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older TL Audio dual valve mic pre Single-Channel Preamps
Old 13th November 2009
  #1
older TL Audio dual valve mic pre

I have read a lot of TL Audio bashing on here. Unfortunately, I read most of it AFTER I picked up an older Dual Valve mic pre. It is one with the slate gray front, so it's even older than the blue front version of the same product. Anyway, all the bashing had me a little worried, because at that point it was in the mail on the way to my house...

I tried it out and... not so bad. Not great, but not bad. It has two 12AX7s in it: one for each channel. Through the mic pre you use one side of the tube and through the D.I. you use both sides of the tube. Anyway, my studio colleague and I did some A/B'ing with it the other day.

I picked up a set of NOS Sylvania 12AX7s. Since the pre has two identical sides, I swapped out one of the stock tubes (an Edicor 12AX7, which I never heard of before) with a Sylvania and left one of the stock tubes in the preamp.

EVERYTHING we ran through the box sounded night and day different/ better with the NOS Sylvania. I expected a difference, but not such a significant difference. Wow. It was like lifting a pillow off the monitors. An interesting thing... according to all the metering we were doing, both sides of the preamp were pushing the meters to the same levels, but the SOUND from the Sylvania tube was noticeably louder, had better highs and lows and the mids were not so muddy. Needless to say, I swapped out both the Edicors and dropped in the Sylvania tubes.

Then we compared the TL Audio after the NOS tubes were dropped into it with a Summit Audio 2BA-221. They compared very similarly after the tube upgrades. I was pleasantly surprised. The D.I. on the Summit sounded better, but not by much. The mic pre side of the comparisons were different, not better, than each other.

I mention all this in this forum because I see these older TL Audio pres selling for pretty low prices. I humbly suggest they are worth picking up if you then drop better tubes into the box. It is totally easy to do.

Another thing worth mentioning regarding the TL Audio Dual Valve mic pre is the interior of the box is HUGE. There is a lot of space in there. It is a two rack space unit. Some might say there is a lot of wasted space. But I am looking at it with the idea of adding input transformers to each channel. There is plenty of room for this mod inside the box. Sweet! I plan to place toggle switches on the front panel of the preamp to switch the trannies in or out of the signal, thus getting another sound out of the preamp. That is, when I get some more $$$ to buy the transformers.
Old 14th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Thanks, puffer... I've had the little brother (I think it's the PA-1?) for a LONG time. It's definitely not a bad pre at all - certainly not warranting a lot of the abuse they get around here.

I haven't bothered to try a tube swap on mine.. may have to give it a shot - pretty sure I've got piles of 12ax7s around here.
Old 14th November 2009
  #3
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beechstudio's Avatar
 

Give us a shout if you find someone to mod yours. I've had mine since 1995. I started asking around a couple years ago about modding and no-one would take the project on. Mine is still in service in my studio though.

BTW.....which model do you have? I've got one of the last revisions with the thru jacks and selectable output gain on each channel. The earlier versions didn't have this.
Old 14th November 2009
  #4
Change the tube for sure. It was totally worth doing. And the fact that the unit I have is a matched two channel pre, it was illuminating to hear the side by side of one tube versus another. Another tube I would like to try in the mic pre is a JJ long plate, gold pin tube. I have some of them laying around and I think they do very nice things for my guitar amplifiers. I just did not get around to that trial.

The pre I have is named: Dual Valve Microphone Preamplifier. It has all the in/ out and controls on the front. The only thing on the back of the unit is the power cable. It has phantom power switches and an odd little array of switches for mic or line and then 'guitar' or 'keyboard' which I find amusing. On ONE of the channels there is a phase reverse and of course both channels have a gain control. The box is a slate gray in color. It is two rack spaces high.

BTW--inside the box, my preamp has a toroidal power supply. Each preamp channel has its own single tube.

As for mods... my trusted, competent (actually excellent), and very knowledgeable repair guy tells me if there is room in a preamplifier box, he can add an input transformer to it. If you wanted to get in touch with him for a mod, I'd gladly hook you up.
Old 14th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Just double checked.. I have a PA-2, not a PA-1... still uses 12ax7's - will give a swap a shot.

