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View Full Version : Old Ultra Lead vs. New Ultra Lead. Please help



maddn0tez
08-26-2014, 03:23 PM
I put a deposit down on a used UL today from GC used site.

The price was so insanely low I called the minute I saw it.

The ad was so new they didn't even have the pics up. The guy was kind enough to text me pics after I paid the DP.

To my dismay. It's the older model. I didn't even know these existed.

I notice the 6l6/KT88 switch and also I notice there's no EQ, nowhere to plug in a Footswitch and it looks like 2 channels.

Wtf. Bad bad bad.

Can someone please list all of the differences between the 2 models? Advantages and disadvantages?

I'm thinking about canceling now and just buying a D120 instead.

The only reason I was getting this UL was because of the very low price.

Kelly
08-26-2014, 07:00 PM
Props to NoGodsNoMasters for this info:

The "One Hundred" was the predecessor of the UL. Basically configured from the pre of the Classic head, 3 channels, and one output side of the 2150, thus two power tubes, using an output transformer from a 2150.

Tube config was:

Preamp, 1 Sovtek 12AX7WB, 3 Chinese 12AX7A.
Power amp, 1 Chinese 12AX7A, 1 Chinese 12AU7.
Power tubes: 98 wattss

Svetlana began having troubles and we only had Chinese KT88 to fall back on which didn't hold up well so we went to 4 power tubes and a modified output transformer to run 4 tubes.

This wasn't intended to be a massive gain amp, although a lot by the standards of the time. As things progressed we responded to requests for more gain and power amp saturation. We tried making the driver tube (12AU7) interchangeable to help tweak power amp distortion, but ultimately it created as many problems as it solved so that idea was scrapped in favor of a softer sounding driver stage. The new tube config was:

Preamp, 1 Sovtek 12AX7WB, 3 Chinese 12AX7A.
Power amp, 1 Chinese 12AX7A,
Power Tubes: 4 Chinese KT88.
Output power: 105 watts.

This was met by our beloved clan with either great enthusiasm or extreme anger. If you were in a band and wanted one just like the other guitarists, you either appreciated the difference and it worked well for the overall sound of the band, or you were pissed because yours was not as aggressive.

After a year of this, the UL went back to tow tubes in the drive/phase inverter stage, but with a difference. A new driver design using a 12AT7 in place of the 12AU7 for the driver. The idea being to restore the tightness and aggressive UL trademark but retain some of the fatness of the 12AX7 only style. By then the Sovtek KT88 became available and that became what is still the standard tube for the UL: New Tube config:

Preamp, 1 Sovtek 12AX7WB, 3 Chinese 12AX7A.
Power amp, 1 Chinese 12AX7A, 1 Chinese 12AT7.
Power Tubes: 4 Sovtek KT88.
Output power: 120 watts.

For those who liked the softer more saturated power amp quality of the 5 tube UL and wanted even more, the Classic head was redesigned using the 5 tube preamp config and renamed the CLX at the request of Mr. Hartley Peavey who owns the trademark for the use of Classic on guitar amplifiers. New CLX tube config:

Preamp, 1 Sovtek 12AX7WB, 3 Chinese 12AX7A.
Power amp, 1 Chinese 12AX7A
Power Tubes: 4 Svetlana EL34s.
Output power: 110 watts

Keep in mind that at the time all of this was going on, tube supplies were very erratic and unstable. The Tesla factory got bombed, or so they say, new 6550 designs were all over place in terms of quality and reliability, and we were constantly having to shift gears in order to maintain a performance level that depnded ontop quality tubes.

Obviously the tube scene has settled down and has been stable for quite a while now. As a result, there have been no major changes in the UL or CLX power plants since mid 97.
Last edited by support; 03-17-2011 at 05:53 PM.

metalhobo
08-26-2014, 09:58 PM
Can you post the pictures?

maddn0tez
08-26-2014, 11:28 PM
Can you post the pictures?

This is all I could get. It's not in my possession yet. Ships out on the 6th.

