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re-tubing my manley vari-mu .. any tips
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inlinenl
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11th June 2009
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re-tubing my manley vari-mu .. any tips

serial is : mslc81996

stock tubes reading the tuberule.com site as a complete refurbish kit are :

2 pcs 5670
2 pcs 12AL5
2 pcs 12AX7EH (replaces 5751 in earlier units)
2 pcs 5687 (replaces 7044 in earlier units)

also what is the brand off these tubes ??? the EH = electro-hramonix .. but what are the others ???

I'm a real manley-vari mu lover .... the dutch dealer is taking ages to give a quote ... so any tips for a change or "strong" opinion on tubes in the vari-mu is appreciated ... but having a low-noise flow like the current state around - 100/-90 dB is paramount

any tips in where/what to get ... or anyone want's to help out .. appreciated ..
paypal would be no problem ..

some off-topic pictures ... peter and I from finetune had some fun with a semi-pro camera ... oh yeah we put some reverb on it ..
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11th June 2009
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Mine's an older one than yours, the 5670s it came with were GE 5 stars - military ones I seem to recall and they're the only ones still going strong...

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I'd buy a set directly from Manley. The reasons are mostly in matching and selecting a well performing pieces in your app. I guess it is worth paying extra for such a service.
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inlinenl
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thanks William and Matucha,

it's not about cutting cost ... the price quote from the dealer/manley came just in .. which is really OK ... but just for a final check .. any more options for different tubes ...

and William ... are those 5670 tubes still in as from original ... and which tubes in these unit's are the ones to change the most often . which are gone as first ...

thanks Wim
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11th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
it's not about cutting cost ... the price quote from the dealer/manley came just in .. which is really OK ...
Can you say what the quote you received is and if Manley recommended/uses any particular tube manufacturer?

I have had very good luck with EH tubes. I think these were for the output stage of VM but also for my Tube techs.
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Well I think it was the 7044 and the 5751 that were problematic (going back a bit here)

yes amazingly the 5670 having been going around 7 years, I used the vari mu today a few times actually.

I agree with Waltz though, there are some very good EH tubes about, both my tubetechs have them - don't know if they make those particular ones for the Manley though, guess it's over to google for that one...

The King
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11th June 2009
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Give the EH 12AX7's a body swerve!

There is a good chance they will give you some trouble, probably involving noise and poor balance between the two triodes.

Try to track down some NOS (New Old Stock) 12AX7's and have the triodes checked for symmetry.
Mullard, GE, Philips, RFT, RCA, Brimar branded Mullards, Amparex etc.
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I second the Mullards. I have yet to hear one sound anything but awesome in any Manley gear I've heard em in.

The New "Old" Stock Mullards come as late as 2004 when the last of Mullard's original factories was closed, so they are still in ample supply. Since 2007 they are USA-made by New Sensor for Sovtek who now owns the brand. I haven't heard one of the new ones yet.

Nice pics by the way. What are your 802s riding on? I have a pair in my library that I got as a gift from my last day-job (with an NAD system to make em push air).
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11th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Table Of Tone View Post
Give the EH 12AX7's a body swerve!

There is a good chance they will give you some trouble, probably involving noise and poor balance between the two triodes.

Try to track down some NOS (New Old Stock) 12AX7's and have the triodes checked for symmetry.
Mullard, GE, Philips, RFT, RCA, Brimar branded Mullards, Amparex etc.
Just a quick note: the "poor balance between the two triodes" you want to keep an eye out for would be in the 5670s, not the 12AX7s. Those 12AX7EHs have been great to us lately...I mean, if you want to swap out some more expensive tubes for those, by all means, give it a try. However, noise is really the only thing you need to watch out for with the 12AX7s.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisD View Post
However, noise is really the only thing you need to watch out for with the 12AX7s.
What about microphony?

I'm having trouble with some 12AX7EH tubes in a (non-manley) unit. Not yet sure whether multiple 12AX7EH have gone bad or whether that tube type/model/make is highly microphonic to begin with.
Do you have any experience with the 12AX7EH to that regard?
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inlinenl
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Hi ChrisD .. well you seem to be close to the "fire" ... appreciate you chiming in ... I think I'll go for the Manley advice ... maybe you even got a nice set laying around/tested .. that would be really great ... I think those tubes will serve me well the next years .... I'll confirm the order to the Dutch dealer asap .. so they'll forward it to you guys ...
manley rocks !!!

maybe I'll get some NOS pair extra to hear the diff ....

