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Unread 02-27-2010, 08:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Jcm 900 valves????

Hi,

I have a JCM900 4100 and i have recently decided to revalve it. It currently has 5881's and ECC83's. After some enquiries from retailers i found a seller that i think gave me some good advice but just wanted to get a few more opinions before i fork out the cash on new valves. Here is part of the email off the seller, i told him i was looking for more gain for extreme metal tones!!!

"For what you’re looking for I would go with a matched quad of the JJ 6L6GC's power. They have a deeper low end and a tighter, punchier sound than the stock 5881's. As for the preamp tubes I would go with three of the JJ ECC83S's. This will fatten up the drive channel and warm up the clean channel. I would also use a graded and balanced ECC83S in the phase splitter hole which is the preamp tube that's closest to the power tubes. This will eliminate any dead spots and really make the amp sing.

The only other option would be if you want any of the preamp tubes premium graded for gain. The high gain ECC83S's have about 10% more gain than standards which adds a bit of bite and a sharper dynamic but does not hurt the clean tone. This is definitely the way to go for what you’re looking for. The other attribute that these tubes have is a faster filament rise time which is great for an EVH, Malmsteen, Petrucci or Satriani type style and is also good for fast palm mute styles"

Thanks in advance for any help on this matter....Cheers
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Unread 02-27-2010, 10:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

let me guess... bob pletka from eurotubes??
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Unread 02-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Definitely Bob from Eurotubes.

Of those players listed, only Yngwie plays a Marshall and his style isn't known for "fast palm mutes"... I also think he's the only big artist endorsing JJ tubes. I'm probably wrong on that.

I have a 900 SL-X, and my opinion is that amp sounds very dark and "hidden" already. JJ preamp tubes are dark and sludgy and will contribute to an already sludgy amp - if you really want to capitalize on the Marshall tone, avoid JJ's in the preamp section. I currently use JJ E34L and KT77 power tubes and I have nothing negative to say about them though.

I personally like Tung-Sol preamp and power tubes. They're very bright and will wake up that muffled sounding 900 like a new set of strings for your guitar. If gain is your thing, "10% more gain" from a JJ ECC83S over a standard 12AX7 is right in the Tung-Sol 12AX7 territory. The lowest one I've gotten (I order from Doug's Tubes) is a 105/105, most are in the 110/110 and 115/115 range (10 to 15% hotter).

I have no affiliation with any of these companies, and I have nothing against Eurotubes, just posting my .02 worth.
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Unread 02-27-2010, 01:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

nah...
EVH became famous for it's use of modded superleads diming the volume
satch waqs a 6100 man trough and trough before endorsing the JSX... he's using the JVM now...
but indeed... i wouldn't call them extreme metal toned axeslingers...

the jcm900 is the most misunderstood marshall , because in it's life it had many different valves, and people tried many things here and there...
i'm not certain if 6L6's will replace those 5881's but i heard it can be done without modding the circuit, but i'm sure somebody else will hop in on that

as for the JJ pre's... i like them a lot... but i'm nowhere near a full metal jacket player... i'm a bit more blues orientated (although i have the JVM410H and use the OD2 red mode) the russian productions have a bit more grit, what would be perfect for you... on the other hand 6L6's have more pronounced lows and high's, where the EL34's are more mid-based
so indeed, some high gain JJ's in the preamp may give the perfect balance... take in mind too that the 4100 has diode clipping, something a SLX doesn't have... (they have an extra preamp tube) diode clipping adds more grit as well!!!

in your place i'd take bobs recommendation (and i may ask if KT77's are a possibillity as well) but buy some russian production tubes as well...
and do some experimenting with preamp tubes

i'm running JJ KT77's as well which are somewhere between the EL34 and 6L6, tonewise... lovely tubes
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Unread 02-27-2010, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Quote:
Originally Posted by big dooley View Post
let me guess... bob pletka from eurotubes??
Kind of....Eddie from Eurotubes
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Unread 02-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

