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Thread: New tubes = New pre!

  1. #1
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    Icon10 New tubes = New pre!

    I just dropped some Radiotechnique tubes into my Millenia (Fred Forssell designed) M-2a. Holy crap! These babies bring a whole new element of 'sheen' to the thing. I've been using this pre on the back end of my Folcrom for make-up gain as I mix, so I can easily A/B mixes made before and after the tube swap. Wow! It's like a whole new pre! With 4 tubes per channel, it is a beast to re-tube ($$$$$$) but I'm running 2 Radiotechnique 12AU7 and 6 Siemens ECC801S tubes, and man does this baby sing!

    Folks usually equate tube gear with warmth, but this tube pre (with this new tube set) is now brighter than my Calrecs, Neves, or API's, has greater depth and I'd say the L/R imaging feels about 10% wider.

    cheers,
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Robbins View Post
    I just dropped some Radiotechnique tubes into my Millenia (Fred Forssell designed) M-2a. Holy crap! These babies bring a whole new element of 'sheen' to the thing. I've been using this pre on the back end of my Folcrom for make-up gain as I mix, so I can easily A/B mixes made before and after the tube swap. Wow! It's like a whole new pre! With 4 tubes per channel, it is a beast to re-tube ($$$$$$) but I'm running 2 Radiotechnique 12AU7 and 6 Siemens ECC801S tubes, and man does this baby sing!

    Folks usually equate tube gear with warmth, but this tube pre (with this new tube set) is now brighter than my Calrecs, Neves, or API's, has greater depth and I'd say the L/R imaging feels about 10% wider.

    cheers,
    You're not usually one to go overboard on anal retentive tube geekiness so this an interesting and noteworthy development.
    Doug Joyce
    Animix Productions

  3. #3
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    I'm not surprised, after looking at this piece of gear. The tubes are the entire gain picture. Since it appears to be differential, and probably low (or no) loop feedback, any harmonic variation in the tubes will probably be very apparent. Additional brightness (in the sort of circuit I believe it to be) could be increased 3rd harmonic and/or lower capacitive losses, both directly from the tubes themselves. The balance between pairs of tube elements in the same bottle could change the sound; you might be able to move same type tubes between sockets in the same channel and affect it. Be worth swapping around to see what you observe. Some tube gear doesn't change much at all with a tube change.
    Doug Williams
    Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by animix View Post
    You're not usually one to go overboard on anal retentive tube geekiness so this an interesting and noteworthy development.
    yeah, I know. I'm usually not one to advocate "tube-rolling". I've just never heard it make that big of a difference to justify the price & time. In this case, however, the difference was not subtle at all - it was astounding!
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by emrr View Post
    I'm not surprised, after looking at this piece of gear. The tubes are the entire gain picture. Since it appears to be differential, and probably low (or no) loop feedback, any harmonic variation in the tubes will probably be very apparent. Additional brightness (in the sort of circuit I believe it to be) could be increased 3rd harmonic and/or lower capacitive losses, both directly from the tubes themselves. The balance between pairs of tube elements in the same bottle could change the sound; you might be able to move same type tubes between sockets in the same channel and affect it. Be worth swapping around to see what you observe. Some tube gear doesn't change much at all with a tube change.
    good stuff Doug, thanks. I had all the tube sections matched, but I may swap some of them around to see what happens...
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

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    #1 question on matching would be 'how?' If matched elsewhere on different equipment, you can sometimes end up with different results in your amp. It can mean a lot of things. Results can change if the operating current/voltages are different. Mark'em for position and try some swaps.
    Doug Williams
    Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

  7. #7
    Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios's Avatar
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    Well, there is a reason why it is so popular with guitar players. I have one of those self-biasing amps (I know.. I know...) and it is wonderful the different sounds that you can get by changing the various tube combos. I have a handful of Mesa tubes and Groove Tubes (Mesas are the "hard" numbers of GT, but a friend has a deal with Mesa so I got these for free...) and a handful of other interesting tubes from various manufacturers. I got the assortment to hunt for a tone that I wanted and could hear in my head, but I'll swap them out occasionally just for a change.

    The hard part is keeping current with the tubes. They do wear out, and it was expensive to keep the "Wall 'O Amps" in fresh tubes.

    Bill
    Bill Park
    Welcome Home Studios

    The elites have squandered the country's wealth on two of the costliest and most useless wars in American history while blithely pretending that the environmental crisis doesn't exist. We no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios View Post
    The hard part is keeping current with the tubes. They do wear out, and it was expensive to keep the "Wall 'O Amps" in fresh tubes.
    I thought they were vacuum packed for freshness.
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios View Post
    The hard part is keeping current with the tubes. They do wear out, and it was expensive to keep the "Wall 'O Amps" in fresh tubes.

    Bill
    I got just under 9 years out of my last set - and I keep my gear on 24/7/365. In those 9 years, I bet this pre was powered down 20 times at most...
    Last edited by Todd Robbins; 04-08-2009 at 06:15 PM.
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Robbins View Post
    I got just under 9 years out of my last set - and I keep my gear on 24/7/365. In those 9 years, I bet this pre was powered down 20 times at most...
    well, no wonder you heard a significant difference.

    Suggestion, power down your tube gear unless you are using it. I don't know the life difference between idle and being hit with signal, but I'm pretty sure that 9 years exceeds the intended limit, either way. I'm sure that Millenia will have a recomendation, if not, the tube manufacturer should.

    Bill
    Bill Park
    Welcome Home Studios

    The elites have squandered the country's wealth on two of the costliest and most useless wars in American history while blithely pretending that the environmental crisis doesn't exist. We no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights.
    (Chris Hedges)


    Showbusiness. We're all here because we're not all there.

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