Dirt Pedals For Tube Snobs

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JimmyM, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Hey guys, here's my situation...I am going to flat out admit to my tube snobbery, I've always had it, I've tried to like everything else and I just don't, and I respect everyone's own personal tonal journeys and mine has always been centered around tubes and transformers, so I'm married to the tube schlep from here on out. At least I can get away with a B-15 ;)

    So I'm now going DI with a A-Designs REDDI and I'll have a tube Ampeg of some sort behind me on all gigs except where space or logistics just plain doesn't permit it, mostly the B-15 since I'm old. The REDDI sounds exactly like a DI from the speaker out of the B-15, has near flat response, refuses to let you get lost in the mix in any way, and it points out in excruciating detail the difference between a tube amp simulator and a cranked tube amp. But I can't do volume levels of even a B-15 cranked, we have a huge band and I can only get one line to the board on most of my gigs, and the REDDI is a straight up clean DI that does no dirt on its own. So a pedal is a must.

    I am willing to compromise just a little because I know it's kind of ridiculous to expect a distortion box to be a full on tube amp disguised as a pedal, but is it? Are there pedals like that? Price is always a factor, but I am more willing to pay for whatever gets me the closest to that sound I'm looking for.

    But I'll entertain any suggestions of pedals that aren't simply starved plate glory tubes. Seen a few of the more popular names that look cool, and single tube preamp distortion is a little buzzy to my ears compared to power tubes but is usually better than solid state, so feel free to throw out some names of those pedals as well. But the closer the build is to the real deal, those are the pedals I'm really interested in, and bonus points if I don't have to buy a separate EQ to cut highs past 5k...don't want to blow any PA tweeters, and extra bonus points if the builder modeled it after the B-15. But starved plate and solid state are right out, so again, please allow me to be a nice guy and don't try to talk me into it ;)

    Thanks guys...if anyone knows where stuff like that exists, you do!
  2. I thought you were a fan of the Tech 21 VT-Bass. Not cutting it anymore?
  3. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    I use the EHX english muff'n, 2 whole 12AY7 tubes. Can go from light boost/warming to cranked distortion with those default ones, and they can easily be replaced with higher or lower gain tubes. It is also cheaper than other alternatives (about £140 new) and doesn't lose much low end.
  4. If I wanted some raw tubey sound going straight through REDDI I might go for Tech 21 VT Bass. Nails the B15-tone to me.
  5. Can't you take the speaker out of the B-15 and run it into the REDDI? I thought it had a speaker-level input. Then you can crank the B-15 for dirt, and send it on to the console.

    If the REDDI can't do that, then maybe a different DI, or a pedal between the B15 speaker out and the REDDI, to cut the level to line or instrument.
  6. tink9975


    Aug 10, 2006
    MoCo, MD
    you might want to check out Swell pedals. Tube OD/Distortion boxes running a tube at high voltage. Two gain presets, bass boost and high end cut switch, and a recording out that uses a speaker sim circuit which may have the high end roll off you are looking for.

    They just announced an Ampeg flavored version the B-PEG, that is not on the site, but the builder listed the specs in a thread here

    I have a B-Drive (lowest gain version) and am pretty happy with it, but I am not the tube connoisseur that you are ;)
  7. Knettgummi


    Sep 28, 2011
    "Tube snob" just sounds so...
  8. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Martin Keith Guitars
    Not sure if this is a candidate for consideration, but I have found the EHX-Tube eq to be an excellent tubifier-on-the-fly, that affords a lot of subtle tone tweaking (it is an equalizer, after all) in combination with any household-name distortion/OD.
  9. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Matsumin Valve Caster (Boost/OverDrive) | eBay

    I'm a tube snob and use solid state for dirt. Here's another option. I beleive it uses a 12au7. Not my idea of a blasting hot tube fire. What you really want to do is get a couple of boks and build a box around one of the smaller pentodes. EF86 might do it with one tube. It's known for it's gain and tone, and QC issues. If you get a good one great if not try another.

    I sold a Gran Prix last year. I wish I would have known your needs than. For dirt the Intersteller Overdrive is better.

