used amps

One of the things I always count on when buying a new amp to me tube amp 
is the fact that some money is going to be invested in new tubes. I 
recently got a Blackface Princeton with white knobs.  Although the amp 
worked and sounded ok it didn't have any bark.  This amp uses 6V6's for 
the output and had old RCA tubes in it.  Great tubes when they were new 
but they were down in output.  The rectifier tube was also down on 
current.  Usually you figure if a rectifier tube works it's fine.  In 
this case the current flow had diminished to a point of affecting the 
sound.  The preamp tubes were also noisy.  If you thumped them they 
crackled and one of them had some hum.  My amps don't hum even turned all 
the way up. I eneded up trying Chinese 6V6's but one shorted out almost 
immediately.  I'd heard about this problem but this is my 1st amp that 
used 6V's instead of 6L's so I'd never experienced it.  I ended up with 
the new Sovtek 6V6's and they work great.  I did end up having to switch 
the the rectifier tube though.  Originally I had put in a 5AR4 to replace 
the weak 5Y3 that came with the amp. It worked fine with the Chinese 
tubes but the Sovteks ran hot with it in.  I ended up with a Sovtek 5Y3 
and now everything works fine.  The amp has bark the bias is correct and 
it's reliable.  The total cost of the tubes was less than $35 and a 
couple of hours of my time to fuss and fiddle until it sounded right.  
Tubes make an incredible difference in how amps sound.  When I gigged 
with a Twin Reverb I had to retube the outputs every 6 months or so for 
the thing to sound decent.  Not everyone will experience this dramatic 
difference or hear it but it's certainly something to look at if you just 
bought an amp and don't like it now or your old amp seems gutless and 
mushy. There's also a cult of NOS tube tube buyers out there that swears 
by the RCA, Sylvania, Tung Sol, and Telefunken tubes of the past and 
searches out unused examples of these no longer manufactured tubes of the 
past.  The cost is great but the tone difference could be rewarding.  I 
still miss the old Mesa Boogie 6L6's which were reinked STR387's made by 
RCA.  The best 6L6 I've ever used, my Twin never sounded the same after 
these tubes stopped being available.  BTW some people prefer old weak 
tubes for the sound.  Tim Moody of Mississippi Sax comes to mind. Just 
remeber it's all subjective and the only ears you need to please are 
yours.  fjm

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