I'm assuming it's this version:

Preamp, 1 Sovtek 12AX7WB, 3 Chinese 12AX7A.
Power amp, 1 Chinese 12AX7A, 1 Chinese 12AT7.
Power Tubes: 4 Sovtek KT88.
Output power: 120 watts.



Things I notice:

The tubes are labeled. Rather suggested as to which tubes to use. It's so blurry I can't make it out.

Obviously under the power tubes it says KT88 with 6l6 under it and there are 4. All the way to the right I can clearly see there are 5 preamp tube labels.

What I can't read and what is at question is what does the other one say? Is that the 6th pre tube or something else? I marked a pink little mark in the pic so you can see what I mean.

Poweramp tubes look centered instead of being offset to the left (makes me assume there's no way to fit 6 other tubes back there)

Two clearly visible "pre amp" tubes or 12ax7 "sized" tubes next to power tubes (makes me scratch my head. Do both the 5 tube and 6 tube UL's have those two 12ax7 there?)

No eq

Footswitch is not multipin

Power amp mode looks different, maybe missing 1 out of the 3 buttons (mute, class switch, and the empty 3rd slot?)

Big huge text on the VHT sticker on the back

Dirty as all hell and needs a cleaning

Prescence and Reso on front of amp \m/

guitar-bob
08-27-2014, 03:40 PM
That looks exactly like the one my buddy has.
It started my (then) VHT quest for tone.
The one that he has, freekin' rocks and sounds and plays killer. I don't think you will miss the EQ.

maddn0tez
08-27-2014, 05:35 PM
That looks exactly like the one my buddy has.
It started my (then) VHT quest for tone.
The one that he has, freekin' rocks and sounds and plays killer. I don't think you will miss the EQ.


Always good to hear.

Do you know what tubes he's running?

Regarding the eq, it's more of an eye candy, I have all the bells and whistles thing to me.

I never used the eq on my 100cl, maybe a few times to test it out but it didn't need it IMO.

I found this post by Mike Fortin which also put a smile on my face. The only thing that bugs me is not knowing exactly which version I'm getting and what it does have/doesn't have and any differences.



"I still own my first VHT UL that I bought directly from Stevie back in '97. I know that there have been a few board revisions but that's no biggie. I did ended up buying a backup VHT UL in 2000 when I was gigging a lot and it sounded very much like my '97, very consistent. The only variation I came across was my buddy Terry Syrek's VHT UL. It's an older UL with the plastic engraved VHT logo, the later ones have metal logos. I did retube Terry's a couple times, the plate voltage was much higher than in my ULs and it sounded different, in a good way It also did not have the graphic EQ. When I order mine, the graphic EQ was an option. I'm not sure if that is the case anymore. I also owned a CLX which was an awesome sounding amp as well.

You should call VHT directly and ask to speak with Stevie. He's a very cool guy and takes the time to chat

Cheers,
Mike"

So who knows. When It is arrives I'll post better pics.

HopkinWFG
08-28-2014, 12:36 PM
wow ! an old UL indeed but just to make sure you got that 12au7 in your UL... basically 6 preamp tubes .. or getta one hundred which is rare as hell... ;)

maddn0tez
08-28-2014, 05:24 PM
wow ! an old UL indeed but just to make sure you got that 12au7 in your UL... basically 6 preamp tubes .. or getta one hundred which is rare as hell... ;)

I'm sorry, not quite understanding what you are saying.

I had a lot of confusion using the "history of the UL" post below.

Because if I'm reading that right, the only version with the 12AU7 is the One Hundred.

While I know the name plates can be switched the sticker on the back of mine definitely says Ultra Lead.

That PLUS the 100 had only 2 power tubes, not 4 according to that post.

I get the amp in a week and hope to sort this out but IF in fact my amp has a 12au7 and 4 power tubes then technically, according to the "history if the UL" my amp doesn't even exist.

I exchanged a few emails with support and while I did appreciate the replies the most important, narrowed down info I got was:

"we modified a few One Hundreds to run 4 tubes"

That's fine and everything but the stickler in me wants to know exactly what I just paid for, what's it worth? Ect. Maybe the rareness makes this worth more, maybe it's the "less aggressive output driver" version.

