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Gear mods? Valve swapping?
Old 4th June 2002
Gear mods? Valve swapping?

Niall was telling me somthing about how putting better valves in an SPL Gold Mic made it 'come to life'.

Who's mod-ing or supercharging their gear out there?

Old 4th June 2002
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar

I heard the millenia sounds better with tele tubes.
I know it makes a hell of a difference with guitars so why should studio pre valves be any different, a lot are 12ax7's anyway. Although a Marshall JCM800 with better tubes sounds like a hotted up marshall.. a cheap valvestate rollz with the one tube inside :eek: might not be much of a diff
Old 4th June 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I haven't bothered to experiment with tubes that much. It would probably make more of a difference in the things with a starved plate design like the ART and dbx stuff. I don't know anything about the SPL so it might be same. I suppose it's something I should try someday when I have extra money floating around.
Old 4th June 2002
Gear Nut
Kev's Avatar


Don't tell me we might finaly get you to lift the lid on something!

To answer the question ..
I have swapped op-amps and I have just started to experiment with changing tubes.

Old 11th June 2002
I don´t have any tube gear to swap tubes
Old 13th July 2002
Lives for gear
moon_unit's Avatar

Hi, I'm new to this forum, so I figured I'd start things off in typical newbie fashion by reviving an old thread that has long-since been abandoned and forgotten.

My avatar isn't me, but whoever it is, he shure looks pretty damn cool, so I am him from now on, okay? I look just like him, anyway, and I even like to play the six-string to an audience of hanging rocks. Man, you guys are gonna' love me.

Anyway, I just picked up a Bellari Tube preamp off of ebay. I had it sent to a guy in Washingon, whom I met on another online forum. The deal is Bellari tube preamps are designed the right way for the most part; REAL full (not starved) voltage to the plate with a transformer input.

They basically just load it up with a heaping, smelly crap-pile of cheap parts. So anyway, I got some Burr-brown opamps, a Jensen transfromer, and - this is pretty cool - got a hold of some NOS vintage Tung-Sol tubes. From what I have heard, replacing these parts will make it in to a respectable tube preamp, as opposed to it's "piece of crap" status it would otherwise enjoy.

If it doesn't work out, then I figure at least I can have another box I can drive really hard for some nasty effects . . . and I suppose I will have learned a few things.

BTW - What's up with the "Gear Interested" stuff? dfegad
Old 14th July 2002
Gear Addict
I once swapped the stock toobs out of my DBX 586 and put some groove tubes 12Ax7's in there. Instant trent reznor. Since I don't use it much anymore I should of left them in there for that certain sound who knows? Might get some neat tones out of it. Amazing what different toobs will do sometimes. Bought a presonus bluetoob cheap off someone for $50. You got me thinking now. I'm gonna put some real Hot toobs in there an try it out on some room mics.

Old 31st July 2002
Gear Head
Jakob's Avatar

I swapped tubes on a TLAudio Pa2001. I put in 1Tesla, 1 GDR Valve 12au7, and two 12ax7 rubytubes. it improved the sound considerable since the unit had a gritty sounding lower midrange to it that is now gone.

sincerely yours
Old 14th September 2004
Gear Nut
Babe Records's Avatar

Re: Gear mods? Valve swapping?

Originally posted by Jules
Niall was telling me somthing about how putting better valves in an SPL Gold Mic made it 'come to life'.

Who's mod-ing or supercharging their gear out there?


Has anybody tried to change the valves of a SPL Gold Mike?
What kind of valves for what kind of sound?
Old 15th September 2004
Lives for gear
santacore's Avatar
Don't know about the gold mike but I do own a number of pieces of tube gear. In all my gear changing tubes has made a difference. The extent of the difference depends on the quality of the tubes and the gear. I believe that the higher end the gear the bigger the improvement. Probably because high end stuff has the ability to bring out the small details that lesser designs cannot.

Just my 2 cents.

update: I just looked up the Goldmike and it looks like it uses 12AX7 tubes. From what I understand the old Amperex's and the Telefunkens both made great versions of this tube. Do a google search to find out which models by these brands are the best, because all models perform a little different. Have fun.
Old 15th September 2004
Lives for gear
Pohaku's Avatar

I swapped out the tubes in my VMP-2. Came with 3 Sovtek 12ax7s and one Philips 12at7 in each channel. Replaced them with Groove Tubes 12ax7m (the Mullard copies) and real Mullard NOS military 12at7s. Noticeably smoother and warmer.

I'll probably do my VC/L-2 next and see what that sounds like with better tubes. After that my Valveverb and GT tube mics-- although with as many tubes as some of these units have, the cost adds up after a while, especially if you use NOS tubes.

And what to do with all those Sovtek tubes?
Old 16th September 2004
Gear Maniac
psytechguy's Avatar

I started out swapping out tubes in amps, then in mics. Tubes can make a huge difference.

From there it went to upgrading opamps and re-capping older, and even new gear.

Everything I've done has generally improved the sound of the equipment.

It's sort of an addiction. You start looking under the hood and going "hmmmmm.....I wonder......!"

Old 16th September 2004
Lives for gear
Ted Nightshade's Avatar

Tubes make a difference all right, but I have way too many tubes in service to go around swapping them out if they work. Way too many!

In my opinion, if it doesn't sound great with good quality working tubes in it, get something that does. Stuff that only sounds good with just the right vintage tubes- who needs it? I don't.

Pretty much JJ Tesla's are the ones I use most times, or for Manley kit, I get the ones they've tested for low noise and long life.

I'd rather spend my time moving mics than fussing with replacing perfectly good tubes.
Old 16th September 2004
Lives for gear
Pohaku's Avatar

That presumes that the incumbent tubes are "perfectly good" of course. While the factory installed Philips 12at7s in the VMP-2 are reasonably decent, IMHO the stock Sovteks are merely serviceable. Just about anything else would likely be an audible improvement (well, maybe not some of the cheap Chinese tubes). Doesn't have to be exotic NOS.

Besides, I'm not fortunate enough to have gear where I have too many tubes to change. I suppose I'll have to work on that. heh
Old 16th September 2004
Lives for gear
Ted Nightshade's Avatar

Right, there's a lot of tubes out there that are not by any stretch "perfectly good"! And it can make a real noticeable difference to get just the right tube in there- but when you have 40 or 50 tubes going, selected for good quality and good sound (only a few NOS ones), it's just too expensive to contemplate!

When I get used gear I always take a good look at the tubes. A lot of times, I'm thinking it would never have been sold if good tubes were in it!
Old 18th September 2004
Lives for gear

years ago i wanted a decent microphone - so i swapped the
girl friend for a neumann. ....just kidding !
Old 18th September 2004
Lives for gear
Charlie-O's Avatar

Would replacing the tubes in my UA 6176 perhaps make it sound it better?

I hope so!
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