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Aguilar DB 659 and tubes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by r379, Oct 12, 2004.


  1. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I did a search and didn't find what I was looking for so I'll start a new thread. Has anybody experimented with different tubes in an Aguilar DB 659? If so what tubes and what were the results? Thanks.
     
  2. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    I remember reading that they are voiced to use the stock tubes (I forget what kind they are).

    If you like a woolier/rockier sound try Electro-Harmonix.
    If you like cleaner, try JJ Tesla.

    NOS are a wide ranging topic (probably covered somewhere here on TB), that I don't have a lot of personal experience with...yet.

    Good luck.
     
  3. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks for the reply. Could either of these be described as punchier?
     
  4. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    JJ
     
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    This reply doesn't add anything with much insight or help to your original post..........but I know what you mean about the tubes.

    I took off my DB 659's cover to look at the guts and all the info imprinted on the tube glass says, "Aguilar."

    By the nature of your question, I am guessing you are looking for something better, (perhaps, much warmer). Me, too. I haven't tried them, but I've read where 5751's sound much better than the 12AX7's that came with our Aguilars. Why Aguilar would use jive tubes, with the incredible amount of money we paid for their preamp, is beyond me.

    I've paired the DB 659 with my QSC PLX and it sounds like crap. My Tech 21 Bass Driver is the salvation for this setup. Now, it sounds great!!!!
     
  6. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i doubt aguilar's using "jive tubes". It's very common for manufacturers to have their suppliers put their name on the tubes they buy (or they do it themselves) Comparison with other tubes will generally tell you what kind of tube it is (but i bet aggie could tell you.
     
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Ivan - I expect premium components from Aguilar, too, for the mad money they are charging.

    However, all I hear is pure mid-range "honk" with little bass without using the Tech 21 Bass Driver. It sounds weak and I feel as if I've been cheated. I bought it new.

    Perhaps, it just doesn't pair up well with a QSC PLX..........I don't know and I don't pretend to be any tech guru. But I do know the set-up sounds fine with my Tech 21.
     
  8. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    I don't have a problem with the tone with my Aguilar/QSC combo, but the Aggie dosen't seem to drive the QSC like my Demeter does. Big difference volume wise :confused:
     
  9. bassjamn

    bassjamn

    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Why is this? I've seen people post that fact quite a few times now.
    I really wanted to Aguilar DB 659 paired with my QSC PLX1602 i recall somone posting that the voltage output of the Aguilar was not high enough, Not sure about this though. :meh:
     
  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    The Telefunken EC883 is supposed to have a higher gain for a 12ax7 type tube, maybe these would help get the QSC cranking better.

    Also, don't be afraid to max out the preamp master and the QSC attenuator.

    You can also have the QSC's input sensitivity modded.
     
  11. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that the tubes Aguiler puts in 659s are Chinese 12AX7s. I was just wondering if anyone (other than lo-freq) had found tubes that made it sound punchier. I have experience with 5751s but that isn't what I'm looking for.
     
  12. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    One or two clarifications --
    most any specific model of preamp will tend to have a basic range of tones it's capable of;
    most any (well made, correctly labeled) make/model of tube will tend to have its own basic tone.

    Tubes will only tweak the sound of most preamps only to a limited degree and vice versa (occasionally, there may be a magical synergy...but not sure how often).

    I don't have any experience trying different tubes in a 659, but typically a punchier sounding tube should help the 659 sound punchier.

    5751's specs are less gain than a typical 12ax7, but that's not always the case with certain makes.

    P.S. I just wanted to qualify what I had said, not be defensive (even tho it sounds a bit that way).
     
  13. DubDubs

    DubDubs

    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I have a 659/RMX 850 and it sounds great. The preamp output is a bit low but still works fine but you do have to crank it a little so if you want really clean sounds try another pre but I like a little warm tube growl and it sounds great.
     
  14. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    You're right, that's wrong. :)

    I can speak from the experience of owning and/or borrowing tons of Aguilar gear, and what the Aguilar techs have told me.

    When they first introduce a product, they'll use a specific tube that meets their design criteria of sound, price, reliability, and availability. Over the years, the chosen tube my become prohibitively expensive or become unavailable. Or as other mfrs. have found, become unreliable. So they may start putting in a different tube at some point in time. My point is that your 659 might come with different tubes than my 659.

    Mine came straight from the factory with NOS GE's, as did my 359. But I've seen others (newer ones) with the Aguilar-branded Sovtek 12AX7WA's (the Sovteks are rather nice, btw.) I believe they simply ran out of the 100 or 500 or who-knows-how-many NOS GE tubes they bought when they are buying manufacturing stock. It's all part of the manufacturing process.

    True, they put a $5 GE in a $800 preamp. But it has the sound they are after, and it the sound is consistent. They know we'll all be pulling them out anyway.

    The $3000 Millenia Origin comes stock with Russian tubes. There's a Telefunken upgrade. Most buyers either buy the upgrade or replace the tubes themselves. The point here is that when you're going to sell more than one or two hand-built preamps, you have to standardise.

    So back to punchy. I think the 5751 is the wrong direction for punchy. I use the 5751 to tame things like SWR's, or warm up Ashdowns even more. If you don't like the Aguilar branded Sovtek WA's, I am not sure what to recommend. I think the JJ ECC83S might be up your alley.
     
  15. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    There's more than a few preamp tube reviews on the net, but this one is more up-to-date and more relevant since we're talking about JJ's. It's from the guy who imports them, but I think he's objective since his findings are the same as mine. I haven't tried the new models in my 659 but I will!

    http://www.eurotubes.com/euro-h.htm
     
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    jerry - My only gripe is with the tone. Someone in another thread, posted some time ago, mentioned their Aggie pre performed much better with a Stewart World than a QSC.... :confused:

    Anywho, I think I'd like to see if I can get rid of the DB 659 and get a Jack Read Bass Purity pre.
     
  17. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    :eyebrow: he objectively found every type of JJ better then everything else... AND imports and sells JJ tubes exclusively. neat.
     
  18. Nightbass

    Nightbass

    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I stand by my opinion that his comments are valid and useful, because I've tried all those tubes myself and have come to the same conclusions. By linking to his review it saves me a lot of typing. :D

    Watford Valves also has valid and useful reviews, which of course include tubes they sell. And then there's Lord Valve...
     
  19. Bob is a straight-up guy and if he says JJ's sound better it's because he, along with quite a few others, believe they do. He started Eurotubes AFTER hearing JJ's and not being able to find a reliable importer. I also agree with his reviews on EVERY tube too.
     
  20. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    cool... I've already ordered a few JJ 12AX7 for my head. Seems to be the tubes to have.

    I just felt bias in his reviews... true or not, you can tell he sells JJ IMO