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do old power tubes tubes sound darker?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pulse, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. pulse


    Apr 10, 2007
    Berlin, Germany

    I tried a search did not yet find any info. I have an SVTII I bought second hand, it has phillips tubes in it, original ones I am told.

    When testing the DI out the pre amp tubes sound amazing. But whilst the power amp tubes work and delivers unbelievable power I am unsure if the tubes sound a little dull in comparison to the Pre signal?

    my cab is mesa 2x15" 800watt with plenty highs when used with other amps

    I may be wrong, but just curious if this duller sound is a symptom

  2. almix12


    Apr 3, 2008
    Well I don't know if very old tubes (not just a few years but used a lot) sound darker, but if I was having that problem the tubes would be the first thing i'd look at
  3. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    They can. depending on HOW old and low gain they are....

    A local blues player (now deceased) NEVER changed tubes...... If any tech had, they'd have got an after-hours visit by some large and ill-tempered folks......

    His amp really had the smooth and a little dark thing going............. basically not much in real highs, but still good tone.

    Anyway, yes, I would expect that highs would start to drop off as the power tubes age and reduce gain.
  4. pulse


    Apr 10, 2007
    Berlin, Germany
    thank you,
    the tone is good but lacks "shine" / easily generated harmonics / overtone richness

    I also wondered if the head just dont like my cab, a Mesa Diesel 2x15" 800watt, which actually has a lot of highs
  5. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    If not a design issue (shine and overtones as I understand your meaning is a "coloration thing" that is not really an SVT hallmark), or an issue with eq, it surely could be weak tubes.

    In general, the Ampegs are not known for a super bright sound, but it is not limited to a dark sound either. You may be either expecting a more guitar-ish behavior, or else have not got to the volume level that brings out what you want.

    But you are describing bass with terms I associate more with guitar........... not sure how that works out...... "bright" is one thing, but harmonics, "shine" and so forth is not necessarily what "mixes" well..........

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