Lookin for a 12ax7 preamp tube good for PUNCHY "brutal" high gain

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Gmork, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    im getting a rack preamp that uses a single 12ax7 and am not too familiar with tubes. are there any 12ax7 tubes that might be best for REALLY PUNCHY/THUMPY thick "brutal" metal highgain?
    would really appreciate some input on this
    (please explain as if youre talking to a child and not a scientist :spock: ) thanks
     
  2. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    You really aren't going to get a big difference in tone by switching preamp tubes. The difference is very subtle.

    That said I loved Shuguang 12ax7's in my 6505
     
  3. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    oh yeah? i always thought changing preamp tubes can somewhat drastically effect tone. if its only subtle then i wont bother. can changing poweramp tubes make much of a difference?
     
  4. cult

    cult SS.org Regular

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    AMT Warm Stone.
    A JFET based alternative.

    Tighter with less noise floor.
     
  5. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    Any preamp that claims to be high gain that only has a single 12ax7 in it,
    usually means the tube isn't really doing much of the clipping.

    Most of the ones I've come across aren't operating on the correct voltage to the plate or heaters, and have a LOT of negative feed back which keeps them on a pretty short leash.

    Feel free to swap tubes to your hearts content.
    The changes are subtle in these types of devices.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    You would notice a lot more of a tonal and feel difference in something that uses 5 or 6 preamp tubes as opposed to just one. As others have mentioned, the difference will be subtle.

    If you just want the highest gain though from a single tube, either one of the Shuguang 12AX7B's or the regular JJ ECC83S should do it for you.
     
  7. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    OH YEAH ^^^

    Try one of these
     
  8. purpledc

    purpledc Proud blacksheep

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    I prefer JJ 12ax7s. But it should be said the brutality or intensity of the gain is a characteristic of the preamp itself. There is no 12ax7 that is going to act like a tubescreamer and make a semi distorted tone into something its not. IMHO swapping 12ax7's really only changes the dynamics slightly and can smooth things out or make them harsher sounding depending on the tube.
     
  9. blckrnblckt

    blckrnblckt SS.org Regular

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    I don't have much experience with tube amps (or tube preamps), but isn't the punch and thump from the power tubes?
     
  10. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    If it only has one 12AX7, then that tube is probably ran clean after the solid state distortion circuits to "tube it up" some.

    Each preamp tube has 2 gain stages, and you need at least 4 gain stages to start getting to metal land (A JCM800 has 3 gain stages for comparison). Most modern Marshall amps (DSL, etc...) have 4 gain stages, most modern amps have 5 gain stages (Rectos, etc...), and the 5150/6505 has 6 gain stages.

    You would need at least 2-3 preamp tubes minimum to produce an all-tube, high gain modern brutal sound.
     
  11. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Most of that huge depth and thump comes from high power. 150W+ tube power amps, like a Triple Rectifier. A preamp alone is not going to do that, and why those little 10W lunchbox amps sound tiny and small.

    You need huge power and headroom for huge depth.
     
  12. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    He's got it right. That's the bottom line.
     
  13. Jacksonluvr636

    Jacksonluvr636 SS.org Regular

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    I can only speak for 100w+ amps but the tone you are describing I got from a Mesa branded 12ax7 with black logo. Not sure who makes them.

    I personally prefer old Mullard or Amperex but the tone you described, try a Mesa 12ax7.
     
  14. Vrollin

    Vrollin SS.org Regular

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    Buy a handful of tubes and just try them out. As for the preamp tubes not having an effect, that was far from my experience when tube swapping in a Randall rd100 I had. I did however find that the effect was more in the high end than anything else and wound up staying with the Ruby's as they were the least dark of the tubes I tried...
     
  15. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Mesa tubes are just JJs sorted according to Mesa's specs afaik.

    Changing a single preamp tube is going to be fine tuning at best and unless the quality of the stock tube is really crap then it's not going to make much of a difference.
     
  16. Tuned

    Tuned SS.org Regular

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    Not only that. Some Mesa branded tubes are JJ, some are even Chinese, but the best Mesa branded tubes, including the Electro-Harmonix, are made in Russia.
     
  17. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    My experiences with preamp tubes is, as others have noted, that tone really doesn't change that much.
    Rather, I find some more gainy, some more rounded, some more edgy.

    Examples:
    The TAD RT001 (mu ~100-105) is quite edgy, and will bring out upper harmonics.
    The JJ Gold Pin (mu ~112-115) yields good distortion while having less clarity.
    An old-school NOS Philips (mu ~92-95) has a wide more full characteristic.
    Mullard Reissue and Ruby (mu ~100) have an overall full/rounded tone.

    But that's about as far as I can go with tonal characteristics.
    I don't think a tube resulting in a brutal tone exists; it'll be about the preamp design, and how you combine the two or three tubes.

    I would have zero idea about how to produce a da brutalz tone, but for a somewhat brutal'ish way of cutting through, I'd suggest an TAD RT001 followed by a JJ Gold Pin - but make sure not to drive the JJ too hard.
    For cutting through, but with a more overall full sound, use a Mullard instead of the JJ.
    (I use a RT001 and a Philips NOS in my ADA MP-2)

    But maybe the best option would be pre-shaping your tone using a pre-gain pedal with suitable tone controls, or simply a pre-EQ pedal..

    Hehe, these discussion are never-ending; good for us all, so we'll have to feel alone ;)
     
  18. Mordacain

    Mordacain 1-watt brigadier

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    My go-to 12AX7 are either Tung-Sol or Mullard. Usually I've got some mix of the two in amp with more than one. For only one tube I'd just go with Tung-Sol since they're usually a bit cheaper. For high gain, new production tubes are better. Vintage or NOS tend to be noisier and more likely to go microphonic.

    Oddly enough, I actually prefer the initial input driver on clean tube amps (Princeton, Deluxe, etc) as a Tung-Sol - it just seems to have a touch more clean headroom. I've got a bin of NOS tubes and I'll usually roll through all of them but a Tung-Sol or Mullard usually wins in the end.
     
  19. Thanatopsis

    Thanatopsis SS.org Regular

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    What is the preamp you're getting?
     
  20. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    Crate TDP rack preamp. it seems pretty rare, practically zero info etc about it. but there is 1 mp3 floating around the web thats sounds pretty amazing to me and a couple youtube vids that thoug not my style really and not high quality vid also sound quite good
     

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