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  • New Pre-Amp Tubes

    Got a Peavey Rockmaster pre-amp a couple of months back. I want to retube it. It has 4 pre-amp tubes. I know nothing about brands of tubes, so I'm looking for recommendations. I play mostly hard rocks/heavey metal, but with some classic/country rock thrown in, so I need a good heavy crunch with versitality. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

    Most tube manufacturers mearly buy tubes from other companies, match them, and then brand them themselves. As a result, you can buy two sets of the same tube type from the same company, but there's no guarantee that they will be the same. Tubes are marked as to what factory they're made in, much in the same way an LP has a stamper mark that shows the mastering and pressing plants used.

    For brand new tubes, I would use Svetlanas, but they are very expensive. How much are you looking to spend? If cost is an issue, you can go with Groove Tubes, which are generally of very high quality.

    I prefer using NOS tubes for preamp stages. NOS stands for New Old Stock, and are original tubes from the golden era of tube manufacture but are unused. These are pretty pricey, tho. If you play rock/metal and are looking to go in this direction, I can recommend using Siemens tubes from Germany. You can find preamp Siemens circa 1970's. I find them to be the best high gain preamp tubes I have ever heard, and use them in my Marshall, Rivera, and Engl.

    If you're on a tight budget, I would recommend Electro Harmonix. They're a bit wooly, but sound much better than Chinese tubes. Hope you find this helpful!
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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    • #3
      Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

      Electro-Harmonix for high gain and JJ/Telsa for a slightly smoother gain.

      I've heard the Grove Tubes 12AX7M (Mullard copy) is good, but I've never tried it.

      Some people like to use a NOS tube in the V1 spot, as it has the most influence on tone in the amp, and only paying for one NOS tube is much cheaper than four tubes.

      If you want to go further, find out what tubes do what in your amp, and stick tubes noted for their high gain in the distortion channel sockets, and smoother tubes in the clean channel sockets. I've never done this, but some people swear by it.
      || Guitar | Wah | Vibe | Amp ||

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      • #4
        Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

        Originally posted by TwilightOdyssey
        I would use Svetlanas, but they are very expensive.
        Svetlana does not manufacture a very good 12ax7. Avoid them at all cost. The company is noted for producing very good POWER tubes - especially EL34's and 6L6's.

        Originally posted by TwilightOdyssey
        If you're on a tight budget, I would recommend Electro Harmonix. They're a bit wooly, but sound much better than Chinese tubes.
        I disagree with you about the Chinese tubes. The current 9th generation Shoguang tubes have similar specs to my NOS Telefunkens (which is unheard of in modern production tubes). These new Chinese tubes work magic in my Egnater IE4 and Randall RM4 preamps.

        The Groove Tubes Mullard (GT12ax7M) is an excellent tube - especially in V1, as screamingdaisy noted.
        (2) Randall RM4 preamps, VHT 2502 Power amp, 2 2x12 Bogner cabs w/V30's and Lead 80's, '74 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, '89 Gibson Les Paul Cherryburst, '93 Stratocaster, and a bunch of other stuff.

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        • #5
          Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

          I bought one of the Mullard copies 12AX7M and I've got it in V2 of my Fender Twin Reverb. It sounds good - but to be honest, not a heck of a lot different from the OOS (old old stock) GE 5751 that I had in there before. So I wouldn't call the tube "magic", but then I'm not an expert, so maybe someone else could pull out an oscilloscope and explain to me how it's superior (I'm being sarcastic, can you tell)?

          Anyhow, I agree that Svetlana is not a company known for preamp tubes.

          Some tubes that I have purchased and liked are:

          Chinese 12AX7's
          JJ Teslas
          EH

          To make a note on a previous post -- if you are playing through a two channel Fender, such as a Twin, and you use the vibrato channel, you'd want to put your best tube in V2, NOT V1, since V1 won't even be used. You could put a light bulb in V1
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          • #6
            Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

            Originally posted by NoMoreMKIV
            I bought one of the Mullard copies 12AX7M and I've got it in V2 of my Fender Twin Reverb. It sounds good - but to be honest, not a heck of a lot different from the OOS (old old stock) GE 5751 that I had in there before. So I wouldn't call the tube "magic", but then I'm not an expert, so maybe someone else could pull out an oscilloscope and explain to me how it's superior (I'm being sarcastic, can you tell)?
            The specs of your OOS GE5751 are probably right up there (if not better) than the GT Mullard. I though the GT Mullard was magical only because the tube it replaced in V1 was a crappy lifeless Sovtek 12ax7. Like night and day between those two tubes. But, any NOS or, in your case, a good OOS , would be better than most modern day production 12ax7's.
            (2) Randall RM4 preamps, VHT 2502 Power amp, 2 2x12 Bogner cabs w/V30's and Lead 80's, '74 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, '89 Gibson Les Paul Cherryburst, '93 Stratocaster, and a bunch of other stuff.

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            • #7
              Re: New Pre-Amp Tubes

              Thanks for all the replies gang. Popped by guitar center and picked up some groove tubes. 12AX7Rs which I believe's mean's that their Russian? I'll try em out and see how it goes. They're just for my lil ole Peavey rockmaster, but I don't think that thing has ever had the tubes changed, so I bet it would sound better no matter what!

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