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Newb needs help with tubes.

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  • #16
    People get fixated about tube brands, which era they're from, whether they're NOS (new old stock) or whatever mojo they want to attribute to them. There's a load of rubbish talked about tubes and tone on the internet that I don't subscribe to. The main thing is that in general unless they go microphonic or otherwise faulty, preamp tubes last for many years. My '61 Ampeg still has its original preamp tubes and it sounds fine just like it is. I don't replace preamp tubes for the sake of it, in search of some imaginary goal - I replace them when they're faulty. Maybe the gain is down due to low emission, maybe a tube has become microphonic. Otherwise they last pretty well. The concern with tube amps is the power tubes. They get a beating in modern amps and are often pushed to the limit of their specs. An old tube is like old strings and an amp can sound refreshed just for having a new set of correctly biased tubes. An old power tube can fail dramatically and cause damage, whereas a failed preamp tube is often just a nuisance.

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    • #17
      Joshua....

      Maybe these videos will answer some of your questions.

      Tube Amp Survival Guide #1

      Tube Amp Survival Guide #2

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Joshua M View Post
        So i have a used Randall RD45 that i bought which i need to buy tubes for.
        Do you know that it works? If so, how, if there are no preamp tubes in it?

        Originally posted by Joshua M View Post
        I might not actually have to replace those two power tubes now that you mention it, but from what i've read replacing those definitely improves the tone according to people who have used this amp and swapped out the tubes.
        Pay no attention to internet hype about changing tubes for tone. It's absolutely never a night and day difference between brands. Assuming the tubes are working correctly of course. Especially WRT an amp like that, where the preamp tubes will be doing virtually all of the clipping. The thing to remember is that few players are ever 100% satisfied with their tone and changing things gives them a security blanket that they've done what they can short of buying a different amp, which probably also wouldn't help. And, of course, many will spend the equivalent of another amp changing parts in their existing amp trying to find a tone that makes them happy. So they're ALWAYS super duper stoked about whatever they bought or did to their amp and ALWAYS hear a positive change whether it's there or not. Sometimes there's change, but it's so small as to be ignorable. And sometimes the change is only change, and not necessarily an improvement in every players subjective opinion. Soooo...

        Don't fall into this trap. Make sure the tubes you have are working properly and biased correctly and then play your guitar. That's the very best way to improve your tone. Most players on a quest to change up their gear are really looking for the magic tone that makes them sound like they PLAY better as apposed to sound better. JM2C on that. And...

        If you're going to do the work yourself then please search and read here and elsewhere about safety when working inside amplifiers. There aren't that many things you need to know though some of it may seem over your head before the first time you do it. Learn it anyway and be careful. You shouldn't feel threatened though. People work in amplifiers all the time. Just consider that flying in a plane has a relatively safe record, but you wouldn't want to suddenly find yourself at the yolk a mile high without having ever read the instructions
        Last edited by Chuck H; 11-27-2019, 03:06 PM.
        "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

        "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

        "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
          Do you know that it works? If so, how, if there are no preamp tubes in it?



          Pay no attention to internet hype about changing tubes for tone. It's absolutely never a night and day difference between brands. Assuming the tubes are working correctly of course. Especially WRT an amp like that, where the preamp tubes will be doing virtually all of the clipping. The thing to remember is that few players are ever 100% satisfied with their tone and changing things gives them a security blanket that they've done what they can short of buying a different amp, which probably also wouldn't help. And, of course, many will spend the equivalent of another amp changing parts in their existing amp trying to find a tone that makes them happy. So they're ALWAYS super duper stoked about whatever they bought or did to their amp and ALWAYS hear a positive change whether it's there or not. Sometimes there's change, but it's so small as to be ignorable. And sometimes the change is only change, and not necessarily an improvement in every players subjective opinion. Soooo...

          Don't fall into this trap. Make sure the tubes you have are working properly and biased correctly and then play your guitar. That's the very best way to improve your tone. Most players on a quest to change up their gear are really looking for the magic tone that makes them sound like they PLAY better as apposed to sound better. JM2C on that. And...

          If you're going to do the work yourself then please search and read here and elsewhere about safety when working inside amplifiers. There aren't that many things you need to know though some of it may seem over hour head before the first time you do it. Learn it anyway and be careful. You shouldn't feel threatened though. People work in amplifiers all the time. Just consider that flying in a plane has a relatively safe record, but you wouldn't want to suddenly find yourself at the yolk a mile high without having ever read the instructions
          This ! All of it !
          " Things change, not always for the better. " - Leo_Gnardo

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
            Do you know that it works? If so, how, if there are no preamp tubes in it?



            Pay no attention to internet hype about changing tubes for tone. It's absolutely never a night and day difference between brands. Assuming the tubes are working correctly of course. Especially WRT an amp like that, where the preamp tubes will be doing virtually all of the clipping. The thing to remember is that few players are ever 100% satisfied with their tone and changing things gives them a security blanket that they've done what they can short of buying a different amp, which probably also wouldn't help. And, of course, many will spend the equivalent of another amp changing parts in their existing amp trying to find a tone that makes them happy. So they're ALWAYS super duper stoked about whatever they bought or did to their amp and ALWAYS hear a positive change whether it's there or not. Sometimes there's change, but it's so small as to be ignorable. And sometimes the change is only change, and not necessarily an improvement in every players subjective opinion. Soooo...

