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Old 20th October 2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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Location: W Yorkshire
This is an interesting thread because I have built more than 100 5E3/5E5 type amps in the past 4 years (including some ultra-steroidal 4x5881 50W versions) - a few to painstakingly exacted vintage specs but most to a completely modern approach to this most revered circuit that almost every jobbing muso that has bought them - the likes of which include Elliott Randall (yes that Elliott Randall) and Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller, etc) - prefers.

Before we get into the differences - advantages/disadvantages of our modifications to the original circuit I'd like to tackle the inconsequential issue of building materials/styles... I have built them with turrets, eyelets and PCBs... and a hybrid of eyelets and PCB (tracks carrying power and ground rails) and have found that there is no audible advantage to any one of them over the other as long as lead dress sensibilities - and in my case - analities - and a Fender style layout are maintained... My personal preference is eyelets in 1.6 and 3.2mm FR4 (according to physical strength requirements) and I use a variety of wire types for specific applications that I am more than happy to discuss but... it isn't rocket science... it's about execution.

Another thing I've noticed in the thread that is outside the technical is the mention of tube-town.de... My experience with them is that they offer the best matching service I have ever come across and I have never had anything from them that I wasn't totally satisfied with in the past two years... They are above average communicators (in that they are not totally instant but usually reply in less than 24 hrs) and are transparent in everything they do from the advice they give, the circuits they publish and what they charge. I have a lot of respect for them as a company and buy an ever increasing amount of amp building supplies from them... they are fair negotiators and offer the best prices that a small manufacturer like ourselves can hope for so... top marks to Dirk and team!! My sincere recommendations go out to the rest of the world...

The next thing you want to consider - no matter what version of the amp you want to build is... components... I can tell you for nothing... that is where the battle is won and lost... looking forward to the comments/discussion!
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Old 22nd October 2013, 10:44 AM   #12
Hallmar is offline Hallmar  Iceland
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But it sometimes gets to the point where its just snake oil.

Sure, buying good quality components is very important but sometimes i think it gets a little too far.
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Old 9th November 2013, 04:25 AM   #13
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I recommend Russian 6V6 equivalents or JJ 6V6S's tubes for more headroom. NOS 12AY7's are cheap enough and the first tube effects tone more than the phase inverter, supposedly. For the 12AX7, JJ and most higher end new production tubes are nice, or you can probably find a cheap good testing used pull Mullard or RCA for cheap.
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Old 10th November 2013, 07:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bparnell57 View Post
I recommend Russian 6V6 equivalents or JJ 6V6S's tubes for more headroom. NOS 12AY7's are cheap enough and the first tube effects tone more than the phase inverter, supposedly. For the 12AX7, JJ and most higher end new production tubes are nice, or you can probably find a cheap good testing used pull Mullard or RCA for cheap.
The Reflektor manufactured 6n6s are a great tube... (or valve as they call them here in the UK)... especially if you are lucky enough to get some made in the late 50's... I have several and they are exceptional... they will take plate volts of 500+ with no complaints as will pretty much any 6n6s made by Reflektor for the former USSR military... as my 'comrade' has stated - JJ 6V6S are a good second choice and worth considering because they are basically an EL34 that JJ stuff in a 6V6 envelope... that is how they can take the higher voltages...

But if you've building a straight 5E3 clone then all that is out the window as we're then talking about running 6V6's at lower VA... with a saggy tube/valve rectified PS and lower capacitance in the 1st stage filter cap etc... then you can use whatever you like personally... thing is... that is what the business of tube/valve amps is all about...

On the subject of the first (and only - for that matter - preamp tube/valve) - this is where - IMHO - the battle is won or lost. Also - the choice of value and type of the 'grid stopper' plays a good part too... this is where it really gets subjective. My personal choice is a 1W 68K carbon film - 1W for plenty of long term stability even if you hit it hard with pedals - 68K for the same reason and carbon film for the organic tone of carbon but with a film construction for greater thermal consistency. In our amps - as we internally 'jumper' what would essentially be the two 'channels' - we put either an 820R or 1K5 across the two grids and usually put the input through a 68K grid stopper to either of them... it's a really simple, economic and stable way of accomplishing the way most people use this type of amp... one jack socket through a 68K resistor to either of the grids with an 820R or 1K5 to the other grid... having accomplished that much you can get on with the business of choosing the tube/valve that floats your boat... my own personal choice is one two 12AY3's that I own that were made for Lear (as in the jets) in the 60's but you can go down in gain with a 12AU7/ECC82 type or up with a 12AT7/ECC81 or even a 5751... even a 12AX7/ECC83 will work but might be a bit way over the top... depends on how much bypass capacitance you have across the cathode resistor... I have generally settled on 5uF here (although the original circuit calls for 25uF... you can delete it altogether too...)

There's a lot of fun to be had with messing with this delightfully simple, yet incredibly effective circuit... we've even built them with two pairs of 5881s (ie a simplified 5E5 with parallel pairs) and the corresponding mods to the circuit and output tranny... B+ is around 475V/200mA - I have a customer who uses two of those (one in a 1x12 combo format [Jensen JP12-100BB] and the other with 2x10 [Jensen P10Qs] - each with with matching extension cabs) and they produce the best clean Fender tone you'll ever hear anywhere - knocks the crap out of any Twin of any era and the sound is just massive and true... just 47uF on each filter stage (using F&T 50 + 50 / 500V dual can for 1st and 2nd stage and a 47uF/450 axial for the 3rd stage) - 1K5 dropper 1st to 2nd stage and 22K to third... the rest is as Uncle Leo drew it (apart from the above single input shananigans)... just simple, straight forward huge tone... don't be afraid of it... have fun with it!!!
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Old 10th November 2013, 09:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeerob View Post

But if you've building a straight 5E3 clone then all that is out the window as we're then talking about running 6V6's at lower VA... with a saggy tube/valve rectified PS and lower capacitance in the 1st stage filter cap etc... then you can use whatever you like personally... thing is... that is what the business of tube/valve amps is all about...
I do agree in this case, but the russian 6p6s's, yes, i believe you had a typo, are still very good for durability and long life. Otherwise, tung-sol reissues are great for that warm tweed tone at a lower cost than NOS, but good used pulls can be great finds for a few bucks each.

Last edited by bparnell57; 10th November 2013 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 12th November 2013, 08:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bparnell57 View Post
I do agree in this case, but the russian 6p6s's, yes, i believe you had a typo, are still very good for durability and long life. Otherwise, tung-sol reissues are great for that warm tweed tone at a lower cost than NOS, but good used pulls can be great finds for a few bucks each.
Or even the occasional decent bargain... I have occasionally scored some great bargains in the NOS field but they are admittedly - and moreso these days of greedy-peedy inflated prices... harder and harder to find.

6p6s - 6n6s - call 'em what you like according to how you decypher the cyrillic... what we are talking about are Refektor mftr'ed 6V6 equivalents and the point was simply that if you shop hard enough these do surface from time to time and don't fetch what a 50's mftr'ed USA made do... yet they are incredibly well made and are thus very consistent.... but they are much harder to find in good condition and I have to admit to holding back the last 10 80's mftr'ed and 4 50's ones I own for 'Sunday best'...

I'm going to buy a quad of Tung-Sol RIs to see how they perform... it'd be great if they're any good as I can vouch for a certain mini-100W Super Lead circuit that runs on a couple of 6V6's that is a pretty successful circuit... all the best to you crazy sons of guns...
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