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  1. #1
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    Default Original Block Letter 5150 Power Tubes

    Hey guys.
    I've got a question for you all.
    as you may have read, I usually have been using Ruby Power tubes in my 5150.
    Now it does not have a bias mod or anything, and the Ruby's have been very consistent, according to my old tech, who retired last year, and have not ever had this amp rebiased via the resistor change route. This weekend after doing some web surfing, I got inspired to try different tubes. I picked up 4 matched JJ 6L6GC's, and called up my new tech guy to see if he could give it a go over. His advice...."Ohhh...Just clean the sockets, and throw them in, and burn it in overnight. it'll be fine."
    Ok...I know this is a "fixed cold bias" amp. The thing is these tubes seem to run hotter than the Ruby's, (Which by the way were very close to what Peavey used originally.)
    So with that said, what are your thoughts on this? He said "Well if you want to just give me free money, he could re-bias the amp!",lol, but said that part of the nature of the 5150's tone comes from the rather cold bias from the factory. I will say it does sound quite punchy and a lot warmer with the JJ's.
    If this was my Marshall, then I would have it biased without question as it does have a bias pot adjustment, but I've been looking all over the net, and it seems for every person who adamantly says you should have the 5150 biased, there's just as many who say it's not an issue.
    For the record, I've never blown a tube in the amp....Main concern here is I don't want to now!

    Thoughts and/or experience would be helpful?
    Last edited by we die young; 03.07.11 at 10:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Hey guys.
    I've got a question for you all.
    as you may have read, I usually have been using Ruby Power tubes in my 5150.
    Now it does not have a bias mod or anything, and the Ruby's have been very consistent, according to my old tech, who retired last year, and have not ever had this amp rebiased via the resistor change route. This weekend after doing some web surfing, I got inspired to try different tubes. I picked up 4 matched JJ 6L6GC's, and called up my new tech guy to see if he could give it a go over. His advice...."Ohhh...Just clean the sockets, and throw them in, and burn it in overnight. it'll be fine."
    Ok...I know this is a "fixed cold bias" amp. The thing is these tubes seem to run hotter than the Ruby's, (Which by the way were very close to what Peavey used originally.)
    So with that said, what are your thoughts on this? He said "Well if you want to just give me free money, he could re-bias the amp!",lol, but said that part of the nature of the 5150's tone comes from the rather cold bias from the factory. I will say it does sound quite punchy and a lot warmer with the JJ's.
    If this was my Marshall, then I would have it biased without question as it does have a bias pot adjustment, but I've been looking all over the net, and it seems for every person who adamantly says you should have the 5150 biased, there's just as many who say it's not an issue.
    For the record, I've never blown a tube in the amp....Main concern here is I don't want to now!

    Thoughts and/or experience would be helpful?
    i have never had my 5150 re-biased and i have gone through quite a few sets of power tubes, i usually do exactly what your tech said, burn em in for a few hours, i find slightly hotter tubes sound better in there anyway, recently i've been using NOS Mullards and they sound incredible
    http://www.facebook.com/Tommywho5150

    And with that I'm off to the kitchen to make myself a lesbian omelette...LLFHS in response to one of Graeme's post's


    "The anal beads may have scarred SNIC for life. That guy is tough as fucking nails!! No normal guy could take anal beads to the head and survive! "...OLO on SNIC's near death experience at TLW

    "I'm a 45-year-old man, and I still like to wear a thong or a speedo when I go swimming.
    Not because I have a great body, it's just an easy way to make sure I have the hotel swimming pool all to myself."...Bullwinkle for quite obvious reasons!

    "Dude, the cashier gave me the creepiest sneer when he rang up my unmentionables!"...Sassy Lassy during a Facebook conversation!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommywho5150 View Post
    i have never had my 5150 re-biased and i have gone through quite a few sets of power tubes, i usually do exactly what your tech said, burn em in for a few hours, i find slightly hotter tubes sound better in there anyway, recently i've been using NOS Mullards and they sound incredible
    Thanks! Yeah, I gotta say these tubes sound real sweet! Nothing against the Ruby's, but i think I just got a bit narrow minded on them. I wanted to stick fairly close to spec, but as of late, they just have not sounded the same. I thought it was the amp changing, but it seems it's the tubes. These JJ's though.... Very tight response and smooth. The Ruby's almost had kind of a jangly sort of character over the past few years.
    One reason I was a bit concerned is coming off of standby, I'm getting a little "ticking" or pinging that wasn't there with the Ruby's.....Just normal with a hotter tube for a while?

