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Anyone put premo tubes in their SVT preamp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nightlyraider, Oct 10, 2009.


  1. Nightlyraider

    Nightlyraider

    Sep 30, 2009
    Minneapolis
    Just wondering if anyone out there has spent the money, or had enough of them laying around, to put either the older brand name tubes, or else new gain matched tubes in their SVT 4 preamp? If you have, were there large sonic differences?

    I'm about to do the retube and wonder if it would make any real difference at all. Money is not too large an issue here, "if" I'd be able to appreciate anything as the general listener because of the upgrade.

    I know every valve has different gain characteristics (slight) and want someone more experienced to tell me if I should spend $38 or $200+ on three 12ax7s.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd just buy one really good one and try it in the V1 position. If that makes a difference, then maybe you could try the other ones, although I think there are a couple tubes in there that it won't make a difference. Someone else will have to verify that for me, though.
     
  3. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I replaced the stock tubes in 3Pro with NOS Sylvanias and there was a slight improvement; also tried a Mesa and an Amperex in V1 and no miracles.
    Liked the Mesa best which I did not exepect.
     
  4. Foz

    Foz

    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    I've rolled many pre tubes of varying cost and snob-appeal through a SVT3 and settled on a new set of Tung Sol 12AX7's at +/-$15 each - your mileage may varying.
     
  5. Why would one NOT use the best tubes available for your amplifier? Don't you want it to sound as good as it can?

    Paul
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The only reason I wouldn't want the best tubes I can get is because they cost close to $100 apiece. So I settle for regular old GE, RCA or Sylvania NOS tubes and leave the Mullards to those with money to burn.
     
  7. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I understand where you coming from Paul but with 6 tubes in a 3Pro at say $100 apiece for real Telefunken, Mullards, Bugle Boys, etc. the tubes are worth much more than the amp.
    IMO, this amp doesn't respond well to tube replacement just as my SWR seems indifferent.
     
  8. steamthief

    steamthief

    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    I replaced the two 12ax7s (Sovteks) in my Fender TB-600 with a pair of used Telefunkens I got very cheap, and the result was dramatic to my ears. Louder, much smoother, less brittle in the high-mids and highs, a more "tubey" richness in tone.

    I would imagine the Ampeg would respond differently, as I've read here that different amps are more receptive to tube rolling. If you've got a few extra bucks lying around, I'd say go for it. If vintage tubes don't do it for you, you could probably flip them for close to what you pay for them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
     
  9. Nightlyraider

    Nightlyraider

    Sep 30, 2009
    Minneapolis
    Thanks very much for the replies everyone.

    I think I'll go ahead and order at least one of something interesting for the V1 slot, and probably try to get regular strength tubes for the second and third spots.

    I'll get back with results.

    Also: $1100+ for a single NOS tube feckn eejit? It better play the bass for me at that price!
     
  10. it better do a fair bit more than that!!
     
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    In the SVP-CL I had, the stock 12au7's sounded better than anything else I tried in those positions.
    JJ's sounded better than the stock GT's in the 12ax7 holes to me; a little cleaner, a little tighter; didn't get gritty late in the game like the GT's did.
    A lot of the tube game isn't "good, better, best'' but personal preference, as long as they're not noisy/microphonic etc.

    YMMV, of course.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't know how you guys hear such differences in tubes. I've done two listening tests on here, and while other people were pointing out these minute differences that I couldn't hear (yes, I've got good headphones, thank you), I'm thinking how these people are superhuman, like maybe they're bats or dogs. And I do it in my own amps and I can't tell a difference. Saves me money, but makes me think I'm a bit of a dunce.
     
  13. Jimmy you can train your hearing.
    Get a little single ended amp like a Champ etc or better yet a kit and build it.
    Then listen to the tubes, and play with caps. They do make a difference.
    Or better yet put some Sovtek 6SL7s in your B-15, it will sound like a completely different amp and not in a good way.

    Ok I have found in Fender guitar amps the old Sovtek 12ax7wbs sound very good, surprisingly enough the Chinese (ACK! ACK! ACK!) Ruby Tubes 6L6 STRs do too.
    JJs are nice, and TADs sound very much like the old Black plate RCAs they are designed around.
    Mullard, Amperex, & Tungsols are also way out of my price range.
    If you can find good old pulls reasonable try them out.

    MM
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've got a little 1961 Danelectro/Airline guitar amp similar to a Champ. Maybe I should try that. I've got a whole bunch of 12AX7's and 7025's I could try in it.
     
  15. jimbilly

    jimbilly

    Apr 19, 2006
    I tried quite a few different old tubes in my SVP-Pro, any of the old ones sound better to me than Sovteks or Chinese tubes, the Chinese tubes in particular sound harsh and grainy to my ears (but I haven't tried any new or very recent production). I didn't really notice any difference between old Sylvanias or old RCAs, I think I tried a Mullard in V1 too, but it's hard to remember now. To my ears, the beauty of the Mullard is a slightly added upper mid, which could be really cool for bass in the right setup. As a sidenote, any 12AU7s in there dropped the gain too much for my taste.
    I don't really think there were any bad USA produced tubes, of the major brands anyway. I own and have tried most of the big european lables too, the best bang for the buck IMO is Sylvania. Also, don't be afraid of used tubes, I've had really good luck tube hunting, - except for antique stores, 80% of the time any tube you find in an antique store is garbage.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've got a killer NOS tube shop to go to 20 minutes away. www.vacuumtubesinc.com . The guy doesn't play but he knows tubes inside and out and can hook you up with the best bang for your buck.
     
  17. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Jimmy, I often don't hear any difference either.
    SWR; Eden; some others, forget it.

    With the SVP-CL, changing out the stock russain longplate 12au7's to other stuff I had definately wasn't better. Changing the 12ax7's made very little diff except when you had the gain dimed.
     
  18. I'd still like for someone to do a test of 'within versus across brand'. My guess is, much of the slight differences some people hear when swapping tubes is due to general variability versus brand (i.e., that two randomly chosen tubes of the same brand can sound as 'different' from each other as two randomly chosen tubes within brand).

    Not sure, but the results of these 'tube swaps' posted almost seem 'random', with very, very little consistency on the description of tone impact across posters. That suggests a random component to me:smug:
     
  19. Nightlyraider

    Nightlyraider

    Sep 30, 2009
    Minneapolis
    It looks like I'm gonna put down some money for an old Amperex Bugle Boy. Anyone have experience with these?

    Everything I've read sounds positive so far.
     

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