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Traynor YBA200 Tweaks & Observations

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Brent Norton, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Alright. So I recently picked up a YBA200 for the electric gig I have going on right now... When it comes to all instruments electric, I insist on tube heads, so the solid state upright rig wasn't cutting it.

    My chief complaint with the YBA was similar to others I've read here and elsewhere. Not enough volume. Not enough clean headroom -- too dirty too early. Not enough BALLS.

    My first inclination was to re-tube the power section with KT88s to replace the high-output, yet gain-y stock Sovtek 6550s. Well, I'll probably still get around to that, but I've already come up with an easy an inexpensive way to up the headroom with minimal expense...

    I replaced the stock 12AX7s in the preamp; I now use an E-H 12AY7 in V1, and a NOS Mullard 12AT7 in V2. V1 will generally have the biggest impact on gain, and I wanted to drop it by a good share, so it made sense to drop the lowest gain tube in the first hole (a 12AY tube has 45% of the gain as compared to an 12AX. A 12AT has 60%). I went with the Mullard in the second to further reduce preamp gain a hair. The YBA200 comes stock with an E-H 12AU7 as the splitter, which I left alone.

    The result? LOTS more headroom from the preamp, so with it, the ability to send a much bigger, yet cleaner signal to the power section. The overall result is a YBA that's louder, punchier, more 3-D in tone and yet still breaks up nicely when pushed hard -- and all that's still with the stocker 6550s. These two preamp tubes have already made a remarkable difference in helping bring this head to life.

    Couple of other things I noticed to get the most juice from this head...

    -Mid control: On the tip of a fellow lister, pushing the mids on this head is key. It's not a terribly mid-y head to begin with, and backing them off just seems to kill.

    -Scoop: Same deal... shut it off. IMO, Traynor would be doing more of a service by eliminating this altogether.

    -Range: Another Traynor hang-up. It's there for two reasons... 1) Nostalgic purposes, and 2) to kill tone. Set it to zero.

    So, there ya have 'er thus far. Still only $600 into this thing between the cost of the head and a few preamp tubes to play around with, and it's now becoming a great amp. One other note about preamp tubes -- My bass, though passive, sends a pretty hot signal. Those of you with basses putting out smaller signals might prefer another 12AT7 in V1, instead of the 'AY7. As for this and everything else in this post, YMMV.

    I'll be sure to report back after I have the 88s in there.
  2. cool review. should forward to yorki engineers so they stock it with better tube colmpliment. No biasing controls?

    Cant wait to here about KT 88s. How many? 4?
  3. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Already did. Nice thing about those guys -- they actually listen to what you have to say. No need for bias adjustments for these preamp tubes. I doubt it'll result in them changing the tube compliment, but the guy I was in contact with seemed appreciative of the input and said at the very least he would forward it on to other YBA200 owners contacting Yorkville in search of more headroom.

    Yup. Four.
  4. I have been searching high and low for a review like yours on this tube rig. But With only two control pots and no drive, I do not know if you can push those bottles. It uses two KTs.
  5. That's good to hear 'cause I'm interested in that amp !
    I play old tweed amps so I have 12ay7's that I can pop in.
    Does the amp hang with a medium loud band (2x50w combos & a medium loud drummer) ? :meh:

    Thanks, JJ
  6. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I think it should do fine. In my situation, I'm playing with a loud guitarist with the healthiest 50W Marshall JMP I've ever heard through a 1960 4x12 cab, and a very hard-hitting drummer. Though it's a trio, the band overall is quite loud and the YBA now totally hangs atop an Avatar 4x10 Delta.
  7. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Brent how does this amp sound with the URB
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    To be completely honest with you, I have not even had a chance to plug an upright into the Traynor yet. It's on the "to do" list!
  9. I've run my ergo EUB into this head and didn't like the result....It was too crunchy for my likings....

    I am running my yba with a schroeder 1210 and with my cirrus this is a REDICULOUS rig!!! It sounds phenomenal and is quite a light weight rig....

    I dig my set up....

    but for upright I use Sansamp Acoustic DI > soundboard

    I want to get a power amp so I can to Acoustic DI>poweramp>1210

    tasty :D
  10. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Another tidbit for fellow YBA200 owners...