Unjacesse : I'm a lucky guy I guess they're the 800's and the Amp is a Mark Levinson 332 ... never looked back ...
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As a side note and not to high jack but, I was going to order the side chain mod this week from Manley. The stock freq is 100 hz. Is anybody using another frequency that they find suitable to their liking?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
What about microphony?

I'm having trouble with some 12AX7EH tubes in a (non-manley) unit. Not yet sure whether multiple 12AX7EH have gone bad or whether that tube type/model/make is highly microphonic to begin with.
Do you have any experience with the 12AX7EH to that regard?
I haven't personally found the ones we use to be terribly microphonic, no. Although, to be fair, by the time they hit the bench I work at they've already been tested for such things...but I do know that we have an excellent yield rate from them, so it follows that we don't reject a whole ton for being übermicrophonic. If possible, try tapping the top of the tubes with a pencil while the unit is on, and see if you can isolate which one(s) is (are) being problematic...or swap tubes, see if the problem follows the channel or the tube, etc....

Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
Hi ChrisD .. well you seem to be close to the "fire" ... appreciate you chiming in ... I think I'll go for the Manley advice ... maybe you even got a nice set laying around/tested .. that would be really great ... I think those tubes will serve me well the next years .... I'll confirm the order to the Dutch dealer asap .. so they'll forward it to you guys ...
manley rocks !!!

maybe I'll get some NOS pair extra to hear the diff ....

Unjacesse : I'm a lucky guy I guess they're the 800's and the Amp is a Mark Levinson 332 ... never looked back ...
Thanks for the enthusiasm! We most certainly do have some nice tested ones sitting around. Your dealer will help you out, for sure.

p.s. Mark Levinson! Most excellent!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisD View Post
Just a quick note: the "poor balance between the two triodes" you want to keep an eye out for would be in the 5670s, not the 12AX7s. Those 12AX7EHs have been great to us lately...I mean, if you want to swap out some more expensive tubes for those, by all means, give it a try. However, noise is really the only thing you need to watch out for with the 12AX7s.
They must have recently got better then.
That would not be difficult.
I design all of the Orange tube guitar amps and the last time we tried em, we couldn't use 60% of em.
That kind of rejection figure makes me run like the wind!
They were literally all over the place!
Once bitten, twice shy!

It has to be said however, that my Mass Pass came from Manley, well set up with NOS, US made tubes.
A nice touch for sure!
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12th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Table Of Tone View Post
I design all of the Orange tube guitar amps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Table Of Tone View Post
They must have recently got better then.
That would not be difficult.
I design all of the Orange tube guitar amps and the last time we tried em, we couldn't use 60% of em.
That kind of rejection figure makes me run like the wind!
They were literally all over the place!
Once bitten, twice shy!

It has to be said however, that my Mass Pass came from Manley, well set up with NOS, US made tubes.
A nice touch for sure!
(Side note: If my memory serves me well (which it does occasionally), I think you and I met and chatted for a while at winter NAMM this year. I said then, and I shall say again, that Orange amps are some of my favorites. Great tone, great look, great company overall. Kudos!)

Once bitten, twice shy indeed - we've had similar experiences with lots of tubes from lots of manufacturers. Truth be told, with the EH tubes (not necessary just 12AX7s) we've had batches that gave us less than a 10% yield, and other batches (like the ones we're currently going through) where that number nears 100%. Those 100% days are good days. All in all, I think they make very fine tubes that are quite reliable and generally consistent.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
As a side note and not to high jack but, I was going to order the side chain mod this week from Manley. The stock freq is 100 hz. Is anybody using another frequency that they find suitable to their liking?
I recall that it was first order (6dB/oct) at 200Hz, making it 6dB down at 100Hz. It really makes a big difference.
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You got me curious. So I had to check. From their web site:

They use 100Hz as the -3dB point. (Other frequencies can be custom ordered.) The filter is a very gentle 6db per octave 1 pole filter, and will typically be down 1-3db at 100 Hz, and down 4-6db at 50Hz. As you decrease the frequency the amount of limiting will decrease also. At the extreme LF (<20hz) there should be very little gain reduction going on.

