Tube Suggestions- EL84

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Opj77, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    I picked up a cheap Peavey Bravo 112 early in the year(wonderful amp)and am working towards improving it a bit. A buddy built me a custom cab to start. Next will be tubes and a speaker. My immediate question is regarding tubes. It has EL84’s and 12ax7s. I think original 12ax7 and Ruby EL84’s. I know zilch about tubes. What I desire, is as much headroom and as clear a tone that this amp can produce. I’m reading up on speakers but tube technology is out of my league. Any input welcome. 1B60F97D-F5F2-4744-83E0-55C4F40CABF0.jpeg
     
  2. Stevem

    Stevem Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,211
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    First off with the age of that amp it needs to have its power supply filters changed, and this will also help you max out clean head room and punch from the amp!

    The amp stock has two 47uf @ 500 volt filters , two 22uf @ 450 volt filters and a bias filter of 22uf @ 450 volts.
    The first two 47uf filters should be up rated to 80 to 100uf @ 500 volts, the bias filter should be increased to 50uf from its current 22uf.

    Next up you should get a matched pair of Groovetubes GT-EL84S in a number 10 rating , or atleast a number 7 rating and the bias / current draw should then be checked.
     
    Opj77, BlurgyWurgyWibble and Robins like this.
  3. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    Is filter changing an easy repair for the local amp shop guy? I don’t want to get crazy with with bench costs. I’m afraid of frying myself doing something I have no business trying.

    Why Groovetubes, mauy I ask.
     
  4. ptb1

    ptb1 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    56
    Messages:
    182
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2020
    Location:
    Norway
    The brand and quality of the pre tubes will affect the sound more than the Power tubes.
     
    soulman969 and Opj77 like this.
  5. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2019
    Location:
    Chicago
    JJ if you like clean and sparkle

    Sovtek if you want something a little thicker.

    Both are good tubes in my experience.
     
    Opj77 likes this.
  6. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    69
    Messages:
    6,106
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
  7. Stevem

    Stevem Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,211
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    Groovetubes outout tubes are tested and rated from 1 to 10 which is a rating system that tells how hard the tube has to be driven in order to distort and also in regards to how much power they put out.

    The higher the number the later they distort and the more power they output, in general there's a 10% difference between number 1 and 10 in power output.

    Tone is very much a personal preference and can change greatly from guitar to guitar and player to player in regards to there attack on there guitar, the Op posted most of his question around having the most clean output hence the output and power supply is what I posted about!
     
  8. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    I just took delivery today of a batch of 6p14p valves from Ukraine. These are EL84 equivalents and I have them in all my El84 amps. Very rugged valves and can be had at a good price
    20200925_164721.jpg

    If I can't get these I like using Sovtek EL84s. For 12ax7's I like Tungsol.
     
    Miotch and Opj77 like this.
  9. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    How do Tung Sols differ from JJ’s? I put Tung Sols in a SCXD and loved the sound but I was just going off of forum recommendations.
     
    ChrisD likes this.
  10. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

    Age:
    46
    Messages:
    10,537
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Location:
    KC
    ChrisD and Opj77 like this.
  11. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,442
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    Location:
    largo,fl
    i know little about electronics so i only buy tunes from reputable sellers who are tube freaks that can test their tubes.

    i pay the few extra dollars to buy the tube that has verified specs and is the best of the bunch.

    i have been 100% happy since going that route and i have never bought an expensive tube. i have bought many used tubes and they are better than the untested new tubes i bought in the past.

    i have a pair of used but tested good as new 1941 rca 6v6 gt's i paid 38 bux for, if they were n.o.s. and in original boxes they would be over $100. my amp has never sounded better.

    i have 4 matched el84 jj's from the early 90's that test as good as possible i paid 40 bux for.

    i buy golden oldie no longer made grail preamp tubes that way also.
     
  12. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,094
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Location:
    North Central North Carolina
    I agree they're great tubes at a very low price, but have one warning: Don't assume that when the seller says they're matched that they really are. I'm not a fan of accurately matched tubes for guitar amps, but some Soviet era 6p14p sets I've gotten are WAY off. Like one is running 28 mA and the other is running 11 mA! They're cheap though, so you can get six of eight of them and choose your own pairs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
    ChrisD likes this.
  13. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    Would you guys say that putting a 12at7 in V1 makes the tone more “thin”? Is that a natural byproduct if reducing the gain?
     
