Hellcat preamp valve selection. Help?

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bigbazz
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Hellcat preamp valve selection. Help?

Post by bigbazz » Thu May 09, 2013 4:25 am

So I've owned my Hellcat (combo) for just over a year now and in just over a month going to be gigging it full time. I'm not exactly in a financial position to be able to really splash out but I feel It might be worth my time to look into this now. Currently it has a few JJ valves in there, of which exact model I'm not sure but let's just say a basic ECC83, no idea how old they are as they came with the amp.

Playing my friends new MK50II i noticed his amp has a faster response on the input and could really be played without an OD in the front, where as while my Hellcat doesn't "need" one it does feel like to get it really fluid I want to give it a little push (and so I do). I love the way the amp sounds but I definitely do think I'd like to experiment with a few different types of valve (other than JJ because I've never used anything else).

Could new/different valves allow my amp to be a little more touch responsive on the input? I often use the low input because I like the way it sounds more, obviously this also attributes majorly to how the guitar has to be played harder, but the MK50II input is even more responsive than my Hi input. Now i've had an issue with this in the past with my 5150 where replacing the preamp valves completely fixed it, but with the Hellcat it isn't like that, it doesn't feel like there is anything wrong or an issue and it's perfectly playable but I do feel I'd like to explore different valves to find what I like and what works best.


Short Version : Suggest me some preamp valves for each slot (and poweramp I suppose) that are not JJ to really finely tune my Hellcat, I want to experiment.
Cornford Hellcat Combo
Peavey 5150 MK1 Head with bias mod.
1994 Ibanez Jem7V, 3 Strats and a 70's P-bass!

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s&m freddy
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Re: Hellcat preamp valve selection. Help?

Post by s&m freddy » Thu May 09, 2013 8:52 am

Hi
I always thought the Hellcat was a gain monster!? I saw Roger Waters on Bastille day years ago at Magny Cours and Dave Kilminster was using his Hellcats then...sounded phenomenal!

Never played one myself though yet...

Anyway...back on track....I seem to be out of kilter with most Cornford users here...but I use EH12AX7's in the drive positions of both my amps...I think they are great if you want a slightly British quality to the gain....the JJs sound more American to me. May not be what you are after... but I suggest trying a couple in V1 and V2. You can get them graded hotter but I like the mediums in my RK and MK.

My mate had a low gain issue with a new H&K Tubemeister and sticking some of the high gain EHs made a surprising difference to that in tone and gain.
Cornford RK100 #108 used on Winery Dogs UK dates 2016 by Richie Kotzen
Cornford 2x12 cab
Cornford Hurricane #1895

bigbazz
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Re: Hellcat preamp valve selection. Help?

Post by bigbazz » Thu May 09, 2013 2:38 pm

s&m freddy wrote:Hi
I always thought the Hellcat was a gain monster!? I saw Roger Waters on Bastille day years ago at Magny Cours and Dave Kilminster was using his Hellcats then...sounded phenomenal!

Never played one myself though yet...

Anyway...back on track....I seem to be out of kilter with most Cornford users here...but I use EH12AX7's in the drive positions of both my amps...I think they are great if you want a slightly British quality to the gain....the JJs sound more American to me. May not be what you are after... but I suggest trying a couple in V1 and V2. You can get them graded hotter but I like the mediums in my RK and MK.

My mate had a low gain issue with a new H&K Tubemeister and sticking some of the high gain EHs made a surprising difference to that in tone and gain.
The Hellcat certaintly does have a lot of gain, probably the most of any Cornford though still less than my 5150 (and in neither case does it sound good to use all of it!) but it's more about the response of the amp's input, it's more about response than actual gain, the MK50II I had at my house the other day is so touch sensitive, even though it has less gain. The Hellcat is an amazing sounding amp, I love it. but... there is always more exploring to do.

Anyway, I'm just trying to experiment, I don't know what it is i "like" because I've always just had JJ's in my amp, I have a low gain premade JJ set from eurotubes in my 5150, and JJ's of some sort in my other 2 amps. I often come on this forum and see people suggesting pretty fancy sounding preamp valves that to be honest I'm clueless about.

Electro Harmonix, I'm not sure these are what I'm looking for,these were what came with my 5150 when I bought it, and that was completely screwed in terms of gain/reponse and JJ was what fixed it. Of course the issue was that they were worn/dead valves, I'm sure EH's are fine, but I'm looking for more adventurous options!
Cornford Hellcat Combo
Peavey 5150 MK1 Head with bias mod.
1994 Ibanez Jem7V, 3 Strats and a 70's P-bass!

http://www.youtube.com/user/BlueLightRideTV

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s&m freddy
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Re: Hellcat preamp valve selection. Help?

Post by s&m freddy » Thu May 09, 2013 3:25 pm

You could experiment with lower gain tubes like a 12AU7 in V1 and or V2...but this doesn't seem to be waht you are after form your original post..

I am no expert but I don't think there is much genuine exotica around unless you want to try some NOS tubes...as far as I can tell most tubes for the guitar amp market come from the same factories these days. JAN-Philips (USA), New Sensor and Svetlana/SED (Russia). JJ Tesla (Slovakia) and Shuguang (China)...even new Mullards are Russian. Most of the premuim name tubes are branded identical tubes from these factories.

MK seemed to go for JJ's and Sovtek's...and more laterly some Groove Tubes (Chinese/Eatern European) for production amps.
Cornford RK100 #108 used on Winery Dogs UK dates 2016 by Richie Kotzen
Cornford 2x12 cab
Cornford Hurricane #1895

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