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Replacing Preamp Tube in Trace amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by simpy1, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    Are there any advantages in doing this if there's nothing specifically wrong with the one in there?

    I bought the amp about a year ago used, and it's gotta be at least 15 years old (AH350SMX). I don't know if it's ever been replaced or not, should I just wing it or should I put a new one in for peace of mind?
  2. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If you're happy with how it's sounding then I would advise against mucking around with it. It's unlikely to suddenly go belly-up on you in the middle of a gig just because it's old. Chances are you'll hear the diminishing sound quality, the onset of pre-amp clipping or tube microphonics. THEN it's time to change it.

    My Trace is probably just as old and it's fine. In fact, it's great! I put it down to good design that the tubes are not stressed - unlike in a Marshall g*#@+r amp!
  3. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    The only advantage I can see is getting a slighly different sound out of it, but with the design of that amp as long as it's still running fine I would just leave it as it is.

    Like the other poster before me said, "If it ain't broke don't fix it."
  4. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    The other day I just thought it seemed a bit fuzzier than it used to be, and it seems to take a little longer for sound to come through (after I turn it on - 5 seconds or so) than it used to as well. Would these be signs of the tube going or is it all in my head?
  5. Preamp tubes are relatively inexpensive. If you replace it at least won't be wondering if it's going bad and the new tube will be good for years.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I guess I look at things a little different. There isn't anything you can really muck up if you just take your time and just don't "yank" the tube out.

    If you want to try out different tubes then by all means, do it! It will take you about 10 minutes total and you might be very surprised with the results.

    My RAH350SMX came with a cheap Sovtek tube from the factory. I replaced it last year with a JJ's Tesla 12ax7. It made a lot bigger difference than I was expecting. It definately added some warmth and my highs appeared to be smoother.

    Anyways, do it if you want. You really shouldn't be able to hurt anything unless your just grossly negligent.
  7. Unless someone tried replacing a preamp tube with an inappropriate type and unless the amp has a tube amplifier section (potentially lethal), it's pretty hard to mess up unless you try to unscrew the tube instead of pulling out of its socket.

    If you have the ability to plug in a lamp, you're eminently qualified.
  8. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG Commercial User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner of Bass Gear Direct
    Hey simpy,
    Use to own one way back with the fluro light. One of the obvious signs to look out for before you decide it's time to change is, if it has become very noisy recently and if you hear a lot of "crackling sounds" coming out of it while it's idling. These symptons normally mean it's time to change it.

    cheers, man
  9. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    It's relatively easy to change the tube. I changed the tube and put a mullard in intially and then took it out and put the original tube back. The mullard made a difference but the original actually sounded really good and I didn't notice a significant change to justify keeping the tube in the amp.

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