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Doug's Tubes Review

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Silvercrow, May 15, 2019.

  1. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    Some of you know I had my MESA 5:50 Express non-plus version amp up for sale last week. When I bought it I thought I loved it and attributed some shortcomings to old tubes (the seller had told me he couldn't remember when he last replaced tubes) one of the short-falls being the white noise or hiss on the gain channels.

    A new set of tubes did not remedy it- and seemed to me, to not do anything, or possibly slightly degraded the amp tonally.

    I had it up for sale for around a day and it seemed to be generating good interest; 8 watchers the first day, over 100 "views". Something keep bothering me though, and I pulled it off Reverb and ordered a set of Doug's recommended 12AX7 tube cocktail for it. I thought what the heck- if they work I've got a good amp. If not, I'll sell the tubes.

    I got them yesterday and installed them- using the recommended placement of each tube V1~V5.

    All I can say it I'm dang glad I did not sell the amp. I'm also dang glad I bought the tubes Doug's recommended. It's like someone took off the blanket that was on it and gave it an injection of tone. No B.S. And the white noise is significantly reduced. Significantly and absolutely noticeable immediately.

    So add my name to the list of folks that say Dougie really knows what he's doing when specing and recommending tubes for various amps.

    I want to be fair and say that I don't think there was anything "wrong" with the initial replacement tubes I bought- MESA branded. The 12AX7s seemed robust and functioned well. I just think that they re NOT the best tubes for this particular amp. I'm thinking that MESA specs tubes on the "safe" side of things- just as some manufacturers bias their amps very "cold" before putting them on the market. Just my opinion.

    Time will tell, but right now I'm gonna go enjoy my amp!

    Thanks for reading!

    Brian
     
  2. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Senior Stratmaster

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    There is a guy on the forum here that has had the same , original tubes in his Mesa since 1981. What is this tube guru’s name that you talk about. How do I find him. I’ve tried a few brands of tubes, and the Mesa tubes always seem to last a good long time.
     
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  3. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    Cool. Does he have recommendations for different amps?
    Who is it?
     
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  4. cc407

    cc407 Strat-Talk Member

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  5. mabley123

    mabley123 Senior Stratmaster

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    Dougs Tubes has been a reputable source for a good while. Many people on TGP also recommend him.
    Tube World also is great. I got some NOS 56 M/O Kt66s Im more than happy with.
    audiotubes.com are also reputable, but mainly supply NOS tubes vs modern, but do have some modern, and often audiotubes has great deals on name brand relabled NOS tubes. I get NOS Mullards here. Brent can also screen each tube for every parameter of the original manufacturers specs, and at FULL OUTPUT.

    I believe he will also test Modern Tubes that he also sells some brands of.
    $10 per tube.




     
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  6. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    i only buy tubes that have been tested and are guaranteed to be in the top of their class by established tube sellers.

    i have had 100% smiles every time i bought a verified tube, new or used. there are many established used tube vendors that dig up all the tubes they can find and will sell you as close to a guarantee in life as you can get for peanuts.

    i have a set of used 1941 RCA GT's that test as good as new i only paid 38 bux for including shipping. those in good condition original boxes with nos tubes are well over a 100 bux and mine sound as good or better, stop gambling with tube purchases and save some dough for strings.
     
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  7. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I had a boogie in 1982 and it ate tubes for breakfast and lunch. I believe at that time they were Groove Tubes.
     
  8. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

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    @3bolt79 , @rocknrollrich

    Doug's Tubes, as @cc407 linked above.

    I'm admittedly a cynic or skeptic with some of these claims and it's great to discover that Doug's and the other tube sellers mentioned here that also test and are reliable / repeatable!

    I always do the "If I were a multi- millionaire..." thing and IF I were, one of the things I'd like to do would be to bring manufacturing back into this country. AND since I'm a guitar and amp nut, why not gear up for quality, affordable vacuum tubes? Having said that, I just saw an ad in MF for a 12AX7 brand I'd never heard of. It's supposed to be akin to the priginal Mullard, will survive a small nuclear blast, etc. At $94.00 per, it had better!

    Brian
     
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  9. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Doug has taken care of my tube 'needs' for many years. You can jump on the JJ train, buy what newbies might recommend, or consider Doug's Tubes. ;)

    Hint: Don't waste his time. Let him know two things: what type valves your amp has, and what those do, phase inverter, etc. Second, tell him what you want in terms of sound- within the amp's limitations of course.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  10. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Also be sure to check out KCAnostubes.com

    I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them. Running RCA NOS tubes in my vibrolux pre and power tubes from them and it’s blissful
     
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  11. Lester H

    Lester H Strat-Talker

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    Back in the late 90s Ruby brand re-branded tubes were starting to give Groove Tubes some competition. They were being advertised by artist (Santana the largest) and they were priced very affordable.

    I was playing a Bassman 50 AB 165 and bought a pair of Ruby 6L6s and Ruby preamp tubes. It was the best the amp was sounding. I eventually let the amp go but kept the preamp tubes and starting using them in other amps and they became my favorite preamp tubes.

    2 years ago I thought I'd just buy some more. That's when I discovered Ruby was no longer easy to find! That's when I discovered Doug's Tubes. My first time I was a little skeptical. I first called no one answered and I went to a voice mail with no reference to tubes. I didn't leave a message. Checked the number again and same thing. This time I left a message. He called back and all was good. He told me the tubes I liked so much from the 90s had been discontinued for years but were recently being reproduced. So he set me up and I couldn't be happier. He's got my business.
     
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