I just don't know lol but I will report back with good pics and details as soon as she arrives.

HopkinWFG
08-29-2014, 04:29 AM
I'm sorry, not quite understanding what you are saying.

I had a lot of confusion using the "history of the UL" post below.

Because if I'm reading that right, the only version with the 12AU7 is the One Hundred.

While I know the name plates can be switched the sticker on the back of mine definitely says Ultra Lead.

That PLUS the 100 had only 2 power tubes, not 4 according to that post.

I get the amp in a week and hope to sort this out but IF in fact my amp has a 12au7 and 4 power tubes then technically, according to the "history if the UL" my amp doesn't even exist.

I exchanged a few emails with support and while I did appreciate the replies the most important, narrowed down info I got was:

"we modified a few One Hundreds to run 4 tubes"

That's fine and everything but the stickler in me wants to know exactly what I just paid for, what's it worth? Ect. Maybe the rareness makes this worth more, maybe it's the "less aggressive output driver" version.

I just don't know lol but I will report back with good pics and details as soon as she arrives.

Well so sorry my bad the 12au7 was for the "Classic" lol... but the 12AT7 is for the UL

yup i saw someone posted for sale on a "one hundred" with four KT88s and another "one hundred" with two KT88.. it coincide with what the Fryette guys have said..

the "One hundred" is a rare amp and also together the "Classic"... i think yours is a good grab if its the older UL with the 12AT7 and best of both world you can choose to have it with 6l6 or kt88 flavour ... you can then look at revamping that amp give it a good clean look and restore the look of that old beast.

if your not keeping it lol do drop me an email ;)

have managed to steal the still available pics from SS org ;)

maddn0tez
08-29-2014, 07:39 AM
Well so sorry my bad the 12au7 was for the "Classic" lol... but the 12AT7 is for the UL

yup i saw someone posted for sale on a "one hundred" with four KT88s and another "one hundred" with two KT88.. it coincide with what the Fryette guys have said..

the "One hundred" is a rare amp and also together the "Classic"... i think yours is a good grab if its the older UL with the 12AT7 and best of both world you can choose to have it with 6l6 or kt88 flavour ... you can then look at revamping that amp give it a good clean look and restore the look of that old beast.

if your not keeping it lol do drop me an email ;)

have managed to steal the still available pics from SS org ;)


Hey thanks for the pics. From what I can see without having it in front of me, that's my amp. The only differences are the 4 power tubes, the sticker on the back says Ultra Lead as well as the badge in front.

Can't say if I'm keeping it or not. It's loaded with 6l6 and I have some KT88 on the way and need to play with it for a while but if I do decide to sell, you got 1st dibs.

Thanks again for your help with the pics and question.


If you or anyone else has any more info to add please do. I'll get some pics up in about a week or so.

HopkinWFG
08-29-2014, 09:29 AM
Hey thanks for the pics. From what I can see without having it in front of me, that's my amp. The only differences are the 4 power tubes, the sticker on the back says Ultra Lead as well as the badge in front.

Can't say if I'm keeping it or not. It's loaded with 6l6 and I have some KT88 on the way and need to play with it for a while but if I do decide to sell, you got 1st dibs.

Thanks again for your help with the pics and question.


If you or anyone else has any more info to add please do. I'll get some pics up in about a week or so.

oh... no problem ! i always been looking for a UL but since you got it spend good time with it and am sure you be amazed by it... think you appreciate it with the KT88 more as if not wrong Steve then scrape the 6l6 options since the tone is so much better with kt88... no idea too... never play one... not an amp guru either

FatCrunch
08-31-2014, 06:38 AM
I put a deposit down on a used UL today from GC used site.

The price was so insanely low I called the minute I saw it.

The ad was so new they didn't even have the pics up. The guy was kind enough to text me pics after I paid the DP.

To my dismay. It's the older model. I didn't even know these existed.

I notice the 6l6/KT88 switch and also I notice there's no EQ, nowhere to plug in a Footswitch and it looks like 2 channels.

