Good Day ZTonedogs, I'm new to the forum and a recent Z owner...miniZ head with 2/10 Zcab for all my low wattage needs. The stock tubes are great and will likely be home base for me, but as most do, I like to play around sometimes. It's my first EL84 amp and so I have a couple of questions: Does swapping the powertube in this amp make a tonal difference, and if so,what brands, current or old stock, have you enjoyed? I'm asking because I need to stock some EL84 singles and need a starting point. Thanks, Barnzy
Since it's a single tube amp, you can try all different types even some used tubes. You can even try different pre-amp tubes within reason too.
I like JJs in general. But in a single tube amp, you can afford to splurge if you want. I have a friend who has some NOS 84s that he's always tryin' to get me to put into my Ghia and was trying when I owned a Mini...
Don't forget to try something really sweet in the preamp tube section. I liked 12AU7s just because it gave mw a little bit of headroom. But any kind of vintage AX7 like a Telefunken or RCA will sound like a million bucks too. Just hairy.
I've read that a 12AT7 is not particularly "toneful" as a preamp tube... I like a 12AY7 for sure. Is a 12AU7 also a good toneful preamp tube? (...bear with me...I'm learning....) Barnzy
I'm not enough of a tube head to know... I wanted something that brought the instant gain down to something manageable until I wanted meltdown. Not sure if the species of tubes (AT, AU, or AY) is as important as the tube itself in terms of sweetness or tone.
I've learned a little about preamp tubes in recent years.. I've cycled through a bunch of NOS pieces; 12AX7, 6211 (12AT variant), 12AT7, 12AY7, 5963 (12AU variant), and 12AU7.
An expert (Scott @ South Valley Vintage Amps) told me that 12AT7's serve well as Phase Inverters.. but, are not recommended in other Preamp positions. He said that AT's are designed differently, and don't really possess all of the normal Preamp tube characteristics. The ones I tested did work, but did not sound particularly special.
12AU7's are toneful preamp tubes.. I have a NOS Mullard 12AU7 that is sooo cozy in V1.. it drops the over-all gain (and volume) and coats your tone with a silky warmth that is just yummy. I haven't gotten it out of my tube drawer for a while.. think I'll give it a whirl tonight. Go here if you want to read a lot more about NOS 12AU7's.
BUT, my very favorite preamp tube for ALL Preamp positions is the awesome 5751. I use NOS 5751's in V1 and V2 of my Ghia. That tube sits at just the right gain level for my taste (70% of the 12AX7).. it's over-built and robust for quiet and dependable operation.. and it's interchange'able with any typical guitar preamp tube except EF86's [as far as I know].
Post by kimmolainen on Apr 4, 2011 13:45:13 GMT -7
I came across a NOS Mullard ecc82 that I use in the preamp. It actually gives the Mini some headroom, less highs and a wonderful breakup tone. I really prefer to use a lower gain preamp tube in the Mini and use a pedal to get distortion (mine is a Durham Zia drive.) It has a nice "clean" sound as well.
As for power tube, I got a well used El84 out of a radio someone threw away. It sounds better than the JJ that was in it (as in "warmer, more 3D") but not by much. The preamp tube made a lot more difference.
GuitarZ: Ugh! Dropped small nut while installing new outside lamp. Thought I saw where it landed. Couldn't find it. Moved the car & such. Engineering mind said, drop another (after ~hour). Bang! Within 5 seconds. Nut found! Yea! Wife Impressed!
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