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Changing the tube in a Yorkville XS400

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Aaron Saunders, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I'm picking up an XS400 combo next week and I'm wondering how much of the tone will be affected by replacing the tube in the preamp. I've noticed a massive change in tone when one of the guys in the program changed the tubes in an old Fender Bassman, but it's all tube, not just a tube preamp. Anyone have an insight on this? Also, any reccomendations for replacement tubes?

    EDIT: The tube already in the amp is a Sovtek 12AX7A.
  2. I don't have that amp but I know the Sovtek 12Ax7As run a little hotter than others. These tubes are fairly cheap so you should get a couple- like a groovetubes and a generic old slyvania and see what happens. Let them "cook" or warm up awhile and overdrive your gain and see which distortion is more full-bodied.

    I have an old tubeworks tube preamp with that tube and the sovtek was expressly not recommended. But obviously, yorkville is designed for that tube.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Thanks! *bump*
  4. rathervague


    Oct 13, 2004
    I too am interested in this. Could a different tube give it a warmer, more vintage sound?
  5. I have an xs400h, and I don't think a new tube would make a HUGE difference. As it is only one tube to add a little bit of warmth and make the sound a little fatter. If it were an all tube amp, yes, tubes make a big difference, but in a hybrid amp, especiall the xs400 with only 1 preamp tube, I don't think it would make that much of a difference.
  6. rathervague


    Oct 13, 2004
    Damn, I'm desperately in search of getting a yorkville power/price amp with a sound more suited to blues and classic rock (as I have heard the yorkie is not)
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Any advice on a tube to replace it with for more warmth?
  8. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    It's well known in audiophile circles that changing tubes ("tube rolling") is an excellent way to change or voice your preamp's sound regardless of whether you use SS or tube power amp.

    I recently changed the tubes in my Ampeg SVT 3 Pro (tube pre and SS power) from a combination of Sovteks, Groove Tubes and some other generic Chinese ones that were in there to all Electro Harmonix (4 12AX7's and 1 12AU7).

    The differences were:

    1. Quieter, less hiss.
    2. Smoother sound, less brittle in the mids.
    3. Cleaner - sounding, I felt as if I had a bit more power (I'm sure not, but it sounded that way, maybe it was dynamics).

    Electro Harmonix are the premium version of Sovteks. I hear they're actually made in the same plant. The Russian tubes tend to be of higher quality than the Chinese tubes. That's what my local Chinese high-end audio salesman has told me.

    If you really want to have some fun going down this path, you can check out the NOS (new old stock) tubes that were made in the US or Western Europe in the 50's - 80's when tube manufacturing was an art and there were some very high quality tubes coming out of the U.S. (RCA's) U.K. (Mullard), Holland (Amperex, Philips).

    I purchased some NOS Mullard military spec, made in the UK, 12AU7's & 12AT7's for my 2-channel home stereo tube preamp and I just couldn't believe the difference. It was quieter, more dynamic, punchier in the bass, more black quiet between the notes, better detail (the ability to hear things in the recording that you had missed before), smoother sounding. Those cost $80.00 / pr. but I personally wouldn't bother spending that type of coin for a bass amp.

    You can do better than the Electro-Harmonix but EH's aren't expensive so it's easy to try to give one a try. They also make a more expensive gold-pin version too. Try different tubes and see what works. There are some pretty cheap Amperex, RCA, Philips, Telefunkens etc. that you could buy on Ebay.

    Also check out Triode Electronics online.


    A previous poster suggested that one tube wouldn't make a difference, but if it didn't then Yorkville wouldn't have put it in there in the first place.
  9. You need this Flite SOund Rig. And then you need to post a Review so I can decide if I want one. Light weight and 100 watts of tubes is like 300+ watts solid state. It's $1,000 clams, however. Cheaper than the B100R (and they claim LOUDER). And Lighter. 27lbs head + 39 lb cab.
  10. Gave it a try with an Electro-Harmonix - only thirteen bucks CAD. To my ear it appears to have improved the sound by adding actual "warmth" and made the sound a little more musical. With the old Sovtek, cranking the tube-pre would result in boominess - which is not what I'm looking for. I still get that with the Electro-Harmonix, although not quite to the same degree. Getting at the tube was certainly a PITA! Glad I did it though.

    - Andrew
  11. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    JJ from www.eurotubes.com are much better than the electro harmonix... I've had EH tubes go microphonic on me quickly, and that pretty much turned me off from them. JJs would be much more suited to a blues sound. Also look for NOS tubes. Preamps with only a single tube are actually much more affected by tube types than multi-tube preamps, contrary to popular belief. Changing that one tube will make a BIG difference, especially when overdriven.
  12. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    The Ox has it right...

    Your choices are not quite limitless but certainly many.

    NOS (new old stock) from various manufs are REAL expensive and if you can hear the difference
    (I can't, but I'm deaf to high freqs) you might like them a lot.

    The JJ's are individually hand tested and chosen for various qualities and are very good tubes because they all are selected for a very narrow specification window.

    EH has several quality levels so be sure you know which one you are getting.

    Groove Tubes are used by a lot of manufs and seem to be nearly the standard tube and are usually pretty good even though I have had a couple go south on me.

    Your Mileage may vary.
  13. Thanks for the info guys, I'll check out the JJs for sure.

    I wasn't aware of the EH's various levels of quality - all I know is it was made in Russia, which I thought were the best ones from them, no? Well at least it made some difference :)

    - Andrew
  14. I have a JJ in my yorkville xs800h head, sounds the best to my ears.
    I tried the Sovtek LPS and WB, EH version of the LPS, finaly the JJ.
    The Tesla JJ was clean, the yorkville electronics/preamp seems to be bassy. I tried these tubes in a tube DI/Pre-Amp and got different results. I liked the Sovtek LPS and EH, the JJ was too clean (but with EQ on the Bass and in the Recording program got good resuts). The LPS needed less EQ, has a natural fatter tone.
    BUT, in the Yorkville pre-amp section the JJ sounds best since the preamp has a bass heavy EQ to it IMO.

  15. Does anyone have an opinion on Mesa tubes? The local guitar shop only has EH and Mesa at the moment - the next nearest shop is 1/2 hour away :)

    BTW: I agree 100% - Yorkville's Tube-Pre is very bass heavy.

    - Andrew
  16. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Mesa tubes blow. They're just re-labled sovtek & JJ tubes, and cost alot more.
  17. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    Didn't Mesa used to use Groove Tubes? Wasn't Mesa the first company to use Groove Tubes? Or were Groove Tubes originally marketed JUST for Mesa? I seem to remember something like that...Am I Nuts?? :confused:
  18. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    More like Groove Tubes does the exact same thing, and has been for a long time. Neither of them make their own tubes, they just sell overpriced relabeled Sovteks.
  19. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    I've had great success by swapping the 12AX7 for an ECC83S. Adds more roundness in the bottom, it really filled it out nicer. I found a more noticeable change on the XS800 vs the XS400, but there was still a difference.
  20. Did it help to remove the boominess from the tube-pre? Or do you EQ that out?

    - Andrew