    And BTW don't run your ampeg without a speaker load. All those watts that the speaker disapates will be running around inside your output tranny looking for a way out.

    Rule 1 for a happy relationship with your tube amp is not to run a power amp without the proper load. Since P= VxI as I tends towards zero V tends to a high number that will fry your output transformer.
  10. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    If you're looking for the best sounding, Swell is the way to go. They're not the most affordable, but the quality is above and beyond. They have DIs that emulate amp speakers, too. Uses a 1/4 inch, but it's pretty good for going into PAs and the such.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Hey guys, it's Jimmy. I know all the typical TB warnings about tube amps already ;) And why are you guys suggesting the VT to me? I know the VT very well. It's a huge favorite of mine. Everyone knows that. I still think it's a great product. It's not what I want for my rig anymore. Simulations just don't sound like the real thing, and that is tubes and transformers. I only want the real thing or as close as I can get to it in pedal form as much as possible from here on out, no solid state simulations. I thought I made that quite clear.

    Now see...you guys made me a not so nice tube snob ;)

    OK, I'm nice again. So the REDDI doesn't do speaker DI, and I don't want dirt coming out of my B-15 anyway. For those unfamiliar, the REDDI is an amazing DI made with a tube and big power and output transformers that dead on nails the sound of a clean B-15 being speaker DI'd and set to near flat response. It sounds magnificent in every way and I got a good deal on it used so you can't call me a snob any other way except where tubes and transformers are concerned ;) And unlike the cab mic I used to use, it points out in striking detail between the real thing and a simulation. So I'm looking to preserve that as much as possible with my dirt when I need it. Call it crazy, but it's what I want and I'm not looking at anything else at the moment. If it turns out the VT really is the best solution, I will go with it and stomp it proudly. But I want to know what else is out there that isn't a simulation.

    Thx for the suggestions so far...got some researchin' to do!
  12. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals

    Still a rather inexperienced opinion. There is no real answer other than the real deal. This is as close as it gets.
  13. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Jimmy, I have found that the combination of the EBS ValveDrive WITH the VT Bass is a very nice blend of both worlds, and infinitely tweak-able depending on how you set the 2 and how they interact. I know you're 'done' with the VT Bass at this point (if I read you correctly), but the combo of the VT plus a real-tube pre (that really hits the tube) might be up your alley? As an aside, I changed the tube in the ValveDrive to a Mullard reissue long-plate 12AX7 and it really smoothed things out. That's all I can offer though...
  14. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    The de Lisle Eighty-Sixed is an EF86-based preamp/overdrive pedal. I used to have one and it worked great with my bass.

    Hand-Wired Effects Pedals
  15. Well, I'm learning the ins and outs of my Markbass Distorsore. I also have a SansAmp BDDI and though I like the sound of it, it's noisy when the dirt gets big. The Markbass is clear as a bell - just distortion and OD, no hiss, no hum, no matter where you turn the knobs. Very, very clean. It's a tube-driven OD/fuzz/distortion pedal.

    Markbass just discontinued it following NAMM 2012 when they introduced a new Distorsore that lacks a tube, but has a 7-band GEQ. So you can probably pick one up on a clearance sale.
  16. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    I'll second Swell. I have the B-Pro v.2 that I like a lot (reviewed here B-Pro v.2 - Bass Gear Reviews at TalkBass.com). I also have the REDDI and absolutely love it. It's funny, but I haven't run the Swell into the REDDI. I tend to run the bass straight into the REDDI with the REDDI through line to either the Swell of the GT-10B and then into the back of my amp's return. My amp has a DI out as well, so I use that as the wet signal and the REDDI as the clean, allowing the board to mix/blend. Next gig, I'll have to try the Swell into the REDDI.
  17. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    So I poked around on the net trying to see if I could find what I was talking it, and I had no luck at all. But I know I remember seeing something a few years ago when I was letting all the bringdowns around me make me think that great tone didn't matter ;) It was a preamp with overdrive, but instead of just a preamp, it had a small single tube power amp, and an output transformer with a dummy load on it.
  19. Kind of OT here ... does that mean no Portaflex or Micro SVT stack for Jimmy anymore?