New 6505MH! Swap preamp tubes for JJs?

starbelly

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Hey all,

I'm the proud owner of a new Peavey 6505 MH, which I have paired with my Mesa 2x12 Recto cab. Thus far, I'm loving the hell out of this amp for metal (much more so than my previous Jet City JCA22H).

Sometimes however, It can be a little too bright for my tastes. I'm trying to find the sweet spot between high-gain and still somewhat articulate. Taming the high end in a way where it's not too present, yet not too muffled is what I'm fiddling with right now.

The amp comes stock with JJ EL84s for the power section, and Ruby 12AX7s/ECC83s for the preamp section. Currently, I have a spare set of JJ ECC83s, and was wondering whether swapping the preamp tubes out would improve the tone/mellow out the high end. Do you have any opinions regarding putting JJ ECC83s in a Peavey?

Also, if you have any questions about the 6505MH, I'd be more than happy to answer them!
 

Dead-Pan

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I would start by swapping one at a time with the JJ vs changing all.

I find too many JJ preamp tubes to be a bad thing. One in the right place can really spice things up though!
 

mr coffee

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If I love the 6505+ and hate the 6505 112, how will I feel about the MH?

-m
 

starbelly

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I would start by swapping one at a time with the JJ vs changing all.

I find too many JJ preamp tubes to be a bad thing. One in the right place can really spice things up though!

Interesting. I wonder if I should just swap out V1 and see how that works. In your experience, how would a JJ ECC83 affect the overall tone of an amp?
 

starbelly

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If I love the 6505+ and hate the 6505 112, how will I feel about the MH?

Haha, this is actually my first experience with a Peavey! I very briefly played the 112 combo, and wasn't too impressed. The 6505MH with my Recto 2x12 sounds really damn good though. It seems to be lacking a bit in the low end (it's still present, just not huge, more tight and focused), but that shouldn't be a surprise with a 20 watt amp powered by El84s. It has a pretty insane amount of gain on the lead channel. I like to keep mine between 3-4 and boost it with a Keeley-modded TS9 for really cutting metal tones. I also love cranking the crunch and boosting that for a slightly different metal tone. I've read in a few places that the 6505MH actually has more gain than the 6505+.

As I mentioned previously, this amp is pretty bright to me, but this may be a function of two things: not cranking the gain up on the lead channel (more gain tends to add more lows/low-mids, I've noticed), and playing on the lower wattage settings (I'm scared of bothering my neighbors, haha).

Despite my lack of experience with Peavey amps, the 6505MH seems like a steal for the price.
 

TedEH

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I don't have any experience with the 6505MH, but when I got my mini Mark amp, I found it also to be really bright- I would wonder if maybe EL84s have some kind of brightness to them to begin with?
 

Dead-Pan

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Brightness I think would be in part due to el84. Not a bass heavy tube.

JJ preamps tend to add a lot of harmonic content which depending on the amp can conjest the sound. Note that 5153s however are great with all jjs.
 

starbelly

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Brightness I think would be in part due to el84. Not a bass heavy tube.

JJ preamps tend to add a lot of harmonic content which depending on the amp can conjest the sound. Note that 5153s however are great with all jjs.

Makes sense. Perhaps adding in one JJ will balance out the sound a bit.
 

viesczy

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The entire family lineage comes from "bright" amps, IDK if you're going to "tame" the brightness. The 5150, the 5150 II the 6505, and the 5153s all were very "present" in the mix.

Don't forget the brightness that you hear w/o your band is the brightness you'll need to be heard with your band. Always set your EQ based on your performance volume and in the band's mix as that which sounds "great" @ rehearsal sounds like $h!t live.

That said, JJs are a neutral tube and might help. My 5153 50 and 5153 100 S (which sound stellar) come stock with them (and I have them in most of my other amps), but they are bright amps.

Derek
 

starbelly

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The entire family lineage comes from "bright" amps, IDK if you're going to "tame" the brightness. The 5150, the 5150 II the 6505, and the 5153s all were very "present" in the mix.