            Don't fall into this trap. Make sure the tubes you have are working properly and biased correctly and then play your guitar. That's the very best way to improve your tone. Most players on a quest to change up their gear are really looking for the magic tone that makes them sound like they PLAY better as apposed to sound better. JM2C on that. And...

            If you're going to do the work yourself then please search and read here and elsewhere about safety when working inside amplifiers. There aren't that many things you need to know though some of it may seem over your head before the first time you do it. Learn it anyway and be careful. You shouldn't feel threatened though. People work in amplifiers all the time. Just consider that flying in a plane has a relatively safe record, but you wouldn't want to suddenly find yourself at the yolk a mile high without having ever read the instructions

            I'll trust everyone's wisdom here and treat amp tubes like guitar strings and only replace them if they're broken or really old and i actually have not turned the amp on yet due to not having a speaker to connect it to which i'm currently working on(i've made my own 1x12 speaker box) so i don't actually know if the tubes are working properly AND i also was assuming that it didn't have preamp tubes because the metal caps over them until yesterday that i took them off and revealed what i did not know

            Originally posted by TomCarlos View Post
            Joshua....

            Maybe these videos will answer some of your questions.

            Tube Amp Survival Guide #1

            Tube Amp Survival Guide #2
            These videos were helpful, thanks! it was what prompted me to take off the caps from the preamp tubes and find them hiding lol.

            ---I have a question regarding the 1/4" speaker cable plug which i hope i can get answered here instead of have to make another thread?? The positive and negative sides that connect to the speaker i have attached a pair of disconnects--as for the other end, do i have to solder them onto the plug terminals? i've noticed that i could also just use a pair of disconnects on the terminals of the plug. And which wire goes onto which terminal(one is shorter than the other)?

            https://imgur.com/a/VnR4dtl
            Last edited by Joshua M; 11-28-2019, 06:30 AM.

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            • #21
              Nothing wrong with crimp connectors, I use them all the time.

              That said, I generally prefer to solder wires to my jacks in cabs simply because any vibration will not knock them loose.
              Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Enzo View Post
                Nothing wrong with crimp connectors, I use them all the time.

                That said, I generally prefer to solder wires to my jacks in cabs simply because any vibration will not knock them loose.
                Enzo, I have used crimp connectors for many years, until... The other guitarist in my band had a poor connector that eventually failed at a gig, and the single speaker in his amp became disconnected right in the middle of a roaring rock song. Fortunately, no damage was done to the output transformer because he stopped playing fairly quickly, but I realized at that point that an good, and I underscore the word "good" and correctly executed solder connection would minimize such a connection failure.

                Since then I only solder all my speaker leads. Cheap insurance, and if you solder correctly, an extra 5 minutes at most for a single speaker. Not trying to disparage the use of crimp connectors, just saying there is a slight chance of a type of failure that is less apt to happen with a properly wire wrapped and soldered connection.
                Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 11-28-2019, 08:27 AM.
                " Things change, not always for the better. " - Leo_Gnardo

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                • #23
                  On your speaker jack, the shorter lug would be (-) and go to the negative speaker terminal.
                  "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey

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                  • #24
                    Harold, your point is taken, but there is no connection of any kind that cannot fail. Threads here are endless with failed solder connections. But literally millions of speakers have push on crimped connectors in our speaker cabs and combos, and they work reliably and well. Certainly nothing wrong with solder, I prefer it, but crimps are not something to mistrust, at least in my opinion.
                    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Enzo View Post
                      Harold, your point is taken, but there is no connection of any kind that cannot fail. Threads here are endless with failed solder connections. But literally millions of speakers have push on crimped connectors in our speaker cabs and combos, and they work reliably and well. Certainly nothing wrong with solder, I prefer it, but crimps are not something to mistrust, at least in my opinion.
                      Ok, I see your point. I believe it also has to do with the way you dress the crimp connection, if at all, and if corrosion on the metal to metal surfaces gets hold of it because of touching the surfaces of the connection, and exposure to the air and oxidation directly over time.

                      I realize solder joints can fail, but I have a feeling (based on some observation) if you wrap the wire around a cleaned post with a few turns tightly, and cover the whole affair with solder at the right temperature, the connection becomes a high surface area contact that is encased after a fashion, and only the outside of the "Blob" is exposed direclty to the air, hence the potential for longevity. That's why I've see a fair amount of connections from the 1940's amps that are still solid, because they were done right.

                      But you have to go with the actual stats as you know them, and if you see very little issues with crimp connections, then I will defer to your larger experience and judgment. Nothing like seeing a lot of amps to determine the reality of what fails and does not, and for that I might still be lacking.
                      " Things change, not always for the better. " - Leo_Gnardo

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                      • #26
                        For what it is worth, and just my opinion, but I think most solder joints fail from vibration or thermal expansion, rather than oxidation on the surface.
                        Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Aside from the reliability factor, it drives me nuts when a manufacturer of a combo amp has the amp end of the speaker lead hardwired and also soldered to the speaker. This is when I want to see spade connectors at the speaker end. I don't want to have to unsolder at the speaker just to pull a chassis.
                          If you have a connector at the amp end, then I agree with soldering at the speaker end.
                          "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            yes, I like that better than the way I tried to say it.
                            Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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