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Yo everybody...I'm currently looking into a VHT power amp to complement my Rocktron Prophesy. Right now it's running into a Mesa 2:90 and while it sounds ok...it doesnt sound great. I guess I have discovered that I am not a huge fan of the Mesa 6L6 tone. So....my question is what the difference is between the el34 tubes in the VHT 2502 and the kt88/6550 tubes in the 2902. I have researched these tubes a lot, but can't seem to get a clear cut answer. Also, aside from tubes, does one of the amps sound better than the other naturally? You guys have helped me out a lot in the past, so if you could shed some light on this subject...YOU ROCK! Thanks! :thu:

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Generally speaking...the EL-34's have less bass, more midrange and a unique top end when pushed to breakup in contrast to a 6L6. The KT-88/6550 family are basically a bigger, bolder, and much louder version of a 6L6 with tons more headroom.

 

+1

 

Be forewarned. Don't know how heavy your Mesa is but my 2/50/2 is a freakin' tank. Kicks major ass over my JCM800.

 

whatever you choose you won't be disappointed. :thu:

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As stated, 6550 tubes are closer to the tonality of a 6L6GC (or 5781A) with higher headroom and even broader dynamic range...

 

EL34 tubes tend to emphasize midrange a bit more, with lower headroom and less overall bass power.

 

Before trading in your Mesa 2:Ninety, have you considered swapping out the four outside tubes for EL34s? I'll have to find the exact thread, but other users here have confirmed that the Mesa 2:Ninety can run four EL34 tubes (in the class A tube sockets) in conjunction with the 6L6 tubes running at class AB. That way you get both the strong bass response from the 6L6GC tubes with the nice breakup and midrange emphases of the EL34 tubes.

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What happened to upgrading the speakers first?




Jun

 

 

Forgot to mention that part, but I am upgrading my speakers to a combo of celestion v30's and g12h30's. I have a Randall 4x12, 8 ohm mono cab, and I think what I'll do is put the g12h30's in the bottom two sockets for good bass response and the v30's in the top two for the mid range punch. What do you think? Smart idea? As far tube tone...I like a good bass foundation, but a decent amount of crunchy mid range, and a smooth top. So will KT88's suit me, or EL34s?

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I'll have to find the exact thread, but other users here have confirmed that the Mesa 2:Ninety can run four EL34 tubes (in the class A tube sockets) in conjunction with the 6L6 tubes running at class AB. That way you get both the strong bass response from the 6L6GC tubes with the nice breakup and midrange emphases of the EL34 tubes.

 

I ran mine that way with EL34L's and 6L6's. It sounded GREAT! But....after about 8 months of running that way, I changed tubes and after a couple of hours on the new ones, I think my transformer's dead. :cry:

 

Mesa did confirm on the phone that it's perfectly fine to run it this way. They have a diagram posted over on the Boogie forum showing the tube orientation depending on which 2:90 you have.

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I ran mine that way with EL34L's and 6L6's. It sounded GREAT! But....after about 8 months of running that way, I changed tubes and after a couple of hours on the new ones, I think my transformer's dead.
:cry:

Mesa did confirm on the phone that it's perfectly fine to run it this way. They have a diagram posted over on the Boogie forum showing the tube orientation depending on which 2:90 you have.

 

 

I may try that, sounds like a really cool idea. Although this method works with the 2:90...would I have to re-bias the amp? I know that Mesa is a fixed bias amp and I don't wanna screw with that too much. The EL34's go on the outside right?

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No, you wouldn't have to rebias the amp. You'd probably want to order the tubes from Mesa over the phone and let them know what you're doing so they can send you the correct tubes.

 

"They have a diagram posted over on the Boogie forum showing the tube orientation depending on which 2:90 you have."

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I'm definately going to try this before I sell the Mesa, however, I am just curious what you guys think about something. I really like the tone of my Rocktron Prophesy and really only want that to be coloring my tone, but I want the warmth of a tube amp. So which tube power amp would you suggest?