I dont know much but I think its all in the plate voltage and maybe a few resistors if it don't bias out.
Checkout this site
vacumtubes.com: The Leading Lab Equipment Site on the Net
I agree the JJ pre-amp tubes are dark sounding but use them in all my amps in the power section. I have a shitload of tubes and a 4100-900 and popped in the JJ's & then some soviets and then even some 12au7's.
I ended up with the 12au7's ( real old 50's ones) and boosted the hell out of the front end.
I know no AU's belong in a marshall but I never used my channel 2 on the 900 because of the clipping made it sound too fizzy and S.S. like. Channel 1 is unclipped. This helped alot to bring back chord & note definition. Works for me on the 900 only.
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Unread 02-28-2010, 05:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

6L6's and 5881's are interchangeable, and should go right in with no mods other than having to bias them as you would after any power section re-tube. If they were they stock Sovdreck 5881's, you'll prob'ly like the JJ's- yeah: good bass n extended highs. As for the phase splitter tube, you don't HAVE to have a tube with matched/balanced sections. Some guys prefer it, though. I personally like a high gain tube in that slot. It's a subtle difference, but its there. You'll want a high gain for V2, as well, to drive the tone stack, so may as well get all hi-gains. *grin* JJ's are pretty good for the preamp for metal; i thought the tone was dark, but i wouldn't say muddy. Uhhh..... "faster filament rise time"...??!? Ah...Ah... AH-CHOO!! AH-CHOO!! HWA-CHOO!! (sorry- i'm allergic to bullshit). I would be interested in his explanation for why heater start-up time would affect the tone or attack..... Or is he gonna sell you a rectifier tube?
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Unread 02-28-2010, 05:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

I have the same amp and got the 6L6's from Bob. They are definetly worth having. I do however use EH12ax7's in all 3 pre amp spots.
The JJ 6l6 sound best when biased up to 40-42ma.
If you have the Sovteks in there you will notice a difference. They really breakup nicely when you get to 5-8 on the master vol.
I liked em that much I ordered spares from Bob as well.
If its a 5881 model the 6l6 will work without mods.
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Unread 02-28-2010, 07:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Thanks for all the replies!

I'm thinking i may go with Bob's recommendations ?

So will i just need a bias probe to alter the bias myself?
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Unread 02-28-2010, 05:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Bias probe is good however you can do it with a multimeter.
Watch Bobs generic bias video.
Biasing a 900 is easy BUT be very careful.
If unsure get a tech to do it.....you get no refunds on electric shocks!
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Unread 02-28-2010, 07:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobS View Post
Bias probe is good however you can do it with a multimeter.
Watch Bobs generic bias video.
Biasing a 900 is easy BUT be very careful.
If unsure get a tech to do it.....you get no refunds on electric shocks!
Ok but on Bobs video it shows him using a dedicated bias probe which has a plug that goes into the valve socket then the valve plugs into the top of that?

He uses the multimeter to check the AC voltage so how do you bias with a multimeter?

Thanks
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Unread 02-28-2010, 07:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

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Originally Posted by vaderscodpiece View Post
Ok but on Bobs video it shows him using a dedicated bias probe which has a plug that goes into the valve socket then the valve plugs into the top of that?

He uses the multimeter to check the AC voltage so how do you bias with a multimeter?

Thanks

When watching that vid you will see him do a calculation based on plate voltage and Valve wattage X 0.7.
I used to use a multimeter but ended up getting a bias probe as it seems a little safer to me. Poking around with 500Volts in there you had better have a steady hand!
Sounds like this may be new to you? Be careful!!!!
Just spend the $ and get the probe. That way it does the calculation for you at the flick of a switch and you can check 2 or 4 valves dependant on the model you get.
Rob
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Unread 02-28-2010, 08:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

I'm sure Jon Wilder will come here and scold people for giving a simple answer that you can bias with just a multimeter. I can just hear him now. You guys know better! Sure you can if you are very knowledgeable about electrical circuits and theory but if you know next to nothing it's not wise to do so.

