Trace Elliot V-Type

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Comakazi, Aug 9, 2001.

  1. Comakazi

    Comakazi Guest

    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Hey all you "tube amp" guys, does anyone have any experience with the Trace Elliot V-Type amps? I've found a good deal on a used one and was just wondering what people thought of it.
    Also, if I do end up with it, what are things to keep in mind with tube amps? I've only used solid-state till now. Are there any tubes particularly better than another for this amp?
    Any input would help, thanks.
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Sorry I missed this.

    Trace Elliot V-Type
    Hey all you "tube amp" guys; does anyone have any experience with the Trace Elliot V-Type amps? I've found a good deal on a used one and was just wondering what people thought of it.
    Also, if I do end up with it, what are things to keep in mind with tube amps? I've only used solid-state till now. Are there any tubes particularly better than another for this amp is?
    Any input would help, thanks.

    I have quoted cos I am writing this offline and will paste in later. I think that this is a specialized area. So I will give a shotgun answer, i.e. a long one. I have also listed the profile of Dolan who I think also owns a V-type and Psycho Bass Guy who I think is condescending and to be avoided but he knows about tube amps and in the interest of objectivity have included his profile. You can PM one or both if you like. I have also included V-type reviews from Harmony Central (the V4 is mine).

    Ok General history and stuff

    There are two old models the V4 and V6. As stated I have the V4. The V6 has the same preamp section but has 6 KT88's in the power section instead of 4 (hence the names). The V4 will dish out 220w RMS clean so make sure your cab can handle it. Please read the HC review links for details of features. The V8 has a different preamp and a more power valves (and power). I think the main difference in the preamp is the addition of a compressor (valve one). I don’t know much about the V8 so here is some info .

    What I think?

    I like my V4 I use it mainly with a 4x10 cab and a Musicman Stingray 5. I play about with the bass vol and tone to make the amp distort slightly. The amp can get 'overdrive' sounds but the preamp is not a very high gain one IMHO and you have to dime the pre and have the master over halfway. If you do this, duck! As stated as I want to use od as an option I back off the pre. I have used mine 2-3 times a week for Church use and with a Jazz Funk normal band for nearly a year. It gets used by two other bassplayers so it gets a lot of use and it is fine (now I've done it).

    What do I keep in mind with tubes?

    You will have to replace them at some time. Some say every 18 mths to 3 yrs and some say when they break. I say keep an ear out and replace the power tubes when they do not sound as good. How's that for a technical answer. I still have pre amp tubes from a dead amp and use one in a combo gave two away and keep one as a spare.

    When you replace them you will have to get the bias checked. Go to a tech but shop around tell each one that you are getting quotes. Then go on a board like (go to the amp one) and ask for advice (Ted B Don Butler and Big Cookie are techs they also hang out on the vintage amp link). They should be able to tell you average prices and maybe a good local tech plus tube supplier.

    The last thing on this bit I will say is learn how to use them

    There are some variations but this is how I start up and shut down I have done this for 11 years and havent killed any amps (more later). The V4 has a power switch on the back and a stand by switch on the front. Before you plug in make sure the rear switch id off and the standby on erm standby. Now plug in the power lead. Put the rear switch ON and wait 60 seconds. Now flip the front switch. BTW some wait another 60 secs before playing to warm up the speakers I don’t. If you take a break flip the front switch off and go to the bar. When you switch off do it in reverse ie front switch off wait 60 secs and then switch off at rear. Now before you sling it in the boot/trunk of your car/automobile wait for the valves/tubes to cool down. I rarely move mine but when I do it goes on a seat with a seat belt (I am funny that way, my basses are restrained as well).

    I have had two power transformers blow up (on different amps) one cos it was left on all day and the other cos it was switched on withoit a speaker being connected. So make sure you dont do either.

    The V4 has a 4 or 8 ohm speaker switch. If you use one 8 ohm cab switch it to 8 if you use a single 4 ohm cab or two 8 ohm cabs switch it to 4. Do not use a 2 ohm cab or two 4 ohm cabs.

    Are there better tubes?

    Tubes come from Russia Yugoslavia and China. The last two suppliers are iffy for a variety of reasons. The Russian ones are Sovteks from new sensor which is owned by the guy who started Electro Harmonix (a yank if it makes you feel better). There is a phenomenon called NOS this means new old stock. This means that someone has found or hoarded new valves from the old US UK German and any other I forgot suppliers. These are better quality (sometimes) and more expensive (sometimes). The final variation is when someone like Groove Tubes or Harma get sovteks or JJ Tesla and test and re-brand them. I have used GT in guitar and and a friend has used Harma in a guitar amp both have worked ok.

    When my power tubes go I will use Sovtek or Harma as NOS will cost me £300.

    One final word of warning some valve or tube users get pretty weird about what they use and some will swear by Telefunken or some other valve that non obsessives cannot afford or justify.

    Final Final words

    If you want a super clean sound or don’t want to go through all the (minor) hassle
    Associated with tubes go for solid state or hybrid. TE do make a hybrid so look in the back for power tubes.

    I hope this helps and sorry for the megapost but I suspect you will not get many answers.

  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I forgot one important point


    This is not opinion there is between 300-600 volts stored in the caps and the amperage is high enough to kill.

    So dont go in there unless you know what you are doing or better still save up your pennies and get someone else to work on them.
  4. Comakazi

    Comakazi Guest

    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Thanks CS!
    I appreciate the reply. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to go for it. I've never thought I would really make a foray into tubes, but this seems like it could be a good thing.
    It's a mid-nineties V-4 and the guy is willing to let it go for 450.00 (US dollars).
    It seems cool to me, and if it sounds as good as others say it does, then it should be money well spent. I currently use a Trace AH350 (1992 model) and love it's tone, and the thing is built like a friggin tank, man, I love it.
    If I do get it I'll let you know what I think. Thanks again for your help and advice, much appreciated.
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    You are welcome

  6. It's really nice to know I have such glowing support. Many things I have been called before, but I do believe this is a first for condescending!:rolleyes:

    Avoid me at all costs. Especially considering I have TWO(that must be the aforementioned condescention);)Trace Elliot tube amps, a V6 and a VR400.

    I don't really have too much to add to the previous comments other than the filter caps are actually in the neighborhood of 800 volts and if you accidentally discharge them, it ain't gonna be the amperage (VERY little of it as a matter of fact) It'll be be the straight voltage that will light up your life. But I digress...

    Other than that, my VR400 is running a sextet of Sovtek KT88's and my V6 has its stock tube complement, all branded Trace Elliot, probably Tesla from before they were JJ Electronics. Both have an odd quirk of letting the plate voltage drop affect not only power tubes but preamp and driver tubes as well. They both sound phenomenal but they also both clip their driver tubes well before their power sections. Weird!

    $450 is a GREAT price and I wouldn't pass it up. Go for it!