I guess I was thinking 120hz or 140hz might be a consideration with that kind of slope. but would be interested to hear from users.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
As a side note and not to high jack but, I was going to order the side chain mod this week from Manley. The stock freq is 100 hz. Is anybody using another frequency that they find suitable to their liking?
I can't speak for the Vari Mu s/c mod but 90Hz & 60Hz work well on the Vertigo.
Sometimes you may need to keep the <50Hz sub from the side chain but keep some 80-100 'oomph' in there.

The Massive Passive has never sounded better and quieter since a recent re-tube. Sorry I can't say what the tubes are.. we get a local wiz & designer, Ross Giles, in to match them, check bias, etc.
I tend to be slightly topic-sideways topics on Fridays..
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The only new tube that's tonally worth a damn IMO is the Gold Lion reissued KT88. NOS 50s and 60s tubes from Brimar, Amperex, Mullard, Tele, Marconi Radiotron, Tungsram, GE 5 star, etc. if well tested, will never lose to a new tube.

It's more a matter of what you want from the tubes linearity and distortion. Each of the NOS varieties has a 'family sound' no matter the application.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncajesse View Post
What are your 802s riding on? I have a pair in my library that I got as a gift from my last day-job (with an NAD system to make em push air).
Must have been one hell of a day job.
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thanks all ... I have ordered the set through the dutch dealer this morning ... now hoping Chris will put some fine tubes in a box ...

to Tom/ Waltz ... I would think the FREQ being a bit more up ... 120/130 .. lot's off current music just has it's push/kick around 100 ... and those troubled bass-lines always are 130-180 ...

also Tom sended you a reply PM ...
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Must have been one hell of a day job.
Chief Engineer of a net-radio that held the #1 spot on Arbitron and Ando Media for 2.5 years running. When I joined it was a 50 listener max project in a guy's spare bedroom.



I also used to have a virtual Gepetto's workshop of wifi radios, almost 60 of em, for reviewing & testing. But I gave most of them away. Kept the Escient Fireball, the Slim Transporter, and the Torian InFusion.
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Kept the Escient Fireball, the Slim Transporter, and the Toria InFusion.
It's always good to see a crazy geek world that I am totally clueless about!
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Thanks Wim, Adam ,& Ben. The VM can be quite touchy when it grabs the lows so I'm looking forward to a complete re-tube and the mod as well, and being able to get a bit more GR when needed.

Sorry for the slight detour.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisD View Post
(Side note: If my memory serves me well (which it does occasionally), I think you and I met and chatted for a while at winter NAMM this year. I said then, and I shall say again, that Orange amps are some of my favorites. Great tone, great look, great company overall. Kudos!)

Once bitten, twice shy indeed - we've had similar experiences with lots of tubes from lots of manufacturers. Truth be told, with the EH tubes (not necessary just 12AX7s) we've had batches that gave us less than a 10% yield, and other batches (like the ones we're currently going through) where that number nears 100%. Those 100% days are good days. All in all, I think they make very fine tubes that are quite reliable and generally consistent.
Yep! that was me at NAMM.
How's it going?
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Those pictures gave me a *****.

Nice place you got there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
thanks all ... I have ordered the set through the dutch dealer this morning ... now hoping Chris will put some fine tubes in a box ...

to Tom/ Waltz ... I would think the FREQ being a bit more up ... 120/130 .. lot's off current music just has it's push/kick around 100 ... and those troubled bass-lines always are 130-180 ...

also Tom sended you a reply PM ...
I've owned the Vari-Mu, Mastering Edition, for about 8 years.

I've always ordered tubes from Manley. We had a bad time with tubes for the T-Bar mode about a year ago, which spawned this post over at PSW:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/ind...646/0/0/13430/

Lots of intereresting stuff there including EveAnna chiming in quite regularly.

In the end, it all worked out and the tubes in question are lasting a reasonably long time again!

Re the SC mode, simply invaluable! I wish I had thought to ask them if one could have 2 frequencies instead of one. Maybe its something a top-notch local tech guy could do?
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Re the SC mode, simply invaluable! I wish I had thought to ask them if one could have 2 frequencies instead of one. Maybe its something a top-notch local tech guy could do?
Even a bottom-notch tech could do it, it's just a switch and some caps.

DC
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Even a bottom-notch tech could do it, it's just a switch and some caps.

DC

Case in point: I did it with a centre-off toggle and an extra pair of caps in series with the existing ones. No more VM here though, so can't readily report the values used.

Graemme
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