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Traynor YBA200 Tweaks & Obs - Part II

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Brent Norton, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Well, after beating on my YBA for the better part of a year or so now, I finally brought the head in for new power tubes. I went with a quartet of JJ KT88s to replace the standars issue Sovtek 6550s. Keep in mind, I've already swapped my preamp tubes, a 12AY7 in V1, a 12AT7 in V2, and the stock 12AU7 in the splitter. Anyway, I tested the amp with it's new power section last night....

    The down side: I actually noticed a *decrease* in clean headroom with the JJs. I can still get the amp quite loud, but breakup seems to come on sooner, regardless of whether the gain is up - master down, master up - gain down, or master and gain set similar. When it comes to bass amps, I love tube WARMTH, but not overdrive per se... I was a little disappointed in this regard...

    The up side(s): These JJs compress *beautifully.* Where the Sovies overly accentuated particular notes and frequencies while seemingly ignoring others, the JJs deliver consistent volume and response across strings and up and down the fretboard, while still offering remarkable touch sensitivity.

    Another plus is the overall tone: While the tone thus far has a little less presence than the Sovies, it is indeed warmer, rounder and definitely more SVT-like. The sound now has the impression of being easier on the ears, while more noticeably *felt* in the chest and the pant legs, as it were.

    Lastly, the overdriven sound of the JJs hands-down beats the Sovteks. Now - for MY tastes - the less distortion, the better, but if it's gonna happen, it might as well sound good. The YBA200 sounds more like a vintage YBA-3 when pushed into overdrive with the JJs. Nice sound, if that's your bag.

    Another note to add... My amp tech is Danny Russel of Blitz Amps in St. Claire Shores, MI. When Danny has some insight to share, I listen - those of you out there who know him or know who he is know why. He informed me that the "warble" I reported when pushing the amp with the original tubes was actually the beginning of clipping. He said that the design of the amp circuit is such that, unfortunately, it doesn't allow for the smoothest of transitions into overdrive, and it simply sounded particularly objectionable with the Sovteks. I have noticed that that transition from clean into clipping is still somewhat harsh, but it's much more tolerable with the JJs.

    To wrap it up: A little disappointed with the slight reduction of clean headroom, though I'm more satisfied with the overall tone and behavior of the amp. If your YBA is newer and healthy, there's no reason to run right out and get KT88s installed. I still have plenty of knob-turning to do before drawing complete conclusions, and perhaps I'll try out yet another preamp tube combo to find the optimal front-end compliment for the JJs.
  2. Hmmm...my JJ KT-88's arrived today, have'nt popped em in yet. I was hoping for a little more torque from my Traynor, so I'm a bit dismayed to read that you've lost some headroom with yours.

    On the upside, I'm thrilled to hear that the JJ's play more "evenly" for you. My YBA200 hates any 440 note, oddly. Maybe the new power plants will cure it.

    I too replaced the pre tubes immediately. I installed some old Bugle Boys. Instant sonic upgrade, as expected.
  3. If the output tubes aren't rebiased after being swapped, they won't put out full power.
  4. I have had JJ KT88s in my YBA 200 for about 6 months now, and i noticed an increase in headroom, and more of a hi-fi sound than an SVT. I have a JJ12ay7 in v1 and a JJ12ax7 in v2 as well, it just goes to show you that preception is everything, the truth is i think sometimes we bass players are too picky, 99.99% of people at a show would never be able to tell the diffrence between an SVT, Traynor, GK, SWR etc. Its all a marketing scheme more than anything.
  5. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Danny checked and adjusted the bias on my amp after retubing. Templar, sounds like you might be looking to simply swap out the power tubes, but re-biasing is key. Sorry if I'm jumping to conclusions... :meh:
  6. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I don't think that we bassists are necessarily too picky, I think that it's tougher to get the tone you want than, say, with a guitar, simply because you're dealing with lower frequencies. The lower frequencies that we all know and love dearly are harder to amplify efficiently and reproduce accurately.

    I DO, however, think that there's a line musicians need to draw in order to avoid incessant knob-turning, pedal-buying, tube-swapping, bass-upgrading nonsense. I'm a firm believer that as long as you start with "good ingredients" (by that I mean decent bass, head, cab, even cables) - REGARDLESS of the brand names on them, you can find a tone you'll be quite happy with for years to come.