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Thread: Peavey Royal 8 valves and mods

  1. #1
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    Peavey Royal 8 valves and mods

    I've just bought a Peavey Royal 8. It's a SE 5 watter. The previous owner has already swapped the original speaker for a Celestion Super 8. Swapping the valves/tubes are the next obvious change. I was also thinking about changing the values of some components. I've also got a OT from a Gibson skylark that I could put in it, but that is getting towards increasingly serious surgery.
    What brand on tube have others used? Can anyone suggest possible mods.
    I'd like to get some more life out of the clean tones which don't really ring and clean up the distortion when settings are on full. I am aiming for a classic vintage sound for country and blues and rockabilly type sounds.
    Any advice would be great.
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    I just thought I'd add that while there are plenty of mods to be found online for the Epi VJ and the Fender Champion 600, far fewer seem to exist for the Peavey.
    I imagine you could adapt what has been suggested for them but I'm not experienced enough to work it out for myself yet.
    How do they compare?

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    Here are some mod suggestions made on another site, but not to get the sort of changes I'm after. I hope they may be of some use:

    "some things to look at, although they might not float your boat

    I'd lower c1 to 2.2u or even 1u
    mess about with R5, lower values = more crunch
    c2 - bump that right up to 1000u
    r8 - increase to 270 to run the power tube a bit cooler

    maybe mess about with the tonestack, although if you like the tone control after mods then just leave as is"

    Does it follow that higher values for R5 will reduce "crunch"?

  4. #4
    Supporting Member tubeswell's Avatar
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    Hi Mark

    In terms of tube swapping, the Royal 8 uses 1 x 12AX7 and 1 x EL84. In most cases any EL84 will sound much like any other one in that amp with the stock setup. You will probably notice more difference experimenting with swapping the 12AX7 out for other types (like a 5751, 12AY7, a JJECC832 or 823, 12DW7 etc) which change the gain structure and will have more of an effect on tone - whether you like the changes or not is a personal thing.

    If you want to get into tweaking the circuit, remember that tweaks will void any remaining warranty and that mucking about with tube amps is quite risky. Meantime, the tips at the bottom of this page offer a simple explanation of tweaking pre-amp gain stages, which I found useful in the past:

    Tube Terminology for Dummies
    Last edited by tubeswell; 09-01-2009 at 07:36 PM.
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    Thanks tubeswell. I had seen people talk about changing the Sovteks for JJs etc and I wondered how much difference a change of brand would actually make.
    Also what about changing the EL84 for a 6V6? What difference would that make? Then the amp would need re-biasing too wouldn't it? Is that more effort than it's worth?

  6. #6
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    I like the brightness of Sovteks, JJs are a wee bit rounder, but lots of peeps like'em. As for 6V6s, a typical 6V6 running Class A in a single-ended amp runs well at between 340-360VDC on the plate (with screen about 60V below this), and biased with a 5W 470R cathode resistor (bypassed with a 63V 22-25uF cap) - to give about 18-20V bias, and likes a primary load resistance of 8k (from the output transformer). This is typically somewhat different from a single EL84, so there are a few things you need to tweak (plus the octal socket of course)
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    Given what has been written here * would changing the EL84 really have that much effect (for the effort needed to convert the circuit) ? Maybe I would be better off concentrating on the pre-amp and tone sections.

    * EL34/EL84 versus 6V6/6L6

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    You said you wanted more punch and clean. Changing to a 6v6 is a lot of work compared to other options.

    I'd say do what everybody did with their epiphone valve juniors (me too): find a Hammond SE OT. A 125DSE or 125ESE runs about $40-50 brand new (I used the DSE).
    Stock the amp had no clarity when playing distorted chords, very "blatty", muffled.
    With the bigger OT it sounded much more detailed, punchy in the bass, and no longer muffled in the highs. It had that nice SE "zip".
    Eventually I switched to a 12AV7 instead of a 12AX7 for less gain.

    Increasing the EL84 bias resistor will make the amp sound less driven and compressed, but going too far with this will make it sound grainy and unresponsive.

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    I've been thinking about going in a similar direction. I've also got lots of information and advice from sewatt.com

    Lots of VJ mods are applicable to this amp and indeed most 5w SE amps

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    PEAVEY ROYAL 8 + with cheese

    Hi Mark and all,
    I have a Royal 8. No experience with other tube amps, I am a breadboarder by inclination and have done some cool pedals. I have nice pics of ROYAL PCB and notice that it appears quite diff from the Valve Jr and the schematics are different - I would not assume the mods would have similiar impact unless you rread schemey's well. The manufacture looks like they come from the same prod line although the PCB board composition ans circuit is different.

    My Royal:
    Have replaced stock tubes with JJ's
    Replaced stock speaker with WEBER Blue PuP 8 inch British Series.

    My observations:
    JJ's: I have not spent any time specificially identifying the impact of Only tube replacement - hence so comment.

