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LukeFRC

NOS 12ax7 valves....

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so I got a new bass amp last week (Mesa Walkabout Scout12) and it's amazing - but also my first amp with valves in it :)

So the tinkerer I am I wouldn't mind trying some other valves in there. Not cos I need to, but just because - reading the 12million walkabout posts on talkbass and there seems a consensus that there's not much improvement over the mesa valves currently in there - unless you get some nice older valves...

.... which led me to ebay and the old valve sections.... man what a minefield, and £200 for a valve!!! wheres the best place to track down old 12ax7 valves? I'm not after some thing in a pristine box that's never been used before, just a different flavour to try out.

Mind you is one valve costs £80 I might give it a miss!

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Always remember to check out British numbering for these things. If you're up for splashing out on this type of valve, look out for Mullard ECC83 also.

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Perhaps I have cloth ears, but I've tried swapping modern EH and Sovtek 12AX7s with old Mullard and Brimar ECC83s in a couple of different amps, and any difference was so subtle that I couldn't be sure I wasn't imagining it.
Both amps had fairly low-gain, clean sounding preamps, so it could be that the differences are in their behaviour when overdriven.

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I put three Brimar Ecc83's in my GK 500MB fusion it was warmer sounding but just enough to be able to say there was a difference. I got them from an old BT engineer friend and haven't paid him yet, If he wants any more than £20 each he can have them back. From what you have suggested £80 each would not be worth the difference in sound.

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See, the problem I have with all this twaddle (how do you do the 'cross out' thing?) stuff is that I come from the 'bung another 83 in & it'll work' generation - and, amazingly, it did !

:)

Edited by taunton-hobbit

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My experience with NOS tubes is that some amps are built for the tubes to make a difference in sound and some not so much.I haven't owned or switched tube in a Mesa walkabout,so I don't know what new tubes will do.Also,I would recommend TAD's premium tubes.Send them an email and tell them what you want.They have given me the most honest answers ,and I have bought from watford valves and alot of others.At least that's my experience regarding tubes.

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[quote name='taunton-hobbit' timestamp='1424554187' post='2697736']
See, the problem I have with all this twaddle (how do you do the 'cross out' thing?) stuff is that I come from the 'bung another 83 in & it'll work' generation - and, amazingly, it did !

:)
[/quote][s] it's the strikethrough - the s with the line through it[/s] - as to the valves you're probably right as too "working" , but theres a bit of me that's curious
[quote name='Anders' timestamp='1424571599' post='2697953']
My experience with NOS tubes is that some amps are built for the tubes to make a difference in sound and some not so much.
[/quote] good point :)

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Why not borrow some old valves from someone to see if you hear any difference. If not, then there will be no need to waste your money in getting some of your own.
On some circuits the valve seems to make a huge difference, on others almost none. You won't know until you try.
You should be able to get decent old Sylvanias, Brimars and Miniwatts etc from ebay for about £30 each. Make sure the seller states that they are tested and gives the actual results and, ideally, offers a refund for faulty ones.
I must have bought several dozen old 12AX7's over the years from ebay and not had a duff one yet.
IMO genuine Blackburn Mullards are the best, but they do cost.

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Frankly, the best thing to do is go SS. IMHO, the difference valves make, be it a hybrid or all-valve, is unpleasantness for hybrids and too much weight for all-valve. Unless you have a roadie.
;)

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[quote name='hamfist' timestamp='1424631827' post='2698554']
Why not borrow some old valves from someone to see if you hear any difference. If not, then there will be no need to waste your money in getting some of your own.
On some circuits the valve seems to make a huge difference, on others almost none. You won't know until you try.
You should be able to get decent old Sylvanias, Brimars and Miniwatts etc from ebay for about £30 each. Make sure the seller states that they are tested and gives the actual results and, ideally, offers a refund for faulty ones.
I must have bought several dozen old 12AX7's over the years from ebay and not had a duff one yet.
IMO genuine Blackburn Mullards are the best, but they do cost.
[/quote] good idea. :) [quote name='Telebass' timestamp='1424709111' post='2699422']
Frankly, the best thing to do is go SS. IMHO, the difference valves make, be it a hybrid or all-valve, is unpleasantness for hybrids and too much weight for all-valve. Unless you have a roadie.
;)
[/quote] had all solid state for years - some solid state amps are nice to my ears, others horrid, some hybrid amps are nice, others no so nice. Some all valve amps I guess are great and others not so great (but all heavy). I've got an amp that I like a lot and it's happens it's got some valves inside it. *shrug*

Edited by LukeFRC

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I'm not suggesting all-valve doesn't sound good. It does. But not enough to outweigh (pun intended!) the weight disadvantage.
If I didn't have to carry it, I'd be using valves.
Not least because I'm a valve trained electronics tech. They're relatively easy to work with. Only the weight is a gigging problem.

Edited by Telebass

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Hi Luke

I have a couple of old ( But working perfectly ) Mullard valves you can borrow if you fancy trying them -- 1 x ECC83 and 1 x ECC82

Will.

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