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What tube for Behringer VT999?
Old 7th October 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

What tube for Behringer VT999?

Hi,
I want to buy a Behringer VT999 Vintage Tube Monster for my TB-03.
And I want to replace the tube for a better one. I want warmth in the mid and good low. With clear and not too agressive high. And great definition.
I hesitate a lot between many tubes..... 12AU7 or 12AX7??.... JJ or TAD or Tung-sol???....
I'm lost!!!!!
Thank you for advices!!
Old 9th October 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 

These kinds of units are called tube, but that's highly misleading to the buyers. These units use very low voltages. The difference in tone between tubes is practically non existent so you are pretty much wasting you time thinking you'll be making improvements swapping tubes.

Preamp tubes require between 180~ 220Vdc to operate properly where you'd actually hear a differences in tube tone. You simply cant bias a tube from a 9 or 12v wall wart and expect decent tube tone.

Guitar pedals and low cost tube preamps use a starved voltage circuity. These starved circuit designs are pretty much a hoax when it comes to marketing because the tube itself doesn't amplify. In reality the gain comes from the solid state components, not the tube. They pass the signal through the tube to give some coloration and saturation. Sound quality isn't even a major factor at such low voltages.

I did try a dozen different tubes I have on hand in both a mic preamp and in my Marshall Valvestate head which also uses a starved voltage preamp tube.
I had all versions of the Sovtek, including the 5751, JJ, Tung-Sol, Groove tubes, Electro Harmonix, Mesa, Marshall, several other Chinese, plus some vintage RCA, Sylvania, and Westinghouse.

The only ones that stood out were the Electro Harmonix tubes. They have a slightly brighter tone and higher gain at low voltages. All the others didn't make a dimes worth of difference.
Old 9th October 2017
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

OK... But I have read a lot of people who say that the sound is WAY better with a better tube.... I have read the problem of low voltage so I have taken this tube: JJ NN055 Tube 12AU7
I read a lot of good reviews about it with the VT999 because it works better with low voltage. I also buy the JJ NN003 Tube ECC83S to test...
There is lot of reviews and videos about this trick... Do you really think they are all stupid?
Old 10th October 2017
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
DeltaCharlieEcho's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by actarus_23 View Post
OK... But I have read a lot of people who say that the sound is WAY better with a better tube.... I have read the problem of low voltage so I have taken this tube: JJ NN055 Tube 12AU7
I read a lot of good reviews about it with the VT999 because it works better with low voltage. I also buy the JJ NN003 Tube ECC83S to test...
There is lot of reviews and videos about this trick... Do you really think they are all stupid?
If you're dead set on doing this, JJ is the way to go. What is your goal with unit? If you're able to answer that question I can probably guide you to a suitable preamp tube.
Old 10th October 2017
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

It is for synths use. Acid synths first
Old 10th October 2017
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
DeltaCharlieEcho's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by actarus_23 View Post
It is for synths use. Acid synths first
Okay, so what kind of sound are you going for? The ECC83 is going to have less headroom and distort at lower volumes, the ECC82 is going to have the highest headroom, and the ECC81 is going to be the midpoint of those.
Old 10th October 2017
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

The 12AU7 is better for low voltage than 12AX7 so I will try this JJ 12AU7 ECC82 first, and then the JJ 12AX7 ECC83S to compare.
I read that the progression of the drive is way smoother with the 12AU7. And it is exactly what I want.

Do you think I could use a 12v psu than 9v? To drive better the tube? Something like that... Or is it a bad idea...
Old 10th October 2017
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
DeltaCharlieEcho's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by actarus_23 View Post
The 12AU7 is better for low voltage than 12AX7 so I will try this JJ 12AU7 ECC82 first, and then the JJ 12AX7 ECC83S to compare.
I read that the progression of the drive is way smoother with the 12AU7. And it is exactly what I want.

Do you think I could use a 12v psu than 9v? To drive better the tube? Something like that... Or is it a bad idea...
If the ECC83/12AX7 is what was in the box originally you can run any of the tubes without any issue. The 12AU7/ECC82 is the smoothest transfer and that will likely be your best option. I threw one in a Kustom Defender 5H to significantly raise the headroom and turned the amp into what I use for my piezo pickups. If you're looking for clean headroom definitely go with the ECC82/12AU7. Stick with the standard power, don't bump up to 12v if 9v is what Behringer says. You'll destroy the electronics.
Old 10th October 2017
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thank you very much!
Will give feedback in 2 days! Can't wait!!!
Old 9th December 2018
  #10
Gear Nut
 
pluto_ro's Avatar
 

so what was the conclusion? It sounded better with the new tubes? did this made a nice difference to the sound of the tb3? thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by actarus_23 View Post
Thank you very much!
Will give feedback in 2 days! Can't wait!!!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

n e c r o t h r e a d

Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto_ro View Post
so what was the conclusion? It sounded better with the new tubes? did this made a nice difference to the sound of the tb3? thanks
After all this time either the OP electrocuted himself or wrgkmc was right all along...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
elektrovolt's Avatar
I wouldn't bother with starved plate tube gear. Had several starved plate preamps/comrpessors/distortion boxes and all of them were a waste of time and money. Because of those marketing tricks many people think tubes are 'better' and 'warm sounding', but I think it is better to actually listen what sounds best, no matter if it is tube, solid state or whatever.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Here's the schematic.



