Is my pre-amp tube knakered?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SwamiRob, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. I got a new Laney B1 head a few days ago, pretty much the same sound of my old one thankfully but alot more powerful and generally better quality (aside from the tacky blue LEDs, the nasty flimsy controls and crappy carpet covering, all of which I'm gonna sort out if I think it's worth the time and effort when I get to use the thing properly).

    I've not had a chance to use it with a cab yet, but when I've tested the pre with my practise amp, the tube seems to make a pretty awful distortion even on the lowest possible gain setting with the output level really high to compensate. Doesn't do it as much with my Fender as it does with my ATK what with it having a lower output, but it's still there.

    Maybe it's just kinda nasty to my ear, plus the tube channel seems to be made for overdrive primarily, but it doesn't sound right to me. Are there tubes that are meant specifically for drive that you can't really make clean that it might be using, the thing is 2nd hand so it's not all that unlikely that it's a little screwed.

    If in all likelihood it's broken, what tube would you guys recommend to replace it? I play heavy rock and might use it to add a little drive to my FET channel, but I don't want anything too muddy sounding like I seem to have got with most of the tube amps I've used. The one it it - or at least should be - at the moment is an ECC83.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It's possible it's knackered. ECC83/12AX7's are pretty common and cheap. I'd stay away from Chinese tubes and get something like a JJ or Tung Sol.
  3. Cheers, I was a little weary about what to look for, cos from what I've seen tubes don't seem to be a universal fit. I recognise 12AX7, are they used commonly in modern Mesas or Ampegs or something? Probably gonna get lynched for suggesting that if it's wrong, but I can live without tubes :p

    Gonna get it looked over though after I test that it has enough power to drive my NV215 properly, rated at 1500W on 2Ohm bridge, but I don't trust big ratings like that. If I like it I'm gonna spend a little money on it and get rid of some of the flimsy and or tacky stuff, along with a general service, so I'll be able to find out for sure.

    I'd be surprised if it's working, but if it is it sounds horrific, and I wanna get it changed as soon as possible.

    By the way, what kind of tube would you recommend for a not too old school kinda rock tone? I looked at those 2 sites and was a little overwhelmed by the choice.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I am the wrong person to ask. I hear no difference in tubes whatsoever in any amp I've ever used. I actually prefer NOS tubes because a good NOS tube will often last for decades. But for new ones, I've had good experience with most of the Russian tubes and horrible experiences with most Chinese tubes. But soundwise, they all sounded the same until they failed.
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