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Forgot to mention that part, but I am upgrading my speakers to a combo of celestion v30's and g12h30's. I have a Randall 4x12, 8 ohm mono cab, and I think what I'll do is put the g12h30's in the bottom two sockets for good bass response and the v30's in the top two for the mid range punch. What do you think? Smart idea? As far tube tone...I like a good bass foundation, but a decent amount of crunchy mid range, and a smooth top. So will KT88's suit me, or EL34s?

 

 

I remember you were wanting more of a full range speaker to recreate the Prophesy tones direct? a tube amp and the combination of speakers that you mentioned above will not achieve that goal. You'll probably have to reprogram one set of patches for direct and another set for your tube amp rig.

Ultimately you're gonna have to experiment since we dont' know how:

1. your guitar sounds

2. how loud you play

3. your tonal preferences

etc.

 

 

 

Jun

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I remember you were wanting more of a full range speaker to recreate the Prophesy tones direct? a tube amp and the combination of speakers that you mentioned above will not achieve that goal. You'll probably have to reprogram one set of patches for direct and another set for your tube amp rig.

Ultimately you're gonna have to experiment since we dont' know how:

1. your guitar sounds

2. how loud you play

3. your tonal preferences

etc.




Jun

 

 

Good point, I'll have to take some time to really dig into my tone. But just in a general sense. What is a good tube power amp that will give me the tube warmth, but not color the tone toooo much. Any suggestions? Who knows, I may like this new tone better than the direct tone. Just trying to experiment. But to answer your questions:

 

My guitar sounds pretty decent, I use a Jackson Dinky Pro and threw a Dimarzio Breed in the bridge to fatten up the sound and it does so very nicely.

 

I don't play SUPER loud, loud enough the be heard in the mix I guess. I'm not one of those guitarists that needs to be ear piercingly loud. I'd rather be quieter, but cut through the mix more proficiently and be heard that way.

 

Tonal preferences.....I DIG the tone Warren DeMartini gets on albums like Invasion of your Privacy...also really like Steve Vai's tone. I guess you could say a smooth top, lots of creamy mids, and enough bass to fatten up the sound but not be too boomy.

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Ok, I talked to Jim Chowning of Rocktron and he briefed me on a few things. First of all I want to make clear that I really like the sound of my Prophesy using the direct recording outs as I said in a previous post, however, this utilizes the speaker simulation. Jim told me that the speaker modelled in the simulation is a Celestion Vintage 30 and the power amp modelled is a VHT 2100 classic (same as a 2150 basically, but with EL34s instead of KT88/6550's). I know you guys suggest I use a full range speakers with a solid state power amp, but should I use what Jim suggested since I like what the Prophesy put out using the speaker simulation? I need your guys help, you never fail me! THOUGHTS???

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Keep the Prophesy for direct and get a Peavey Rockmaster for the tube tone w/Mesa and cab.


Good tone is too subjective. You're on your own on this one. Can you A/B the Prophesy thru a decent PA and a 4x12 V30 cab with your MESA?





Jun

 

 

Well right now, I don't have that equipment (the V30's that is, or a PA)...so I'll have to wait on that. What attracts me to the prophesy (or any digital amp for that matter) is the ability to create several presets, 127 to be exact. With the Peavey, arent I just limited to 3 channels or so with each having an indendent EQ? How does the Peavey work/sound because I have heard GREAT things about it. Just a little comfortable in my digital world...would love to venture out of it though.

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I was attracted to MIDI preamps like the Hughes & Kettner Access, Peavey Tubefex, JMP-1, Rocktron Piranha etc. Out of all the pres I tried, the only one I kept was the Rock Master. It is indeed a 3 ch preamp but with guitar volume,different pickup combinations and a Roland RSP-550 efx unit in series, I can get almost any sound I need from clean to over the top gain.

Although I've never used the Mesa amp, I'm sure it is decent.

