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 Post subject: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:38 am 
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On the amps site, it says a NOS tube is recommended for the EF86. I've seen some amperex EF86s on eBay that aren't astronomically expensive, so was leaning that way.

Wondering what people like for the rest of the tubes.
Overall my price range is probably more like JJ/EH/etc than the crazy high end stuff.
But if there's a spot that's especially worthwhile I'd consider something more $pendy.

I like brightness - but thinking this amp won't need especially bright tubes to give me that.
I play a lot of clean or clean-on-the-edge-of-breakup.
Don't play loud much - in fact, getting crunch at lower volumes would be a plus.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:22 am 
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I use an Amperex Bugle Boy in mine and it was the best of the 6 tubes I tried. But I bought mine from A vendor that would select for low microphonics.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:01 am 
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mtw3p wrote:
I use an Amperex Bugle Boy in mine and it was the best of the 6 tubes I tried. But I bought mine from A vendor that would select for low microphonics.


Small world: I wound up trying an Amperex Bugle Boy for the EF86, and it sounds great. I just got my amp done so not enough time to mess with it much. I do have O-rings on the EF86 tube; maybe that's helping the microphonics? Either way I didn't notice any particular hum or noise in any of the channels (yet).

I put a Sovtek for the rectifier, a used or NOS Sylvania 12ax7 for V2, and new production TungSol for everything else.

I don't have anything to compare any of this to, but I'm delighted with the amp so far.

I do have some Russian Svetlana "winged C" tubes that are equivalent to EF86 so I may try a comparison between those.
Also have a new production Electroharmonix and a new production TungSol to switch out and compare in V2.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:56 pm 
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Update:
I felt like the normal channel was surprisingly warm, so I tried the EHx for V2. It was a lot brighter, but also vastly more breakup. Would have been perfect if I wanted this to be my "dirt" channel, but I need to be able to do cleans so I put the NOS Sylvania back. I'm going to try a 5751 next.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:25 pm 
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PS - I don't know what makes the difference, but my build of this amp is not even close to being too bright. The only tone - related mod I did was, the documentation shows on value for the master cut, and another value if you want more cut. I used a value in between. But I'm not sure that would even matter, because I've been keeping the cut on zero.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:24 am 
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Another update:
I found out I had made a wiring mistake in Channel 2. Fixing it brightened things up considerably - still not overly bright, but more like what I would expect from a Vox-ish amplifier.
I had experimented with the Electro-Harmonix tube in V2, but now with Ch.2 wired correctly I find the EHx a bit harsh. The NOS Sylvania and current production Tung-Sol both sound great, and I find myself setting the tone controls more "neutral" rather than trying to brighten things up.

This error and subsequent fix didn't change Channel 1 at all. It's still a bit louder than channel 2 but not so dramatically now. Channel 1 still has a lot more early breakup, whereas Channel 2 has more clean headroom - but when you really twist up the wick, Channel 2 can get a more heavily saturated tone.
I would characterize this as Channel 1 has a lot of subtle gradations of more or less distortion. If you like that "clean on the edge of breakup," channel 1 really widens out the "edge." For me, Channel 2 works best for fully clean or fully saturated tones.


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Another update:

Channel Two:
JJ 5751 - I tried this in the V2 spot as an experiment in greater clean headroom. It does increase the clean headroom and gives a warmer tone to the channel. If your amp is brighter than you want, and you play a lot of clean, this might be just your tube.
It wasn't quite what I was looking for. Of all I've tried in V2, my favorite is still the NOS Sylvania. The new production Tung Sol sounds very similar to that. The EHx was a bit too bright for my tastes and a bit too gritty for my "clean" channel.

Channel One:
I had ordered some Soviet-era EF-86 equivalent tubes that finally arrived and tried one today in place of the Amperex bugle boy I had been using.
In Russian nomenclature this tube is 6J32P (In Cyrillic the 'J' is kind of like )I(, and the 'P' looks like the Greek letter Pi)
It's really a revelation.
I'd always found the tone contour control to be extremely subtle, and never felt the slightest need for the cut knob.
Now I notice a marked difference between each position on the tone contour, and I could actually reach a tone I felt was too bright, which I could not before.
The overall tone is the same - you'd immediately recognize it as an EF-86 tone - but it's just a bit grittier - kind of a fine-grained high end grit.

My theory is that the Soviet tube is a little bit brighter, so that when you start cutting brightness it makes more of an audible difference. In comparison, my Amperex sounds like it's already on the bottom two clicks of the tone contour switch.
It is a bit noisier - the first time I've felt the slightest justification for the EF86's noisy reputation - but nowhere near noisy enough to bother me. Also remember I live in a 58 year old house and play vintage style unpotted pickups.

Image

You can get these by the crateload on eBay. I got mine from a seller called py_alexey
Yes, I know the o-ring on the bottom isn't doing anything :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: TC15 Favorite Tubes
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:11 am 
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I found those Russian EF86 to be a bit brittle but they could change over years.

What was the wiring mistake on ch. 2?

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