Wtf. Bad bad bad.

Can someone please list all of the differences between the 2 models? Advantages and disadvantages?

I'm thinking about canceling now and just buying a D120 instead.

The only reason I was getting this UL was because of the very low price.


Hey
I've got the old y2000 Pittbull UL, its awesome for all i can say. It's a 3 channel beast having the rhythm and lead channel shared eq. In my opinion is more versatile than the new one and i think way more brootal because of the Voicing switch, which the new ones don't have. With that switch you actually have 2 different amp, one more darker and vintage sounding and the other is more modern. My has the 6l6 switch as well, but haven tried them so far. Everything you say its right there as is should be.
It has a midi footswitch tho. It's a bit different that the new UL but i would change it for one, what i'll sell is the standard fat bottom 4x12 cab, the old VHT one and buy the new fat bottom.

What i can say about the price is that this amp is a total love or hate thing, so some people think its crap and sell it for a very low price, at least this was the reason here in EU many times in my experience.

EDIT:Forgot to mention, mine is actually Pittbull Ultralead, with 4 kt88's, 6 preamp tubes one beeing the 12at7.

HopkinWFG
08-31-2014, 11:06 AM
Oh? damn ! looks like i have to hunt for one of those with the switch behind hehe... is that the Dual Class/Class AB switch? the pentode/triode switch?

mind post a pic of your front and back panel ? :)


Hey
I've got the old y2000 Pittbull UL, its awesome for all i can say. It's a 3 channel beast having the rhythm and lead channel shared eq. In my opinion is more versatile than the new one and i think way more brootal because of the Voicing switch, which the new ones don't have. With that switch you actually have 2 different amp, one more darker and vintage sounding and the other is more modern. My has the 6l6 switch as well, but haven tried them so far. Everything you say its right there as is should be.
It has a midi footswitch tho. It's a bit different that the new UL but i would change it for one, what i'll sell is the standard fat bottom 4x12 cab, the old VHT one and buy the new fat bottom.

What i can say about the price is that this amp is a total love or hate thing, so some people think its crap and sell it for a very low price, at least this was the reason here in EU many times in my experience.

EDIT:Forgot to mention, mine is actually Pittbull Ultralead, with 4 kt88's, 6 preamp tubes one beeing the 12at7.

FatCrunch
08-31-2014, 01:46 PM
Oh? damn ! looks like i have to hunt for one of those with the switch behind hehe... is that the Dual Class/Class AB switch? the pentode/triode switch?

mind post a pic of your front and back panel ? :)

ha, a mighty fine question, i dont know :P i will put a photo up tomorrow when i get back from studio. But say again, which switch exactly, the voicing switch ? The voicing switch is in front.
At the moment im struggling biasing the thing, i've read somewhere that old UL's had higher plate voltage to around of 550 the other weird thing is that my amp only sound good when i get to about 65mA per tube, so i need to measure my plate voltage tomorrow as im quite confused.

HopkinWFG
09-01-2014, 08:23 AM
ha, a mighty fine question, i dont know :P i will put a photo up tomorrow when i get back from studio. But say again, which switch exactly, the voicing switch ? The voicing switch is in front.
At the moment im struggling biasing the thing, i've read somewhere that old UL's had higher plate voltage to around of 550 the other weird thing is that my amp only sound good when i get to about 65mA per tube, so i need to measure my plate voltage tomorrow as im quite confused.

oh that voicing button on the front panel at the master section huh... lol i thought that pentode/triode switch will also affect the voicing... but i guess for the UL voicing button is replaced by the graphic EQ ? maybe you could fine shape it more with the graphic EQ..like for my 50CL i didnt even use it ...

maddn0tez
09-01-2014, 06:56 PM
Hey
I've got the old y2000 Pittbull UL, its awesome for all i can say. It's a 3 channel beast having the rhythm and lead channel shared eq. In my opinion is more versatile than the new one and i think way more brootal because of the Voicing switch, which the new ones don't have. With that switch you actually have 2 different amp, one more darker and vintage sounding and the other is more modern. My has the 6l6 switch as well, but haven tried them so far. Everything you say its right there as is should be.
It has a midi footswitch tho. It's a bit different that the new UL but i would change it for one, what i'll sell is the standard fat bottom 4x12 cab, the old VHT one and buy the new fat bottom.