Here's what I have..

http://www.tlaudio.co.uk/images_07/a...img/pa2_lg.jpg
Old 14th November 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Change the tube for sure. It was totally worth doing. And the fact that the unit I have is a matched two channel pre, it was illuminating to hear the side by side of one tube versus another. Another tube I would like to try in the mic pre is a JJ long plate, gold pin tube. I have some of them laying around and I think they do very nice things for my guitar amplifiers. I just did not get around to that trial.

The pre I have is named: Dual Valve Microphone Preamplifier. It has all the in/ out and controls on the front. The only thing on the back of the unit is the power cable. It has phantom power switches and an odd little array of switches for mic or line and then 'guitar' or 'keyboard' which I find amusing. On ONE of the channels there is a phase reverse and of course both channels have a gain control. The box is a slate gray in color. It is two rack spaces high.

BTW--inside the box, my preamp has a toroidal power supply. Each preamp channel has its own single tube.

As for mods... my trusted, competent (actually excellent), and very knowledgeable repair guy tells me if there is room in a preamplifier box, he can add an input transformer to it. If you wanted to get in touch with him for a mod, I'd gladly hook you up.
Thanks for that! Yes... please PM me your tech's info.
Old 14th November 2009
  #7
Gear Head
 

The problem with TLAudio, at least in my experience, comes only from the fact that they make pro gear at low prices, which means all of the components are cheap and likely to **** up somewhere down the line. I used their VTC desk regularly last year and it was always getting noise on the pots. Even after maintenance, this would return pretty quickly. The sound of the desk was perfectly fine, but the noise often made it impossible to record on certain channels, or do any live mixing to tape. It certainly didn't give me much faith in the company as a whole.

EDIT: The F word is censored now?

Last edited by DevlinC; 14th November 2009 at 11:17 AM.. Reason: censorship?
Old 14th November 2009
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggator6 View Post
Just double checked.. I have a PA-2, not a PA-1... still uses 12ax7's - will give a swap a shot.

Here's what I have..

http://www.tlaudio.co.uk/images_07/a...img/pa2_lg.jpg

That's the same one I have.
Old 14th November 2009
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevlinC View Post
The problem with TLAudio, at least in my experience, comes only from the fact that they make pro gear at low prices, which means all of the components are cheap and likely to **** up somewhere down the line. I used their VTC desk regularly last year and it was always getting noise on the pots. Even after maintenance, this would return pretty quickly. The sound of the desk was perfectly fine, but the noise often made it impossible to record on certain channels, or do any live mixing to tape. It certainly didn't give me much faith in the company as a whole.

EDIT: The F word is censored now?
Hmmm... that is a bummer. I hope that I do not have a similar experience with my TL Audio gear. Thanks for the heads up on what you have run into.
Old 14th November 2009
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggator6 View Post
Just double checked.. I have a PA-2, not a PA-1... still uses 12ax7's - will give a swap a shot.

Here's what I have..

http://www.tlaudio.co.uk/images_07/a...img/pa2_lg.jpg
Could you report back your experience with the tube swap after you do it? I am anxious to find if you have similar success in changing out the tubes. Thanks!
Old 4th December 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Could you report back your experience with the tube swap after you do it? I am anxious to find if you have similar success in changing out the tubes. Thanks!
Hi Puffer fish, listen I just snagged a TL PA-1, and got it next to nothing and I want to do a upgrade on the tubes, and anything else that might be done without costing a arm and a leg. What tubes do you recommend? Happy Holidays everyone
Old 4th December 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslik View Post
Hi Puffer fish, listen I just snagged a TL PA-1, and got it next to nothing and I want to do a upgrade on the tubes, and anything else that might be done without costing a arm and a leg. What tubes do you recommend? Happy Holidays everyone
I just looked over the description of the PA-1 on the TL Audio site--it looks like it is probably the same thing as what I have (The PA-2) except with some e.q. options and a trim control. According to their info, it is loaded with 12AX7 tubes. There are many, many options for you...

If you do not want to spend an arm and a leg, check out getting a matched pair of JJ gold pin, long-plate 12AX7 bottles: euro-e They call them ECC803S gold pin. I just really, really like how these sound.

