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  • Tube swap or amp swap?

    Picked up a used Jim Root Terror. Has some issues that need sorting out. One is traced to a faulty jack and will fix that up later in the week, but overall the amp is very, very dark even through my V30 4x12. Due to some unfortunate circumstances resulting in a snapped headstock, the only guitars I currently have to play through it are all tuned down to C standard, but I did briefly get to play in e standard before that little incident.

    Even with the treble cranked, I have to roll off the mids and bass to get it to sound somewhat open. With gain cranked, it all turns into fuzzy mush. I've watched every youtube demo i could find, and I honestly can't make heads or tails out of them in regards to whether it's MY amp that's dark and muddy or if that's just how it's supposed to sound.

    Amp was made in 2012 and from what I could gather, I think all tubes in it are factory fitted originals.

    I like the general tone of the amp, but it's not really useful for me unless I can brighten it up. My question is, would a tube swap actually make much of a difference? I'm thinking power tubes (el84) primarily, as well as the first (of three) 12ax7.
    Last edited by Coma; 04-22-2019, 12:36 PM.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    1973 Aria 551
    1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
    1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
    1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
    1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
    1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
    2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

  • #2
    Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

    The tubes are much cheaper, and they’re not going to be junk even if the amp is. Buy the tubes, and if they don’t fix the problem, keep them and replace the amp. If I had to bet money, I’d say the amp probably just isn’t what you want, but I don’t think you can ever have too many tubes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

      The other guitar player in my band has a Dark Terror & he brought it to me with a similar complaint. I was able to get it sounding much better using Mullard EL84 power tubes & Tung-Sol 12AX7’s. I mean no matter what it’s going to be a darker sounding amp, especially when using a lot of gain, but the Mullard/Tung-Sol tube combo definitely gave it more bite, clarity, & much better “cut” while lowering the noise floor as well as retaining the D.T.’s gainy Stoner Rock backbone....
      I live in Northern New Hampshire, we shoot the things we don't understand here???

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

        Yeah, I get that it could still be dark, but this is something else, I think.

        Low end lacks any definition, it's kinda flabby. Even with the treble maxed out, there's not much happening in the high end. And I thought for sure the V30s would work well with it, since they turned my EVH into a horrid ice pick machine but no such luck.

        Even with the gain low and volume all the way up, it's quite dull. Which makes me think an attenuator probably shouldn't be the first step to try.
        --------------------------------------------------------
        1973 Aria 551
        1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
        1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
        1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
        1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
        1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
        2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

          Try the tube swap first. For +\-$100 or so, youíve got much less to lose that way.
          Mullard, EH, Tung Sol all would likely brighten the amp up.
          Stay away from JJ as they are a darker color.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

            I actually have a pair of EHX tubes lying around, though they have remains of hot glue stuck in them (not my doing). I tried them in the amp and honestly, not much of a difference. Will have to order new tubes. Was looking at the TAD EL84-STR for the power section, and they apparently make quite a few different ones for the preamp as well.
            --------------------------------------------------------
            1973 Aria 551
            1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
            1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
            1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
            1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
            1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
            2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

              So I'm thinking these for power amp:
              https://www.thomann.de/se/tad_rt872_...4_str_paar.htm


              And either the TAD or Tung-Sol for preamp:
              https://www.thomann.de/se/tung_sol_12ax7_ecc83.htm
              https://www.thomann.de/se/tad_rt010_..._highgrade.htm



              Anybody wanna chime in?
              --------------------------------------------------------
              1973 Aria 551
              1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
              1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
              1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
              1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
              1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
              2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                The TAD are a chinese tube. I have them in my Quickrod (not TAD, but a Chinese power tube) and I like them a lot actually.

                The Chinese preamp tubes are usually smooth and gainy, which I like. The TS, in my amp is too bright for my tastes, but might be right for you.
                I have the opposite issues...the QR can tend to be a bright amp.
                I donít find it overly bright however, but if you have a stash of preamps around you may want to roll a variety in and see what works for you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                  Got the new tubes today. TAD EL84-STR for power section and Tung-Sols for preamp.

                  Not a HUGE difference, but easily noticeable. Amp is still dark but no longer muffled. High end actually seems to exist now. Also, quite a bit less gain.
                  --------------------------------------------------------
                  1973 Aria 551
                  1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
                  1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
                  1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
                  1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
                  1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
                  2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tube swap or amp swap?

                    Originally posted by Coma View Post
                    Got the new tubes today. TAD EL84-STR for power section and Tung-Sols for preamp.

                    Not a HUGE difference, but easily noticeable. Amp is still dark but no longer muffled. High end actually seems to exist now. Also, quite a bit less gain.
                    FWIW, Iím a firm believer in putting the right preamp tube in the right slot.
                    I seldom just buy one brand and install across the board.
                    Go ahead and experiment with what you put in V1 and V2(especially V1).
                    You might be surprised at how the right tube will achieve what you want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                      Originally posted by Coma View Post
                      Got the new tubes today. TAD EL84-STR for power section and Tung-Sols for preamp.

                      Not a HUGE difference, but easily noticeable. Amp is still dark but no longer muffled. High end actually seems to exist now. Also, quite a bit less gain.
                      For reference, Iím using Mullards in an OR15. With Mullards, the full amount of amp Gain is there, but you just need to turn the Gain up a little more. It doesnít break up as easily as before, which allows for a little more cleans/headroom.

                      How does the TAD EL84 compare in the Gain section?

                      PS: good call on taking out the JJís.


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
                      Gibson SG Standard
                      ESP LTD EC-300
                      Squier Jagmaster Vista
                      Squier VM Telecaster

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                        Well, since I swapped preamp and power tubes at the same time, I can't really tell which tubes are accountable for what change.

                        I didn't opt for Mullards mainly because price.

                        Honestly though, I see myself probably selling the amp further down the road. For the moment, I need it, but it's still too dark and hairy for my tastes.
                        --------------------------------------------------------
                        1973 Aria 551
                        1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
                        1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
                        1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
                        1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
                        1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
                        2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                          You might also try putting an EQ pedal in the FX loop
                          sigpic
                          Gibson LP Trad Pro II->Various pedals->MEsa Boogie MkV->Owensby/219 Guitar Works Vertical Slant 2x12 w/WGS ET-65 and Veteran 30.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tube swap or amp swap?

                            Originally posted by allbutromeo View Post
                            You might also try putting an EQ pedal in the FX loop
                            Yeah, that occurred to me as well.
                            --------------------------------------------------------
                            1973 Aria 551
                            1984 Larrivee RS-4 w/ EMG SA/SA/89
                            1989 Charvel 750 XL w/ DMZ Tone Zone & Air Norton
                            1990's noname crap-o-caster plywood P/J Bass
                            1991 Heartfield Elan III w/ DMZ mystery pups
                            1995 Aria Pro II TA-65
                            2001 Gibson Les Paul Gothic w/ PG-1 & SH-8

                            Comment

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