How do you roll?

War_in_D

Well-known member
Tubes, that is? I was curious as to how others rolled tubes through their amps. Let's say that you're starting from scratch, what is your process? Where do you start? Do you work your way through the preamp tubes first, and then on to the PI? Or, do you start with the PI and then go back through the preamp? Do you do preamp tubes first, or do you do the power tubes? Do you just throw all the tubes in a sack, give it a good swishin' around and then pull them blindly and stick them in there starting from the left (or right)?

This inquiring mind wants to know. Mainly because I see myself doing a lot of this in the near future, and I'm curious as to how others approach the process.
 

War_in_D

Well-known member
Sounds like a big pain in the ass to me

I guess it can be. But I can also see (and hear) the benefit to it. Most of the time, I would imaging that most peeps would be swapping one tube around to see if it improves anything. But, I'm curious as to whether anyone has just taken all the tubes out of a given amp and started from scratch and if so.. what's their process.
 

roodboy

Well-known member
Start w v1 in the preamp
then pi
but depends on how it is gain staged
If a marshall flavor cant go wrong with an old school blackburne Mullard in v1
 
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PDC

Well-known member
If I am trying to trouble-shoot a problem, I let my symptoms tell me where to start - PI vs V1 vs power tubes. If I am looking for a change in sound or tone, that's another story. Most preamp rolling will start with V1 if I'm just trying to see how it changes the sound. As far as power tubes, I am totally guilty of swapping out sets of power tubes without re-biasing. It never caused any damage to my amps or tubes, but since buying a decent bias meter, I can really hear the difference from getting the tubes dialed into the correct bias range.
 

RaceU4her

Well-known member
I guess it can be. But I can also see (and hear) the benefit to it. Most of the time, I would imaging that most peeps would be swapping one tube around to see if it improves anything. But, I'm curious as to whether anyone has just taken all the tubes out of a given amp and started from scratch and if so.. what's their process.

I used to jam with a roller years ago, he would drive himself nuts searching for the magic combo and would get pissed when no one would notice any difference, then I got pissed when he kept fucking up and told him focus on the song not tubes and he didn’t like that. Now I have preconceived notions of tube rollers that probably isn’t fair. I’m sure he’s still searching for the magic now almost 20 years later lol
 

fek

Well-known member
I went down so many different rabbit holes over the years trying to optimize this and that. What I learned was that in most situations, it didn't matter. Either you can play or you cannot. For me it really is that simple.

Could have saved myself a lot of time and money focusing on my playing instead of which year of the TS9, or clone of the TS9, is the one for me as an example. By the way, the answer is a basic SD1 in front of a Marahall.
 

IIBornotIIB

Active member
Always clean and de-seed (if needed) before rolling. :rolleyes:

Serous reply: I am guilty of tweaking out on tubes. I test all my tubes including gain readings on both triodes of preamp tubes, and whether they‘re balanced or microphonic. Usually start with V1 and if a cascading gain circuit, move to the lead driver. PI is also a very influential tube. All depends on circuit and what I’m going for. May take a bit of time, but once I “get there”, leave it be.
 
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War_in_D

Well-known member
I would 110% concede that I could definitely use a little (Ok, A LOT) more time in the woodshed. That being said, I'm also a firm believer that if your rig sounds good you will play more. So, maybe it's kind of a vicious circle. LOL Gotta love when you plug in, and everything just seems to work and the tone is just perfect. It's like time goes away, you're coming up with cool new riffs and everything just seems to fall under your fingers like you were born to do this... and the next thing you know it's three hours later and you're feeling pretty good about your setup. I'm also a firm believer in that what sounds good one day, might sound like crap the next. And then there's "ear fatigue" if you've been standing in front of a cranked amp all day moving tubes around like chess pieces.. So, yeah.. I get it. Just how much of doing this could be wasted time?

But, I also think it makes a difference. I was never one to really worry about it. Like several have said, I usually just messed with V1 and maybe the PI slot because I had heard that a "balanced" tube there is "what you want". That was until I picked up this lowly little Peavey Ultra 112 combo in a pawn shop one day, because it sounded so darn good. And it's been consistantly good. Like, every time I plugged into it I knew what I was going to get good. Out of curiosity I looked at the tubes one day, and it had a very eclectic array of tubes in it from several different manufacturers. Most notably, a GE/JAN 5751 in the phase inverter. It also had an EH 12ax7LPS in it, another tube that I had heard was one of the must haves that was in V3 (I believe, I'd have to look). So my mind wondered, was this on purpose or did someone just randomly thow this tube set together and just got lucky?
 
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Rdodson

Well-known member
Learn to hear the differences in how the attack waveform is shaped and where the harmonic distortion is coming from. Long plates vs short plates, total gain vs even order "enhancement". In a regular E form barre chord, how does the 3rd sound? How do high and low individually picked notes sound? To me the differences are in the attack and the ratio of even order harmonic gain; this is why I like lower gain long plates. Way less square wave in attack, and more of that harmonic bloom (think old school steel guitar where you can hear all the notes). These kinds of differences in the same circuit are often more than a bit "cork-sniffery", but the differences are there.

Oh, and in the PI slot a perfectly balanced tube really helps.
 

Dino 939

Well-known member
I used to jam with a roller years ago, he would drive himself nuts searching for the magic combo and would get pissed when no one would notice any difference, then I got pissed when he kept fucking up and told him focus on the song not tubes and he didn’t like that. Now I have preconceived notions of tube rollers that probably isn’t fair. I’m sure he’s still searching for the magic now almost 20 years later lol
Love this!
 