In my PA-2, I dropped in a matched pair of NOS Sylvania 12AX7 tubes. As it turns out, they actually have long plates, similar in design to the JJ ECC803S bottles. I couldn't have been happier with the clarity, detail, sonic depth, greater apparent volume, etc, etc that these tubes gave me.

I expect you would find excellent results from any number of other NOS tubes. I have used GE, RCA, Amperex, Mullard, Phillips and others to great success in guitar amps and other recording gear. Yes, always with satisfactory results, typically with a similar, but result as the Sylvania tubes, but each brand and part has their own unique sonic signature. Sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes they are really obviously different.

I am not as fond of the Electro-Harmonix/ Sovtek 12AX7 bottles that I have used and heard. That is just my opinion though. Many, many people use them and like them a lot.

If it were me, with this preamp, I would spend the extra $$$ and go for a pair of NOS 12AX7 bottles. Make sure they are a matched set from the same manufacturer--otherwise you will not really be able to do stereo work with the preamp and ever expect the channels to sound the same. Make sense? I would NOT pay the big dollars to get an official matched pair, just make sure they are from the same manufacturer and from the same production year and from the same factory. Things to look for--make sure the metal work inside the bottles looks the same. Make sure they have the same screen printing on the outside. And ask the person you are buying the set from if they are the same--are a pair. Tell them what you plan to do (two matching channels on a mic pre so you can do stereo if you wish) so they understand your requirements.

Okay, that should about cover the tubey-ness.

As for other things to look for... as a matter of quality control, when you have the box popped open to swap out the tubes, check out the capacitors adjacent to the output XLR jacks. There should be a pair right next to or around each of the outputs--they are there to protect the circuit from any phantom power that might accidently get pushed into the preamp. On my PA-2, whoever owned it before me must have hit it pretty good with phantom power, because they capacitors were bulging and needed replaced. On my thread on here (Gearslutz) where I described the upgrades/ changes I had done to my PA-2, there should be a photo of these capacitors. If you are not sure what you are looking for or are not sure if they are okay or not, have a tech check them out. Anyone who is competent should be able to access the situation. They are inexpensive little guys. If they do need replaced, ask your tech if he can up the value a bit for better protection.

Another thing to look for is the biggie opamp that drives the signal into the tube--the opamp is the first gain stage (and I believe it is also part of the balancing circuit of the mic input) There are a couple options for that opamp. I can't remember what they are now... hmm... look at my thread on that one. I seem to recall that Jim Williams piped in a suggestion for the opamp. I would certainly trust his suggestions. To swap out the opamp, you would need to have the new one soldered to the board OR better yet, have a socket put on the board and then you can swap them out at your leisure. It does make a difference in the sound.

The biggest change I had was from the tube swap. Do that for sure.

Regarding the capacitors, the good news is they really do protect the circuit from errant phantom power coming in the out XLR.

I know, this gets long, but I am trying to hit you with everything I can remember about my experiences with the PA-2. Good luck getting your box up to snuff! It really can sound very good. It stands right up with my Summit Audio pre and I never heard anyone complaining about THAT box. heh

Let me know if you have any more questions and I will try to get you an answer. If you have trouble finding a tech and don't mind doing shipping, I can get you the info for who I work with. He is in Pennsylvania (USA) and has worked on more than one TL Audio rig at this point. Cheers!
Old 4th December 2010
  #13
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Basslik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
I just looked over the description of the PA-1 on the TL Audio site--it looks like it is probably the same thing as what I have (The PA-2) except with some e.q. options and a trim control. According to their info, it is loaded with 12AX7 tubes. There are many, many options for you...

If you do not want to spend an arm and a leg, check out getting a matched pair of JJ gold pin, long-plate 12AX7 bottles: euro-e They call them ECC803S gold pin. I just really, really like how these sound.

In my PA-2, I dropped in a matched pair of NOS Sylvania 12AX7 tubes. As it turns out, they actually have long plates, similar in design to the JJ ECC803S bottles. I couldn't have been happier with the clarity, detail, sonic depth, greater apparent volume, etc, etc that these tubes gave me.

I expect you would find excellent results from any number of other NOS tubes. I have used GE, RCA, Amperex, Mullard, Phillips and others to great success in guitar amps and other recording gear. Yes, always with satisfactory results, typically with a similar, but result as the Sylvania tubes, but each brand and part has their own unique sonic signature. Sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes they are really obviously different.