You already have the FCB1010 that can control the Rock Master channels.

All you need are decent speakers. Two Thiele 1x12" cabs with EVM 12Ls will sound great for your tube rig AND your Prophecy rig.

4x12" cabs are nice but they are a hassle to transport.

Check out my first Youtube vid, it's a Peavey Bravo but the preamp sound is very similar to the Rock Master.

 

 

Jun

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If the speaker sim is modelled after the 2100 (with EL34s) and Vintage 30 speakers, you might want to try the 2:ninety with EL34 tubes (as I mentioned before).

 

Changing the tubes will greatly influence your tone... Whether or not it will be close enough to the model of the 2100 will be up to you. But changing some tubes is much cheaper than buying a new amp and might make all the difference. In fact, you might just want to get a single pair of EL34s and just try using them in the class A sockets of one side of the 2:Ninety to see if that makes the difference that you want.

 

Along with getting some Vintage 30 speakers to try in your cabinet, it could actually make a huge difference between the speakers and tubes being changed. BTW, if I read correctly, you said that your cabinet is mono configuration. Be sure to rewire it for stereo operation if you're already upgrading speakers. A relatively cheap upgrade that I used was upgrading my speaker wire from stock to heavy guage speaker wire as well..

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If the speaker sim is modelled after the 2100 (with EL34s) and Vintage 30 speakers, you might want to try the 2:ninety with EL34 tubes (as I mentioned before).


Changing the tubes will greatly influence your tone... Whether or not it will be close enough to the model of the 2100 will be up to you. But changing some tubes is much cheaper than buying a new amp and might make all the difference. In fact, you might just want to get a single pair of EL34s and just try using them in the class A sockets of one side of the 2:Ninety to see if that makes the difference that you want.


Along with getting some Vintage 30 speakers to try in your cabinet, it could actually make a huge difference between the speakers and tubes being changed. BTW, if I read correctly, you said that your cabinet is mono configuration. Be sure to rewire it for stereo operation if you're already upgrading speakers. A relatively cheap upgrade that I used was upgrading my speaker wire from stock to heavy guage speaker wire as well..

 

 

I will definately try out the EL34's in combo with the 6L6's in my Mesa...but what I am wondering is will Mesa with EL34s and VHT with EL34s sound pretty different. I mean the tone doesnt come only the tubes. How does VHT compare to Mesa tone wise (lets say we are comparing the VHT 2/50/2 and Mesa 2:90)

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Sorry my friend, but VHT does pwn Mesa's patootie. When trying out various tube power amps to be the heart of my little rig (using a PODxt as a pre & Mesa Stilletto 4x12), it came down to the same amp as yours - the Mesa 2:90, and a VHT 2/90/2 with a quad of KT88's. The Mesa was indeed very good, but when it came down to it, the VHT was way tighter overall, had much more headroom, a glorious thump, and even the cleans were a bit glassier. But as a 7 & 8 string metal player, tightness of the bottom end was paramount to me, and the VHT won that in spades. An added bonus of the VHT over the Mesa power amps: bridgable channels to mono and individual channel impedance selection, so you can play around with various different cabs together. :thu:

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Yea, ive heard the same about the VHT also. PLUS the VHT's are louder than the mesa's. I just ordered my 2502 yesterday and should have it by friday. I cant wait to let you know the difference. im hoping there is one, but i must say that ive heard nothing but better stuff about VHT as opposed to mesa.

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I have a vht2902. You know, tube maintance is going to be very costly.

 

Even 12ax7 tubes are influential for the sound in this amp. I tried all the tubes I had: jans, electro-harmonics, sovtek and so on. And I found that only couples GT 12AX7A/AU gave me the sound I wanted. Besides, specially selected pairs of kt88 tubes are a very important issue in this case, because a bad pair will give you a very weak sound. So when all the tube preparations have been done and all your money spent, then yes, it will be a wonderful sound indeed.

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