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New production Tung Sol 6550s

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mosfed, Oct 31, 2013.


  1. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Hi

    I did a search and found a few sparse opinions on these new production, Russian, Tung Sol 6550s.

    What do people think who have used them for SVTs?

    The original 6550s by Tung Sol were absolute tanks. A good friend uses them in his Leslies and they get tossed around by roadies and he has never had a problem. I have some random ones lying around but not a complete set.

    How do people think they compare to the EHX or Sovteks or JJs? Do they have any of that original NOS magic?

    They are offered at a pretty attractive prices here in the UK.

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I dont know what the old ones sound like. I use the RI's in both a guitar amp and my main bass amp (mesa bass 400).

    My observation is that they are pretty flat/hi-fi in terms of response. Not too dark, not too bright. Coarse sparkly kind of breakup. If you want something to cleanly and accurately deliver your preamp sound with the 6550 power, great tube.

    I prefer JJ KT-88 for my bass amp, no contest. They have expansive/expanded lows, silky smooth highs, and a slight effect of compression.

    I've tried EH and Sovtek tubes in general but they havent "wow-ed". JJ's and Tung Sol RI are what I use in all my amps.
     
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Is there enough clearance in the svt to fit the wider bottles?
     
  4. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    I had them in my vintage SVT. They where just OK. I prefered the GE originals. I don't thing they make them like they did way back then...
    2dbwhub.
     
  5. You will not find any New Production (Re-issue or not) that will compare to the old production tubes. The experience, craftsmanship, quality control and tooling condition is just not there. Scrap rates were very high in the old days and current suppliers are just not willing to scrap that many.
     
  6. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Yeah I get that. I do have a set of GEs but they were a minor fortune. £500 for a sextet and the Tung Sols are £115 for a sextet. Other options include JJs for £129, TADs for £144, Winged Cs for £280. I didn't expect them to sound like the old Tung Sols or the GEs - my question was how they compared to other current production tubes.

    Now I am ALL FOR NOS tubes and have quite a collection of especially small signal tubes and EL34s. But when the tube set is 70% of the cost of the amp, I start to look for other options.

    What would you get?

    And yes there is room for the wider bottle in the SVT. Mine came with the EHX 6550s which have the wider bottle as well.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Even though I've never been a big JJ guy, I'm digging them in my Heritage.
     
  8. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    have you ever tried the new production Tung Sols? It doesn't seem like they are particularly popular for whatever reason.
     
  9. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Their 12AX7 is pretty popular. It is an excellent tube for V1 in just about any amp.

    I think the deal with power tubes having a perception of being popular or particularly awesome, etc, is harder to determine because 1) You dont need to change them too often 2) Who tube rolls at ~$200 a pop 3) Usually when you plug in your power tubes you are happy with them 4) Power tubes dont affect tone that much. Not as much as a V1 position that u can get for $10-20.

    I've heard it's also the quality/purity of the metals used. I think a blend of recycled metal is what's used in current production.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have not. Got no reason to when I'm happy with it as is. I extensively compared my Heritage to my 69 loaded with NOS tubes and GE 6146b's and it sounds the same to me, so that's all I care about. I did try tube rolling in the preamp, though, and went back to the JJ's over some of the NOS tubes I have because it made the Heritage sound slightly treblier, which wasn't to my liking because it no longer sounded like my 69.
     
  11. Old production would recycle failed tubes but, the materials used were deemed hazardous by the EPA in the US which with the decline in usage ended "domestic" production. Whether those same materials are used by manufacturers today I don't know? Possible those old formulations are lost to the wrecking balls?
     
  12. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    The original Tung Sol 6550 was the best ever.

    GE's were more fragile than Tung-Sol, and had the silver getter flashing on the sides of the glass. This reflects heat back to the plates and causes them to run hotter. GE did this to other power tube types. Fender reduced the power output of some of their amps because of this while burning through stocked GE tubes.

    Winged C are inconsistent. The good ones are nice, but there are a lot of bad ones.

    The JJ KT88 has been the best all around new 6550/KT88 tube for several years.

    A lot of Sovtek power tubes are plagued by grid rattle at high power. A lot of the other preamp type tubes are microphonic. For a few years, like late 90's through early 00's, Sovtek/EH was the best option all around.

    They are just Sovteks with extra marketing, and they are pricey.
     
  13. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 No comparison period.
     
  14. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario
    JJ KT88s and the "Sovtek" branded New Sensor KT88s are the only ones I've had any luck with. Tone wise I doubt anyone can hear a difference much less hear any difference in a band mix. In my opinion for bass amp applications you just need something rugged and not too expensive.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    So what's the dealio with KT-88's in an SVT? I just did a Google search and found a lot of conflicting info about using them. I've read from some that they work well, and I've read that they may not fit the tube retainers or maintain adequate cooling. And how much do I really care if I'm happy with it as is? What tonal changes tend to happen?
     
  16. WretchedExcess

    WretchedExcess

    Jul 29, 2013
    My SVT-2 Pro uses this type of spring retainer. It's spec'd as suitable for use with either a 6550 or KT-88:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.cedist.com/products/S-H143

    It's a size larger than a similar retainer that's spec'd as suitable for use with EL34 and 6L6GC/5881 type tubes:

    http://www.cedist.com/products/S-H141

    Maybe some of the confusion comes from the fact that there are two different sizes of these types of retainers? I don't see a problem for you if your SVT uses this type of retainer. Of course, if your amp uses the bear-trap type retainers then what matters is the tube base diameter.
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It has those low profile clamp retainers like these...new this year...mine was the first to have them:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. bray101

    bray101

    Feb 26, 2012
    Ohio
    When my SVT-CL needed new tubes, I got the Tung Sol RI's on a recommendation from my amp tech. I really liked them. Actually, I loved them compared to the Sovteks I had in there before.

    They weren't anything crazy in the breakup department, and were fairly flat, but have a huge sound that didn't get tinny during sustain like the Sovteks did. I put some grit pedals in front of the SVT at the time, so I didn't rely on trying to get that head to break up without blowing the windows out of the room. Great fat power, and awesome sustain.
     
  19. WretchedExcess

    WretchedExcess

    Jul 29, 2013
    It's hard to compare new tube sound to worn out tube sound. People always pick the new tube sound as being better. :p

    Jimmy, what I posted won't help you. for your type of clamp it all boils down to whether or not the tube manufacturers all build with bases that have the same size spec. I haven't found the base spec for the KT88 but for a 6550A the diameter is 1.7":

    Here's a data sheet for the GE-6550A:
    http://tubedata.milbert.com/sheets/135/6/6550A.pdf

    The JJ spec sheets don't say anything about base diameter. Maybe someone at JJ could tell you if their KT88 base is the same size as their 6550 base? Or at a distributor like CE Distribution? I can't imagine why they'd be different, but if all else fails, I guess you could change retainers. Did you ask the guys at Ampeg?
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I didn't ask anyone at Ampeg because truthfully, it didn't even enter my mind to try them, and after what you said, I probably wouldn't get any benefit out of trying them anyway. I don't turn up loud enough to matter how they distort.
     

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