Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

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northernguitarguy
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Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by northernguitarguy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:36 pm

Hey there....

Curious to see what glass people are using in their EL84 Orange amps. I play with a new Rocker 15 Terror.

FWIW, I've loaded the first two slots with Philips i65 tubes, left the stock JJ in V3, a Sylvania 12AT7 in the FX loop and a pair of Soviet 6P14P-EV tubes in the power section.

I feel the amp runs quieter with the replacements, especially the preamp tubes. I also think the Russkie tubes got me a smidgen more headroom (could be psychoacoustics).

I'm visiting a tube and antique radio clear-out tomorrow. Any NOS tubes I should be on the lookout for?

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by bclaire » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:48 pm

I just use JJ's. :mrgreen:

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by adkguy07 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:07 am

Orange Dark Terror with a tube compliment of a pair of TAD EL84 STR, 3 Preferred Series PS 7025,
and JAN-Phillips PH 12AT7 WC for the loop.


adkguy07

northernguitarguy
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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by northernguitarguy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:30 pm

bclaire wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:48 pm
I just use JJ's. :mrgreen:
Ha! Good answer. I bought and fell in love with my R15T with the JJ's that came with it. I'm also fully skeptical when I hear that a tube swap 'transformed' an amp. However, I do believe the tube swap I did made the amp quieter, especiall on high gain settings.

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by northernguitarguy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:31 pm

adkguy07 wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:07 am
Orange Dark Terror with a tube compliment of a pair of TAD EL84 STR, 3 Preferred Series PS 7025,
and JAN-Phillips PH 12AT7 WC for the loop.


adkguy07
I've read about the TADs on the Tube Store website. How do you feel they perform differently-if at all- from regular EL84s?

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by adkguy07 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:35 pm

northernguitarguy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:31 pm
adkguy07 wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:07 am
Orange Dark Terror with a tube compliment of a pair of TAD EL84 STR, 3 Preferred Series PS 7025,
and JAN-Phillips PH 12AT7 WC for the loop.


adkguy07
I've read about the TADs on the Tube Store website. How do you feel they perform differently-if at all- from regular EL84s?
That's where I bought them.(Hi. Classicplayer, here!). I could have gone with the original JJ pair, but after one failed a bit soon IMHO, I elected to try the TAD pair. They may really have not changed the tone for the better or worse, but I got them hoping for a bit more of a life from them. We'll see. I think EL84 types are apt to take a wicked beating, even in a 15-watt amp. In addition I'm one of those who hold the opinion that an amp design really dictates tone rather than a tube swap. As long as my Dark Terror continues with the Orange type of toothy grind (which I believe is so interesting to hear), I'll remain a happy camper. I've never enjoyed playing and listening to any amp before this one as much; and I've had many amps over the years.


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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by northernguitarguy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:42 am

adkguy07 wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:35 pm
northernguitarguy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:31 pm
adkguy07 wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:07 am
Orange Dark Terror with a tube compliment of a pair of TAD EL84 STR, 3 Preferred Series PS 7025,
and JAN-Phillips PH 12AT7 WC for the loop.


adkguy07
I've read about the TADs on the Tube Store website. How do you feel they perform differently-if at all- from regular EL84s?
That's where I bought them.(Hi. Classicplayer, here!). I could have gone with the original JJ pair, but after one failed a bit soon IMHO, I elected to try the TAD pair. They may really have not changed the tone for the better or worse, but I got them hoping for a bit more of a life from them. We'll see. I think EL84 types are apt to take a wicked beating, even in a 15-watt amp. In addition I'm one of those who hold the opinion that an amp design really dictates tone rather than a tube swap. As long as my Dark Terror continues with the Orange type of toothy grind (which I believe is so interesting to hear), I'll remain a happy camper. I've never enjoyed playing and listening to any amp before this one as much; and I've had many amps over the years.


adkguy07
Ditto, CP. I haven't found to ever have profound tone differences by switching power tubes. I may get very slight changes in how it performs, but nothing that can't be compensated for with some knob dialing.

However, if you ever have to replace them again, I can't recommend the Soviet 6P14P-EV tubes enough. They are robust, chimey and make every amp I have ever put them in sing.

