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Help With Tube Amp Care

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by shawshank72, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    :hyper:Thanks to all of you who chimed in on my last thread, i purchased an eden 300t. Do tube amps need any special set up before playing or is it just plug and play? Are there any rules about how hard you should push tubes before you have to ease up on them? Is there a warm up period needed before playing at your maximum level? thanks all
  2. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    You should always use standby for a minute or two to allow the tubes to reach
    operating temperature. This will extend tube life.

    If you are playing in unfamiliar locations, it helps to take a volt meter with you
    to check wall current.

    Depending on the location and age of the building etc, you can get from 110 volts
    up to 127+ volts.

    That's a fine amp and you should try to protect it from surges or irregular voltage.

    I'm finding that a good UPS helps to maintain 120 volts and protects the amp against surges and voltage drops.

    If you have pets, buy a good amp cover to keep critter fuzz or worse away from the amp. Studio Slips padded covers and clam shell covers highly recommended.

    If you are playing steady, plan on new power section tubes 6 months to a year.
    Preamp tubes last a long time, but it's fun to experiment with hi quality NOS upgrades.

    Mike at KCANOStubes.com is a well respected, highly recommended
    tube expert.

    He carries both NOS tubes and the better proven current production tubes.

    When you change power tubes, the amp will need to be re-biased for them.
  3. Give them a few minutes in standby to warm up and don't throw it about :p

    Always have a load (speaker) attached.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    And wait 3-4 minutes for the tubes to cool down before you move it if at all possible. If not, just try not to jar it while you move it. Tube amps aren't really any less rugged than SS amps as long as you don't abuse them. I've put several Ampeg tube amps through hell and most of them have been extremely reliable.
  5. Good quality power tubes should last longer than a year, newer production tubes more like 3 to 6 years. NOS longer.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Frankly, I'm disappointed when I can't get at least 10 years out of a tube.
  7. As it should be, all really comes down to hours of use and supplied voltage to the amp.
  8. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    For heavy and regular use, the American built NOS tubes were generally much tougher
    and longer lasting than the current production offerings.

    I changed out my original SVT tubes after 4 years when the amp started sounding thinner, but that amp was running many times 6 nights a week.

    Much also depends on the plate voltage and hot or cool bias settings and wall voltage.
    All of these factors affect tube life.
  9. Hi.

    +1 for warming up, and letting the tubes cool before moving the amp.

    As Your tubes are most likely, well..., unmatched EHs and they're more or less untested and new, make the best of the individual bias adjustment and check and bias the tubes to the same mv (+-1mv) reading every time You play. Some will shift more than others. If one or more tubes shift more radically and/or more than others and doesn't seem to stop, my advice is to change those tubes. I had only one "bad", but swapped a pair. I did the checking before and after the rehearsal and the shifting was obvious.

    If You're satisfied with the ~200W the original tubes will put out, You don't need a matched set. I've been satisfied with my (Fame) 200W and dropping almost exactly 50% of the purchase price for a set of new tubes doesn't seem resonable ATM.

  10. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    If you are planning on upgrading the amp with NOS tubes, I would first put my money into the pre-amp section. Those tubes last a long time and affect tone more than
    the power tubes.

    For current production power section tubes, I've had good luck with SED Winged C's
    and also like JJ's

    My Hot Cat 100 R ate the new production Sovtek/Mullard EL-34's in 10 hours.

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