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Talkin' Tubes

Talk about that sweet warm tube sound.


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  • Recent Posts

    • I have not decided on the 12AV7 input configuration yet. I'll probably do an SRPP/Totem Pole running at 300V on the plate. This way I'll get a 150V bias point which looks pretty good for a decent voltage swing (drive). 21VRMS (60-PP) is not that much. I usually bias my input tubes between 1.75V and 2V for some headroom depending on the tube and other factors. 
    • Nick, how are you planning on configuring the 12AV7?  Getting around 21V rms from one section to fully drive the 6Y6 as used in the Sweetie will bring the distortion of the 12AV7 into the 5% range.  This is not a bad thing in my opinion.  You could set up the 6SJ7 for minimum gain to allow use of your preamp and minimize driver distortion if desired.   Maynard
    • Tube rolling: Believe this done with the smaller input tubes, not the output tubes.  It can be an interesting place for your next $100 upgrade and will affect the sound.  Also good to leave well enough alone, those input tubes not as likely to degrade as fast as the output tubes.   I once demoed a vintage class A amp, a Pioneer M22:  It had virtually no sound and I luckily flipped it right away.
    • I have a stash of these types as well, since they stopped making all the low noise transistors about 10 years ago. These Fairchild devices seem to work well for new designs as well as replacements. In a lot of cases, you can use 2N5551/2N5401, but even these have become "obsolete" recently, at least the standard TO-92 package. 
    • Although I know a couple of guys who have modded the CW IV xover and were very happy with the results, when I owned them I didn't feel there was any need to do such a thing. If there are aspects to the sound you are getting that don't agree with you, try:   repositioning the speakers better source and amplification   If these don't work, just move on to a speaker you enjoy more. Modifying a 30 yr old speaker is one thing. But modifying the modern CW IV will drastically reduce their resale value. IMHO....
    • One of my favorite "rappers" is a Japanese lady, can't understand much of what she is saying ( but there is always some English ), but she has the gift of the flow. 
    • All excellent points above.     My take is better tube amps sound more like solid state and vice versa.   Also, always amazed amps all sound differently, although some may be similar to others.   Finally, tube amp, solid state preamp, or vice versa, either approach works well.   In closing, know your preferences and trust your ears.
    • Not so sure about more distortion. There are many tube amplifiers that have really good numbers, if a number is what one is chasing. Horns work well with tubes and the very low power they need means a well designed tube amplifier is going to have a very low distortion number. Below what really matters. For instance does a .0005 number sound better than .05. Not really. Then there is the kind of distortion. Most tube amplifiers low distortion number is going to be predominantly 2nd and 3rd harmonic which can sound pleasing to many whereas a SS amplifier distortion is of a higher order which is very offensive. One reason SS must have low distortion numbers to sound good. Nelson Pass has admitted in some of his amplifiers he intentionally created a little 2nd and 3rd harmonic. He also has said many times that for years he designed amplifiers with low distortion numbers but now he creates what sounds best to him. When you get into high end amplifiers you are buying what the designer thinks sounds best to his ears. It's entertainment not all science.   Jean Hiraga I believe is the first to say an amplifier sounds best to him with a little 2nd harmonic and a touch of 3rd. 
    • Whether folks on here like it or not, it's a fact that tubes ARE more coloured and DO produce more distortion - it's not an opinion, it's a fact. Whether you like the sound of tubes is another matter, I've been there; it totally depends on your speakers. Also, with using tubes there are so so many variables. Tubies go on and on about 'tube rolling'! WtF is that about. If SS owners could as easily change their output devices, there'd be another forum on that! Like a stylus, a tube wears out, and wears so slowly that you don't notice it until it fails or you replace with a new(er) one. I don't like variables or unknowns in equipment, so I now stay with SS. I acknowledge that tube amps do have something, and when I say that to peole they say yes, distortion, which is correct, but with the right speaker, they can sound,,,, I resist saying better, but, different. I have a SS amp driving my Magnepan (yes, not Klipsch) 1.7i's, and Jazz sounds wonderful, in the room real, and several of my Jazz musician friends also think so too. Amps and speakers are a pairing, and should be thought of as such, and one is chosen with the other in mind.
    • Thinking about getting old, you should listen to John Prine's 'Hello in There'.
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