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Thread: Ultra Lead: KT88's vs 6L6's

  1. #1
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    Default Ultra Lead: KT88's vs 6L6's

    Hey all!

    New UL owner here. Just wondering if someone could describe the difference between using KT88's and 6L6's in the Ultra Lead. Mine's currently stocked with KT88's. I find the amp to have characteristics of a solid state amp...smooth, almost too smooth. I'm not sure if this is a general characteristic of the amp itself or something the KT88's are doing. I'm coming from using a hand wired Dual Red and I'll tell ya I miss the bite of that amp.

    Thanks in advance.

    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by phrygian View Post
    Hey all!

    New UL owner here. Just wondering if someone could describe the difference between using KT88's and 6L6's in the Ultra Lead. Mine's currently stocked with KT88's. I find the amp to have characteristics of a solid state amp...smooth, almost too smooth. I'm not sure if this is a general characteristic of the amp itself or something the KT88's are doing. I'm coming from using a hand wired Dual Red and I'll tell ya I miss the bite of that amp.

    Thanks in advance.

    Matt
    My siggy is the same way. Even with KT88s rated for "early distortion" your cab is will blow your head off before they realllly distort. Headroom for days . It's my understanding that is on purpose because it's really about preamp gain not poweramp distortion, like, say, a JCM800.

    Guys?

  3. #3

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    And believe me if I tell you you don't wanna hear KT88's distort, horrible, non-musical. It's the PI distorting that sounds nice....

    Giga.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giga View Post
    And believe me if I tell you you don't wanna hear KT88's distort, horrible, non-musical. It's the PI distorting that sounds nice....

    Giga.
    I totally agree!

    If you need more bite, then try to swap some preamp tubes!

  5. #5
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    I play metal & the Kt88's are the way to go.
    Play with your preamp tubes & for gods sake get a tubescreamer or equiv rip off of.
    There is a good reason the UL & other amps like Diezel cost so much more than say a 5150. They have a decent pre amp so you don't have to use power amp distortion. The UL is not designed to sound good with power amp distortion. In fact it sounds terrible. The whole point of getting a UL is for the pre amp distortion. They are designed so that the power section stays clean as it gets louder.
    If you want power amp distortion then the clx with the el34's are a better option.
    Sounds like a bowl of fuck

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    Thanks for the replies guys! I definitely wasn't looking at the power section for more gain, more so so sonic characteristics. Like I mentioned, I find it a little solid state sounding, almost 2D. I was wondering if maybe 6L6's could fix that. I'm gonna switch em out this week and will report back.

    Since the preamp section was mentioned though, any recommendations for high gain 12ax7's that work well with the UL?

    Also, as far as tube screamers and other such pedals go, I have plenty on hand! I'll be experimenting soon enough. Thanks!

  7. #7
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    I lke the chinese & a tung sol in v1

    Sovtek are a darker sound but don't give the same ripping tone as the chinese.

    A Sovtek in v1 will darken the tone some
    Sounds like a bowl of fuck

  8. #8
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    Default Two things I highly recommend with a UL

    Two things I highly recommend with the UL.

    I have a UL and have had both Tung-Sol 6550's (like KT88s) and Sovtek KT88's ordered from SFD in my power tube section and the KT88's sound better. The 6L6 tubes are muddy compared to the KT88/6550 choices.

    Sovtek KT88's are a sure thing.

    I have also adjusted the bias pot while playing through the unit and find that if the the bias is turned down. The opposite direction then the arrow points and away from the word "MAX". This is a bit of a hassle. First unplug and remove all tubes. Second remove 4 screws on bottom of head with front of amp facing down then remove amp from the amp case. Now look for the bias located on the PC board for the power section, and turn it down. This will open up the sound of the amp, with the bias a max it sounds compressed and squeezed but turned down the sound is wider and more dynamic.

    Turn bias down.

  9. #9
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    Makes a nice space heater too.. and gives me more business...

    Wouldn't recommend turning the bias down unless you KNOW what you are DOING.

  10. #10
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    The KT88's are growing on me so I won't be switching to 6L6's any time soon. Since the first post I've retubed my pre's (Tung-Sol's) and am just waiting on some JJ KT88's that I ordered. I might not even use them right away since I have the amp sounding awesome after much tweaking.

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