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Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by Xiphos1 on 2012-02-14 17:38:18

First, forgive my ignorance as I have never messed with tubes before and haven't even had a tube amp in 15 years so I am just learning about tubes. I do know a little about them from power amps and preamps I had owned but never changed them before. Anyway, I am thinking of changing the preamp tubes from the sovteks to electro harmonix tubes. My question is that I see inside my am head where the tubes are it has printed 12AX7B. Now I was looking at some online stores and don't see any 12AXBs. I  did see some Sovtek 12AXWA & WCs also some other tube brands with -R, -R2, -R3, A,-C, etc. My question is do I need to find a replacement that ends with "B"? After reading some reviews I really want to try the The electro harmonix which is a 12AX7EH tube. Thanks for any input - Dann



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by spaceatl on 2012-02-14 18:20:01

You can use just about any 12AX7 you like...I would recomend that you stay away from the long plate types as those are more prone to being microphonic...

I am using a mixed bag in my SVs (I have a MK1 and MK2)....I use Mesa SPAX7s for V1 and a Groove Tubes SAGAX7 balanced inverter. If you happened to be in Atlanta, I have 5 EH 12AX7s that are practically new...I am not a fan of that tube. Every single one I have tried as had kind of a high noise floor...But I am used to SPAX7s as I have been using those for over 20 years...They last and I have never gotten a bad one...

Depending on what you choose, you can change the character of the power amp a bit, but the 12AX7s are not going to change your distortion as that is all modeled...just noisefloor, some harmonic content and perhaps dynamics a bit...V1 will make a bit more difference than V2, but this is all pretty subjective and in the end it will be up to you to find what you like...

On thing to keep in mind is that the 12AX7s in the SV are NOT preamp tubes in thier usage. They are fully part of the power amp section. V1 is a clean cascaded buffer that is fed by the digital modeler and V2 is the inverter...



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by mtrash14 on 2012-02-17 14:27:45

Nice reply spaceatl.  I liked it.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by Xiphos1 on 2012-02-18 18:57:21

Thanks for the replies. Saceatl, I am in Virginia Beach so Atl is a bit too far to drive for some tubes lol. Where did you find the mesa tubes? Also if I did switch the12ax7s do I have to rebias them? I know I would have to rebias the 6l6s if I switched them out but not sure about these. Also how do I know which is v1 and v2? Thanks.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by spaceatl on 2012-02-20 12:56:22

12AX7s are plug and play...not bias adjustment needed really...If I remember right, the inverter is on the right facing the back of the amp...

@mtrash14 - thanks & wassup bro!!? been a while...I am not getting on here as much lately...



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by mtrash14 on 2012-02-20 14:43:18

Just passing through man and wanted to commend you on such a great reply!!!

By what I see I need to be proud of all you guys.  You are all doing a great job on the forum .

I've been good and I'm still playing my SV. lol.  It's still my favorite amp, but I still can't play worth a crap.

Later man, and good luck to all you guys!!!

Mtrash



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by Doom777 on 2013-02-17 16:59:10

Greetings

Wondering myself about changing the 6l6's with c winge's still need to be re bias on the sv mk ii

Thanks john



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by Doom777 on 2013-02-17 17:04:40

I guess 1year and 3days to late for a answer will be a shot in the dark.

O well



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by jeffknaus on 2013-02-17 18:51:30

I just replaced the power tubes in my new (used) Spider Valve mkII 212 with Mesa Boogie power tubes. They seem to be working well so far.  These tubes are rated in the miiddle of the 1-10 Groove Tubes rating system.  I was concerned about having to re-bias the amp.  I didn't really want to pay $50 for a tech to do that (in addition to the cost of the tubes).  I guess I'll just need to watch for overheating, etc.

It would have been nice for the Line 6 folks to tell us which 3rd party tubes could be used w/o having to re-bias.  Or, perhaps I just missed that in my googling on this issue.  If anybody has a link I'd surely appreciate it.  Thanks!



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by mtnman82 on 2013-02-18 13:54:59

What was the STR# on the Mesa tubes, Jeff?  Mesa has tubes from all over, they just test & screen the crap out of them.  For example, the STR-454's are the Svetlana inged c's and the STR-420 are some type of Sovtek I believe.  You really should have your amp biased.  If you have it biased with the tubes you have now, in the future you should be able to get the same # tube without biasing again.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by double07 on 2013-02-19 11:28:43

Hi. I'm new to the Spider valve but really liking the amp. However I have been a tube amp guy for a long time. So I'll tell you since it sounds like you're new to tube amps and all. Yes using different tubes can and will make a HUGE improvemet in the sound of your tube amp. Also the "OEM" or original equipment manufacturer tubes that ship with MOST amps out there (not just Line 6) are not the best sounding tubes avialable. They ship in most amps becasue they are inexpensive. In other words there are much better sounding tubes than the Sovteks that your amp came with.