311splawndude

Well-known member
If I am trying to trouble-shoot a problem, I let my symptoms tell me where to start - PI vs V1 vs power tubes. If I am looking for a change in sound or tone, that's another story. Most preamp rolling will start with V1 if I'm just trying to see how it changes the sound. As far as power tubes, I am totally guilty of swapping out sets of power tubes without re-biasing. It never caused any damage to my amps or tubes, but since buying a decent bias meter, I can really hear the difference from getting the tubes dialed into the correct bias range.
This is where I'm at.
For power tubes, if I order them matched and I'm confident I pop them and go. If after that, I feel I can get more, I may actually either throw on the meter and/or go ahead an bias.
For preamp tubes, I follow what you and others have said. If you are trouble shooting a microphonic tube it can be a little different obviously. If you have the right gloves, you can swap preamp tubes while the amp is on - beats turning the amp on and off repeatedly.
YMMV
 
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Dino 939

Well-known member
Love this!
True story, I met this dude at Mars Music in Tampa Fl, prolly’ THIRTY years ago.
I was in the amp room ripping shit up with
Madison amp.
These were popular amongst death metal dudes + Boss Metal Zone.
Madison + Metal Zone=the sound of actual death.

( silence is the sound of rotting…btw ).

Well, this dude heard me talking with
Al, the main Mars Sales Engineer dude ,
about Mullards & Telefunkens.
As I’m dippin’ and about to hop’ in my fat whip
( 81 Vette…-Chevette-),
And I hear “Hey dude, you got a minute?”,

Me:
“I always have the time for something fire..,
what’s up?”

Him:
“Listen man, I heard you talking about those new old stock 12ax7’s… man..give me a second ”..
(He then became emotionally distorted),
“I lost my wife to those damn Mullards and Telefunkens man.. argh!! “All this shit man.., these boutique f’n amps and all the bullshit that comes along with it”..”it’s all lies”.. “LIES!!”

Me: (mining the seam in my head-
“damn.. she must not have been easy on the eyes..a but’her’face maybe?)

Me for real: “You wanna start a band about it?”
-We both fervently chuckled,
(But y’all on RT know that I wasn’t kidding around)
I then pulled a “hobo slide” across my Vette’ hood & fired up that hard earned fat whip & dipped.
 
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Panhead5

Active member
Here's what I do ------ NOTHING !! You know why . I had an early Bogner 101B With every available option on it and I decided to get it "retubed". It sounded completely different when I got it back and I was distraught and mortified because it sounded great when I sent it to be worked on.

S00000 I do absolutely nothing until it doesn't work if I like the sound of the amp.

My .02
 

War_in_D

Well-known member
True story, I met this dude at Mars Music in Tampa Fl, prolly’ 20 years ago.
I was in the amp room ripping shit up with
Madison amp.
These were popular amongst death metal dudes + Boss Metal Zone.
Madison + Metal Zone=the sound of actual death.

( silence is the sound of rotting…btw ).

Well, this dude heard me talking with
Al, the main Mars Sales Engineer dude ,
about Mullards & Telefunkens.
As I’m dippin’ and about to hop’ in my fat whip
( 81 Vette…-Chevette-),
And I hear “Hey dude, you got a minute?”,

Me:
“I always have the time for something fire..,
what’s up?”

Him:
“Listen man, I heard you talking about those new old stock 12ax7’s… man..give me a second ”..
(He then became emotionally distorted),
“I lost my wife to those damn Mullards and Telefunkens man.. argh!! “All this shit man.., these boutique f’n amps and all the bullshit that comes along with it”..”it’s all lies”.. “LIES!!”

Me: (mining the seam in my head-
“damn.. she must not have been easy on the eyes..a but’her’face maybe?)

Me for real: “You wanna start a band about it?”
-We both fervently chuckled,
(But y’all on RT know that I wasn’t kidding around)
I then pulled a “hobo slide” across my Vette’ hood & fired up that hard earned fat whip & dipped.


You don't happen to go by the handle "Broccoli Rob" on the Warmoth Forum, do ya? LOL If not, you two need to hook up. I'm sure a good time would be had by all! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
I've found the biggest differences in both pre/power tubes are heard with vintage amps. Modern amps don't seem to care too much when tube rolling. Most of my amps have been from 1994 and earlier; so I've tube rolled plenty. Mostly Marshalls, C+ and a few Rectos, VHTs....I learned as much as I could here, before I joined in 12. Winged Cs were the flavor back then, so I started with those power tubes and they clearly sounded better than any 34 that I had in my amps which were mostly JJs. Then I looked for Mullards, Siemens, Sylvania etc. All sounded clearly better than the JJ, EH, Tung Sol or Sovteks that they came with. But, you only really notice when the amp is turned up fairly loud. Once I had the power tube collection going I then started with pre tubes. Back then, they were still cheap and plentiful. 10-20 bucks a tube, Mullard/Amperex/Ei/Tungsram/Chinese etc etc. That was the most time consuming, pre tube rolling. The thing about these tubes is; yes they sound better than new production but they LAST longer than new production as well. Prior to jumping down the tube rabbit hole I had a few power/pre tubes go out on me, some new. After changing to Winged C or any of the vintage tubes I've never had a failure. Not once. And, this is with ANOS tubes as I mostly searched out the used/strong tubes from reliable sellers. For me it's easily worth the experimentation as they do sound better. But if I played modern production amps only I wouldn't have noticed much difference.
 
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