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Tube Works Blue Tube?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by smo, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    Any love for the Tube Works BLUE TUBE out there?
    I've got one on the way - and I'm looking to get some other tubes to try with it - thinking 12AU7, 5751, 12AT7 etc.

    What's a good combination?
    Has anyone modded one of these pedals?

    Thanks again, smo
  2. I had one back in 89 - 90

    Great little units.
  3. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I had one in the early '90s, ended up selling it to my brother (who also plays bass.)

    Always kinda missed it... but recently, I got it back from him. He really gave it the business over the years and it now needs a little TLC (the pots are scratchy and cause it to cut out, and the footswitch sometimes doesn't switch). He was just gonna give it away but I happened to be visiting him just in time, and he gave it back to me instead. Now I just need to fix it up...

    Once I get it going good again I was going to try out some different tubes as well.
  4. I have the rack version. I put a 12AU7 in it and used it for my clonewheel organ (B3 emulator) and rhodes electric piano. Sounded great! Gave it just enough dirt, spit and grit!

    Haven't used it for bass yet though.
  5. Lapicide


    Feb 19, 2008
    I have the 2 channel rackmount version of the Tube Works blue tube. It should give you a bit of mojo to your sound and playing. I would suggest trying some different tubes. Do some research on NOS tubes. They are a number of sellers on the web having nos tubes and new tubes made to old specs. I changed the stock 12ax7's for a CV4004 and Jan Phillips 12ax7wa. The difference was dramatic. The CV4004 has big fluffy wooly bottom end, the 12ax7wa a tight punchy bottom. There are new tubes being made also to old specs. The coveted Mullard's, telefunken's, TAD is new and reviews are good. kcanostubes.com has a resource page and reviews and recommendations. There are a number of other sites also that have nos and new tubes, do some research and if you can get a few to try out......Lapicide
  6. I borrowed one from a friend & apparently fried it(left it plugged in for a couple of days, now it eats tubes in like 30 seconds. Don't do that:rolleyes:). When it worked I liked it a lot. IIRC there are a number of old threads on this- I started one entitled 'My Blue Tube blew a tube'. :D
  7. I recently found a used one, tried it out and loved it.
    I spent an afternoon playing with tubes. Lots of NOS brands from Mullard to Silvertone, and a few modern tubes, JJ, Sovetek, Chinese etc.
    I personally liked the sound of 12AU7s best. gave a much smoother overdrive than even a 12AT7.
    I have the drive set just short of break up at full volume from my bass. That way playing directly over the pick up, or playing a tad more aggressively gives a very nice overdrive.
    Cleans up very nicely with volume.

  8. Thanks guys - this is pretty much the info I'm after.

    I'm curious as to what tube brands to use - I have a few JJ's, Philips and EHX lying around to test. Covering 12AU7's and 12AX7's.
    Wondering whether the 5751's or 12AT7's - maybe even a 12AY7 would be worth the venture.:help:
    Thinking about buying up a few NOS aswell, but I'm unsure what to go for, and what to avoid. (other than the cheap and nasty ones of course)

    Thanks again, smo
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    What to avoid: paying too much for tubes. I have bought several hundred dollars worth of 12A*7 tubes over recent years, and the really expensive old ones were never any better sounding (to me) than the solid mil-spec workhorse ones that only cost a tenth as much. My favorite is actually a recent-production Sovtek 12AX7LPS, very reasonable price, excellent performance. Don't believe the vintage mojo hype that tube sellers will try to feed you. :) At least not all of it.
  10. Lapicide


    Feb 19, 2008
    I personally have had very good results from nos tubes. I do prefer NOS over most current and/or more recent production tubes. Although the current production of tubes have greatly improved with respect to their sound aspects. To me, the difference in tubes with regards to use in bass preamps, exists primarily in the low end , and bit in the midrange. Honestly though, the real difference is to be found for guitarists, particularly when adding gain stages together. Also, tube mics can really appreciate a tube investment, of course subjective to ones own ears. Pending what particular preamp, mic, amp they are to be used in will make a significant difference. Changing from a different variety of tube such as AT, AX, AY etc. will have a more dramatic change. http://www.kcanostubes.com/content/newsletter_details.asp?ArticleID=4 has a nicely spelled out tube gain and compatibility chart. Several other sites do as well. There is plenty of info available and user reviews etc. to be found.......Lapicide
  11. idoru


    Dec 18, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm using the RT902 Real Tube preamp as an overdrive / distortion channel in my rack case. I've used AU & AX tubes and the only difference I found was gain.