The Op amp is what amplifies the signal well above instrument signal levels.
The tube doesn't amplify at all. It merely sucks the signal levels back down to what it was at the input so the output level winds up being the same.
The overdrive comes from the op amp overdriving the tube input.

Not much inside. No transformer to step up the voltage either. 12AX7 tubes normally run with a B+ 180DC and above. Lower voltages produce what's called a brown sound with frequency loss and loss of gain. At 9 volts there is no amplification. You're only forcing a signal through the tube for coloration, and that coloration isn't anything like a tube running at normal operating voltages. As I said, the differences when testing tubes at low voltages doesn't make a dimes difference with most of the tubes I tested. The EH tube seems to be the only one that produces an actual tone difference and that's probably because EH manufacturers guitar pedals and modified the tube design to get better results form starved pedals.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
While tube coloration is more noticeable with a properly powered circuit, it is still the case that starved plate designs do benefit from better quality tubes. It is also the case that even in a starved plate design the tonal characteristics of lower gain tubes like a 12AT7, 12AU7, etc. are recognizable when compared to a 12AX7.

For instance, replacing the stock Sovtek 12AX7's in a Behringer T1953 with a pair of JJ ECC83S helps clean up the signal and reduce unwanted noise (Since the OP was referencing Behringer gear).

EHX tubes IME are ****ty tubes that are damn noisy.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
wgrkmc is dead right on this one. I would bet that in a double blind test of various tubes in this starved plate design, none of us would be able to consistently identify the “superior” tubes. It’s a waste of time and money. I say that as someone who has wasted enough time and money to be certain.
I did at one time find a use for a starved plate design as a peak clipper of sorts, but if you think the sound of a starved plate tube circuit has any relationship to a fully powered tube, either clean or overdriven, you don’t have a firm grasp of the range of normally powered tube sound.
As stated, the normal tube voltage is in the area of 180 volts. This starved tube circuit is powered with 9 volts. Give that some thought.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
if you think the sound of a starved plate tube circuit has any relationship to a fully powered tube, either clean or overdriven, you don’t have a firm grasp of the range of normally powered tube sound.
I don't think anyone would argue that.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
These kinds of units are called tube, but that's highly misleading to the buyers. These units use very low voltages. The difference in tone between tubes is practically non existent so you are pretty much wasting you time thinking you'll be making improvements swapping tubes.

Preamp tubes require between 180~ 220Vdc to operate properly where you'd actually hear a differences in tube tone. You simply cant bias a tube from a 9 or 12v wall wart and expect decent tube tone.

Guitar pedals and low cost tube preamps use a starved voltage circuity. These starved circuit designs are pretty much a hoax when it comes to marketing because the tube itself doesn't amplify. In reality the gain comes from the solid state components, not the tube. They pass the signal through the tube to give some coloration and saturation. Sound quality isn't even a major factor at such low voltages.

I did try a dozen different tubes I have on hand in both a mic preamp and in my Marshall Valvestate head which also uses a starved voltage preamp tube.
I had all versions of the Sovtek, including the 5751, JJ, Tung-Sol, Groove tubes, Electro Harmonix, Mesa, Marshall, several other Chinese, plus some vintage RCA, Sylvania, and Westinghouse.

The only ones that stood out were the Electro Harmonix tubes. They have a slightly brighter tone and higher gain at low voltages. All the others didn't make a dimes worth of difference.
I don't agree with your assertion that you need 180 volts or higher to get a tube to operate properly. I'd put it way down at 90 to 100 volts. The ART Pro MPA II runs the tubes at 150 volts and it's very sensitive to tube changes (ie it makes a big difference in that preamp). Anyway, there is a place for starved tubes and that is for distortion generation. They produce a different, more gritty I'd say flavor of distortion that sometimes is just what is needed. Why do you think the multi-thousand dollar Culture Vulture has a starved plate setting? It's not a marketing gimmick I assure you. As far as EH tubes go, they are IMHO crap, like all the other current production tubes from China or Russia. There are still lots and lots of good used American and British tubes with plenty of life in them available on the evil bay. Myself, I only use NOS American or British in my tube gear, no matter what I have to pay for them.
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