What i can say about the price is that this amp is a total love or hate thing, so some people think its crap and sell it for a very low price, at least this was the reason here in EU many times in my experience.

EDIT:Forgot to mention, mine is actually Pittbull Ultralead, with 4 kt88's, 6 preamp tubes one beeing the 12at7.


Hey thanks. Mine I believe is a 1994 and has the 12AU7. Still don't have the amp yet, will next week and can confirm everything.

I saw your Bias thread and I'm in the same boat. I'm tired of paying someone to bias. Was going to get a Bias probe from Eurotubes. It measures plate voltage too and that would make me feel safer than messing around too much inside the amp.

I'm also having a headache about the 12au7. I'm trying to find a source that lists ALL replacement tubes for the 12ax7 and the 12au7. Please post if you know any.

I'm gonna try it stock but I fear the 12au7 having a "softer" drive stage and that tube has much less gain than others might not give me as crushing tone as I want.

So what if you or I put in a 12ax7 in place of the 12at7 or 12au7? Would that be dangerous? Has different heater voltage and plate dissipation.

I might make a seperate thread on that once I have the amp.

FatCrunch
09-01-2014, 07:43 PM
Hey thanks. Mine I believe is a 1994 and has the 12AU7. Still don't have the amp yet, will next week and can confirm everything.

I saw your Bias thread and I'm in the same boat. I'm tired of paying someone to bias. Was going to get a Bias probe from Eurotubes. It measures plate voltage too and that would make me feel safer than messing around too much inside the amp.

I'm also having a headache about the 12au7. I'm trying to find a source that lists ALL replacement tubes for the 12ax7 and the 12au7. Please post if you know any.

I'm gonna try it stock but I fear the 12au7 having a "softer" drive stage and that tube has much less gain than others might not give me as crushing tone as I want.

So what if you or I put in a 12ax7 in place of the 12at7 or 12au7? Would that be dangerous? Has different heater voltage and plate dissipation.

I might make a seperate thread on that once I have the amp.

Hey man, really glad for your reply.
Yes, i sort of figured out how to do it from different sources on the interwebs, one of the techs i know confirmed my method as he biased my amp before, i would just like to know what people here think of it.

I buy tubes here :
http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/en/
and i think you can find an 12au7. I would not recommended putting a 12ax7 in its place because of its higher gain, it actually might damage your power section and deliver some very unpleasant overtones. if you cant find the 12au7 tube anywhere i think putting a JAN 5751 might do the trick, check lower links to make sure... its a very good and affordable tube but im not sure if you can sub it for an 12au7. If you need them i bought an EGNATER ie4 and it had 7 of these in which are not up to spec for this preamp so i'm putting 12ax in, if you find out they are good for you i can send them to you only for shipping costs (just saying). Not sure why you would want a replacement tube for 12ax7 cos there's plenty if you've meant 12at7 ther's plenty to be had as well everywhere on online shops. My friend has some old NOS tubes, some used as well, i can ask if he's got any 12au7's ?

Check these links you might find something you need:
http://www.nostalgiaair.org/Tubes/
https://www.tubeworld.com/12au7.htm

FatCrunch
09-01-2014, 07:56 PM
actually you have a lot of au7's here:

http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/catalog.php?product_search=12au7

I would recommend you to actually learn what you are doing and what and why you are measuring something instead of using a homemade bias probe from Eurotubes that is known for misinforming people. Like Steve said with these tools you'll never get an actual reading not even with a multimeter, so IMO its better to buy a pro grade multimeter and measure stuff for yourself if you really intend to do this for yourself, at least you'll learn what you're doing and its not that more dangerous from using probes, you still need to poke in the PCB to turn the bias up/down. When ill figure everything or maybe only confirm it, ill make a video about everything i learned, cos so far i haven't seen one that would give me even closely to what i need to know to bias an amp this way and its really not much we're all asking for :)

maddn0tez
09-01-2014, 08:08 PM
Hey man, really glad for your reply.
Yes, i sort of figured out how to do it from different sources on the interwebs, one of the techs i know confirmed my method as he biased my amp before, i would just like to know what people here think of it.

