ENGL (Powerball) Tubing/Mods Thread

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Pedrojoca, Apr 14, 2011.

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  1. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    [​IMG]

    Intro: Hey people! After participating in a few posts wich relate to this, i decided to put as much info as i can, with your help.
    The main topic is the Powerball and Powerball II, but the info can be useful for other amps as well.
    The Powerball and Fireball (yeah, balls) are two amp series that really get bashed a lot around the internet, and yeah, I agree (wtf :nuts: ). I'm not going t use the crappy videos around the internet.... (and yes, there are a couple that really make you want to hate that amp forever, and I just don't hate it because I already had it when I watched the vid :lol: ). It's a tricky amp.
    I have got to admit that the decent tones I used to get out of the amp were still feeling too fizzy. Let's say, I was trying to play "single stringed" riffs, each note you played would strongly say "roar", but at the same time, "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz". You get the point.

    Thread part that doesn't include me talking like a moaning bitch: After a lot of research, i discovered that people were noticing huge differences after retubing the amp, most of them, positively. I instantly started researching about tubes and their effect. Here's what's important so far.

    Mods/Tube Combinations:

    -EL34 Mod (by adadglgmut)
    This mod makes the amp run with 4 EL34 power tubes. Description from the topic:
    -12at7 Mod (guitarno and vanhendrix)
    The objective here, is to reduce the gain (to be able to get it past 12 o' clock, at least), among with the fizz and compression using 12at7 preamp tubes, which have fewer gain that the 12ax7.

    Guitarno put a JJ 12at7 in V6 and a TAD 12at7 premium balanced in V8. The other
    Vanhendrix got the best results with 12at7 in V5 and V6. The other tubes remain the same.
    -5751 Mod (by LordOVchaoS)
    This is also a preamp retubing mod, with a 5751 in V6, Tung Sol (12ax7) in V5 and a balanced 12ax7LPS in V8.
    -Basic retubing
    Even if you don't want to change the gain amount and all that, you can just buy yourself four 12ax7 (or ECC83S, as JJ call it) from one of the recommended brands by a lot of users (suggestions are welcome here): JJ, Tung Sol, 9th Gen Chinese, Sovtek, Groove Tubes...
    Believe me, you'll like it, and it shouldn't be too expensive.

    -Power Section Retubing
    I don't have much info in this section but everyone seems to think that after you retube the power section you get a nicer tone, as ENGL default tubes kind of suck. Also, when biased (as it comes stone cold), you should notice a huge improvement.

    ---------------------------

    Please try to keep this alive as a LOT of people might find the info here really useful. I strongly recommend these "mods", try them and give us your opinion, and i'm not talking only about powerball, if you give me useful info, i'll include it in the post.
    :shred: :shred: enjoy
     
  2. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    Update: Just tried the following:

    V5- TAD 12at7 V6, V7 and V8- JJ ECC83S

    I noticed that a bit of the fizz is gone, the gain was reduced, i can now get it past 12 o' clock easily with clarity and the overall sound seems a bit more raw (good thing). So far, so good. I'm going to keep updating this as i'm testing some tubes today. :bowdown:
     
  3. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    Another Update: Tried the following

    V5- JJ 12at7 V6 and V7- JJ 12ax7 V8- TAD 12at7

    I didn't notice a huge difference from the previous setup, I can't be sure without the clips but i think I didn't like it as much as the previous tube setup. I will confirm that later, maybe it's because the input tube is now a JJ instead of TAD.
     
  4. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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  5. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    Cool idea man
     
  6. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    Final Update by me:

    Got my best results with the following:
    V5- Tad 12at7 V6 and V7- JJ ECC803S V8- JJ ECC83S Balanced

    I'm surprised that the the 12at7 in V8 (PI) position didn't make any good for me.
     
  7. vanhendrix

    vanhendrix SS.org Regular

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    So did you try the AT in just the V6 spot? I'd recommend the crap out of it before you seal up your amp for good. I didn't like how the V5 spot lowered the overall gain, as it weakened the first two channels

    Also, kudos for keeping this info up. I was mainly posting in the other thread so that people googling powerball mods would come up with our results. Apparently there isn't a lot of info out there about modding this amp, so why not blaze a trail right?
     
  8. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    true man, seems like you share my interest :agreed:

    i'll try that, but i'm really confused as I already had 4 ECC81 Engl tubes that came with the amp. At least 1 of them was messed up but I always wonder about the "millions" of combinations i can do.

