Quick, cheap, easy way to improve your valve or hybrid amp

Sure, a lot of bass amps are all solid state - with good reason. But, if you have all-valve (like me) or hybrid amps (a valve or two in the preamp section; eg Ashdown, Marshall DBS, etc) then consider this...

Nice as it is, a lot of 12AX7/ECC83 equipped amps come with some pretty naff pre-tubes as supplied. I don't rate the Russian or Chinese 12AX7s at all; certainly not for bass. They can be quick to distort (don't mind that) but are 2-D and brittle when they do so. I like Mullards, but Mullard, Telefunken and Amperex Bugle Boy get whacking bids on the Fleeb and even sillier prices from the vintage tube sellers.

A good, used, General Electric or RCA is often up for not a lot of money. I tried out (long, boring story) various 12AX7s blind and the Groove Tubes 12AX7 from China was obviously rubbish. The GE and RCA were actually better than the pricey, nicey Mullard. My guitarist sounded best through the Mullard so I re-checked. Yep, the bass sounded better through the GE.

Upshot; consider picking up an old GE or RCA 12AX7A or 7025 for just a few quid/bucks and be surprised when they go in. No great tech knowledge or skill is required but remember that all-valve amps can be dangerous, even when unplugged. Post here if unsure about what to do.

Equally, if you have other faves, post your ops here.

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One day I'm look up what a 12AX7 is then go back and read all your posts and see if I understand them more...well maybe not all 1317 (so far) of them but lots, I'll search for 12AX7 and see how many come up...


The poppy-up thing says edit/delete this post, but then it doesn't seem to let you delete it? So, erm, I didn't. Thats why it's still here. But I've cunningly replaced the text, so you'll never know...

Arf, we mods know everything, Tim. That's an interesting birthmark you've got, for one thing :lol: . You can edit your own posts, or delete them, no probs. To delete your post (like you've sobered up, for example :P ) just make use of the little x-in-a-box. Or you can use the edit function but just click on the "delete this post" option.

Don't delete unless you really have said something terrible, though. I always just use "Edit" if I want to clarify/apologize profusely for a previous postup.

Anyhoo, a 12AX7 is aka ECC83 in Europe and almost certainly present in a hybrid amp. More than one is definitely likely in a "proper" valve amp. The point I could bore the nation on is that the little valve can exert quite an imfluence on the tone of the equipment. Swapping out the ready-fitted 12AX7/ECC83 with something decently made can be surprising on the ear'oles. Even for bass. :roll: More later, but guitarists are (annoyingly) clued up on this.

I'll bare that in mind then, as I'm looking at some amps. For the last 7-8 years I've been playing through a borrowed SS Peavey. Which is...not good.

EDIT: I don't have an x-in-a-box or a delete option! I'm deprived, even with my Jammin' Hot status!

You don't see "quote, edit, "x" and IP at the top of your posts? Hmmm..., thought you should. Have you been playing through a TKO or TNT bass amp, Tim? I hate them; they sound like you're walking on manholes

I have 'quote' and 'edit' at the top of my posts and nowt else :(

The fantstic TNT 150, mmm

Odd, might check that with MightyMike. Still, if you use the "edit" button, underneath the typing box, there should be a tickbox option for "delete this post".

Delete is only for the mods. And whilst it wouldn't be a prob for folks like yourself Tim to have delete control... I'd have to give it across the board. Then you get people who start a thread then delete their orig post and things beging to make no sense very quickly.

No worries, I can see that.

WoOoOoOoOo, way to kill a thread, sorry people! Cue tumble-weed and the like...

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