I buy tubes here :
http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/en/
and i think you can find an 12au7. I would not recommended putting a 12ax7 in its place because of its higher gain, it actually might damage your power section and deliver some very unpleasant overtones. if you cant find the 12au7 tube anywhere i think putting a JAN 5751 might do the trick, check lower links to make sure... its a very good and affordable tube but im not sure if you can sub it for an 12au7. If you need them i bought an EGNATER ie4 and it had 7 of these in which are not up to spec for this preamp so i'm putting 12ax in, if you find out they are good for you i can send them to you only for shipping costs (just saying). Not sure why you would want a replacement tube for 12ax7 cos there's plenty if you've meant 12at7 ther's plenty to be had as well everywhere on online shops. My friend has some old NOS tubes, some used as well, i can ask if he's got any 12au7's ?

Check these links you might find something you need:
http://www.nostalgiaair.org/Tubes/
https://www.tubeworld.com/12au7.htm

Thanks and that's the kind of info I was looking for. Probably shouldn't put a 12ax7 in a 12au7 driver slot lol.

But I wouldn't know if I don't ask. I just like to experiment and like to know what I'm doing. I could just use the standard 12ax7 but if there's other replacements then why not try them. Just gives me more options and tweakability.

The link you sent to nostalgia, I've seen that and it lists these as 12ax7 replacements:

12BZ7*, 12AX7WA, 12DF7, 12DT7, 7025, 7025A, 12AD7*, 12AX7a, 12AU7A, 7729, 12DM7*, 5751*, 5751WA*, 6057, 6681, 7494, 12AU7

* means parallel filament
means may not work in all circuits

I have no idea what parallel filaments are so I'll never know if I can use them or not.

I guess I need to call Fryette when my amp arrives and see what they say. I just figured they can only tell me what the recommended tubes are.

stephen sawall
09-01-2014, 09:51 PM
Never put tubes in a amp that it was not designed For..... Some amps can use various tubes. Most can not.

maddn0tez
09-01-2014, 10:36 PM
Never put tubes in a amp that it was not designed For..... Some amps can use various tubes. Most can not.

I'm just talking 12ax7 replacements.

Some are identical with only "low noise" in mind or low microphonics.

I understand what the other guy stated about not using a 12ax7 for the 12au7 driver stage. But I don't see why I couldn't try a few other options for the standard 12ax7 slots.

I know they're not "recommended" per se but I also know that the recommendations go as far as even a different brand of the same tube so I know it's possible to at least use a different brand than recommended and I have done that and had better to my ears results.

My problem is the technical info with the other "variants" when it comes to things like heater voltage and plate dissipation.

stephen sawall
09-02-2014, 01:51 AM
If it is a other variation of the tube it is fine .... But ax, at & au is not interchangeable in all amps.

You might find this interesting.... This is all the recommended 12ax7 types, etc....
http://www.fryette-users.com/forums/showthread.php?3996-Tube-swapping-in-Fryette-amp-designs&highlight=5751

FatCrunch
09-02-2014, 03:48 AM
Thanks and that's the kind of info I was looking for. Probably shouldn't put a 12ax7 in a 12au7 driver slot lol.

But I wouldn't know if I don't ask. I just like to experiment and like to know what I'm doing. I could just use the standard 12ax7 but if there's other replacements then why not try them. Just gives me more options and tweakability.

The link you sent to nostalgia, I've seen that and it lists these as 12ax7 replacements:

12BZ7*, 12AX7WA, 12DF7, 12DT7, 7025, 7025A, 12AD7*, 12AX7a, 12AU7A, 7729, 12DM7*, 5751*, 5751WA*, 6057, 6681, 7494, 12AU7

* means parallel filament
means may not work in all circuits

I have no idea what parallel filaments are so I'll never know if I can use them or not.