I am not as fond of the Electro-Harmonix/ Sovtek 12AX7 bottles that I have used and heard. That is just my opinion though. Many, many people use them and like them a lot.

If it were me, with this preamp, I would spend the extra $$$ and go for a pair of NOS 12AX7 bottles. Make sure they are a matched set from the same manufacturer--otherwise you will not really be able to do stereo work with the preamp and ever expect the channels to sound the same. Make sense? I would NOT pay the big dollars to get an official matched pair, just make sure they are from the same manufacturer and from the same production year and from the same factory. Things to look for--make sure the metal work inside the bottles looks the same. Make sure they have the same screen printing on the outside. And ask the person you are buying the set from if they are the same--are a pair. Tell them what you plan to do (two matching channels on a mic pre so you can do stereo if you wish) so they understand your requirements.

Okay, that should about cover the tubey-ness.

As for other things to look for... as a matter of quality control, when you have the box popped open to swap out the tubes, check out the capacitors adjacent to the output XLR jacks. There should be a pair right next to or around each of the outputs--they are there to protect the circuit from any phantom power that might accidently get pushed into the preamp. On my PA-2, whoever owned it before me must have hit it pretty good with phantom power, because they capacitors were bulging and needed replaced. On my thread on here (Gearslutz) where I described the upgrades/ changes I had done to my PA-2, there should be a photo of these capacitors. If you are not sure what you are looking for or are not sure if they are okay or not, have a tech check them out. Anyone who is competent should be able to access the situation. They are inexpensive little guys. If they do need replaced, ask your tech if he can up the value a bit for better protection.

Another thing to look for is the biggie opamp that drives the signal into the tube--the opamp is the first gain stage (and I believe it is also part of the balancing circuit of the mic input) There are a couple options for that opamp. I can't remember what they are now... hmm... look at my thread on that one. I seem to recall that Jim Williams piped in a suggestion for the opamp. I would certainly trust his suggestions. To swap out the opamp, you would need to have the new one soldered to the board OR better yet, have a socket put on the board and then you can swap them out at your leisure. It does make a difference in the sound.

The biggest change I had was from the tube swap. Do that for sure.

Regarding the capacitors, the good news is they really do protect the circuit from errant phantom power coming in the out XLR.

I know, this gets long, but I am trying to hit you with everything I can remember about my experiences with the PA-2. Good luck getting your box up to snuff! It really can sound very good. It stands right up with my Summit Audio pre and I never heard anyone complaining about THAT box. heh

Let me know if you have any more questions and I will try to get you an answer. If you have trouble finding a tech and don't mind doing shipping, I can get you the info for who I work with. He is in Pennsylvania (USA) and has worked on more than one TL Audio rig at this point. Cheers!
Thank you so much puffer fish. I will start on upgrading soon, and can you direct me to a reputable site that has the tubes?, Happy Holidays.
Old 5th December 2010
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslik View Post
Thank you so much puffer fish. I will start on upgrading soon, and can you direct me to a reputable site that has the tubes?, Happy Holidays.
Here are a couple places online that sell NOS stuff:

Welcome to TubeDepot.com!

Vacuum Tube Valley

thetubestore.com - Audio vacuum tubes for your amplifier.

Or another option, look up Bowie on Gearslutz--he is a tube reseller with a good track record having hooked a bunch of folks up on here. Plus he will be familiar with what you are looking to do and have a good sense of what might be a number of good choices for you. I am sure you would do well in dealing with that gentleman. He may be your best option.

Of course you could try your luck on eBay as well--that's probably the last place I would look. And you could always search for some more online vendors.

Go to the Tube Depot and the Tube Store to get a sense of what these little guys are selling for, just in general. You might have to send them an email and get some price quotes. Then you will know if you are getting a good deal or not and generally buold your base-knowledge regarding the preamp tubes. Some of the brands sell for more $$$ than others--it seems like anything that has 'Mullard' silk screened onto the glass sells for more money than many other brands. Just my observation.
Old 5th December 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Here are a couple places online that sell NOS stuff:

Welcome to TubeDepot.com!

Vacuum Tube Valley

thetubestore.com - Audio vacuum tubes for your amplifier.