    PS: I ordered 3x JJ ECC83S (1 balanced) tubes. I recieved 1 balanced ECC83S and 2 ECC803S. Is there any difference besides the long plate?
     
  9. noob_pwn

    noob_pwn SS.org Regular

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    i tried the 12AT7 mod, in V2 and the phase inverter. Totally transformed the amp, much much much better
     
  10. vanhendrix

    vanhendrix SS.org Regular

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    Also, in the original post, I didn't like the AT in the V5 spot, only the V6. So you're a little off there, if you could be so kind as to change that I'd be much obliged :wavey:
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Djackass

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    Very cool thread, dude.

    I'll take this info into consideration if ever I decide to pick up a powerball.

    :yesway:
     
  12. Dead Undead

    Dead Undead Thundercrafter

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    Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

    Interesting mods though. I know some people that might find this useful.
     
  13. warlock7strEMG

    warlock7strEMG SS.org Regular

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    According to Lordovchaos, retubing the Powerballs power section with 5881's also helps in the mids department, brings some upper mids that make it cut thru better and also rounds off some of the fizzy highs
     
  14. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    i can't edit it, dunno why, let's just keep adding info.

    so vanhendrix, you got your best results with: V5- 12ax7 V6- 12at7 V7- 12ax7 V8- 12ax7 ??

    what about that same tube setup, but with a 12at7 in V8, better or worse?
     
  15. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    UPDATE: Got some more info, not sure about this, though.

    nakedzen said:
    not quite sure about this
     
  16. vanhendrix

    vanhendrix SS.org Regular

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    This is correct. I only bothered to get one AT7 because I knew exactly what changes I was looking to make. I only wanted to change the gain on those two channels, while having the rest of the amp function how it did before. I knew right away that I'd hit the money combination.

    Edit:

    Also, my settings are in the database for anyone who wants to try them after changing that tube. Sort of a jumping off point
     
  17. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    i used to have the preamp tubes totally f***** up, so i was only supposed to buy 4x12ax7. When I read your post i thought that apart from making it sound right, i could make it sound better. For a minimum sense of tightness, i had to get the gain at 3 o' clock, and that brings up some fizz.

    vanhendrix, I tried your setup with:

    V5- JJ ECC803S V6- JJ 12at7 V7- JJ ECC803S V8- JJ ECC83S

    I can also switch the JJ 12at7 with a TAD 12at7, but as Tube Amp Doctor sent me 2xJJ ECC803S and 1xJJ ECC83S balanced (instead of the 3x JJ ECC83S [1 balanced] i asked for) i don't think i'm getting the same sound as you are.

    So far, the best combination for me was:

    V5- JJ ECC803S V6- JJ 12at7 V7- JJ ECC803S V8- JJ ECC83S
     
  18. vanhendrix

    vanhendrix SS.org Regular

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    Yeah i'm not sure we are talking about the same thing. I have the Engl branded AXs (ECC 83) in the other slots, and a Mesa branded AT (ECC 81) in the V6 spot. I really have no idea what other tubes you're talking about.

    Also, I had a bad preamp tube in the V5 spot about a year after buying my powerball. It was replaced with one of the extra AXs that came with it. Should be identical... but now that I look at the other extra tube that I still have, the box says it is "FQ", which only means that it was selected for quality....I don't however have the box of the AX that is currently in there. Does anyone know if the powerball comes with two FQ tubes?

    This shit is nonsense. Whatever mystery tubes are in there work right now, I hope nothing ever goes wrong.
     
  19. Pedrojoca

    Pedrojoca Gear Whore

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    van hendrix, i just discovered that each ECC803S, as opposed to regular ECC83S, remove 10% of gain, that's why i was trying your technique and getting lack of gain, after a few tube mixes, i found a really nice combination, the amp sounds a lot more raw now, the high end seems more round but still agressive as hell. After all this, i went from, 'i wanna sell this' -.- to 'i love this amp'. Yeah, you can flame as much as you want people ( :flame: lulz), but this f****** rocks. Like someone said before, after the EL34 mod, it's absolutely a NAD.
     
  20. vanhendrix

    vanhendrix SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I just talked to my guitar guy. I have a regular non-FQ AX7 in the V5 spot, instead of what is "supposed to be in there". Who cares, it works
     

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