I guess I need to call Fryette when my amp arrives and see what they say. I just figured they can only tell me what the recommended tubes are.



I still don't understand why would you want to sub all those tubes ? I just though at first that its impossible to get an 12au7 nowadays, but it seems its loaded everywhere :)

FatCrunch
09-02-2014, 03:53 AM
Thanks and that's the kind of info I was looking for. Probably shouldn't put a 12ax7 in a 12au7 driver slot lol.

But I wouldn't know if I don't ask. I just like to experiment and like to know what I'm doing. I could just use the standard 12ax7 but if there's other replacements then why not try them. Just gives me more options and tweakability.

The link you sent to nostalgia, I've seen that and it lists these as 12ax7 replacements:

12BZ7*, 12AX7WA, 12DF7, 12DT7, 7025, 7025A, 12AD7*, 12AX7a, 12AU7A, 7729, 12DM7*, 5751*, 5751WA*, 6057, 6681, 7494, 12AU7

* means parallel filament
means may not work in all circuits

I have no idea what parallel filaments are so I'll never know if I can use them or not.

I guess I need to call Fryette when my amp arrives and see what they say. I just figured they can only tell me what the recommended tubes are.



I still don't understand why would you want to sub all those tubes ? I just though at first that its impossible to get an 12au7 nowadays, but it seems its loaded everywhere :)

EDIT: sorry, now i get it, i didn't understand you well enough before. You just want to try different BRANDS of tubes etc. well that's perfectly fine, but i have to tell you that you cant get any better onthe preamp that with stock tubes or the recommended ones, all i found out that the Tung-Sol works good in phase invert stage sometimes. With power tubes its a different story in my experience, i'v eput in Genalex Gold Lion (new production) and work perfectly fine, actually really good, where in the preamp section nothing else sounds as good as the stock option !

alaskaehlers
09-02-2014, 04:16 AM
If your looking for a new or to sub a 12AU7. I would recommend a 5814A, or a 6189. These are military/industrial grade 12AU7's and will last a very long time along with sounding great. I would recommend RCA, Raytheon, GE black plates, or early grey plates(50's-early 60's) These can be found for around $20 or less N.O.S. if looking in the right place.

maddn0tez
09-02-2014, 07:55 AM
Wow thanks for all the replies.

Sawall thanks for that link and to Fatcrunch.

You were right the first time. I was looking to try different variations that are compatible with 12ax7 and not just different brands.

After more research I see Sawall was right. I'll stick with 12ax7 or direct replacements like mil spec or other direct replacements.

My favorite quote from that link I have personally experienced:

"If you want to try different brands, you are certainly encouraged to do so, and I think you will find that while you make like the result at first, you may find that subtle changes in performance may affect your perception of overall performance down the road."

This is EXACTLY what happened with the p50e when I was speaker testing.

Sure he was talking tubes but it's the same logic and am glad you posted that link.

Thanks and I'm looking fwd to my NGD

stephen sawall
09-02-2014, 11:31 AM
If I wanted tubes for one of my Fryette amps I would buy them directly from Fryette. The price is going to be about the same and who knows these amps better than them ?
I would supply all the information about the amp including the serial number.

I would also mention what other gear I am using & what type of music I play most.
A other thing to consider is what volume you usually play at.....in general most people that play at very low volumes often like the bias set a little bit higher. If you are usually playing at drum set volumes then set it at the recommended value.

V1 is the tube that is going to change the feel & sound the most. That is the only tube I mess around with in most amps.

If I bought any Fryette amp used regardless of age I would consider sending the amp to Fryette and have them update and do all maintenance. It is worth It to me to have them do it right the first time.

Some people might consider this overkill..... I do not. It would be worth it to me to know the amp is all it is suppose to be.

I did not send in my D120 when I bought it. But it still has the stock tubes from when it was new & sounds great.
When it is time to change the tubes I will be sending the amp to Fryette to do all updates, replace tubes and install effects loop.

