Tube Amp Question

Discussion in 'The Workbench' started by chromeboy, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. chromeboy

    chromeboy Active Member

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    Ok, this may be a dumb question so please bare with me. Do tube amps have a break in period? I have a Jet City 100hdm that I have had now for about two months and it seems to be sounding better and smoother. Maybe I am just really digging the sound or have it where I want it sound wise but it jist really sounds good now.
     
  2. ricksconnected

    ricksconnected Well-Known Member

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    its the speaker that's breaking in if they are new too.
     
  3. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

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    The sound of tubes does change with time, for the worse though, but certainly not after only two months, unless of course you’ve been playing the amp full blast and/or full gain all this time.

    As already suggested, if you have also bought a new cab for your JC head, the difference in sound, for the better, might well be the result of the speakers having been broken in.
    (http://celestion.com/speakerworld/guitartech/2/104/How_to_break-in_a_guitar_speaker)

    Other factors that might explain the improvement in your amp's tone, or why you can now appreciate it more:
    • Your playing sessions have been longer (tubes fully warmed up).
    • You’ve been playing your amp louder (power tubes working harder).
    • You’ve started using a power regulator (consistent voltage).
    • You have recovered from a cold (nasal congestion).
    • Last, but definitely not least, you’ve been in a good mood.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  4. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Your ears have adjusted to the amp, its become a familiar friend tonally, that's what I think.
     
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  5. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    "...You’ve started using a power conditioner (constant voltage)..."

    GAG ME WITH A VARIAC!
    If all the voltage in a tube amp were "constant," it would sound like crap. It would sound like the distortion on a "Roland Jazz Chorus..." (jet plane w/ asthma.)

    ANY time you use power, the voltage DROPS. There IS no exception to this.
    This is some bothersome reality called: "Ohms Law!" Welcome to: how electricity works.
     
  6. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

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    Although I’m sure you know what I meant, I have just changed ‘power conditioner’ to ‘power regulator’ and ‘constant voltage’ to ‘consistent voltage’ in my response. As for the tone of yours...

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    They are constantly trying to convince you that you need a "power conditioner" to play your guitar amp.
    No, you don't need it- not at all.

    If your electricity is really "bad," get it FIXED by a qualified person.

    "power conditioners" don't fix bad power...(especially these type conditioners),
    and do not fix UN-safe electricity, either.

    "If" you do have REAL power problems....get a REAL solution.
    (that's why God made electricians)
     
  8. JCarno

    JCarno Well-Known Member

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    What if the problem is coming from your electric company's main transformers(or wherever it comes from) and has nothing to do with your house wiring?
    When I bought my house, the wiring was all new. In fact, the inspector commented on how neat and tidy it was.
    But I know I have "dirty" power. I can hear it. Not when I'm playing(well, sometimes) but mostly when the amps are on, sitting idle.
    It's kinda like they all, in unison, will sigh, yawn, fart, burp... for a nanosecond then come back to normal. My lights will sometimes fade for a second but come back to normal.
    Now, this isn't constant, is very random and I'm willing to bet anyone on the same transformer has the same issues.
    I've never tested my outlets. I'm thinking about buying a tester, plugging it in where I can monitor it and jot down any spikes or drops over a 12hr. period. :sick:
    Is there an acceptable tolerance? 115-125 for 120?
     
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  9. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

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    I’m not an electrician or an amp tech, but I think that even when your electricity is ‘good’, voltage fluctuations still exist during the day, and are considered normal, while, depending on how big the variance is, this may have an impact on your amp’s tone.

    I remember a guy on another forum, who used a power conditioner with a meter, saying that every time he hated the tone of his amp the meter read between 114-117V, while at 120V or more he just loved it. :D

    Furthermore, although regarding my home my first choice would always be to call an electrician rather than buy a power conditioner/regulator, it’s still a good idea to have one to use at gig venues.
     
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  10. Ghostman

    Ghostman Well-Known Member

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    Never a bad idea to put in something to tighten up the performance of the amp, or any electronic equipment for that matter. Every household will have fluctuations and variances in the power. Eliminating as much of that as possible is not a bad idea at all.

    Stupidity is thinking, "Well, it doesn't make it absolutely perfect so it's a waste of time!"