Or another option, look up Bowie on Gearslutz--he is a tube reseller with a good track record having hooked a bunch of folks up on here. Plus he will be familiar with what you are looking to do and have a good sense of what might be a number of good choices for you. I am sure you would do well in dealing with that gentleman. He may be your best option. Will shop around and see how it goes. Is it as simply popping in a tube?

Of course you could try your luck on eBay as well--that's probably the last place I would look. And you could always search for some more online vendors.

Go to the Tube Depot and the Tube Store to get a sense of what these little guys are selling for, just in general. You might have to send them an email and get some price quotes. Then you will know if you are getting a good deal or not and generally buold your base-knowledge regarding the preamp tubes. Some of the brands sell for more $$$ than others--it seems like anything that has 'Mullard' silk screened onto the glass sells for more money than many other brands. Just my observation.
Kwel, pretty excited about this piece of gear, although I'm a noob and just getting my feet wet I know that this pre will yield great results compared to my stock pres in my Mackie VLZ1604. Interesting thing is that a great person I met practically gave me this piece of gear, and not cause it's junk he said. But he states he already has every other pre just about, along with his SSL 4000, but assured me the TL-PA1 is a great unit. Puffer I tried looking up Bowie with no luck?, will keep trying.

Last edited by Basslik; 5th December 2010 at 09:52 PM.. Reason: add to post
Old 5th December 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 

i have the indigo dual compressor and it works just fine.
Old 6th December 2010
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslik View Post
Kwel, pretty excited about this piece of gear, although I'm a noob and just getting my feet wet I know that this pre will yield great results compared to my stock pres in my Mackie VLZ1604. Interesting thing is that a great person I met practically gave me this piece of gear, and not cause it's junk he said. But he states he already has every other pre just about, along with his SSL 4000, but assured me the TL-PA1 is a great unit. Puffer I tried looking up Bowie with no luck?, will keep trying.
Here is BOWIE's business email address: [email protected]

If you want to find him on here, go to the 'advanced search' function under the search heading. When that page comes up, on the right hand side, there is a field for searching by user name--type in 'Bowie' and his name will come right up--when you go from there, it will take you to threads where he posted.

The guy does not really know me, but you can tell him I sent you his way. thumbsup

Good luck! Oh yes, and good catch on the pre amp.
Old 7th December 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Here is BOWIE's business email address: [email protected]

If you want to find him on here, go to the 'advanced search' function under the search heading. When that page comes up, on the right hand side, there is a field for searching by user name--type in 'Bowie' and his name will come right up--when you go from there, it will take you to threads where he posted.

The guy does not really know me, but you can tell him I sent you his way. thumbsup

Good luck! Oh yes, and good catch on the pre amp.
Thank so much Puffer fish, I got a hold of him and he's being very helpful for what I wanted out of the pre, which I though was cool and considering I'm a noob to all this tube stuff.

The tubes it has now are (2) GE-jan5751 and (2) Siemens EF86, don't know if those are the stock tubes?, but they seem fine, except on the on top of the GE-jan5751 they have a dark bluing circle?, like it got super hot or something, perhaps that's what tubes do?. when I turn it on I see the Jan's light up, but the siemens don't glow?, haven't tried the pre yet, but everything in the unit looks brand new.
Old 7th December 2010
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslik View Post
Thank so much Puffer fish, I got a hold of him and he's being very helpful for what I wanted out of the pre, which I though was cool and considering I'm a noob to all this tube stuff.

The tubes it has now are (2) GE-jan5751 and (2) Siemens EF86, don't know if those are the stock tubes?, but they seem fine, except on the on top of the GE-jan5751 they have a dark bluing circle?, like it got super hot or something, perhaps that's what tubes do?. when I turn it on I see the Jan's light up, but the siemens don't glow?, haven't tried the pre yet, but everything in the unit looks brand new.
Hmmm... it sounds like the person you got this from already swapped out the tubes some time ago, which is awfully good news for you! Most tubes will have a dark area at the top of the bottle, no big deal. In fact when they fail, in my experience, they start to sound bad, noticeably bad, and you replace them at that time. I have never had one 'pop' or burn out or anything like that.