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,175
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    FWIW.....from The Tube Store site. Personally I prefer the Tung-Sol

    Tungsol EL84 / 6BQ5 - Combine the rugged build quality you find in Sovtek and the sweet tone you get from JJ and you’ll get a good idea what these tubes are all about. Structurally, they have the same bottles used in Sovtek, EH, and Mullard EL84 tubes. Thick glass, a bit on the tubby side, with nicely finished pins and rugged spacers. The getter design is different from all the other New Sensor tubes. Instead of a small cup these tubes have a single halo type getter up top. The plate coating is also different, having a dark burnished charcoal look. The screening is clearly applied. Overall they look very nice. If your amp will use any of the New Sensor EL84’s the Tungsol EL84 tube will fit just fine. Sonically, I compared the Tung-Sol EL84 power tubes with current offerings from New Sensor and the Tube Store Preferred series 7189. They sound very punchy and have lots of gain. The sound was more articulate than anything from Sovtek, EH or Mullard and was very similar to the Preferred Series 7189. I haven’t tried them in hi-fi equipment but I’m very confident they will be a hit in the audio community based on my guitar amp testing. Very low noise floor and no mechanical noise. Great crunch is easily achieved with a humbucker equipped guitar, while the sparkle shines through with single coils. When pushed into clipping these tubes just give off amazing harmonics and allow you to access some great, controlled feedback. I’m sold! The manufacturer claims the Tung Sol tubes are the best thing for VOX AC30 amps and I have to agree. Testing in my own cathode biased amp confirmed their statements. My amp eats lesser tubes from Russia and many NOS offerings, but the Tungsol EL84 tubes hung in. Not a hint of hot spots or red plating and no trace of mechanical noise or microphonics.

    Back to top

    JJ EL84 - This tube has been a personal favorite of mine so the review is not entirely unbiased. With the JJ you seem to get a compromise between tone and reliability. Nice mids, sparkling highs and solid bottom end characterize this tube. From a construction standpoint I think JJ has hit the mark. As with any EL84 they can be prone to mechanical noise in combo amps. However, they seem to take the heat and vibration in stride without any negative tonal effects. In the AC30 the JJ tubes really delivered the VOX chime with lots of swirl and shimmery harmonic content. In the little Pro Junior just crank it up and you get a great, nasty, overdriven sound. That’s not bad, it’s good. When pushed hard into the land of the square wave they remind me a lot of a good 6V6. If you have tried the OEM Sovtek’s that shipped in your amp it’s worth your time to try a set of JJ EL84’s. Many convert and never go back. In
     
  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,175
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I've never found that using a lower gain tube in V1 makes an amp sound "thin". I use a 5751 (70% gain) in mine and have for years.

    Whatever impact I've sensed is minor like a slight reduction in overall volume in exchange for more clean headroom and a possibly a slight change in where the amp hits it's sweet spot.

    For my purposes it's made the gain control more effective is far as hitting that point where I begin to experience break up and then more subtlety increasing from there vs a jump from clean to higher levels of breakup.

    But I'd also suggest that it depends on what you as a player are looking for. I don't play with higher amounts of gain very often so having as much control over cleans and lesser amounts of breakup is better for me.
     
    Opj77 likes this.
  16. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    612
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    pennsyltucky
    Personal taste.
    Although, an AT is more of a driver tube, usually found in reverb circuits.
    An AY is what you would find in V1 in many tweed Fenders.
    I used to sometimes put an AX in V1, and the extra gain sounded cool at home, but never quite cut it at the gig.
    To my ears, in a band context, the lower gain tube (AY) sounds fatter in the mix. Less gain but more juicy and musical.
    My old ears are no longer good enough to tell the difference between similar tubes, but I definitely notice the difference between 5881 vs. 6L6 or AX vs. AY in V1...less so in the PI.
     
    soulman969 and Opj77 like this.
  17. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    What I desire, understanding that my amp is just not “that”, is to emulate the fat clean tone of an old Yamaha G series amp I had, but with the snap and response that I’ve only gotten from tubes. If I can just trend towards that a little, I will be happy. Obviously a 6L6 amp is the proper platform but I found my Bravo for cheap at a pawn shop and it’s what I got.
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  18. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Silver Member

    Messages:
    27,452
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    in my opinion, read that again, in my opinion, modern production power tubes and most preamp tubes sound the same to me.
    ive tried several different ones and i cant tell a difference.
    the only tube i can kinda tell is a little warmer or darker or whatever you want to call it is the jj preamp tube.
    so dont worry about it too much and flip a coin, or spin a bottle, then buy some tubes.
    and fyi, companies like ruby, mesa, groove tubes, and others dont manufacture tubes.....they buy huge batches from the three main tube makers in russia(new sensor), slovakia(jj), or china(shuguang), then they test the hell out of them and slap their logo on.
    so its a safe bet to buy from these non manufacturing companies although they will cost more.
     
    Miotch, Triple Jim and Opj77 like this.
  19. Opj77

    Opj77 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    42
    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Asheville
    Sacrilege! :cool:
     
    heltershelton likes this.
  20. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Dr. Stratster Silver Member

    Age:
    79
    Messages:
    15,117
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Peardale CA
    Dirty
    Dirty
    Damn....
    But that's some
    Gawdawful wonderful
    Cabinetry....
    images (1).jpeg
     
    Miotch, Opj77 and bluejazzoid like this.