    To the OP: it's most likely the speakers breaking in, or your own ears becoming accustomed to the sound. Or, you've been playing so damn loud with 100 watts you can't hear anymore. :D
     
  11. clutch71

    clutch71 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Speakers, Tubes, and Output transformer all "break" in when bought or played from new.
     
  12. rick16v

    rick16v Well-Known Member

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    You prefer old strings
     
  13. myersbw

    myersbw Active Member

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    I agree with Ghost on the conditioning topic. Yes, power company's supplied voltage will vary at your location (even within the same city or rural area) based on a number of factors. AmpMadSci is correct about the changing voltages amps deal with, however, when the voltage at the PT input changes more than 10% it's significant and you can hear the difference depending on the amp used. Some more than others.

    A power conditioner that's transformer-based can do a decent job of keeping a nominal voltage where you want it and most included filtering to suppress motor-load spikes, RFI, etc.

    It WILL not take out the garbage that enters via your pickups (nasty fluorescent light ballast noise, etc.), but having one is not a bad idea.

    i work at a university that has a local power station. The regulation is awful. You can see the lights dim on a regular basis due to all the motor systems in the 100+ buildings on campus. They run data over the power lines and you can see and hear the effects in audio equipment. Use the regulated sockets (orange plugs in our case) and all is well.

    No electrician can come resolve that style of issue in your home unless you're running a lot of heavy duty motor-based devices on a handful of circuits. And, good luck getting the power company to resolve major inconsistencies unless you get the whole street to complain together.

    Yes, the issues could be in your home. That's where noting what IS in your home and what heat power devices on on what circuits. Distributing the load makes a world of difference at times.
     
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  14. Matt_Krush

    Matt_Krush Well-Known Member

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    Standard residential variation is allowed by the utility to not exceed +/-5% deviation from 120VAC base. That's +/- 6VAC. The Utility I worked for followed a stricter guideline of only +/-5 VAC deviation from base 120VAC service. The closer to a substation or a set of line regulators you are, the higher your voltage will be.
    Frequency is Regulated at +/-.05% deviation from base 60Hz.
    Power surges/dips: +/- 8VAC for less than a second and the occurrence/day does vary depending upon the source of the voltage fluctuation. There are industries (farm irrigation pumps for example) that demand a great instantaneous load that cannot be compensated for in that instant of time.

    If you are seeing weird shit from the utilities side, call them or the local regulatory board (they have regulations they must follow) and have an investigation and repair performed.

    If your neighbors are experiencing similar 'electrical' phenomenon...then perhaps it is on the utilities side.
    The wiring in the home may be new, but is the meter and service line to the pole/transformer?

    In my experience...it's usually in the home, unless the service is one of Edison's first installs.
     
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  15. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

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    Since you seem to know what you’re talking about ;), what do you make of this:
     
  16. mickeydg5

    mickeydg5 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    114 is more brown.
     
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  17. JCarno

    JCarno Well-Known Member

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    What exactly in the home?
    I'll have to back track on what I said about the wiring being new. :redface:
    The breaker box in the basement and all the wiring coming off of it is new. That's pretty much all the inspector and I looked at. As far as the wire inside the walls, who knows.
    In my my kitchen, I use a radiator style oil heater in the winter. If I use a certain outlet and try to use my microwave, within 30 seconds, boom, flipped breaker. However, I can use a different outlet and not have a problem.
    I've also noticed that while having my bias meter hooked up, when the heat kicks on, the voltages will drop considerably.
    Anything I need to worry about?
    BTW, Thanks for popping in!! :cheers:
     
  18. Matt_Krush

    Matt_Krush Well-Known Member

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    Just because the wiring is new in the home, doesn't mean it's sized for the load ( current draw) nor does it imply that the electrician balanced the load in the panel.

    Countless times I see panels with lopsided load...Pulling all current from 1 leg of the transformer and barely anything on the other side. Your panel received 240vac and is split to two 120vac supplies.

    In today's world...114 and 115 vac is low enough to cause problems. Modern TV's and other devices that rectify AC to DC tend to just drop...Or shut down below 115.

    Amps, appliances(without all the digital crap), motors, will tend to work, but draw more current and risk tripping fuses. P=VI.

    JCarno. What size panel do you have ( main breaker) and you could seriously benefit from having your panel balanced.
     
  19. JCarno

    JCarno Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean dimensions?
     
  20. JCarno

    JCarno Well-Known Member

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    breaker 003.JPG Here's a pic
     

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