Changing the tube on an EBS ValveDrive pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by J-Dub, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. J-Dub


    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I love the ValveDrive, but I need more distortion. What kind of tubes (i.e. Russian, Chinese, 12AX7, 12AU7, etc.) would give me a way dirtier, distorted sound? I read that Russians break up faster and have more edge, but also that they are lower gain. I don't know near as much as the average guitar player about tubes, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    The Valve drive is an awesome pedal, but super high gain distortion is not what's it's designed for. Subtle warmth, up to a good medium grind, but that's it. Sounds like you need either a full blown distortion pedal, or maybe even fuzz.
  3. J-Dub


    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I've been fearing that's the case. I have the Iron Ether QF2 which rocks from subtle to face-melt, but I'd like to have extra tube drive/compression in a pedal (so I can leave my amp settings alone). The ValveDrive has been doing well but just doesn't quite get me to the saturation I want.

    Is there another pedal with tubes that could crank just a few more notches for a more full, thick tube sound? Maybe a pedal with two tubes? I know there are a ton out there but I need some hard recommendations before I go down another overdrive-buying rabbit hole.
  4. nodisco


    Dec 9, 2007
    I changed Svetlana tube for Electro Harmonix 12AX7eh and I'm pretty statisfied with the tone I get, it's a bit nastier, distortes more, but still has that tube taste.
    Check my soundcloud, there are some pieces recorded with it.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Just FWIW, it's not true that "Russians" will sound any particular way compared to "Chinese" or any other country of origin. Each country produces a wide range of tubes with a wide range of sounds.

    12AX7 will have the highest gain of the 12A*7 range, and I think that's what comes stock in the Valve Drive already. So you could swap different tubes in for subtle flavor differences, but there is no tube you could put in there that would turn it into more of a distortion effect.

    Aside from maybe a tube that's going bad. ;)

    Maybe check out clips of the Markbass Distorsore, see if it sounds good to you. IMO the best distortions for bass are actually solid state emulations of tubes, or pedals that combine tube and SS dirt. The problem is that you pretty much cannot get the super tough "distorted tube amp" sound from just one or two preamp tubes.
  6. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    What if you put a boost pedal before the Valvedrive?

    - John
  7. I've done this myself. I've had great results running the Wren and Cuff Phat Phuk before the Valvedrive. Generally speaking, the Valvedrive plays really nicely with other pedals.
  8. J-Dub


    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Thanks guys, this is all helps alot. I'm still feeling my way around the QF2 right now, definitely the most complicated dirt pedal ever. But I think that pedal before the ValveDrive should do the trick.

    Right now, I'm running the Iron Ether QF2 into a Markbass Superbooster into the EBS ValveDrive. That should be plenty of boost/drive into the VD so I probably just need to do some more tweaking.

    Side note: I'm starting to feel like I should give the SansAmp VT Bass a try, with as much love as it gets on TB. Just from reading what people say, it sounds like that might be the kind of solid state tube simulation OD you were referring to, Bongo?
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah the VT is a popular example. The Blueberry is another (expensive though).

    It does sound like you've got plenty of gain in front of the EBS already, and that's not doing what you want. So I'd say experiment with all possible orders/combinations of those 3 gain pedals.
  10. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    that wren and cuff pedal sounded pretty nice, i agree
  11. Bur


    Nov 16, 2012
    Moscow, Russia
    I've made it that way: High gain dirt > EHX Tube EQ (in my case Grey Stache>VT Bass>Tube EQ)... The tone is huge, man.
  12. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Have you tried using a distortion pedal to go with your ebs valvedrive? I've done something like that using a hartke bass attack pedal and a digitech bass driver and I got myself a pretty cool sound. it sounds smooth and heavy. at least that's one unique way to get a warm heavy distorted sound. if that doesn't help you out, you might wanna try the ebs metaldrive. this pedal has a warm heavy sound that doesn't obliterate lows. of course the one important thing about using distortion on bass is to make sure that you don't lose your bass sound. blending your sounds is one way to be sure that you have your original bass sound mixed with the distortion effect you use. that way you'll get a pretty killer distorted bass sound. anywho, the ebs metaldrive is a pretty cool sounding pedal if you want a warm heavy distorted sound. here's a video demonstration on the pedal.

  13. Jens Busck

    Jens Busck

    Nov 16, 2011
    I'd say run the ValveDrive clean with other dirt pedals in front of it. A Tung Sol reissue is a great tube for making a preamp out of the ValveDrive. I have an IE Oxide and a Rodenberg 728b (and also a BMC, a wah/volume, a delay, a bitcrusher and a compressor) before the ValveDrive, and it's working really well. I absolutely love the ability to switch between the vintage and modern channels and thereby change the overall character of the top end.
  14. J-Dub


    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Well this thread is a bit old, and I've since chunked the Valve Drive. It was a great pedal, and I do miss it from time to time, but the Mad Professor Blueberry Bass Overdrive used with a true bypass clean blender is just perfect for me.

    When I want grind, I flip on the Walrus Audio Voyager, right after the Blueberry in the signal chain. Those two pedals can get me from crunch to grind to thick to full to even a little fuzzy.

    And turning up the tube drive on my Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II gives me all the natural tube warmth I need, and allows me to get some real saturation with my Blueberry.

    Also since this thread was posted, I must note that GHS medium flatwound strings have changed my life. Can't underwrite the fullness of tone that those bring to my sound.