very expensive tubes makes no sense IMO. The single pre tube in that and similar amps tend to sound the same IME/IMO.

    YMMV of course.
     
  3. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    Maryland
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    Save your money and try and handful of the new stuff out there. In that amp, it isn't going to make a huge difference anyway.
     
  4. Bean639

    Bean639

    Aug 18, 2010
    Richmond, Va
    I have been switching out tubes that are laying around and have noticed quite the difference. Going between a sylvania, groove tube, and sovtek tubes. I really don't think it will be a total waste of money even if you are right. My next amp purchase will probably be a tube preamp.

    I went ahead and just bought the Gold Lion reissue. I would still like to see some tube knowledge from a bass player. Does anyone know of a place where tubes have been reviewed specifically for bass amps????
     
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    "Rolling glass" can be interesting but there is a point of diminishing return especially when dealing with starved-plate single tube configurations. True, the right tube may (or may not) change flavor to some degree but, overall, will fall short of re-defining the tonal character.

    Bottom-line: don't spend $60-100 on a NOS Brimar thinking it will rock your world. This I know firsthand.

    Riis
     
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    MEXICANADAMERICA
    search JGR's threads,...

    he is the Preamp Tube King!!! IMHO

    and don't doubt what he just told you. i personally was enlightened by him as well as others on his "Tube Rolling" review thread. one guy suggested i try the Shuguang 12AX7-C9 (china). it IS the highest gain 12AX7 tube and loved by guitarist, but it sounds AMAZING in my Demeter!!! gl
     
  7. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    JJ tubes at Eurotubes.com . . . talk to Bob, tell him what you're thinking of/looking to hear . . . he'll make recommendations to you . . .
     
  8. Mulebagger

    Mulebagger

    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    Groove Tubes, MesaBoogie, JJ tubes, Sovtek, RCA, Telefunken, have all found their way into my preamp sections at one time or another.

    I think my DB750 is loaded with JJ's at the moment with no complaints. In general, I've used Groove Tubes as my go to tube. I've never really heard too much difference in a single 12ax7 pre stage ala my SWR or Eden heads in the past.

    I did notice a difference when I was using an Ampeg SVTIII Pro. When I have some extra cash I'll probably reload my Aggie with GTs but I'll wait till one fails. No sense in changing it right now.

    I'm really interested to hear your results.

    Best of luck with your testing.
    Derrick
     
  9. Bean639

    Bean639

    Aug 18, 2010
    Richmond, Va
    In my circle of friends who are bass players the Gold Lion's are gaining a bit of a "buzz" around here. As one example my buddy with an ampeg svt 7pro(I think, single 12ax7 for the preamp) said the difference was so great that everybody in his band noticed the difference. As I do my "glass swapping" I always use headphones. I do this because very rarely do I play a gig that does not have a PA. I am really bad at giving reviews. I really have trouble communicating what I hear. that being said....

    Groove tubes seemed kinda muddy to me. Kinda warm, but too warm.

    sylvania seems a bit harsh and tinty.

    sovtek was kinda in the middle. really my favorite.

    dunno, like I said. Not something I'm good at. Also, I have no idea what specific tubes these were. I just know the namebrands.

    From what I hear the Gold Lion is supposed to be a really hot tube with an aggressive growl and nice rounded off highs. As far as I can tell there is only one Genalex (russian reissue) 12ax7 that can be bought. I have no idea if that applies to the brands I've been playing with.

    Im looking forward to reading the tube thread. Sounds like it's just what I'm looking for.
     
  10. Antique Electronic Supply has a sampler of some current production 12AX7(*) in "tube kits". 10 tubes for $100. should provide some fun with your tube rolling. The concern I always have with NOS on Ebay or anywhere is they may very well be used tubes and NOT New Old Stock. ;)
     
  11. stiles72

    stiles72

    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    I would just use whatever the stock tube is. Most amp companies design their amps around whatever tubes are available at the time, and IMO tend to work just fine. I've swapped out preamp tubes in my Ampeg SVT-3-Pros with different brands (JJ, Tung Sol, Groove Tubes, EH, etc...) and have tried vintage NOS vs. modern; and honestly - I can't tell any difference from the stock Sovteks that came in it.
     
  12. JOE EDO

    JOE EDO Supporting Member

    Aug 28, 2007
    Central New York
    Fun hobby, but any results you get will be subjective to the conditions you test under and the limitations of the circuit the tube is used in. None the less, we are interested in hearing what you think sounds best and why. Be sure to re-tension the tube socket after pulling tubes in and out as I've had this become an issue after many bouts with the rolling madness. Careful too poking around the inside of any amp at the risk of frying it or yourself. Good source for some nice tubes is Doug Preston at Doug's Tubes.
     
  13. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir... Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I have bought a few off ebay, and haven't had a problem yet. I do have a nice tube tester though. Nothing goes in my amps without being tested for shorts, emissions, and strength. If any of those fail, the tube goes in the garbage, and never touches my amps. Better safe than sorry.