    Weber Blue PUP: This speaker is definately warmer and the treble is noticeably less harsh although the BP treble does not seem muffled at all. The Bass (perhaps some Mids too) are definately better (more + more defined) and I think this gives it a definately WARMER - less harsh - less raspy feeling when focusing on the Gain sound. As for SPL/speaker sensitivity - I do not know the Sensitivity rating of the BP - nor the mfr or specs of the stocker. When A/B'd it seems that the stocker may seem a hair louder at same knob settings - the difference is very subtle and most wouldn't notice it at all. I feel it is due to the BP being a bit less harsh and it may also have a bit less raspy breakup. The BP to my ears is a definate improvement - a keeper.

    I kept the stock tubes and speaker and they live in a closet. I have a 30 Watt Yamaha 30-112 SS amp and never really liked it. Since getting the Royal I am playing lots more and really enjoying it. I play mostly 70's punk - but don't hold that against me as I REALLY am not an irresponsible pimple popper! .

    I play mostly at home with a CD player and use an old 70's Strat > BOSS ( pedal knobs about 09:00 o clock position) > ROYAL Gain #1, Tone 10:30 o'clock , Master #3 - #4. I play lots of THE CLASH / PISTOLS/ETC and similiar era punkrock ( geeze I hate that lable).

    I really like this amp, it is incredibly loud for it's dimunitive size, and it weighs nothing, where was this amp years agi when I bough the YAMAHA? . I think using a pedal for effect is better / more controllable than using the amp, seems to be concensus from the net for most amps. I am not really big on Gain but I do like OD! The amp seems very touch sensitive and using the guitar vol to control OD is very effective, it is like having a remote control at your pick site to control effect level. I have yet to try playing with a drummer but at home I have not been able to play this amp + pedal at FULL ON. I like my ears!

    Well I could go on and on but the sun is up and time to go outside any play.
    Web info on the PEAVEY is non existant, so I thought I would try to get it started here. Sorry for the lengthy post but I recall someone asked.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails amp-front-img_6145.jpg   web-bp-img_6140.jpg   pcb-img_8983.jpg  
    Last edited by CSPRINGER; 09-19-2009 at 06:36 PM.

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    Are the tube sockets on the PCB?

    I'm a complete newb when it comes to amps but I do know that tubes mounted to PCBs are not looked at favorably. Looking at the PCB pic above, it looks like v1 and v2 are the tube sockets. Is that correct?

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    Tube sox

    Hi JIMI,
    Yes I believe you are correct, yes they are mounted directly to the PCB. Interestingly my power transformer and output transformer never seem to get beyond warm and the cage that houses the tubes (in the middle pic) never gets past warm either.

    Just for grins I used my laser temp sensor to get a temp reading on the tubes and they never read hot either - I dont recal the numbers but I think roung 100.

    CS

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    Thanks. Since you didn't mention anthing, I assume you had no issues making your mods. I'd love to find one of these to try locally before getting one, even if I probably would mod it. For the price, they are hard to pass up.

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    Simple...

    Jimi,
    The speaker and tube changes are quite simple. What city are you in? You might want to post on a PEAVEY board as if someone lives in your city they might be a good resource to hear it. You are welcome to swing by and hear mine...

    What kind of music do you like to play?

    Here is a clip of this amp with a Marshall Guvnor 2 Plus pedal (unfamiliar with this pedal). Sounds like a HEAVY Gain pedal. Not my cup of tea at tall. Thought you might be interested in the clip if it's your style.
    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/....php?t=2452043

    I bet this guy will post after his speaker change. For your sake maybe he will post a clip without pedals. This amp can do nice cleans by the way.

    Good luck

    CSP
    Last edited by CSPRINGER; 10-04-2009 at 05:51 AM.

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    Temperatures edit

    Sorry,
    I just measured with a digital laser and the tubes glass portion at the base socket of the larger tube read about 290 - 300 degrees. However the safety cage remains barely warm...certainly not hot.

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    Thanks for the follow-up. I'm so new to playing that there isn't much music I can play... it's mostly noise. I still can't decide if I should get this amp or save my $'s for a old Champ I played recently. I really liked its sound.

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    Specs on the amps

    JIMI JAMES,
    Although you did not directly ask...you sound on the fence....what are the model / specs of the champ?

    I demo'd the fen-derr Champ XD at the store planning to like it after all the reviews, and was I disappointed ? Yes. Perhaps these modelling amps just sound harsh, I wonder if we are better off with a nice amp to start, and pedal of our choice vesus integration into the amp.

  18. #18
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    It always amazes me when people want "clean" out of one of these little 5 watt, open ended, EL84 amps. There's virtually no overhead so not much clean. They can however be made to scream. The best thing I did to my VJ head was use a NOS RCA 12AX7. That's generally good advice for any tube amp. You want a great tube in V1. It also sounds much better through my 4x10 cab than a dinky single speaker no matter the price.