Some of the best tubes being made: for preamp tubes the the JJ ECC83 or Tung Sol 12AX7. For Poweramp tubes the JJ 6L6GC or the SED "WInged C" (used to be Svetlana) are the best. In my opinion the JJ 6L6 has near NOS sonics at a working man's price. There are also other good tubes out there but in my experience those are the best. Best thing to do is to try a bunch and see what you like.

Note: when changing poweramp tubes you should have your amp biased for the new tubes. If you are a novice you should have the biasing done by a professional amp Tech because the voltages inside an amp can kill you.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by jeffknaus on 2013-02-20 19:16:36

Here's an update. After about 3 hrs of use my SV internal fuse (the 0.5A SloBlo) blew.  I'm thinking that this is a sign that I needed to have the amp re-biased for those tubes.  I've taken them back to Guitar Center. I'll try to find some nice power tubes on the internet.  I may try the JJ 6L6GC's suggested by double07 (below) and get my amp biased.

Regarding pre-amp tubes, I vaguely rememeber reading (elsewhere in this forum or on the FAQs) that SV MKII pre-amp tubes should match the orginal OEM Sovtek pre-amp tubes shipped with the amp because the digital amp models are tuned to the response characteristics of this style tube.

Plz correct me if this is infois not true.  I don't want to be starting any rumors here.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by jeffknaus on 2013-02-20 19:18:06

Thanks.  I think I'll take your suggestion and re-tube with the JJ6L6s.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by peewee101 on 2013-04-05 19:33:42

Just going to throw this in. I have a SV with the SVpre installed. Sound started to fade after a couple years and after reading on here I retubed with JJs 12AX7s and 6L6s with proper biasing.. Amp took on a totally different sound. It was hard and metaly sounding. The distortion sounded like a cheap stomp box. I had to change all the settings in all my presets to make it better but I still was not happy. I recently tried switching out some tubes. I replaced V1 with a MESA 12ax7-A and it totally changed it to my likings. The volume was lower but more warm and the drive sounds more like a good tube distortion. I then changed the SVpre tube with the same and it is better yet. I need to spend a little time changing my settings again but I am liking what I am hearing. Now I am going to try switching out the inverter tube with a couple different tubes to see what I get. Basdically I found the JJ 12AX7 to be too harsh and brittle sounding but it might be good for a metal head. I am blown away on the differance preamp tubes make in this amp.

I play in a cover band so my amp has to be clean to mega dirty and this SV does a good job.



Re: Replacing preamp tubes in my spider valve mkii hd100
by mtnman82 on 2013-04-06 19:37:27

Remember opinions vary, and these are just opinions...

The tubes, both 'ax7s and 6l6/5881s can make quite a difference in tone, especially to the discerning ear.  I played a simple guitar-cable-amp setup, no effects, for well over a decade before getting a Spider Valve.  Primarily a S-S-H Strat thru a MkIV Boogie.  The power amp tubes make a greater difference in tone IMHO, especially in the Spider Valve.  Going to the JJ's or the SED's will definitely change your tone.  The SED's give a vintage tone, which is a mellower tone.  The JJ's are very bold and in your face.  When I was plaing primarily just blues, the SED's were the way to go for me.  I didn't use the JJ's for too long (maybe 6 months), just because it wasn;t the tone I was looking for - I agree with peewee here in that if I were playing metal most of the time I might go with those.  The Sovtek 6L6WXT+'s are an upgrade (sonically) to the 5881/6L6WGC's that come stock in the Spider Valve - it is one of the best all around sounding tubes around, especially for the price.  I've tried the SED's in the spider valve and wasn't pleased.  The 6L6WXT+'s sound great.  I also liked the TungSol 5881's but stopped using them when I realized they were not rated quite high enough to use in our amp safely.  I haven't tried the new 6L6 TungSol's but will eventually.  I also did not like the EH 6L6's - again too mellow sounding for this amp.  IMHO we want a tube that will cover the same tonal spectrum as this amp does, which is quite a spectrum.

The Mesa tubes are just heavily screened tubes from the same manufacturer's your used to hearing.  For quite a while now the SPAX7's are heavily screened Chinese 12ax7b's.  Their other 12ax7's are also Chinese, just not as quiet as the SPAX7's.  I'm currently running the Chinese 12ax7's and am very happy wiht the tone.  I've also been happy wiht the EH and TungSol 12ax7's.




The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.