    As for reviews, I like to stick to the Talkbass reviews. I'm not saying the others are bad, but I prefer to hear opinions from other bass players.
    Good luck in your search.
     
  14. Slightly off topic from the tubes you mentioned but...

    I have no experience with the amp you have, or any hybrid amp for that matter, but most reviews for preamp tubes, in my experience, translate well for bass too. It's how the amp reacts and defines itself no matter what brand of guitar you're playing as well as bass. Your pickups will make a difference but the amp should still react the same in it's type of sound and the frequencies it will produce with either instrument. I play vintage tube amps so tubes make a big difference to my sound and what I like. I hear a difference swapping out a 12AX7 in v1/v2 or a different 12AT7/12AU7 in the PI slot. But unless you're picky in your sound enough to notice the difference a tube can make, or you want to spend the money for nicer tubes or to experiment, or you're just a tube nerd like I am, it might not be as worth it with your (or certain) amps.

    A good current production tube I've enjoyed is the Tung-Sol 12AX7. But for $10-$15 more, I rather buy a GE 12AX7 as they sound warmer to me with a nicer break up when pushed. I've had a few Sylvanias I've liked but for the most part, on the amps I've tried, they were a bit thin sounding for my taste. RCA's have sounded great with some bass amps I've tried as well though they are a little more expensive. I've never purchased a Mullard or Telefunken but the Mullards in my Sound City (B100) sound amazing, though, I've still yet to try it on bass and compare it with my other B100 with much cheaper GE preamp tubes.

    Amps I've tried the above tubes in have been my old Ampeg v4, Sound City 120 and Univox ux1501. I've also tried JJ's, Sovtek and Groove Tubes but the only current production tube that was able to compete, in my opinion, was the Tung-Sol 12AX7 I mentioned. Besides that, I've preferred old RCA, GE and Sylvanias for their warmth, cleaner break up and fatter tone on bass, through the amps I've had. Just my opinion. Expensive hobby but since I no clue how to change/mod a circuit to make an amp sound different, knowing different tubes was the next best hobby I could find.

    Good luck.
     
  15. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Bean639, Ruby tubes are made to edens specs and since you have a WT800. You can find them for cheap:

    Tubes | Amplified Parts
     
    Dave Neal likes this.
  16. Bean639

    Bean639

    Aug 18, 2010
    Richmond, Va
    Thanks for the info guys! Chillerthanmost, that is actually the type of stuff Im looking for/helps a lot. special thanks for that.

    I know that ruby tubes are basically eden tubes or vise verse. I'd say about 6 or 7 years ago I got on this kick and played with the rubys, groove tubes, and a variety of russian tubes. It's hard to remember what my thoughts were at the time, but I remember liking the rubys the least. I ended up going with something russian, but can't remember what it was. In the latest round I found a groove tube in there much to my surprise. I have NO idea how that ended up in there!:D:D

    Anyway. I have been reading and reading. I did enjoy the tube reviews by JG..something. forgot already. ha! I'm going to call some guitar buddy's and see if they want to do some temporary swaps just for fun. Between that, the GL I just bought, and what is laying around, I might be able to get my head wrapped around this a little better.

    Thanks for the info again guys. Hopefully someday I can say that I've tried each one. With that being said, keep the info coming!
     
  17. bassfreakah

    bassfreakah

    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    I have a old flip top and a svt 2 pro and a 3 pro and some conrad johnson stuff and for the bass amps I have used lots of different nos and i think that the 12AX7-C9 is the best in bass amps. now in phono pre's the brimar is gold. imo tho...
     
  18. bobcruz

    bobcruz

    Mar 10, 2004
    CA
    OP, the tube in Eden's hybrid amps is not used in the gain stage--it's for preamp buffering only, which means it has a very minimal effect on the sound. Consequently tube swaps in Eden amps also have a minimal effect. It's a good use of the tube, but you'll find more effect on the tone in amps that use the preamp tube for gain, like the Genz Benz hybrids. You can get overdrive (distortion) from the preamp tubes in amps that use them for the gain stage.
     
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I've got some NOS Telefunken select (medical grade) ECC83s. I put one in V1 of my DB750, and it really tightened it up - so much that even I notice it. I also put one in my Shuttle 9.0. I didn't hear a significant difference, but Doug Parent did. So I left it in.
     
  20. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Alabama
    The problem with answering your question is knowing what gear (amp or head) your have, if you want a factory sound from it, or something different, and what type of music you intend to play through it (on average).

    You've asked a loaded question.

    Example: To approximate Fender clean sounds from my non-Fender guitar amp (that seems to be close to a Fender sound) I've done the following-based on research, and a discussion with 'the guy' at my online tube vendor.

    V1 Tung Sol RI (12AX7)
    V2 Penta 7025 (12AX7)
    V3 Chinese (12AT7)
    V4 Sovtek LP (12AX7)

    The point being-your brand, and intentions may be different, and the number and various tube positions may be very different from others gear.

    Which tubes, and whether new, NOS, or UOS tubes are like a hobby unto themselves.

    Have fun! :bassist:
     

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