Not knowing your background Vader I would do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions from all the experienced Techs before diving into an amp. There are LETHAL CHARGES OF STORED ELECTRICAL ENERGY in these amps and if you don't know what not to touch or don't have a certain respect for electricity it can kill you even when unplugged. You have to understand how to drain the filter caps and keep them drained while the amp is opened up and importantly work with one hand in your pocket so you don't accidently ground yourself to any potential lethal charges. You also have to understand the mathematical formulas used to bias an amp properly. What the Plate Voltage of your amp is and such in order to get you to the proper range. After learning it can be an easy procedure but do all the homework first.

Don't mean to scare anyone out of learning but we don't want anyone hurt either.

In my experience with both 6L6 and EL34 JCM900 4100 amps I would go with either Tung-Sol for both power and preamp or Winged =C='s for the power valves. Some people here tend to like JJ's but for me since he states on his site that he thinks 900's are the worst of Marshall amps I don't think he has their best interests at hand.

If you are going to retube it entirely go for it but note that V2 only affects the Reverb and Effects Loop so if you don't use those it's not really going to hurt not changing that valve. After placing several types of tubes in different positions I can positively state that as long as the tube is good it doesn't matter what brand of tube or how much gain it has, it's not going to affect tone in V2. Personally I run a Telefunken in V1 and it made a huge improvement with an RCA 7025 in V3, V2 has the stock Sovtek in there. I also run a Boss Overdrive with gain completely off and it helps both channels a lot.

There's only one stage of gain in the 4100 after the diodes despite what others have stated, this amp is not like an 800 nor a DSL, nor other 900's of the series. It has a Solid State front end with V1 following it. Now I'm still not sure at what volume or gain setting it kicks in nor if it affects both A and B channels. That's still up for debate and something that's going around in different threads.

V3 does not need to be balanced despite what Eurotubes states, as has been pointed out numerous times here on the forum, in fact having an unbalanced preamp valve helps to give the amp character. V3 drives the power valves so a good strong valve here is needed.
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Unread 02-28-2010, 08:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobS View Post
When watching that vid you will see him do a calculation based on plate voltage and Valve wattage X 0.7.
I used to use a multimeter but ended up getting a bias probe as it seems a little safer to me. Poking around with 500Volts in there you had better have a steady hand!
Sounds like this may be new to you? Be careful!!!!
Just spend the $ and get the probe. That way it does the calculation for you at the flick of a switch and you can check 2 or 4 valves dependant on the model you get.
Rob
I see you clarified that while I was writing haha!
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Unread 02-28-2010, 10:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

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I see you clarified that while I was writing haha!
Core,
Yes, wasting time at work on the net!!!!
I too have consulted Wilder on these matters and understand the dangers involved in biasing an amp.

The net can be both useful and dangerous when guiding people on 'how to bias amps'. Thats why I suggested Vader either get a tech to do it or use the Bias probe which I think is a much safer way.

I've been shocked a few times over the years and luckily came through.

ROb
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Unread 03-01-2010, 07:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Hey guys thanks for all the info,

I'm a PAT tester so i work with electricity everyday i know the dangers! just not really up on amp stuff I can plug a guitar in and play fine but yea i know that messing inside an amp can be seriously detrimental to your wellbeing if you are careless haha

I'm giving serious consideration to some of the advice i've been given here as far as valve choice goes so thanks to all for your time. I will purchase a probe and do the bias, but i definiately need to do a bit more research!

Anymore advice is much appreciated

Cheers
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Unread 03-02-2010, 06:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Quote:
Originally Posted by core View Post
..... You have to understand how to drain the filter caps and keep them drained while the amp is opened up ....
I would be really curious as to any tips you may have for how to accomplish this while the amp is opened up, and powered up, and HT is flowing to the tube sockets?

I hope I'm not perceived as being an asshole, or discounting the efforts to ensure safety and making members or visitors aware of the need for safe practices. I know you're trying to prevent injury, death or blown up gear.
But I think that misinformation, half-information, or 'hysterical information' is just as bad (if not worse) than saying nothing.

