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 Belair/VT50 -Which tubes and why? View next topic
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sjturbo
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:00 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I have posted something similar on the Carvin Amps forum but I don't know if everyone visits both.
I have an older VT50 and I think it is time for new tubes! I would like some opinions on Sovetek, JJ/Eurotubes or any others. I would also like opinions on AX7's, 5751's or any other preamp/PI tubes that you may like or dislike and why. If you have a favorite EL84 please elaborate. Thanks in advance!
P.S. Bias voltage (Standby method) would also be interesting.
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ElfDude
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:06 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm fond of JJs over Sovteks.
It's hard to put tones into words, but to me the Sovteks sound kind of brittle. The JJs are warmer and smoother.
Whatever the heck that means! Laughing

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sjturbo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:43 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks ElfDude! I'm not sure what it all means either. I currently have GT's from the original owner except for 12ay7 in the PI. Sounds good but I was thinking of Sovtek 12ax7LPS for V1 and V5 (PI). I have read that the JJ's are good also but some do not consider them as musical. But them and they are not always correct. Thanks very much for the reply. I guess not many people have the Nomads, Belair's or the VT50's based on the reply's.
BTW I have the older VT50 with tank reverb.
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ElfDude
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:37 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

sjturbo wrote:
Thanks ElfDude! I'm not sure what it all means either. I currently have GT's from the original owner except for 12ay7 in the PI. Sounds good but I was thinking of Sovtek 12ax7LPS for V1 and V5 (PI). I have read that the JJ's are good also but some do not consider them as musical. But them and they are not always correct. Thanks very much for the reply. I guess not many people have the Nomads, Belair's or the VT50's based on the reply's.
BTW I have the older VT50 with tank reverb.


Yeah, my Nomad is one of those as well.
Fantastic sounding amp. Cool

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Mycle812
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:56 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I'll resurrect this post.

I have two Nomads and a VT-50. One of the Nomads and the VT-50 have the first 5 hasserl mods. The other Nomad is bone stock. All of them have tank reverbs.

In my Bone stock Nomad I use a bone stock set of JJ's. I think they have more of a full fidelity sound and tend to make my Nomad sound more like a Fender Black face. IMHO they are very musical sounding set of tubes.

On my modded amps I use a variety of different pre-amp tubes. Since they produce much more gain than stock I'm running a Tung Sol (NOS) in v-1 and v-3 for the cleanest clean channel you will ever hear. Then I run a (JAN Phillips) 5751 in v-2 to lower the overall gain of the soak channel. (But I may switch to a 12ay7 in that slot) That takes the sharp edges off of the "Soak" channel and gives it a warm full sounding drive tone but yet I still have excellent note definition and harmonics. We are talking a "Blues Master" amp here. SRV all day long.

Not sure how much of that I'm getting from the tubes or the mods but it sounds glorious.

I also own a Mesa Mark V and I can easily say that the modded Nomads' tone keeps up with the Mark V just fine.
The un modded Nomad sounds good but not Mesa good. (a little muddy) Since they have locked the doors at Carvin I will probably keep the bone stock Nomad bone stock.

I downloaded a "Tube Assignment Chart" for Carvin amps. Then with a little research I changed my preamp tube line up according to how I wanted to adjust the tone in that amp.

After the mods I was blown away by how much better my amps sounded but I was just as amazed when I started changing pre amp tube values to tweak it even furthur. This is why we buy Tube Amps.
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tbonesullivan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:22 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Sadly there isn't much selection available with EL84 tube types anymore. I believe Mesa Boogie uses JJ tubes for most things these days. The sovtek tubes are ok, but the "tung-sol" branded ones are a step up.

I've got my Vintage 16 running JJs, my V3M running Sovtek, and my Mesa Maverick running JJs. I've been looking into maybe picking up some old production tubes, like RFT, Telam, NOS old production Russian, etc.