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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Hey guys.
    I've got a question for you all.
    as you may have read, I usually have been using Ruby Power tubes in my 5150.
    Now it does not have a bias mod or anything, and the Ruby's have been very consistent, according to my old tech, who retired last year, and have not ever had this amp rebiased via the resistor change route. This weekend after doing some web surfing, I got inspired to try different tubes. I picked up 4 matched JJ 6L6GC's, and called up my new tech guy to see if he could give it a go over. His advice...."Ohhh...Just clean the sockets, and throw them in, and burn it in overnight. it'll be fine."
    Ok...I know this is a "fixed cold bias" amp. The thing is these tubes seem to run hotter than the Ruby's, (Which by the way were very close to what Peavey used originally.)
    So with that said, what are your thoughts on this? He said "Well if you want to just give me free money, he could re-bias the amp!",lol, but said that part of the nature of the 5150's tone comes from the rather cold bias from the factory. I will say it does sound quite punchy and a lot warmer with the JJ's.
    If this was my Marshall, then I would have it biased without question as it does have a bias pot adjustment, but I've been looking all over the net, and it seems for every person who adamantly says you should have the 5150 biased, there's just as many who say it's not an issue.
    For the record, I've never blown a tube in the amp....Main concern here is I don't want to now!

    Thoughts and/or experience would be helpful?
    Your tech is exactly right. You WILL NOT under any circumstances blow any kind of normal 6L6 with a stock 5150 due to it being 'too hot of a bias'. The stock 5150-I runs the bias so freaking cold that usually the tubes are drawing like 12-16mA, which is nothing compared to most amps. The combo is set so the tubes draw around 32mA, which is about medium or 'warm'. At the plate voltages in the 5150, the max for most 6L6's is about 44-45mA draw (some NOS tubes can take slightly more or can only handle slightly less, etc.).

    So in other words, 12-16mA is no where near the 'redline' of a 6L6 in a 5150 at 44-45mA. Even if you get tubes that run 'really hot on their own,' which by design some do, I doubt there's any way they could be drawing anywhere near 44mA without an adjustable bias mod.

    For example, that set of rebranded-to-GrooveTubes American small bottle 6L6's that I have run extremely hot. In my bias modded 5150 combo, I had some older Ruby's were running at 40-41mA. Without changing the bias settings at all, when I stuck in the GrooveTubes, they drew 52-53mA all on their own. That is by far the biggest jump by just changing tubes I've ever seen in an amp -- all 4 other brands I tried, including the Ruby's were within about 5-6mA difference when swapping them out.

    And my extreme example may be just that -- those little tubes were running at 57-60mA for quite some time without me realizing that the bias knob had been bumped, and did just fine... so there may be something unique about that set, or they may be about to explode. But even using that example, if your tubes run that hot, that's still a ~12mA jump... which added to the usual cold 16mA of a 5150 doesn't even get you over 30mA. Well within the safe limit.

  5. #5
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    see? That's the reason I love this place!!! lol. You guys are the best! Thanks. I just wasn't sure given the recent stuff I read. A lot of this info seems to have changed as of late. I had never biased the amp before like I said, at least with tubes that were close to the original specs.
    So the noise I'm getting since the swap...the pinging coming off standby is likely just the new "hotter tubes burning in? It only lasts a couple minutes, but I'd never had that issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    see? That's the reason I love this place!!! lol. You guys are the best! Thanks. I just wasn't sure given the recent stuff I read. A lot of this info seems to have changed as of late. I had never biased the amp before like I said, at least with tubes that were close to the original specs.
    So the noise I'm getting since the swap...the pinging coming off standby is likely just the new "hotter tubes burning in? It only lasts a couple minutes, but I'd never had that issue.
    Can you post a short video or audio of the noise? It could be the noise of the relays throwing, or just the amp going off. Mine has a small pop kinda noise if I turn off the standby and then turn off the main power really quick afterwards.

    When you're done playing, if you turn off the standby and let it sit for a minute, and then turn off the mains (just like powering it up and letting the tubes warm up, but in reverse) does it still make the noise?