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by adkguy07 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:02 pm

northernguitarguy wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:42 am
adkguy07 wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:35 pm
northernguitarguy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:31 pm


I've read about the TADs on the Tube Store website. How do you feel they perform differently-if at all- from regular EL84s?
That's where I bought them.(Hi. Classicplayer, here!). I could have gone with the original JJ pair, but after one failed a bit soon IMHO, I elected to try the TAD pair. They may really have not changed the tone for the better or worse, but I got them hoping for a bit more of a life from them. We'll see. I think EL84 types are apt to take a wicked beating, even in a 15-watt amp. In addition I'm one of those who hold the opinion that an amp design really dictates tone rather than a tube swap. As long as my Dark Terror continues with the Orange type of toothy grind (which I believe is so interesting to hear), I'll remain a happy camper. I've never enjoyed playing and listening to any amp before this one as much; and I've had many amps over the years.


adkguy07
Ditto, CP. I haven't found to ever have profound tone differences by switching power tubes. I may get very slight changes in how it performs, but nothing that can't be compensated for with some knob dialing.



However, if you ever have to replace them again, I can't recommend the Soviet 6P14P-EV tubes enough. They are robust, chimey and make every amp I have ever put them in sing.
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”.


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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by Les Paul Lover » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:47 pm

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”.


adkguy07

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.)
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by adkguy07 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:00 pm

I've tried three different pairs of EL84 types in my Dark Terror and two different sets of preamp tubes and I experienced no noticeable change in tone from my amp. The biggest change (for me) in the tone of my DT was not a surprise to me and that was putting new strings on my Les Pauls and having enough patience to wait for the V30 to completely break in my PPC112; That Orange tone now is really much smoother. Another tone tweak was accomplished just by re-adjusting my Les Paul's pickups to accommodate the amp's tone. It's also proved to be a less expensive way to get that wonderful tone.

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by Les Paul Lover » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:23 am

adkguy07 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:00 pm
I've tried three different pairs of EL84 types in my Dark Terror and two different sets of preamp tubes and I experienced no noticeable change in tone from my amp. The biggest change (for me) in the tone of my DT was not a surprise to me and that was putting new strings on my Les Pauls and having enough patience to wait for the V30 to completely break in my PPC112; That Orange tone now is really much smoother. Another tone tweak was accomplished just by re-adjusting my Les Paul's pickups to accommodate the amp's tone. It's also proved to be a less expensive way to get that wonderful tone.

adkguy07
I'm not surprised - modern EL84 are all pretty similar, and so can be modern preamp valves. And the differences are most obvious when the amp is played clean too.

In any case, modern production valves are still good and serviceable. I was very happy with them until I tried some NOS to see what it was all about.

And as per my previous disclaimer....The advantage in tone improvement I noticed is debatable beside my own enjoyment.
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by adkguy07 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:04 am

[/quote] I'm not surprised - modern EL84 are all pretty similar, and so can be modern preamp valves. And the differences are most obvious when the amp is played clean too.

In any case, modern production valves are still good and serviceable. I was very happy with them until I tried some NOS to see what it was all about.

And as per my previous disclaimer....The advantage in tone improvement I noticed is debatable beside my own enjoyment.
[/quote]

Opinions run hot and cold on the subject and as long as someone in the first few rows does not ask me afterwards: “Were those Raytheon's in your power section?”, I guess that I won't second guess myself by thinking that when I was given the chance to buy a pair, I really should have sprung for them when I had the chance.

My guitar/amp tech whose opinions I hold in high regard, related to me that quite awhile ago when lamenting the state of the (then) current vacuum tube quality; that much of the old equipment used in the manufacturing was sold overseas when U.S. companies decided to go out of the business; when solid state technology was developing. Some of those “overseas” companies were not using the newest of tools and equipment, but their countries still had need of vacuum tubes for some military applications. He reasoned that was one big reason that tube life and their quality was not quite as good as what came before.....hence the values placed on the NOS market for tubes.
I'm not sure if it’s true, or not, but it gives one pause to think.

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northernguitarguy
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Re: Preamp and EL84 tube talk thread

Post by northernguitarguy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:49 am

In my experience, NOS tubes are robust! My Philips preamp tubes have over 5 years use on them and still test 'Good' on an Orange tube tester. My current pair of Soviet power tubes have two years use on them and still test like new.

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