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Chris Antram

Trace Elliot Hexavalve

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I've good experience of the JJ valves in several platforms..

My V4 has several of the 'short plate' ECC83S which sound lovely have been trouble free for many years. They're pretty cheap too.

The Fender Bassman 135 and custom built 'Beavis' amp I have also have JJ types although they're the more expensive 'long plate' variant, the ECC803. Again, these have been great - the Fender gets lots of use so has plenty of hours with zero issue.

Whilst not quite the same as vintage Mullard or RCA types, they're at least 90% of the way there without the worry of fragility or big expense. I'll dare say they're much better than the 'TE' ones which look to be Chinese although my experience with them shows they're better than might be expected at that price point. If they're the originals, they'll be over due for replacement by now I would have thought anyways. 

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21 minutes ago, VTypeV4 said:

... If they're the originals, they'll be over due for replacement by now I would have thought anyways. 

28 years is not a bad score I reckon. I just wonder if that 50hz hum is related to the Tung-Sol I threw in there last year.
It's nothing terrible, but I can hear it in between songs so am looking to fix it.

The amp sounds very good, had the 6550's replaced last week and a bias pot has been added by the tech. He also replaced the mute switch which was acting funny now and then.

Thanks for your answer, I'll order some of those JJ's. Also been gazing at the Mesa 12AX7 as those come shielded.

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Posted (edited)


Just noticed Hexa valve specific "tube replacement" sets have six 6550's and three 12ax7.
I can only find two 12ax7 in mine. Where is the third one located? Does it exist at all? It doesn't does it? LOL.

hexa_naked.thumb.jpg.5202cb7a21b57fa55f7d434aefbbd53f.jpg

Edited by DiMarco

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Posted (edited)

Hey look what I've finally found! The quatra valve and hexa valve circuit diagram from Mr. C. Button. Been looking for this for aaaages.

trace-elliot-quatra-hexa-Schematic.thumb.jpg.2c9f18bf2bb472a7bd309ae6e6b9cf0e.jpg

Edited by DiMarco

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When a valve amp 'hums' it's sometimes a failing component or the bias is set a bit on the hot side. If your tech has been through the amp and you trust him, then it's probably fine - it might have been something as simple as a noisy mains supply. My current V4 and previous Twin Valve weren't noisy, nor was the V6 I borrowed but if your Hexa has the earth lift switches, it might be worth a flick - this was handy on the TV but the V4 doesn't have one.

As for the '3rd' valve, I don't see one on the diagram and I'm pretty sure my Twin only had two also - think someone might be fibbing with their valve kits.

I can't comment on the Mesa tubes but most are re-branded Sovtek / Reflektor which is no bad thing but I feel there's little point paying a premium for what's essentially a standard valve with a fancy badge. The gain stages in all the Trace amps are low to moderate at best so whilst additional shielding won't do any harm, you're better spending your pennies on a better grade of valve. 

When I feel the V-Type is due, I'll gladly do a JJ re-valve although it's working fine atm.

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I have been reading on the subject and watching some youtube videos for more input.

People looking for a "warm" tone generally did not like the Mesa tubes an awful lot. The JJ ECC83S is getting a lot of good reviews by guitarists.
I have read that Groove Tubes ECC83S have a flat frequency response, nice warm tone and most of all very tight bottom end and clear treble. Because of this description and listening to some clips that compare the GT and JJ, I decided to order me three of those. One for the SMX and two for the Hexa Valve.

Will report back when I replaced the Tung-Sol with those GT.

By the way I have heard several people claiming the Tung-Sol are noisy when you're not playing so I have good hopes for an improvement on that side of things, too.

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience VType! The JJ's are by far the most popular, but seeing so many many bassists choose the GT persuaded me to go that route too.

 

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Posted (edited)

Haha I just learned that the GT ECC83S are in fact identified by some as rebranded JJ ECC83S.
What puzzles me is why they do sound different on the yootoob - they actually sounded fuller and bigger in that one vid.

Maybe I just payed more for the brand - guess I will not find out. I just hope they will do the job.

Edit: Just read someone state that the rebranding is not just rebranding. Apparently these "brands" are testing and matching and do remove the bad apples. This would make sense, but you can't be certain if this really does take place.

