tube tone


Junior Member
hey guys,

      im tryin to find some kind of chart that shows the different brands of tubes and thier tone difference, and different models of tubes and thier difference in tone. anything will help thanks!
That's a tough one and it gets real subjective with people trying to describe sound with words.  If you read though this post:

...there's a lot of discussion on different brands of tubes being tested/swapped in a simple 2 tube 5 watt Class A amp, and CB has a lot of good general input on tube characteristics if you read all through the post.

To narrow this down quite a bit, do you have an existing tube amp you are thinking about doing tube swapping in? If so, what brand/model.

If you are thinking about buying an amp, give details on that, or what kind of tube sound you're trying to get, comparing that to some standard amp.
It is much easier to give a song or a solo and have people give you options of amps/setup to approximate that sound than describe a tubes sound on an amp.  In most cases there is a range of costs and options and you can choose whatever suits you.  There is a lot to amps and the tubes that reside in them that can alter things.  Heck even the speaker cabs can have a large effect on the sound, so it is difficult to describe one tube without qualifying some of the conditions first.  That is not to say that an EL34 doesn't have definable characteristics, but it is going to be dependent on the environment.

So back to the original thought, if you have a song or a solo with the sound you like, it is easier to suggest which tube/amp setups would be close.

well i really like the warm, kind a screaming type tone Angus got in "Who made who".
but i also like the tight and sustainy crunch Pete got on "wont get fooled again"
i think both of those together would be awsome
in a nutshell, i want a really warm, smooth and sustainy tone, but it also has to be able to crunch better than captain (crunch) if you kknow what i mean  :laughing11: :laughing7: :blob7:
Angus uses "plexi" Marshalls; JTM45 in studio, 100 watters live. Townsend used a Fneder Bandmaster with 3x10 cab to record "Won't Get Fooled Again". In both cases you have a 3 ECC83(Marshall)/12AX7(Fender) preamp section and a dual KT66(Marshall)/6L6(Fender) power amp section.
well i guess i should get a plexi 50 (and load it with ECC83's and KT66's)
and my drummer has an old bandmaster that i could use(and load it with 12AX7's and 6L6's)
and a cab loaded 2 greenbacks and 2 V30's

would that be close?

by the way both of those amps have to be KRANKED to distort right?
Some notes:

1.) You can't ever get a Marshall to sound like a Fender, but if you dial in an Xotic BB pedal right, you can get a Fender dual 6L6 based amp to sound pretty "Marshally".
2.) The old Bandmaster should already have the 1 12AY7/2 12AX7/2 6L6 tubes in it; might have 7025's in lieu of the 12AX7s. You can experiment with different 12AX7 preamp tubes to color the sound.
3.) What "plexi 50" are you referring to? IF you can find a decent JTM45, you're probably looking at $1500 or better to pick one up.
There is so much more than "type" of tube, but also the manufacturer, when it was manufactured, even which plant it was made in, the circuit its used in.... including, but not limited to... the transformers (the BIGGIE OF BIGGIES), coupling capacitors, actual vs drawn circuit values, wall voltage (and thus B+), type, size and condition of power filtration, rectifier type... tube, solid state, what kind of tube etc etc, speaker, including size, type, cone material and age, voice coil and former, type of spider and ribs, and surround and ribs, if the cone is straight, belled, parabolic, radiused,  ribbed, textured, how thick it is, 

There is just so much to the whole story besides type type.

When you say, I'm going to use a KT66, its like saying, I'm using a tele flat bridge.    After that, all bets are off, and everything else matters a lot.

carry on.....
Even if you load it with the correct tube, 12AX7 for instance, there is a huge difference between brands and models that fall into that category.  As CB said there are a ton of other things that can be changed.  And lets not forget that a lot can be done with pedals.  If you want it to break up, the tube tone is great, but a boost pedal can get you there quicker.  That doesn't mean that it will sound like what you want.  Go back to Jack's thread on the Blackheart for a lot of reading on preamp tubes and their effect on the amp sound.  It sounds like you want something that sounds like the Marshall JTM45, but you will have to find which era/tube combo you think is best.  It also sounds like you want to be able to metal out with it.  Be advised that the ACDC tone and current trends in Metal tone are not the same thing.  You might be able to get something that works, but this is starting to slide dangerously towards opinions on what sounds best.  My advice would be to look for an amp for the ACDC sound  and get a good pedal to make the Metal noises.  Good luck.

Pull the 6L6's out of a 60's Super Reverb and put them in a 50's Bassman, and you'd be hard pressed to convince a civilian that they're the same tubes.
yea i understand AC/DC was really clean
but ive seen angus and malcolm use JMP 2203's in the studio(its on the vids of "nervouse shakedown" and flick of the switch"
they both usullay used the same amps but did they have mods? cause for how clean they were it sure did sound pretty gainy
I am not sure about if their amps were modded.  The sound they use is overdriven but that is easily accomplished with a Marshall, 12AX7's, and turning the knobs to the right.  I was trying to say that the tone stack in the modern amps that are designed with Metallers in mind are not to close to what the guys in ACDC would use.  Mesa's dual rec's and Krank's style amps have a different design to the preamp to get the crunch sound.  Well to be honest, they are all probably quite different, but the metal/crunch design cuts the mids out.  The classic overdriven Marshall sound that ACDC uses will not crunch nearly as much.  I personally think that the classic sound is more versatile, but that is merely my opinion.  The other point about adding a pedal in front allows you to use the pedal for the crunch tone and get the classic overdriven sounds out of one set up.  Last thing, I do know that Malcolm Young has two Zvex nano amps, one for Scotland and one for Australia.