With the amount of negative feedback in carvin amps, I'm pretty sure that NOS tubes are not going to shine their best in that situation. I would stick to new production JJ, EHX, Sovtek, Mullard, etc. Then maybe spend some money on some old production preamp tubes to add some good 3d and sparkle to the sound.

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Amps: MTS3212, XB212-2, V16, B800, PB100-15, Blue X-100B Series IV
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Mycle812
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:17 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

The good thing about EL-84's is that you don't have to spend a lot of time deciding which tubes to use.

One of my favorite hasserl mods on the vintage amps is the "Attitude" control. You can mix in the amount of negative feedback you want. One way sounds like a Fender Blackface and the other sounds like a snarling Vox. Somewhere in between is heavenly. No matter which tubes you are using you can tweak it very nicely.

My dad was a sound engineer for over 40 years so I have piles of nos tubes to sift through. Be cautious because quite often older tubes can be noisy. I've found n.o.s. tubes that sound like a concert in static. I've found others that are pristine clean. Some get used, some find a new home. SO just because someone has an n.o.s. Telefunken or Tung-sol doesn't mean it's going to sound great. I must admit I find more good ones than bad but some are appalling. And always clean the pins. Oxidation is a huge problem with anything nos.

Another reason Mesa amps sound so derned good is because of their massive over kill on the specs of their transformers. That's also why they are so derned heavy. Big ole iron transformers.

I changed the O.T. in a Fender Hot Rod Deville and a VT-50 to Mercury Magnetics and did way more to improve the tone than any type of tube ever could. If your transformers aren't up to snuff then you're not getting optimum performance from your tubes either. Generally Carvin has always provided barely adequate transformers. I believe it's part of why V-3's motor boat with EL-34 tubes when they are biased correctly. The transformer is over worked and can't produce enough go juice for tube heaters and all the rest that is going on in there. (Battery powered military radio's do the same thing just before the batteries die)
I'm tempted to change the O.T. and P.T. on my V-3 to Mercury Magnetics and add a choke. I'm betting she will sound way better than she does now. The reason I haven't already is because it's not broke. Besides, I use 6L6's in my V-3.
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tbonesullivan
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:42 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Hmm, I recall hasserl saying good things about the transformers that Carvin uses. Things could have changed though.

I do remember that carvin MTS series amps had issues with the Filament Heater current when using EL34s, especially because they had fusable links used in the heater path, which eats up some of the power.

I like to buy my NOS and Used Old Stock Tubes from Doug's Tubes, who has a VTV tester which does a really good job of testing the tubes for noise, microphonics, etc.

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Guitars: C750, CT6M, EBlue Bolt
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Amps: MTS3212, XB212-2, V16, B800, PB100-15, Blue X-100B Series IV
Effects: Boss OD-20, Carvin XP4, AC120, ODB-3, ISP Dec.
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Mycle812
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:10 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

When I replaced the O.T. in a VT-50 with a Mercury Mags I was impressed with how much more crisp things sounded. It lost a lot of that signature mud they produce on the Soak channel.
Same thing with my old Hot Rod Deville.

When I was talking to Bob at Euro tubes he said he believes the primary reason V-3's motorboat (and they've had other Carvin models do that as well) is because the Tranny's are somewhat under powered. He said it was his main gripe about Carvin gear.
Of course he thinks the V-3 would sound awesome IF you could bias it hot enough when running EL-34's. And, He found no issues when running 6L6's which run lower bias current.

I know my V-3 (With lights but before Reverb) will motorboat at the drop of a hat with EL34's (plus it just doesn't sound that good) Fortunately I prefer 6L6's anyway.

I will say this ... after working on a pile of Nomads (mostly mods) and then working on a pile of Fender amps and even a Marshall or two .... generally Carvins are built WAY better than their competition.

But like their guitars ... even today ... you can buy an extremely well built piece of art but you have to equip it with the cheapest P.O.S. Wilkenson Bridge on the market because THAT is what Carvin/Kiesel supplies. EVERY guitar I've ever bought from them had to have the bridge replaced within months of purchase. BUT their guitars are otherwise constructed like a fine work of art.
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