 

Edited by DiMarco

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Given the pedigree of a Hexa (so very cool!), any valve(s) that's within spec will sound great. 😀

I've done lots of tube rolling over the years and I've found their individual characteristics vary rather more by the circuit they're in than the individual valves. So, my 60w head 'Beavis' has had all sorts of pre and power tubes in over the years and is usually my reference for testing. It's based on '60s / '70s Marshall circuit and generally brings out the 'character' of various valves very well. My little Laney VC30 is also great for this - wierdly, it sounds best (IMO) with the cheap small plate Sovtek valves in. The Fender 135 on the other hand still shows the character of the tube(s) but the effect is far less pronounced - possibly due to the lower gain of the Fender design. Your Trace is probably somewhere between the two - mine is.

Bit of food for thought but like I said, when it's running correctly, you have a killer amp irrespective of what brand / version of valves are in it. 😀

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Posted (edited)

Hmmm, that circuit diag looks like the power amp only, should find another 12ax7 in the preamp.

 

apologies, I'VE BOOKED MYSELF IN TO SPECSAVERS !

Edited by Chimike

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I did order three so whatever happens, I'll be safe and sound.

 

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Posted (edited)

Learned the seperate GP12XV pre came with a crossover. The one in the Hexa Valve does not and really only has two ECC83's.

Today I mounted the Groove Tubes (JJ) in my Hexa and RAH600SMX, replacing two Tung-Sol in the Hexa and the original early nineties Trace Elliot branded one that was still working fine inside the SMX.

The result while not world shocking is an overall tighter sound with especially cleaner mids and more silky highs. There is also less background noise going on and any 50hz hum is now completely gone. When dialing back and forth between solid state and the JJ on the SMX I can notice the SS side sounding a bit less responsive and lifely but frequency/EQ wise the JJ seems just as neutral, not emphasizing anything in particular..

Happy face.

 

Edited by DiMarco
typo

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One more thing: The 12band EQ on the Hexa Valve is better then the one on the SMX somehow. It feels more effective on the Valve head then it does on the SMX. Odd.

 

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Nice one, glad both your SMX and Hexa are back on form! 😀

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......and here we are. Inspired me to get it out of the garage. It needs some love!

20200624_194805.thumb.jpg.368f28d5d5522129f6016ecbfbabb6cd.jpg

 

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5 minutes ago, andytoad said:

......and here we are. Inspired me to get it out of the garage. It needs some love!

20200624_194805.thumb.jpg.368f28d5d5522129f6016ecbfbabb6cd.jpg

 

Imagine it sounds epic through that SWR Cab.

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Funny...

FB_IMG_1593039775667.thumb.jpg.2ce63ff5633f38496836e2d95caa79e9.jpg

I sold the Mesa amp as the Hexa Valve sounds much better. Still have the Henry though, it is one hell of a cab.

 

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4 hours ago, JottoSW1 said:

Imagine it sounds epic through that SWR Cab.

Oòooooohhh yeah! 😃

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24 minutes ago, DiMarco said:

Funny...

FB_IMG_1593039775667.thumb.jpg.2ce63ff5633f38496836e2d95caa79e9.jpg

I sold the Mesa amp as the Hexa Valve sounds much better. Still have the Henry though, it is one hell of a cab.

 

Always loved SWR cabs. Had a few now, they sound just right to me. That silver grill matches a Hexavalve perfectly!

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16 hours ago, andytoad said:

......and here we are. Inspired me to get it out of the garage. It needs some love!

20200624_194805.thumb.jpg.368f28d5d5522129f6016ecbfbabb6cd.jpg

 

Nice, am looking forward to finally playing through mine...one day.

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The Hexa just sounds bigger then any other clean tone amp I tried. I really love this amp it makes any bass guitar grip better with the mix.

I guess the keyword here is texture.

 

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Back from rehearsal. The RAH600SMX has replaced the Class D Warwick toy, and I brought my Fodera NYC Empire along for the first time to compare it with the Zon Sonus I usually bring.

I cut at 30hz by 6-10db on my Trace amps and boost a tiny little (about 2db) at 40, 60 and 100 hz. Also boosted the highest frequencies some to get some extra spank. The tone I got out of the SWR Henry the 8x8 with this was REALLY good in the sense the bass sound was gelling well with the mix (the one thing class D amps completely suck at) and carrying the guitars. 

Both basses were sounding great! I am SO happy I had my Trace Elliot heads fixed - best choice ever.

 

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