    I just got another email back from one of the Yorkville designers. He was saying that the more you up the gain, the more mids are introduced into the signal -- conversely, backing down the gain "scoops" the mids a bit. This makes sense seeing that, now that I can move the gain above 2 or 3 without obnoxious distortion, the tone is fatter and much more 3D. He also mentioned that with regards to running KT88s, in doing so, you need to increase negative bias by about 4 or 5 volts. He says the trannies can handle it, and he saw an extra 40 - 50 watts with Sovtek KT88s. No big difference in tone, but a little more clean headroom yet.
  11. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    Brent, thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts on this amp. It's one that I'm interested in, but haven't seen one in the flesh, yet. I have a coupla really good tube preamps ... an Alembic F1-X and an Ampeg SVP Pro. I seem to recall that the YBA200 has either a "line in" or a "poweramp in" jack (essentially two different names for the same thing). I've had varying degrees of luck with using my preamps to drive integrated preamp/amps with gain mismatches, noise, and distortion issues being the primary problems. For example, my Alembic F1-X sounds simply _wonderful_ when run through the effects return of my Mesa Boogie MPulse 600 with the effects blend on 100% yet the same preamp sounded thin and noisey through the poweramp in jack of my all tube Ampeg V4BH head (when I still had it). Do you have any idea how well the line in patch point on your YBA200 works? It would be very cool if I could use the 4 X 6550 power section on the YBA200 with my F1-X and SVP Pro preamps driving it in order to (hopefully) get a Showman and SVT like sound respectively. Thanks, Steve
  12. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    I too have found that boosting the gain really makes my sound a lot "ballsier" but I didn't know why until I read Brent's posts. With my KSD I can crank the pre to 8 and it's still "clean" at least to me and man does it fatten up my tone and give me a much healthier output. Thanks for all the great ideas Brent, keep up the good work sir! One quick question, this has been bothering me for months... what the hell does the Resonance control do? This whole damping thing doesn't make sense to me nor does it seem to really do a whole lot for me when I use it at home.
  13. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    pbassnut, I can't really say how the pwer amp in on the YBA will work with your preamps. I think it's a matter of what both the pre and the power amp in question like to "see" as far as signals go. While I use a rack for upright, my e-bass rig consists of bass --> cable --> head --> cab. That's it, so I just don't know how well the power amp in works.

    Ralphdaddy, the Resonance control supposedly controls the amount of low-frequency damping... What that means, exactly, I'm still not sure. I leave it at "zero" because that gives me a tighter, punchier sound. Turning it up seems to slow response and even add fartiness at volume. Again, I get best results when I leave that Scoop off, and keep the Range and Resonance at zero. I basically just by-pass the "extras" and simply utilize the gain, treble, mids, bass and master. Hell -- that's all you really need, anyway! :)
  14. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Yeah I do the exact same thing with great results, I'm probably going to make those same mods to my amp you made to drop the gain, my Warwick just drives the pre insane above 4 so it sounds like a good plan. Thanks for the ideas!
  15. I swapped the Sovtek 12AX7s for 2 GT 12AX7s and got much fuller and warmer sound and when you overdrive the preamp its not as fizzy or thin sounding, i have to say that i was impressed by the GTs. They wont increase your clean headroom but for those like me who always have some dirt in their signal the groove tubes are worth trying.
  16. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    You might think about trying 12au7's, they made my blackface Fender bassman usable.

    If you wnat a tube head that will kick butt and take no hostages, you need a mesa 400+. If you're $600 deep into that traynor, you coulda already had one. I bought one from Jorge Schroeder...I think it may be the best tube head ever made. Waaaay more headroom than I need. It's got inputs for passive and active basses. It takes my Reverends, G&L's, active Jazz 5 just fine, and it works very well for upright in the passive channel. I'm running it thru either an swt goliath II or swr Henry 8x8...I still wnat to try one of Jorge's cabs though:)

    I played a Traynor beofre I bought the mesa, and I'm glad I did what I did...
  17. rathervague


    Oct 13, 2004
    I haven't heard of anyone spending enough on a YBA200 to get close to the 400+
  18. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I recently sat-in with a friend's band for a couple of songs, and the bassplayer had one of these heads running through an Ashdown bottom, not sure which one. The amp sounded great on this blues gig. very warm, but punchy, with a tinge of some very attractive slight harmonic distortion. He was pushing it.

    Bassically, it sounded like a loud B-15 or to put it another way, a mini SVT. At 200 watts it may be under powered for some applications, but it would sound great for many other gigs where you don't need tons of headroom. It's definitely got a nice tone.
  19. hetsscaryguy


    May 22, 2004
    okc i was originally thinking about a fender bassman 300, then i considered a mesa 400+ but i came across this amp today and am considering it. but i have a problem i dont have any experience when it comes to all tube amps. i dont understand the whole biasing thing, is there a little knob that you turn to increase the bias or what? i really want this amp but i feel that i will probably have to make the adjustments outlined above. I would love to be able to drop this into a shop and let them take care of it but to be quite honest i really wouldn't trust any shop in this country (Ireland). i just dont think that they would have the experience/knowledge to deal with this. so can somebody give me like a "Changing and Biasing all tube bass amps for dummies" type guide to this? please, its christmas!!!!
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    AFAIK, in this case we're talking about replacing the preamp section's tubes with lower power tubes so they don't overdrive the main power section as early. This will not require re-biasing. Changing the power tubes however is a different story, and not something to do on your own without some special tools and knowledge.