If someone tries to do what you suggest -
keep the filter caps drained while measuring the plate voltage - and realizes it's impossible (and kinda bad for the amp, actually) -
then it dilutes the rest of your message, and makes it seem unnecessary. I'd hate for that to lead to someone feeling like your warnings were not warranted, and lull them into a false sense of confidence.
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Unread 03-02-2010, 11:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

I don't think that Jon intentionally scolds anyone. He just doesn't want to see someone get hurt or ruin their amp. DSL/TSL's (not 201's or 401's) are very easy amps to bias. There are a lot out there. But what if you buy an amp without bias probes? Are you up to it still? I have a very nice set of SRS Bias tools for both 9 Pin mini and 8 Pin octal. When I was adjusting an amp, a problem occurred. Now after talking to Jon, I think my octal tool is off as I had a real problem with trying to bias the amp. So you got to realize, even if you got the right tool, things can still go wrong. If you don't have a lot of experience, you can end up with a blotched job.

Another thing I have been hearing. People like Bob are telling you about getting a cheap meter. On the forum, that's all I hear. "You can get a meter for like 12 bucks."

I don't bias my thousand dollar amp with a 12 dollar meter.

Cheap meters can be off, or go off, right in the middle of a biasing job. It is best to at least get one of the higher priced models with "auto" range and mV and mA ranges. One guy was having trouble with getting in range. Turns out, it was his cheap meter giving him false readings.

And here's a fact you may not know. Always replace your meter with the exact value fuse. The meter is calibrated to that fuse. If it takes a 500mA and you put in a 350mA, it will throw the values off. This is regardless of whether it is a $12 or a $400 meter.
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Unread 03-03-2010, 04:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Quote:
Originally Posted by core
I'm sure Jon Wilder will come here and scold people for giving a simple answer that you can bias with just a multimeter. I can just hear him now.
No but I will scold you for mentioning to keep the filter caps drained while the amp is opened up and you're trying to bias it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by core
You guys know better! Sure you can if you are very knowledgeable about electrical circuits and theory but if you know next to nothing it's not wise to do so.
Had you have been knowledgeable about electrical circuits and theory you would've already known that keeping the filter caps drained while checking the plate voltage as well as biasing an amp without blowing something up is flat out impossible since the amp would have to be on for these processes.

However I see that skeezix as well as Marty once again have the situation under control. Good thing you caught this when you did skeezix...he could've taken out the substation tryin' to pull a stunt like that.

Now that being said, I'm gonna +100 skeezix's response by telling you that the "premium gain matched preamp valves" for the phase inverter position in the amp is nothing more than (in lack of better terminology) a mother****ing bullshit gimmick (wow the bullshit flu seems to be goin' around 'cause it's definitely flyin' around here tonight )! It's the valve dealers attempting to twist what little theory and math they know to justify getting a few more $$$ out of you. Red flag salesman right there...he's already bullshit you in an attempt to scam you out of more money...I wouldn't trust him.

Fact is the phase inverter circuitry in and of itself has an intentional mismatch/imbalance to it and as such provides an asymmetrical grid drive to the power valves automatically. This is done for tonal reasons...it's been being done for the last several decades. Why? Because even order harmonics are what give valves their magical tone and with a perfectly 100% symmetrical power amp, any power amp generated even order harmonics would get cancelled out. This alone renders having to have a balanced phase inverter valve for the reasons they try to make you believe you have to have them a moot point.

Now don't get me wrong...they may exhibit a different tone than an unbalanced one and you may like the sound of a balanced one in that circuit. My point here was merely to state that it is not absolutely needed as they'd like you to believe it is.