From what you say you already have in the pre, I would go with that and listen and see if I like it. I doubt you'll get better than those tubes, just different. And that is a good thing. It's always nice to find that you are in the right place already.
Old 7th December 2010
  #20
i also noticed a difference when i upgraded my tubes in the 5051.
it says on the TL audio website to upgrade the tubes every four years.
i used JJ audio's but would like to get something fancy from bowie one day.

jeremy
Old 7th December 2010
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyglover View Post
i also noticed a difference when i upgraded my tubes in the 5051.
it says on the TL audio website to upgrade the tubes every four years.
i used JJ audio's but would like to get something fancy from bowie one day.

jeremy
Jeremy--you are referring to a guitar amp--5051? If you want to try out different preamp tubes in a guitar amp and do not want to--or do not have--spend big money for a pile of older expensive tubes, start with the V1 position in the preamp tubes. That tube often has a metal can around it to protect the tube from other radiation in case you are not sure which one I am talking about. In all the tube amp designs I am familiar with, V1 is the preamp tube at the beginning of the signal chain (as far as the tubes are concerned) and is the place where you are most likely to hear an immediate difference in the sound. Other tube positions in the preamp section on a guitar tube amp are less likely top affect the over-all sound of the amp in the same way. So my point is, if you want to hear what a NOS tube could do for you, buy one and start there. heh That is a much more manageable cash layout, I am sure you'll agree.
Old 8th December 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffer fish View Post
here is bowie's business email address: [email protected]

if you want to find him on here, go to the 'advanced search' function under the search heading. When that page comes up, on the right hand side, there is a field for searching by user name--type in 'bowie' and his name will come right up--when you go from there, it will take you to threads where he posted.

The guy does not really know me, but you can tell him i sent you his way. Thumbsup

good luck! Oh yes, and good catch on the pre amp.
thanks puffer
Old 18th December 2010
  #23
Here for the gear
 

You know you could forgo the whole overpriced 12ax7 madness and buy a pair of NOS Mullard 12at7 mil spec tubes for only about $50 or so.
I have a pair in my PA-2 and they sound wonderful. As I understand the design of this circuit, the tube stage only contributes about 6 db of gain so you wouldn't lose a noticeable amount.

Ebay http:///cgi.ebay.com/Genuine-Mullard-CV4024-amp-tubes12AT7-NOS-22-00-ea-/310277367070?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item483df8e51e

Last edited by Retromod; 18th December 2010 at 07:06 AM.. Reason: update
Old 18th December 2010
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retromod View Post
You know you could forgo the whole overpriced 12ax7 madness and buy a pair of NOS Mullard 12at7 mil spec tubes for only about $50 or so.
I have a pair in my PA-2 and they sound wonderful. As I understand the design of this circuit, the tube stage only contributes about 6 db of gain so you wouldn't lose a noticeable amount.

Ebay http:///cgi.ebay.com/Genuine-Mullard-CV4024-amp-tubes12AT7-NOS-22-00-ea-/310277367070?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item483df8e51e
I paid less than that for each for a pair of 12ax7 sylvania tubes a year ago... probably around $20 something a piece. I paid around $22 for a wonderful GE 12ax7 that resides in my guitar amp right now. I paid around the $25 each price you are talking about for a couple RCA 12ax7 bottles I have.

I in no way ever advocated paying a stupid amount of money for NOS tubes. I will not do that myself. I am pretty sure if a person looks around, shops around, they can find the right tubes for this machine.

I agree, there is no reason why a person could not use a 12ay7, 12at7, 12au7 instead of a 12ax7 for the preamp, except that the gain will be lower and you may not get the same sound from the circuit. Of course, any different manufacture's preamp tube you drop in the circuit will likely produce a different sound.

The most important thing to mention here is the 12at, 12ay, 12au, etc are not going to be especially cheaper than buying a 12ax7. If you can consistently find a lower price for those other preamp tube types and that's the way you want to work whatever circuit you are dealing with, then fine. But please don't muddy these tube circuit waters with half-truths. Sadly this is all confusing enough for everyone already. If you think there is a compelling sonic reason to use something other than what the manufacturer suggests, then that is a very interesting thing to read. But you claim for frugal shopping to opt for something other than the prescribed 12ax7 from the engineers is erroneous in that there are plenty of NOS12ax7 bottles out there for the same price as 12au, 12at, 12ay,... and if you really are low on cash, then why not use the right designated tube for the circuit and simply buy something new?