Don't forget the brightness that you hear w/o your band is the brightness you'll need to be heard with your band. Always set your EQ based on your performance volume and in the band's mix as that which sounds "great" @ rehearsal sounds like $h!t live.

That said, JJs are a neutral tube and might help. My 5153 50 and 5153 100 S (which sound stellar) come stock with them (and I have them in most of my other amps), but they are bright amps.

Derek

This was super helpful, thanks! I rarely play with others anymore, so I'm just getting a "bedroom tone." Should I choose to record in the future, I'm sure I would need to tweak everything again, haha.
 

KailM

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I don't know about the new MH, but I run all JJs in my 6505+ 112 (which is converted to a head and hooked up to a 4 X 12). It made a HUGE difference in my tone. FWIW I run 5751s in both V1 and the phase inverter position. Those are like magic in these amps.

As for that question about hating the 112 and liking the MH -- you'd have to try for yourself. I will say that the 112 is a monster waiting to be unleashed if you do the right mods, but stock I will agree it has a lot of shortcomings, namely the tubes, speaker, and awful buffer in the effects loop. Mine now sounds nothing like it did stock -- it actually sounds better than any of the full 120 watt heads I've tried, and that's saying something. I do have a lot of time, money, and experimentation tied up in it though. I would guess you can do a lot to the MH as well to make it sound better.
 

starbelly

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I did some preamp tube swapping. Initially, I put a JJ ECC83 in V2, and the resulting tone was more ballsy and rounder. I then decided to swap out all the stock preamp tubes for the JJs and I'm satisfied with the outcome; the amp is generally more punchy, and seems to have more low-end response. All in all, super stoked with this amp! There's so much damn gain on the lead channel, I'm not sure I'd even want to boost it (unless it gives you a specific tone you're looking for). Now I just need to see how I can get the amp to play nice with my made in Japan Boss HM-2, haha.
 

KailM

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This may sound unorthodox, but put your HM-2 in the effects loop and run it like you would a boost pedal (gain on the pedal all the way off or close to it). Run the pedal's level so that your lead channel has the same volume whether the pedal is on or off. Run the bass knob all the way max'd and the treble knob around 3 o'clock, or in that ballpark. What the HM-2 is doing is simply coloring your sound with its trademark chainsaw grind. The amp will remain just as tight (albeit very thick and bass heavy) as it is without the pedal. I don't know if this will work the same on the 6505 MH, but on my 112 I get a tone very similar, if not better, than the tone on At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul.
 

starbelly

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This may sound unorthodox, but put your HM-2 in the effects loop and run it like you would a boost pedal (gain on the pedal all the way off or close to it). Run the pedal's level so that your lead channel has the same volume whether the pedal is on or off. Run the bass knob all the way max'd and the treble knob around 3 o'clock, or in that ballpark. What the HM-2 is doing is simply coloring your sound with its trademark chainsaw grind. The amp will remain just as tight (albeit very thick and bass heavy) as it is without the pedal. I don't know if this will work the same on the 6505 MH, but on my 112 I get a tone very similar, if not better, than the tone on At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul.

Dude, what!? The Slaughter of The Soul tone is exactly what I'm shooting for. I need to learn how to actually use an effects loop though, haha. The HM-2 is currently comfy on my pedalboard.
 

starbelly

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Also KailM, would you mind telling me what EQ settings you use on the amp itself to get this tone? Crunch or lead channel?
 

KailM

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I use the lead channel and don't radically change my settings from where I have them without the HM-2. I typically run my low and resonance knobs around 6.5, mids at 4, and treble at 4. Presence at 4 as well. For the Swedish death metal tone, I run my amp's pre-gain a little higher than normal and don't use an OD pedal up front to boost it. For that sound, I set my gain at about 5-6. For my standard 6505 tone, I normally run my gain much lower; around 3-4 depending on the guitar and I boost it with an OD. With the HM-2, I find that I don't need the OD, but favor a little more gain from the amp instead.