On top of this (and this is more than likely what Bob DIDN'T tell you), the valve in the V1 position on the JCM900 4100/4500 models is NOT your standard Marshall V1 valve. V1 in these amps is the equivalent of V2 in most of the other traditional Marshall circuits. Fact is, these amps have a solid state front end that takes the place of what would NORMALLY be the V1 valve in a traditional Marshall amp. As such, your primary tone shaping that sets the stage for the very root of your tone is done by this solid state front end. As such, the V1 valve in these amps is NOT going to have the same effect as the V1 valve in a traditional Marshall circuit, but more than likely Bob probably spoke of just how important it was to get some sort of a premium valve for the V1 position in this amp because it's gonna have the biggest tonal influence in your set up. It will have SOME effect, but again, the first stage primary shaping has already been done prior to this valve via solid state circuitry so again, I'm calling bullshit.

Not to mention faster heater rise time...skeez, I'll bet that has more to do with decreasing the inrush loading time on the service panel at your house than it does for tone since the heaters pull more current than the rest of the amp. Also, it's better for the filter caps. The faster the heater heats up, the faster those filter caps can start filtering out the heater hum from the audio circuit without them having to wait.

Funny thing about Bob...while he makes everyone think that when it comes to tone, he knows best about what valves you should run in your particular amp, he seems to recommend the same valve brand for every amp he's ever claimed to test. I don't know about y'all but logic tells me that he's a bit "biased".

That and he seems to be the ultimate expert when it comes to biasing and condones the use of cheap/inaccurate-at-best multimeters on your $1,000 amps, yet he openly admits he's not an amp tech by trade on his own website. Again...

Not that I'm knocking JJs. For my personal amps I swear by them. I honestly don't hear the "darkness" that everyone claims they have, but then again I was never an overly bright player like some are. I also use much better transformers than the crap that some of the modern manufacturers are throwing in their amps nowadays. On top of that, drop-Y tuned nu-metal seems to be the craze and as such has driven the amp companies to design/build amps that are voiced a bit darker than the older designs so something tells me that no matter what valve is in a modern amp that it's gonna have a dark voicing to it somewhat. Throw in the fact that most around here are using the 1960 cabs loaded with G12T-75s which are known for their deep/dark low end and mid-scoop...whereas I run 25 and 30 watters on my rig, which naturally have a brighter character and accentuated midrange to them and not nearly as much low end as the modern Celestions do. So there's quite a bit of variables in my gear/component combination that may very well provide a great sounding tonal environment for JJs while offsetting they're non-100% conclusive "dark" tonal character.

But not everyone's after the same tone. So how can everyone like how JJs sound in every amp circuit in existence, or with every type of guitar speaker available for that matter?

However, what I AM knocking is the all-too-familiar trends of valve salesmen trying to pose as the techs that they're not just to get money out of people. And all because these types tell you "what you wanna hear" you'd rather trust them over people who actually have the knowledge/theory/experience under their belt because they tell you how it really is. Now you've got MartyStrat right here on the forums who is a very knowledgeable valve dealer who will set you up right without trying to burn a hole in your pocket with some bullshit "balanced phase inverter valve" dishonest marketing gimmick like most of the valve dealers around are doing nowadays. He'll even take the time to answer the questions he can and if they're too technical he'll refer you to one of us who can answer it correctly for you. Honestly, if I weren't a dealer myself I'd much rather put my $$$ in his hands than most of the other places around.

If you guys need me...I'll be somewhere around here oiling my snake.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 06:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

I just got a set of EL34L's and Hi gain ecc83's....got the whole phase invertor pitch...damn, now I feel rippped off!!
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Unread 03-06-2010, 06:36 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

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Originally Posted by backyardburial View Post
I just got a set of EL34L's and Hi gain ecc83's....got the whole phase invertor pitch...damn, now I feel rippped off!!
On that note...you should change your name from "backyardburial" to "backyardmechanic" *lotsa sarcasm*
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Unread 03-16-2011, 11:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Jcm 900 valves????

Hey first timer here, you guys are great thanks for all the info! I to have a JCM 900 (4100) and I use the fx loop, what do you guys recommend in the v2 on this amp for those of us who use the fx loop and or reverb? And while were at it v1,v3 as well. Looking to keep all the gain, but tone down the ear shredding highs on this amp.
Thanks
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