adkguy07 wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:02 pm
I know that you have posted re: those 6P14P-EV before and I don't doubt that you're “right on” about them. I know that I'll get arguments started about which brands and offshoots of tubes sound best, but I still adhere to the idea that amp circuit designs establish tone characteristics. Tubes may alter what frequencies get passed through to the very important tone modifier itself [the speaker(s)], but no matter what tubes I use in my Orange, it still identifies itself as “Orange”.
You're quite correct no valve change will change a fender into a Marshall or vice versa.
However, if you have an amp you already like the tone of, it can be improved with some valve tweaking.
The modern JJ ECC83s is lacking in top end, and a swap for a EH ECC83 will show that very quickly. Whichever you prefer is for you to choose...
Overall, most modern valves are pretty similar.
Some NOS valves will make a big difference
Disclaimer: difference that in most cases no one but yourself will be able to tell.... unless they are with you when you swap them.... and certainly, the average Joe at a gig not only will not notice either, he won't care one bit.
Like the OP, I use 6P14P EV valves instead of EL84, and they are a step above in terms of sound quality. They're military grade production too, and should in theory, last 10 times as long as your average modern EL84. Not only they offer slightly increased headroom, more defined and tighter low end, and extra sparkle, they should on top of that last a good while longer and prove an economical investment.
The same changes can be noticed with preamp valves. I've swapped all my preamp valves recently with RFT and Tungsram ECC83 and ECC81, and the cumulative change between the pre and power amp is pretty striking..... but again, refer to my disclaimer above. And the amp nature remains the same, as you noted- the valves used do not change the circuit, but can provide tweaks on top of increased overall tone.
I've found the PI and reverb drivers FX loop send return didn't really offer much change though.
Also, some valves, like the RFT ECC83 have a pretty strong signature. The RFT breaks up faster, and harder than other valves. I found it took my RV50 dirty channel in the wrong direction for me (to tight, too aggressive), whereas it works a treat on my vox circuit based Genz Benz Black Pearl 30 or my rocker 30. Someone else's taste might differ as some have complained thw RV50 was to smooth and loose for them.... for me, i love that tone.
Lastly, as the OP remarked..... a striking feature for me is the silence now. I used to think that hum was par for the course with valve amps. It isn't. All my amps are almost dead silent when idle, regardless of volume and gain. That alone is pretty remarkable.
When you consider that each of those valves have cost me on average $17.50.... and compare the benefits reaped compared to the meagre savings realised when buying modern valves..... it makes it a no brainer. (Unfortunately, I still had to spend that money. I have a box full unused Shuguang/JJ/EH/sovtek ECC83 now.... and whilst I could use them, i'd be sorry to go back to them.)