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    That's a good idea. I'll see if I get a bit of time tonight to do that.
    In the meantime, if I could explain it It's not a major noise.... Just sporadic little "ticks" when switching off standby. Seems to go away, but that's what got me thinking about the bias. haha! I know....Kinda like explaining to a mechanic over the phone about something wrong with your car: "Well...first there's like this ticking noise...like tick, tick tick, then a sound like Ka-chunk, bop! KaPow!!!!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    That's a good idea. I'll see if I get a bit of time tonight to do that.
    In the meantime, if I could explain it It's not a major noise.... Just sporadic little "ticks" when switching off standby. Seems to go away, but that's what got me thinking about the bias. haha! I know....Kinda like explaining to a mechanic over the phone about something wrong with your car: "Well...first there's like this ticking noise...like tick, tick tick, then a sound like Ka-chunk, bop! KaPow!!!!"
    If it's just little clicks when you are shutting off standby ONLY, that seems to be pretty normal in these amps. Mine does it too. Sometimes the relays click when I turn it on too.

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium
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    another good tip is to turn your cell phone off or atleast take it out of your pocket while you're playing, i'm not talking about the normal 'searching for signal' noise. i have noticed that sometimes mine sounds a bit like a clock ticking, it's sporadic and it only happens when my damn phone is in my pocket
    http://www.facebook.com/Tommywho5150

    And with that I'm off to the kitchen to make myself a lesbian omelette...LLFHS in response to one of Graeme's post's


    "The anal beads may have scarred SNIC for life. That guy is tough as fucking nails!! No normal guy could take anal beads to the head and survive! "...OLO on SNIC's near death experience at TLW

    "I'm a 45-year-old man, and I still like to wear a thong or a speedo when I go swimming.
    Not because I have a great body, it's just an easy way to make sure I have the hotel swimming pool all to myself."...Bullwinkle for quite obvious reasons!

    "Dude, the cashier gave me the creepiest sneer when he rang up my unmentionables!"...Sassy Lassy during a Facebook conversation!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommywho5150 View Post
    another good tip is to turn your cell phone off or atleast take it out of your pocket while you're playing, i'm not talking about the normal 'searching for signal' noise. i have noticed that sometimes mine sounds a bit like a clock ticking, it's sporadic and it only happens when my damn phone is in my pocket
    Haha! Very good advice! I laugh because I once set my cell phone on top of my console not thinking. It was doing that "searching for service thing".
    We were laying down some tracks, and it turned out great.....until we heard that "D-d-d.......D-d-d-Mmmmmmm........D-d-d-d-d-mmmmmmmmShhhhhhhhh-Bmmmp!" blazing through the monitors on playback!!!!! Channel strip for one of the drum mics picked it up loud and clear! "Oooops! Sorry guys!"
    Last edited by we die young; 03.08.11 at 03:09 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default A big Thanks to Tommy and MRJ!

    Hey!
    Just wanted to thank you guys.
    MRJ...I pulled out my camera last night to capture that noise, but.....just like going to the doctor, by the time I switched it on, it was gone. Guess it was just the tubes breaking in. Anyway....glad it wasn't something more than that. I had seen a video JB posted on YouTube, and the noise was very similar, but it's not there at all, and I tried a few things to try and get it to happen, but nothing.
    Anyway....Both of your guysl advice and assurance helped me out a great deal.
    Cheers.
    JJ

  12. #12
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Hey!
    Just wanted to thank you guys.
    MRJ...I pulled out my camera last night to capture that noise, but.....just like going to the doctor, by the time I switched it on, it was gone. Guess it was just the tubes breaking in. Anyway....glad it wasn't something more than that. I had seen a video JB posted on YouTube, and the noise was very similar, but it's not there at all, and I tried a few things to try and get it to happen, but nothing.
    Anyway....Both of your guysl advice and assurance helped me out a great deal.
    Cheers.
    JJ
    you're more than welcome buddy...now crank that mother and enjoy it!
    http://www.facebook.com/Tommywho5150

    And with that I'm off to the kitchen to make myself a lesbian omelette...LLFHS in response to one of Graeme's post's


    "The anal beads may have scarred SNIC for life. That guy is tough as fucking nails!! No normal guy could take anal beads to the head and survive! "...OLO on SNIC's near death experience at TLW

    "I'm a 45-year-old man, and I still like to wear a thong or a speedo when I go swimming.
    Not because I have a great body, it's just an easy way to make sure I have the hotel swimming pool all to myself."...Bullwinkle for quite obvious reasons!

    "Dude, the cashier gave me the creepiest sneer when he rang up my unmentionables!"...Sassy Lassy during a Facebook conversation!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommywho5150 View Post
    you're more than welcome buddy...now crank that mother and enjoy it!
    +1

 

 

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