And continue it did..
JW. I just thought I'd post this here instead of hijacking Ezen's thread. But this post isn't necessarily directed right at you. It's more of a post to explain what I've been up to in my tube quest.
During the time the CV4004 came, I was buying NOS tubes like a Madman. They were coming to the house 2-3 a day. Singles, pairs, quads, of all kinds. I have backups for my backups for my backups..And then there's my backups.
Experimenting with them was a lot to handle. I had to carefully clean half of them, and I went through 2-boxes of latex surgical gloves. I was just determined to get to know the differences between a shitload of various NOS tubes, some expensive, some not so much, and some a little on the obscure side.
Eventually I came up with a system to break down exactly how to create what I wanted.
I test them in my Marshall so I can hear what they sound like individually. Then I put them in 1 of 3 categories. Bass, Mid, or High. A simple basic categorization.
What I noticed about my Mesa is, anytime you put a tube that is rich in Bass tones ahead of one that isn't, the result isn't as optimal as it should be. But without the Marshall, I would have had a tough time determining exactly what category they belonged in, because you're dealing with 4 tubes running at the same time (effects loop don't count). It would've taken forever. And I probably would have given up.
So far Mullards and Brimars are the only tubes I've put in the Mid category. And their clarity is second to none. Mullards are the kings of clarity, warm mids, and that sparkly thing.
Most USA made tubes seem to be rich in Bass tones; RCA, G.E., Sylvania, Raytheon, Tung Sol, etc.. Even though they do have crisp highs, it's the amount of Bass that I listen to the most when I test them. Their mids are more on the Low-Mid side. Long-plates have the most Bass present.
Then there's the ones that pierce your ears.. The highs are where they excel with flying colors. Teslas, RFTs, and a couple of others I'll explain later. If a tube pierces a hole in my head in the Marshall, it's a V-1 tube. At first I hated it. I almost wrote off my Teslas because of how awful they sounded in my Marshall (and in my Mesa with the wrong tubes behind it).
But once I had everything categorized, I started to use this method to experiment:
The results were beyond what I ever expected. The trick to your preamp is to keep the tubes rich in Bass tones in the back.
Let's say you have an RCA, a Tung Sol Long-plate, and a Mullard to work with. You wouldn't want to position them like this:
V3- Tung Sol
The Mullard would just drag down the tone. The Mullard would lose it's sparkle, the Bass tones of the RCA and Tung Sol would be overpowering, and all of the highs would flatten out. Instead you would want to do this:
V3- Tung Sol
Now the highs and mids of the Mullard can't be overpowered, and believe me there would be more than enough Bass tones in the mix. Not to mention that because of the clarity of the Mullard, the highs in the RCA and Tung Sol, will be present and in some cases enhanced. So you get the best of what all the tubes have to offer by positioning them this way.
If you're looking for a sound that cuts through and has adjustable highs beyond belief, a Tesla or RFT should be in your V-1. This is my favorite way to go. Because it's one thing to have more than enough highs to work with, than to have not enough and not be able to do anything about it. Although Mullards and RCAs are really good tubes to use in V-1, they just can't provide the highs that these tubes do. RFTs break up earlier than Teslas, but the Teslas have a little more of a high frequency to them. So it's a personal choice. I like the Tesla because I like to have an extremely clean sound in my clean channel, and the RFT will break up quicker.
There are only 4 tubes that I religiously use in my V1 nowadays. The Tesla and RFT are a given. But I did run across a G.E. 6681 that had the same characteristics and it was dirt cheap. I'm not too sure if all 6681's sound like this, so I usually don't recommend someone just run out and buy one.
2-Weeks ago I was sold a tube listed as a Telefunken. Lo and behold it wasn't. So I contacted the seller, and he swore he had another tube that sounds exactly like a Telefunken although it wasn't. It was an EI- Silver Plate NOS. And he agreed to send it to me for free, and I keep the other one as well.
When I researched the EI silver-plate online, everything I came across said, "don't put one in any high-fi application, extremely microphonic, and high strung, not recommended for guitar amps".
So now I'm thinking "great, now I don't get a Telefunken, and I'm being sent some microphonic tube that's gonna sound like crap and I won't be able to use it."
When it came, I plugged it in the Marshall, and sure enough it freakin pierced a hole in my ears. But I didn't notice any microphonics. So I plugged it in my Mesa V-1. BLAM!! Perfection!! That tube kicks a lot of ass!! So I turned around and bought his other one the next day. $20.
I can't recommend an EI Silver-plate to anyone based on the massive response against them, but these 2 that this guy had were golden, I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't hear it myself. I still doubt it sounds like a Telefunken, but I don't care. I'll take it.
So anyway, that's what I've been up to. I might have some tubes for sale later, but I want to have a bigger stock on hand before I do. I've already sold some to a few people, and I wanna make sure I still have backups for my backups, for my backups.
These are the 2 preamp setups I'll be using this year:
V-1 EI-ecc83 Silver-Plate
V-2 Mullard ecc83
V-3 Tung Sol 12ax7a Long-plate
V-4 Mullard 12ax7a/7025
V-5 RCA 12ax7a
For live and recording:
V-1 Tesla ecc83
V-2 Mullard CV4004
V-3 G.E. 12ax7a Long-plate
V-4 Mullard 12at7
V-5 Mullard CV4024