Obviously this is simply my opinion, and you are entitled to yours. But the saving $$$ claim just does not really hold much weight when the price you mentioned is the same I paid for my 12ax7 tubes.
Old 18th December 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Jeremy--you are referring to a guitar amp--5051?
Puffer. He's referring to a TLA 5051.
Old 19th December 2010
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
Puffer. He's referring to a TLA 5051.
Ah yes...

TL Audio 5051 - Mono Tube Voice Processor

Thanks for clearing that up.

So much for my guitar tube amp speech. Oh well, maybe it will be helpful to someone someday.
Old 19th December 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
So much for my guitar tube amp speech. Oh well, maybe it will be helpful to someone someday.
Consider it as collateral karma. It happens a bit to all of us. It will no doubt help someone else. thumbsup

I've been enjoying this thread a lot and you've been really helpful with sharing info. Big Up and Good stuff!

Cheers RAy
Old 19th December 2010
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
Consider it as collateral karma. It happens a bit to all of us. It will no doubt help someone else. thumbsup

I've been enjoying this thread a lot and you've been really helpful with sharing info. Big Up and Good stuff!

Cheers RAy
Good, I am glad you are enjoying it. I do not think there is enough TL Audio info out in the online thread world, at least there was not for me when I jumped into my PA-2. It turned out to be a totally worth while purchase, after a few tweaks. I would buy another one.
Old 19th December 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 

I worked on an album in the late 90's on ADAT and the PA2 was a big part of the sound of the album. It turned out fine. It Made a huge difference to Drum Overheads, Brass & Sax and a Stereo Suitcase Rhodes. The sound of the Rhodes just Came Alive through that pre (2 Rode NT-2's>TLA PA2). It goes to show ...
Old 20th December 2010
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
I paid less than that for each for a pair of 12ax7 sylvania tubes a year ago... probably around $20 something a piece. I paid around $22 for a wonderful GE 12ax7 that resides in my guitar amp right now. I paid around the $25 each price you are talking about for a couple RCA 12ax7 bottles I have.

I in no way ever advocated paying a stupid amount of money for NOS tubes. I will not do that myself. I am pretty sure if a person looks around, shops around, they can find the right tubes for this machine.

I agree, there is no reason why a person could not use a 12ay7, 12at7, 12au7 instead of a 12ax7 for the preamp, except that the gain will be lower and you may not get the same sound from the circuit. Of course, any different manufacture's preamp tube you drop in the circuit will likely produce a different sound.

The most important thing to mention here is the 12at, 12ay, 12au, etc are not going to be especially cheaper than buying a 12ax7. If you can consistently find a lower price for those other preamp tube types and that's the way you want to work whatever circuit you are dealing with, then fine. But please don't muddy these tube circuit waters with half-truths. Sadly this is all confusing enough for everyone already. If you think there is a compelling sonic reason to use something other than what the manufacturer suggests, then that is a very interesting thing to read. But you claim for frugal shopping to opt for something other than the prescribed 12ax7 from the engineers is erroneous in that there are plenty of NOS12ax7 bottles out there for the same price as 12au, 12at, 12ay,... and if you really are low on cash, then why not use the right designated tube for the circuit and simply buy something new?

Obviously this is simply my opinion, and you are entitled to yours. But the saving $$$ claim just does not really hold much weight when the price you mentioned is the same I paid for my 12ax7 tubes.
Hey Puffer, I think you took me the wrong way. I am in no way sniping at your advise on tube rolling. In fact I have many 12ax7's that I got at a bargain as well and strongly encourage anyone to experiment with different tubes without spending a lot of money. I am merely suggesting an alternative to the often overpriced famous name 12ax7's that I have so often heard people talk about dropping several bucks on.
The reason I suggested NOS 12at7's is that if you want critical stereo matching, it is important to have a fairly well matched pair and if they are brand new from the same batch, they are more likely to be within the same tolerance and character.
Mullards happen to be wonderfully consistent and unfortunately as a result, are often pricey.
I have tried many re-issues and I have yet to be satisfied with the results.
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