  12. Thanks bongo - you're quickly becoming my regular saviour around here mate. I'll have to check that one out. Thanks again;)

    Ta a lot Lapicide - I've seen this gain table before - and I'm kinda guessing the low gain of the 12AU7 is what helps it to overdrive a little more smoothly than some of the other 12A?7 variants. Recently on AGGH - one of the boys was telling me that the 5751's can be quite effective for bass guitar - provided that the lows are tight or course.
    I'll have to check out those tubes too ;)

    Thanks a lot everyone. I've got some shopping to do!
  13. WELL !

    The big day arrived - and I've finished up trying out a handful of different tubes with the BT.

    The tubes I've tried (so far) are;
    Sovtek 12aX7LPS, 12AX7WA, 12AX7WC
    EHX 12AX7, 12AU7A
    Philips ECG/12AU7
    2x Groove Tubes (rebadged sovtek) 12AX7R

    I set the BT EQ flat, with my bass EQ set flat - into my tube slave - into a pair of ported 15's
    Once I narrowed down the field to three I tinkered.....

    (BTW - this is all subjective people)

    The best sounding low gain sound was with the old Philips. Very articulate mids/highs and tight lows. It sounded pretty average with gain anywhere above 12 o'clock tho. Think more a cleanish boost with slight dirt/compression only.....once the gain went higher, the EHX12AU7A was a better performer - sort of. Otherwise the EHX was quite tight and focused. Some of the 12AX7's weren't bad for low gain either...

    The Sovtek 12AX7WA seemed a little mushy. The WA and WC had a very slight (just noticeable) mid scoop, but the WC was a little brighter. The WA seemed a little thin to me. The WC responded to playing dynamics very well - better than any other tube IMHO, and did have a bit more punch than the WA.
    The WC was a close second to the LPS for high gain sounds.
    These tubes are killer's in my SVPCL preamp - maybe they don't suit the Blue tube circuitry as well? Once I changed the EQ a bit, they did sing quite well.

    The best High gain was with the 12AX7LPS.
    It was quite articulate through out the whole range. It wasn't quite as bright as the Philips or EHX12AU7A - but better than the other 12aX7's I have on hand. It does the low gain sounds quite well also, but where it won was it's ability to have a bright OD in the highs, and be focused and tight in the low end. It seemed very even.
    The sound was quite similar to the sovtek 12ax7WA & WC - but it just seemed to me more even throughout the highs, mids and lows - without losing any "fullness" and having to EQ it to get it back.
    I may replace it with the Philips later when I start using the BT with all my fuzz pedals.....

    Funnily enough - when I first opened up the unit, the LPS was the tube staring at me - so all this tube stuff was just confirming that the previous owner has similar taste to me.:cool:

    Thanks to all who've helped me; especially Bongo and Lapicide
    :bassist:Talkbass rocks again!:bassist:
  14. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I haven't gone through as many tubes as Cyrus, but I was very impressed by the difference a select, balanced, Sovtek 12AX7LPS made in the tone of my Shuttle. It doesn't have to get any better than that for me.
  15. Lapicide


    Feb 19, 2008
    Glad to be of help. You hit the nail on the head when you said "These tubes are killer's in my SVPCL preamp - maybe they don't suit the Blue tube circuitry as well?" I've found tubes sound different and work better in some preamps over others, and add in what amp and cab it is paired with to complicate things. I have 5 different tube pres, all with different tubes. Why? because in this or that pre this or that tube really shines. I just got a TAD 12ax7, and really like it. Only tried it in one pre so far, but in that one it resembled a Telefunken 12ax7 with the smooth response, extended high end with "air" and articulate. Enjoy......Lapicide
  16. steverosati


    Apr 7, 2004
    city of Dis
    I have had mine for like 8 years and I have been using EH12Au7 in it and it sounds great when I want to add a little warmth or distortion to the mix.

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