Trace Elliott Hexavalve / Berg NV610

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bucephylus, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    After picking up an NV610 from TB'er Dan Knowlton, I've been trying to find the right amp to drive it with. The thing that got me going on all this was plugging my Tobias into an SVT at the studio, and witnessing synergistic magic.

    Anyway, I tried a DB750, and while that is the absolute sledgehammer bar none, some of it's tones didn't do it for me. In fact, the weird thing was that my PLX 1602 extracted some nice pizz tones, but couldn't drive a good slap sound. The DB750 had all kinds of slap tone, but was a little wooly for my preference for a bridge pup pizz sound. So, I had heard all the tones I was after; problem was I couldn't get 'em with one amp.

    Luckily, I noticed a Trace Hexavalve up for grabs on Bassgear, and this evening it is sitting happily on the NV610. Now, this tone is just what the doctor ordered. Clear, fat, spacious; the whole nine yards. All the tones are there with almost zero tweaking. However, I don't use heavy distortion, so can't comment on that aspect. Anyway, I think I have finally got about as close as possible to a portable SVT that will fit in the trunk of my Honda.

    So, are any of you familiar with these Hexavalves? Reading some other threads, I infer that the Sovtek KT88's are a good replacement output tube. However, there are no trim pots to adjust plate voltages. Is this still a good upgrade to think about? Any other info/advice would be appreciated.

    Meanwhile, I'll be wondering in the daze of tone heaven. Yeah.
  2. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I couldn't find any mention of a hexavalve listing on bass gear, but that whole series Hexa, Quatra, Twin, are really good clean tube amplifiers.

    There's a bit more SS components/ tone in the pre, but that's not really bad it has the flexability and control of a more SS type sound, but has a breath of tube tone and warmth. Not too vintagey sounding but cool. Enjoy!
  3. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    I think Don deleted his ad after he sold it. He seems like a pretty conscientious guy.

    Thanks! I am!

    As to SS in their circuit, I'm not too concerned about being a tube purist. I was just looking for a certain tone; and this head has it! BTW, the review of the Quatra in my Fall 1990 issue of Bass Player says, "The preamp uses tube circuitry, except for the graphic EQ (which is based on solid state integrated circuits). The Power amp section is all tube." So, you are correct that the tone shaping is SS, but there are two 12AX7's and the tone frankly sounds quite fine with the EQ dropped out of the circuit. Anyhow, they could be using optical circuitry for all I care. My main interest is the tone.

    Another point is the use of the term "vintage sounding" on this board (and I'm NOT singling out your post). I was brought up on the sound of a black face bassman head that I took to Fast Eddie on the lower East Side of Detroit to install an extra pair of output tubes to make it 100W. That's my "vintage sounding" reference. When I played Steve Azola's Quatra (Steve had sent it to Totally Cool Bass Gear, a shop in the town where I was living as potential trade bait for some of the Tech gear - I believe) back in about 1996, I was struck by the similarity in tone. So this head has what I would consider a vintage tube tone to it. I'm not sure it will get that over-driven fuzz tone a la Jack Cassidy or Jack Bruce. But, I don't use that sound. Ever. Anyhow, I'm not trying to pick an argument with anyone; but, I am interested in what cats think "vintage sounding" means, because odds are it means different things to each of us.
  4. Kelly Lee

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

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Congrats on scoring one of the rarest Trace amps! Your lucky you found it before me or it would be mine right now! :p

    I love this series of amps. I know the V series gets all the "oohs" and "ahhs" but I love my QuatraValve. It is just "right" for me. I really like that it has awesome punch and clarity combined with the sweet tube tone.

    Yea, you can't get the overdriven tones out of it like a V series or a vintage SVT but thats what effects pedals were made for, right? ;)

    BTW, it doesn't exist without pics! Post pics I say! Pics! :D
  5. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've owned a Hexa, and I agree that it's the best modern sounding tube amp EVER MADE!! I miss that amp:scowl:
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Hopefully this pic posts, making it real!

    I have to say, I just went through all my instruments and cabs and can't find anything this amp doesn't do. This is just IT for my needs. Time to sell a bunch of other stuff.

    Attached Files:

  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have a Twin Valve Combo (one of Steve Azola's old ones!), a Quatra Valve and a Hexa Valve (plus one or two other amps ;)), and I really dig the tone of my Quatra/Hexa through my NV610. Making this comparison, though, made me realize that I definitely need to retube the Hexa (as the Quatra Valve was actually louder!). I think that is a great amp/cab combination. Enjoy! :)

    As for tubes, I haven't really done much tube swapping in this series of amps, but if I can find six matched GE 6550A's (and I think I do have them), that's probably going to be my reference tube with that amp.

  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    It appears that TAS is a refined form of GAS. I fear I may turn into a tube junkie.