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Author Topic:  Tubology 101
Don Mogle


From:
Fort Worth, TX, USA
Post Posted 29 Dec 2017 10:40 pm     Reply with quote

Hey Everyone,

With so many people out there using or thinking about purchasing a tube amp, I thought it would be a good idea to have a site where somebody could go to receive some basic education about tubes, tube amps, how to troubleshoot amp problems, etc.

I came across these videos and thought they'd be educational. Feel free to add any other sources you know of that may be of interest to other tubologists out there...

Don


TUBOLOGY 101

Phil Bradbury (Little Walter Amps) talking about power tubes in his educational series…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Wq-r24WKk

Phil Bradbury talks about Tube Amps…Power Tubes, Preamp Tubes, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWnvuJxPzto

Phil Bradbury on Octal Tubes, microphonics, tube quality, tube preferences, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrGA050EHo0

Vintage video of an RCA tube factory…good basic knowledge of how tubes work and were made…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCksgN7kiv4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J61hHMjxzC4

Journey to the Center of a Tube!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnZRJjmOZb8

Here’s Uncle Doug talking about basic tube topics more technical in nature but really good information…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo4nVjj4NSE&list=PLTclAwDOFumosn2nQ_3CDy5c_-51Om7hN

Troubleshooting Tube Amps…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnEO10x8VUo

What microphonic preamp and power tubes sound like…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM2qWZYbInI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAF42EwLzks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q97MAFFXDtM

Phil Bradbury talking about tone stacks…how to set the tone controls, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpQ89azo

Here’s Steve Carr talking about the black art of reverb…troubleshooting…theory, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuZnVrDc2Lw

Steve Carr on the tube substitution and theory continued…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9IlyzVgISA

Steve Carr shows how to properly change tubes (good nuggets of information)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJJCIac4TR8

Six Preamp tubes compared (a shootout) in a Marshall amp…Amplified Parts video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkjVvTRP1h0

Guitar Tone: V-1 Tube Rolling/Preamp Tube Comparison—Mesa, Telefunken, JJ Gold, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boGZoURRQ3Y

Gerald Weber--tube amp seminar for novices. Good basic information in a four-part series. This is the first session. From here, you can link to the other three sessions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LYlMOHu-xA

Here's a rundown/comparison of 12AX7s recently posted to the Forum...

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=329389


Last edited by Don Mogle on 30 Mar 2018 7:43 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Don Mogle


From:
Fort Worth, TX, USA
Post Posted 30 Dec 2017 6:19 am     Notes from the Tubestore Reply with quote

What Makes A Good Tube?

The musical detail or ability to reproduce the sound of the instrument is a key factor in assessing a tube for guitar amplifiers. There is no perfect tube available. Each one has strengths, weaknesses and certain factors that contribute to its overall ratings. Usually a compromise is arrived at in the search for premium tone.

All tubes will exhibit some degree of microphonics. Microphonics do not mean that a tube is unusable. You just have to screen them a little closer and determine where they are best suited for use. Input pre-amps are the most sensitive areas of the amplifier. When used in this application most tubes will generate some noise if you tap on them with a pencil during operation. Keep in mind that doing so can actually damage the tube and make it more microphonic or cause it to fail if you hit it real hard. Although they are screened prior to shipment a tube is an electromechanical device and can be damaged during shipment. A microphonic tube will ring, howl or produce general feedback problems. It will be more noticeable at louder volumes or when used in close proximity to a speaker, typically in combo amps. If the tube has good tone at lower volumes and is free from unwanted noise, you use it in a less sensitive part of the circuit, such as tone recovery or phase inverter applications.

Noise is more of a problem than microphonics. A noisy tube will make random popping noises, crackle occasionally or just hum. All tubes have a certain noise floor; this is the inherent background noise that the tube makes in operation. Typically, you will notice this as a soft hiss or "white noise". Tubes designed for high gain can exhibit more background noise. Other components can cause noise problems that may be blamed on a bad tube. Plate resistors are notorious for causing hiss and crackling as they age and begin to fail. A new tube may better amplify these defects, so try substituting another new tube to be sure of the source of the noise.

(Source: The Tubestore)
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 30 Dec 2017 6:47 am     Reply with quote

I started in electronics, in 1955, when there were only tubes. I got my Ham radio license (W5DVO) in 1960 and all ham gear was tube.

Lots of theory and perceptions of tubes and how they work or what they do. Which ones are better or better suited for a particular application or circuit, etc. Some is fact, others are not (or marketing hype).
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Steve Mueller


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 1 Jan 2018 10:55 am     Reply with quote

That's great info, stated clearly. Thanks!
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Michael Butler


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Jan 2018 11:11 am     Reply with quote

i didn't see it so i'll add this link. updated today!
franks electron page


http://www.tubedata.org/

play music!
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Mike Scaggs


From:
Nashville, TN
Post Posted 3 Jan 2018 5:27 am     Reply with quote

Go visit Uncle Doug on YouTube. He has a lot of good knowledge and is well suited for folks who are interested in vacuum tube amplifiers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuR4hQTXkG_KxozLxwPzEjQ
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Don Mogle


From:
Fort Worth, TX, USA
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 6:19 pm     New Site Reply with quote

Thanks to Mike Scaggs for this site...a ton of information on tubes and more!

https://robrobinette.com/How_Tubes_Work.htm
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 15 Jan 2018 3:49 pm     Reply with quote

I don't have the patience for videos so I don't know if these were covered.

One thing first-time (and many long-time) tube amp owners are not aware of is the need to have the amps serviced periodically. High-voltage electrolytic capacitors have a life expectancy of roughly 15 years (less if an amp is stored for long periods) and can blow without any audible OR visual warning.

Many vintage amp buyers end up with amps that have never been serviced (or haven't been in FAR too long), turn them on and end up with problems as serious as a fried power transformer.

manufacturers have never made a point of service needs, figuring most new amp buyers won't keep them long enough. Plus warranties expire long before caps fail.

The other problem is something that concerns potential DIY "amp techs", and that's safety. In many amps those same caps can hold a deadly charge for a very long time, even with the amp unplugged. Many would-be techs get a serious shock because they were unaware of how to safety discharge capacitors - and others have died.

Good things to be aware of.
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