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    I'm definitely on the fence. I'm thinking of an old silverface Champ. I think I could get the one I was playing for $300. After adding in the cost of replacing the tubes ($25) and speaker ($50) in the Peavey, I'm wondering if I should save up and get the Champ, which I liked the sound of as is.

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    My two cents

    Well,
    Sounds pretty clean to me but I may not know what clean is, not sterile but more clean than I need., and unfortunaty as much as I do love Jazz I cant play any. So I always use my OD.

    Jimi,
    No NEED to replace the tubes and/or speaker in the Royal - the stock tubes and speaker are perfectly fine especially if you are just learning how to finger the fretboard. If I was on a strick budget, I would get the amp, and find the right PEDAL. period....

    A silver face champ for $300? If thats in good shape that might be a deal. Send me pics, maybe I'll have a go at it? Your best bet is to go to a store that has the PEAVY and have some one who plays well, and your kinda music, play through it whilst YOU tweak the settings and see if You like how it sounds.

    Just my two cents....
    Last edited by CSPRINGER; 10-18-2009 at 06:19 PM.

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    Well, I ended up picking up the Champ... Once I started noodling around on it, I couldn't pass it up. It is clean though not 100% original.

    Thanks for all the feedback and info on the Royal. I'm going to keep an eye out for one to hear how to sounds 'cause you never know...

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    Hello, I bought a Royal 8 fairly recently. I had a Celestion speaker knocking about so put it in without ever listening to the original speaker. The valves were both JJ Teslas, so i swopped the 12ax7 for a TungSol and the EL84 for a Mullard. Its now much punchier with a strong bass as the teslas were very neutral. I now love it.

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    Hello Mark!

    I'm very happy that i find a schematic of the Valveking Royal 8.
    I decided to build a tube amp, and chose this amp, but i dont know how to start with it.
    Could you help me in finding usable board layout of that amp, so that i could see how it looks like?
    Othervise i can only buy the parts but cant start with the project.
    Kind Regards!

    Kr.

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    I've attached a schematic to this post. Let me know if you can view it ok
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    This may not seem the most obvious way to go about things but I found it helpful. I've attached a schematic for the epiphone valve junior and a pdf that originally was intended to go with a mod kit. It tells you the function of various components in the circuit. You can compare them with the Royal8 schematic and make similar changes to that amp too
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    If your going to build one I would suggest you get 'alnicomagnet's modding CD of Ebay as it contains loads of pics and some very worth while mods that you could incorporate as you go. I think they cost about 10 or 12. (Mark H it also includes some voicing mods).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark h View Post
    This may not seem the most obvious way to go about things but I found it helpful. I've attached a schematic for the epiphone valve junior and a pdf that originally was intended to go with a mod kit. It tells you the function of various components in the circuit. You can compare them with the Royal8 schematic and make similar changes to that amp too
    Hello Mark!

    Thank you for the peavey Royal 8 schematic, and the other schematics as well. I have seved it to my computer.
    I went trough many of the components of the royal 8 amp schematic, and there are some components i cant find the values

    My main problem is the VR3, ( basicly all the VRSs have 1 MEG and 15A ) The VR3 is 1 MEG, and i cant see any other parameters, but a letter B or maybe it is a number 8?,... I dont know what is that parameter would be.
    Could you help me in that question, what VR3 Ampers are?

    Well i did a list of the Resistors and Capacitors.
    As i did the list, I noticed that the simply R3 doesn't exist, or they forget to use this Resistor number on the diagram.
    What do you think about that?

    And one other thing that i think is important.
    On the left bottom corner of the schematis, there are some hints they say:

    - All trough hole Resistors are 1/4 watt unless othervise indicated

    - All SMT 1206 Resistors are 1/4 watt

    - All SMT 0805 Resistors are 1/10 watt

    I supposewith that hint i should have figured out what the Resistors Wattage are, but i couldn't.
    What I have resistors wattage only those that were indicated on the schematic, and the left are missing.
    Could you help me in finding the remained resistor Wattage parameters:
    Here i give you a list of these Resisitors includes the missing parameters.



    R1.100 kΏ..

    R2.220 kΏ ..1w

    R3.?.........this is what whole R indication is missing on the layout?

    R4..47 kΏ1w

    R51 kΏ.

    R6..100 Ώ.

    R7..100 Ώ.1w

    R8..150 Ώ..5w

    R9..1 k Ώ......1w

    R10.1,5 kΏ

    R11.4,7 Ώ

    R12.22 kΏ.1w

    R13.47 kΏ

    R14.100 kΏ.1w

    R15..1 MΏ

    R16..22 kΏ

    R17.1 MΏ

    R18..47kΏ

    R19..? I think this Resisitor indication is also missing on the layout

    R20.330Ώ

    And The VR3 1 Meg without Amper parameter

    I'm sorry if i have so many questons, but a have no expreience in amp buliding yet. I'm sure many of my questions are pretty obvious for many of you.

    Kind Regards

    Kr.

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