It is a good idea to get advise from several people.....but when It comes to Fryette amps I take their advise first. This is based on my experience. They might not tell you what you want to hear.....but it will be honest good advise.

stephen sawall
09-02-2014, 11:48 AM
If you find the amp is not aggressive enough for you.... Try a clean boost in front. I tried a lot of other methods with various amps. This seemed to work best with most of them for me.
If I put my Fryette SAS in front of my amps with the gain set very low / almost off and use it as a boost.....It can produce the most aggressive sounds I have heard short of some fuzz sounds. But keeps the big sound, dynamics and articulation.

maddn0tez
09-02-2014, 12:52 PM
actually you have a lot of au7's here:

http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/catalog.php?product_search=12au7

I would recommend you to actually learn what you are doing and what and why you are measuring something instead of using a homemade bias probe from Eurotubes that is known for misinforming people. Like Steve said with these tools you'll never get an actual reading not even with a multimeter, so IMO its better to buy a pro grade multimeter and measure stuff for yourself if you really intend to do this for yourself, at least you'll learn what you're doing and its not that more dangerous from using probes, you still need to poke in the PCB to turn the bias up/down. When ill figure everything or maybe only confirm it, ill make a video about everything i learned, cos so far i haven't seen one that would give me even closely to what i need to know to bias an amp this way and its really not much we're all asking for :)

In regards to this Bias info, what Stephen Sawall said about buying tubes from Fryette and what Fryette states on the support page I have one final thought an question.

I'm not qualified enough to bias, maybe "in ballpark" I honestly believe most techs wouldn't be qualified for this amp either.

Will fryette do the bias as well? And if so isn't it very unsafe to ship an amp with tubes loaded in it? Or could they maybe bias, unload and mark tubes and then ship?

stephen sawall
09-02-2014, 01:58 PM
I sent Sig X in a few years ago for updates.... They contacted me with some options. I told them do everything they felt was needed.

They put in new powertubes and did the bias among other things. The price was very reasonable for what work was done. I would discuss the price & options before sending it. They found a few other small things & it cost a little more......but feel it was for me the best thing to do. Obviously I am more than happy with my Fryette gear....

You might want to ship it with no tubes and have all fresh put in.... Keep the ones you have as spares and for emergencys....

You would need to ask them about shipping tubes separate.

It cost me about $60 round trip for shipping from Seattle. More than worth it for me personally .

FatCrunch
09-02-2014, 03:37 PM
In regards to this Bias info, what Stephen Sawall said about buying tubes from Fryette and what Fryette states on the support page I have one final thought an question.

I'm not qualified enough to bias, maybe "in ballpark" I honestly believe most techs wouldn't be qualified for this amp either.

Will fryette do the bias as well? And if so isn't it very unsafe to ship an amp with tubes loaded in it? Or could they maybe bias, unload and mark tubes and then ship?

It all depends what will be the deal with you and Fryette, but if you say general inspections and repair its from toes to hair (bias, tube swap and other measurements to see if everything is ok), and yes, i think it best you leave the tubes out and say that he ships it outside the amp, wrapped in something soft and in a box separately like SEWAL said, i would recommend this even if you have tube retainers.

Sure, i'm not qualified for this amp at all, so what i did was measure it as close as i can with the tools i have and fine tune it by ear meaning plus/minus 10mA at the mute switch... so now i landed at 255mA everything above showing not as much difference in sound as it does bellow 250mA where the sound is getting slowly muddy and sluggish, the lowest playable setting for me being 235mA.

I'm glad my info was of any help to you, anytime !

As for the preamp tubes, some people find subtle difference in other brands i find it mayor and sometimes unplayable for my specific taste :) Try it for yourself and see for yourself, maybe you'll discover something very cool or stick with the stock option like i do I only use the tung-sol on v1 now that i have Genalex gold lions on power section,with Sovtek's i liked the tung-sol on phase invert position, so you get the idea? If you change one tube the previous one you changed might not sound as good as before or vice versa.