EHX English Muffin with 12AU7 as clean/(light OD) bass tube preamp?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by NoiseNinja, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    I already use my EHX Black Finger, which is originally intended as a tube driven optical compressor, as an always on tube pramp just at the breakup point, which means it turns out a light OD when you dig into the strings, and with really great and satisfying results too.

    The thing is that the Black Finger is basically a tube preamp with an optical compressor stage put in between the input tube section and the output tube section, and by turning the amount of compression applied to the signal down to about minimum, you actually get the effect of a true full voltage tube preamp driven at 300V.

    It is however lacking in controls, which basically, beside the controls asociated with the compresion, comes down to only an input gain control and an output master volume control.

    I was thinking though, that since the English Muffin is in the same series of pedals, run by 2 preamp tubes, as the Black Finger, having controls for High, Mid and Low EQ added (compared to no EQ controls of the Black Finger) and supposedly being an analog tube based Marshall type preamp emulator, it might work even better as a preamp for bass.

    The English Muffin usually comes with 2 12AY7 tubes as standard from stock, but I was thinking maybe swapping those with 2 lower gain 12AU7 tubes might be benificial for it's function as primarily bass preamp, as high drive tones would not really be useful (for me at least), to gain more clean headroom and a broader width in the crossover zone between clean and overdrive teritory.

    Anyone who care to chime in with experiences and advice, having used the English Muffin functioning as main bass preamp, and for comparance purposes, preferably with experience with the Black Finger too, as well as experience with running the Muffin with lower gain tubes such as 12AU7 type tubes?

    Additionally, a bit off topic, anyone with experience in using the Black Finger, mainly as bass preamp, and additionally also who has experimented with using lower gain 12AY7 type tubes instead of the usual 12AX7 it comes with as standard, and know if this would be benificial in anyway for it's function as preamp?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  2. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    Bum, diddle-li-bum-bum, BUMP!
     
  3. WestyBassBob

    WestyBassBob

    Mar 2, 2020
    So did you ever try it out? What was the result?
     
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  4. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    No I didn't went through with buying new tubes to try this out, and now my Black Finger has gone faulty.

    There's a chance it will just be a matter of cleaning the pots, as they have been fairly scratchy lately when turned, but the way it acts indicates that it is likely not, and I am pretty sure it isn't at the fault of the tubes.

    I do however still very much love what it does to my tone, having used it, up until it started behaving weird, more so as a tube preamp stage than really a compressor, even if I did have some subtle compression with a high threshold going on, so if cleaning the pots doesn't fix it I will find a used one and buy at some point, which I have been pondering anyway, as a spare, since this pedal is not in production anymore.
     
  5. WestyBassBob

    WestyBassBob

    Mar 2, 2020
    That’s cool. So you like English Muffin? I’m looking to really get the sizzle that only tubes offer without spending 2k on a rig. So I was curious how your experience was with it. I’ll put in in the gas list. Currently I’m just using a rather generic OD/Fuzz pedal which is fine but you know. Always looking for that special sound.
     
  6. My Muff'n was acting in a way that I was sure the tubes were bad and a pot cleaning fixed it right up.

    As a bass pre, it has a really nice warmth going into a tube amp, but I have had a hard time getting it just so for a mix.
     
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  7. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    Not sure what exactly I was thinking when I wrote that OP a few years ago, but I can definitely see how one could easily be led to think I also owned an English Muff'n.

    That is however not the case, only owns a Black Finger, and I think my point was people who could enlighten me on comparing the effect of tube swaps for lower gain tubes between the two.

    Thanks. :thumbsup:

    I hope you are right.

    Can I ask you though, how did you go about doing it?

    I do have some electronic cleaner spray, but how did you apply it?

    Do I have to open it up (there's a warning stating that unauthorized people shouldn't go about opening the unit, because of risk of high voltage electric shocks)?
     
  8. Unplug the unit and leave it unpowered, remove the top from the bottom and point the straw into each pot and give it a good bath at each of the pots while turning. Leave the unit sitting on some paper towels or something overnight and then put it back together and see how it worked.

    Mine was completely cutting out with the gain above 8 o'clock and it works great now.
     
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