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Valves for my Trace Elliot V4

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by VtypeV4, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. Ok so rehearsing yesterday and all of a sudden, my amp cuts out so I peers through the grill to see 2 of my Ruby Tubes KT88s glowing like its going out of fashion. Concluding that they have expired, one now needs a suitable rplacement... There are loads of KT88 / 6550 variants available and im a little bogged down by it all... Obviously a quartet of NOS GEC KT88s would be nice but that isn't going to happen so any helpful suggestions would be nice... Cheers, Matt

    Just for the record my V4 is a late one, almost identical in appearance to the V8 model. It has the overdrive and compressor facilities...
  2. I just put in some JJ Kt88s in my YBA200 and it sounds great, lots of punch and clean, but gets a nice gowl when you push the amp too. I heard that the Electro Harmonix KT88s are pretty good and they are about half the pice of the JJs but I have no experience with those tubes. I reccomend checking out tubedepot.com
  3. Cheers... Damn Valves!
  4. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    My amp tech likes those "Winged C" KT88s (Svetlanas?). I don't have 'em in my amp 'cause my Ruby's are still going strong (to the dismay of my amp tech!) -- I have a V6.

    A lot of folks dismiss Rubys out of hand because they're Chinese, not Russian (or NOS). But I have to admit that mine have given me good service and great tone.

    My other amp has GEC KT88s. They're worth more than the amp! But as much as I think they are God's own tubes, I would never shell out the buck to replace them.

    I also think the EH and JJs would be good choices, too.
  5. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Great amp, I'd love to track one of these down myself...I recently got my V6 back from service from British Audio Service. Shane here has some of the NOS Chinese KT88s that Trace originally used (they're not cheap...something like $75 per tube). I went with this since these are reported to be good KT88s, and it made sense here since I just needed a single new tube (one had broken in transit) rather than a whole new set of 6.

    From some emails I've exchanged with Clive Button (former Trrace amp designer) and 'Gavin' (Trace's former Service Mgr, now in the UK), apparently Trace moved away from the Chinese KT88s (made by PMI Audio) to Sovteks for most of the V-series amps. Had I not gone with the single NOS PMI Audio tube, I'd have gotten a sextet of Sovtek KT88s, which have a good repurtation and are also less expensive than others (e.g. JJ)
  6. Kelly Lee

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

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I have EH 6550's in my Quatra and the give the amp a really nice round tone. When the time comes I do plan on trying some JJ's to see what they can do for me.
  7. Is it worth considering a change to 6550 types? Ive kinda lost faith in the Rubys. One presumes the power stage overdive (should it be called for), is similar to that of an SVT cranked? I have no option but to repair the thing as il never get hold of another; less than 100 were made including the 2x10 and 1x15 combo versions. I love but hate it too, I've also replaced virtually every fuse in it at least once... I blame the Rubys. I had it apart the other day to check the internal fuses and for a PCB based amp, the quality is great, attention to detail is fantastic, wires tucked in the corners, wound together, neat and tidy lay out etc.. and all kinds of warnings, the one on the power stage was my fave, "Warning: Voltages of up to 700VDC maybe present on this board" Nice! Anyway im waffling, more input would be grand, Cheers Matt
  8. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I have Svetlanas in my V4 and it sounds great. I tried JJs once but I didn't like how they worked with the V4.
  9. Which V4 do you have just out of interest, the older model or the newer one like mine? I've never seen another head like mine, there was a 1x15 combo version on eBay a while back but other than that. Have you? I had a bad experience with Svetlanas in my old 50w Valve Head (Built by my stepdad) They were EL34s but I guess this is an isolated comparison anyway? I want maximum headroom too, I don't really use the power stage overdrive anyway so maximum clean power is also a consideration..
  10. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Sovtek KT88 are working out nicely for me in my tube head (not a Trace).... the EH KT88 were my second choice.
  11. I had EL34Gs and later EL34 WXT valves in my old valve head and they were good reliable tubes, sounds reasonable if the KT88s are as dependable. No reliability issues?
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I bought the head late last year tubeless and bought all my tubes over Christmas. it's too soon to tell.

    I will say one thing that gave the Sovtek the slight edge over EH in my research was the few people here and in the Audiophile realm that had been running their Sovtek KT88 for 5+ years with no thought of changing.

    I was also looking for maximum clean headroom/output
  13. I guess thats pretty solid then... The other thing that put me off the EH was, I think its the same tube as the Ruby. They have the same massive envelope, the same 3-holed plate and the same polished metal base. Any experience of anyones 6550 in a none SVT application? What do you think of your V4, you getting on with it ? Needless to say its a love-hate thing with mine, I love it, it hates me! Any fuse related issues? Trace fuse holders can be questionable...
  14. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    no clue on the EH vs. Ruby front... but the current EH 6550 & KT88 are well liked in all the places I looked. I went with EH 12AX7 and 12AT7 to fill the preamp slots that I didn't have tubes for (had a pair of JAN 12AX7, an EH and a JJ already).

    I owned a B15 fliptop Ampeg in the 80s and hated it. I always look at everything BUT Ampeg... so I've zero SVT experience. I owned a Sunn Sceptre for a short while that sounded great in the house, but wasn't close to being usable "clean" with a band for me.

    I was hunting for a V8, V6 or Hexa OR Sunn / Fender 300T OR Marshall VBA400 OR Peavey Classic 400

    I'm more then happy with my Classic 400 (it's got 8 Sovtek KT88 in it)... but wouldn't mind a lower watt early Trace tube head for recording / small gigs. I had a line on a V4 locally, but the guy is keeping it.
  15. I don't balme the guy for keeping it! My friend, Tom has a VBA400 and he is in love with it, he upgraded from a Peavey Nitrobass. I like them too, just too damn heavy! On eBay there is a V8 but I didn't notice whether shipping was international or not. The guy wants 2500 Austrailian dollars for it which in the Uk equates to little over £1000. It seems to be in good nick... I like the idea of a V8 but for what I do, Im not in need of that much power, lets face it 400w of valve power is devastating. I never really drive the V4 past 40% on my indicator valve... It also has the advantage of having a power amp mute facility where by you can use the head as a pre-amp without having to connect any type of load to it; V8s dont have this. The DI out is wonderful, clean, plenty of level and minimum phase shift. Its IC balanced but is as good as an SMX series DI and certainly more useable than most. Great sound to tape, I hate to use this over stressed expression where valves are concerned but its "warm", Phat and punchy...
  16. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I have the older V4 (the one without the foot switch) and I have used Ruby, JJ, Svetlana, and EH. My favorites are the Svetlanas and the EHs, but I found the Svetlanas to give a bit more headroom and the EHs to have a bit better tone.
  17. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I knew I should have kept my TE Hexa :crying: IT was the cleanest, most modern sounding all tube head I have ever heard for the slab bass, but sold it due to it not sounding that good with the upright.....
  18. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    You may wanna give Shane at British Audio Service or Gavin a call...Shane performs several mods on Trace tube amps to increase reliability and generally make them more bullet-proof. Don't recall exactly what these are, he's done these on my V6 and on the amps of several other TBer's. Gavin in the UK may know something about them and/or perform the same mods.
  19. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, my Aguilar DB 728 has eight Svetlana 6550C's, and they certainly bring a smile to my face!

    I also recently picked up a Trace Elliot Twin Valve Combo from Steve Azola, and he supplied it with two NOS GE 6550's (bless you, Steve!). Lordy, does that sound fine!
  20. I may have enough cash to replace them next week, I hope! Well theres plenty of info here to keep me going... Thanks for the input...