But I also have an EQ pedal so that plays into the tone as well. I cut the mids at the 500hz range and instead go for a boost of the 2 khz mids and 125hz (low-mids/high bass). Leaving that 500 hz midrange makes the tone more "modern" which some people like. But for death metal and especially with the HM-2 it sounds much better to cut that out.

I tried running the HM-2 through the clean channel and in front of the amp as opposed to in the loop many times. At least with my 6505, I could never get a satisfactory tone that way. Actually, the tone was there -- it sounds very close to the Etombed "Left Hand Path" tone, but it was a hard-to-control mess of distortion that didn't track what I was actually playing. Before I gave up I tried it in the loop on a whim -- and it was like holy ....!!! That sounds just like Slaughter of the Soul! And it still tracks even my most technical riffs faithfully.
 

starbelly

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I use the lead channel and don't radically change my settings from where I have them without the HM-2. I typically run my low and resonance knobs around 6.5, mids at 4, and treble at 4. Presence at 4 as well. For the Swedish death metal tone, I run my amp's pre-gain a little higher than normal and don't use an OD pedal up front to boost it. For that sound, I set my gain at about 5-6. For my standard 6505 tone, I normally run my gain much lower; around 3-4 depending on the guitar and I boost it with an OD. With the HM-2, I find that I don't need the OD, but favor a little more gain from the amp instead.

But I also have an EQ pedal so that plays into the tone as well. I cut the mids at the 500hz range and instead go for a boost of the 2 khz mids and 125hz (low-mids/high bass). Leaving that 500 hz midrange makes the tone more "modern" which some people like. But for death metal and especially with the HM-2 it sounds much better to cut that out.

I tried running the HM-2 through the clean channel and in front of the amp as opposed to in the loop many times. At least with my 6505, I could never get a satisfactory tone that way. Actually, the tone was there -- it sounds very close to the Etombed "Left Hand Path" tone, but it was a hard-to-control mess of distortion that didn't track what I was actually playing. Before I gave up I tried it in the loop on a whim -- and it was like holy ....!!! That sounds just like Slaughter of the Soul! And it still tracks even my most technical riffs faithfully.

Awesome, I'll have to try exactly this. I briefly tinkered with the HM2 in the loop and the resulting tone was muddy and without much edge. Perhaps I need to tweak it a little more. I would love to come close to that Slaughter of the Soul tone. Also, I don't have an EQ pedal, so I assume that hinders me as well. Do you have a recommendation as far as EQ pedals go?
 

KailM

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^^I will always recommend the MXR 10-band EQ. Some people think it's overkill, but I've found utility in every adjustment it offers, except maybe the lowest frequency slider (31.25 hz, lol -- guitars don't even produce frequencies that low). But every other frequency on the pedal can have a big impact in your sound. Notably, the highest frequency slider (16khz) is like a "fizz control." If you cut that by 6 db on the 6505, all fizz goes away.

I have also owned a Boss GE-7, and while it hits slightly different frequency parameters, it is a noisier pedal and doesn't quite have the same amount of adjustment. And the MXR has level and gain controls as well which are very useful.
 

starbelly

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^^I will always recommend the MXR 10-band EQ. Some people think it's overkill, but I've found utility in every adjustment it offers, except maybe the lowest frequency slider (31.25 hz, lol -- guitars don't even produce frequencies that low). But every other frequency on the pedal can have a big impact in your sound. Notably, the highest frequency slider (16khz) is like a "fizz control." If you cut that by 6 db on the 6505, all fizz goes away.

I have also owned a Boss GE-7, and while it hits slightly different frequency parameters, it is a noisier pedal and doesn't quite have the same amount of adjustment. And the MXR has level and gain controls as well which are very useful.

Interesting. I'm looking at the Source Audio Programmable EQ as a pedalboard-friendly option. Unfortunately, it doesn't have 16khz though.
 

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Anyone have suggestions for replacement power tubes? I just got a 5150MH today and I'm curious if there are any mods out there for it. Even LED mods.
 


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