It is currently Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:37 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Groove tubes controversy
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:33 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 632
Location: SoCal323
I'm posing a couple of questions here today not to open up a can of worms but simply to get some insight as to the controversy surrounding Groove tubes. I'm not interested with who makes the tubes, who rebrands the tubes, does Groove tubes even make their own tubes. I'm also not interested in whether or not there are reliabilty issues. Fender biases these tubes so cold that they could easily outlive all other components in the amp. All I'd like to know is......

Question #1:
How many people here purched their Fender amps by going to the local music shop to take their amp for a test drive, decided that the amp sounded great, it was the sound they were after, and therefore purchased the amp?

Qustion #2:
How many people here bought their Fender amps because they heard and read rave reviews about the amp but never really took the amp for a test drive? Basically they purchased it based on reviews and recommendations, and reputation.

What I'm eluding to is that if you made your purchase because of the fact that the amp sounded great when you played it would'nt that mean that the tubes that came stock in the amp played a major role in your decision? And if so, wouldn't that mean that Groove tubes are actually decent and maybe even great sounding tubes?

If not, then why would you ever buy a Fender amp to begin with? Because you're a tinkerer and the amp has potential? Because you have money to burn? Because someone said that it's a great amp? Because you've heard great things about them?

I just don't get it. I mean, I know that there are plenty of tube brands out there that sound great but very few of them make their own amps. So basically were installing different brand tubes not because of the same reasons we bought our amp, but because they have a different flavor. Which is understandable due to the fact that peoples tastes change over time. Like I said, i'm not out to start a war, just want to understand why the bad rap. Or am I the only one here who thinks that GT is getting a bad rap?

So, if you have the time to reply, I have the time to read.

Thanks.

_________________
Its a lifestyle.....

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:00 pm 
Offline
Hobbyist
Hobbyist

Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 12:02 pm
Posts: 86
#1 - Did the test drive thing, always do.

#2 - Not a chance of me doing something like that.

If an amp sounds good with the tubes that are in it I use them until they need to be changed. Then when I replace them I go on the advice of my tech who has been an amp tech for 30+ years. I trust him more than any rave reviews or snake oil on the web.

_________________
http://www.reverbnation.com/dirtbeggers


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:06 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:58 pm
Posts: 385
not to be technical and anal-retentive, but "groove tubes" don't sound bad. blame the manufacturer whose tube it is being relabeled as GT. now, the stock groove tubes in amps are typically sovtek brand, which tend to have a pronounced high end, not so much in a positive way at that. many people don't care for that much end when the tube gets cooking and overdriven. it can sound brittle, sometimes thin, ESPECIALLY in a traditionally-voiced, mid-scooped fender amp. the high end might fare better in darker amps, maybe even some marshalls, etc.
i actually don't mind their sound as much as others, i can deal with it, but i agree that JJ's are better any day. i don't know, not going to get into my favorite flavor of tubes right now.

groove tubes also relabels mullard and JJ brand tubes, but you dont see those everywhere.

groove tubes gets a bad rap because many of us are beginning to think it's a bunch of hoo-hah, paying that extra cash for supposedly failproof tubes, that are supposedly put through extra testing, which may not be so true. GT's have a tendency to do just that, FAIL. again, tubes are unpredictable, and inconsistent, and can fail anytime, but the GT thing is that you're supposed to be getting certified, guaranteed performance, which we all know can't actually happen. its a waste of money basically.

to answer your question, i think alot of people are forced to take a gamble and buy amps online that they've never seen in person (well, in their possession, or at their mercy with guitar in hand). so basically, the only hearing trhey have done is on youtube, or maybe a friend has the same amp. see, alot of the "prized" amps today are from back in the day and frankly aren't commonly seen in stores anymore. plus, consider the fact that businesses are moving to the internet slowly because its more cost-effective. it costs a business way less $$$ to run one warehouse (or 2) and a website, than it does to run a supply chain or franchise. i think if it were still pre-1990, it'd be a different story, about buying amps in peerson vs online and relying on youtube.
i just recently bought a Pro Jr, but theres only like one or two stores within a 30 min. radius that have one on the floor. needless to say that helped my decision. i'm very weary about buying without trying, so that was good for me to have found a store with that amp. in-store stock is very limited, again, because it's less costly to manage small inventory. consider the fact that major chains like GC are actually carrying mainly new stuff. they aren't selling any vibrolux's anymore. i guess it's all about the modeling amps now, and trying to sell those amps that can "do it all". something like a DSP or GDEC.

another thing, you can only do so much when you test an amp. i feel kind of awkward in a small quiet store if i were to crank up a tube amp and let it sing. nobody really feels like being blasted through the window from that wall of sound. you can imagine my test for the aforementioned Pro Jr wasn't much of a test. i liked it at low volume, but had to take a chance and trust that everyoine was right about its pure, unadulterated el84 tone when driven. even then i was in the same situation as everyone else buying on MF or craig's.

how about guitar pickups? what a gamble that is even. you can't testdrive pickups. you HAVE to go online, there's practically no way around it.

anyway, you see my point. there's little options available today. and it sucks, but we can't do anything about it. so people go through exhausting amounts of research to find the right amp, and they hit up musicians friend, and switch out the tubes, speaker, caps, maybe even re-wire it to be p2p, probably change the transformer.....by now, you have to wonder why they didn't just BUILD their own amp.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:21 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 632
Location: SoCal323
msvolpe wrote:
anyway, you see my point. there's little options available today. and it sucks, but we can't do anything about it. so people go through exhausting amounts of research to find the right amp, and they hit up musicians friend, and switch out the tubes, speaker, caps, maybe even re-wire it to be p2p, probably change the transformer.....by now, you have to wonder why they didn't just BUILD their own amp.


:D Now that is the funnies thing I have heard in quite a while, but very true. Thanks for the response msvolve.

Thank you too M. Brown for your response.

_________________
Its a lifestyle.....

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:43 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:58 pm
Posts: 385
let me add that before i delved into tube amp land, everyone made it look like some kind of utopia, creaming their pants at every reference to tubes. as soon as i converted from solid state to tubes, i quickly learned all the hidden evils of tube technology that those same snobs and audiophiles never tell you when they justify why tube amps are better. this helps illustrate the GT controversy a bit more.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:16 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Canada
Good points. I will add that the internet and forums such as this might have an impact on our desire to "tinker". Without going online and reading all about how tube X, Y or Z is full of magic tones, I don't think it would have even occurred to many people to change out their amp's tubes unless there was a physical problem with them. Years ago, all we had to go on were word of mouth, catalogs, and whatever the local shops happened to have in stock.

I know when I get online and start reading all the forums and reviews, it's easy to start thinking you need to change your tubes, your guitar's bridge, pickups, capacitors, etc...

_________________
PTM's Rolling Stone tribute band:
https://www.facebook.com/TheMainStreetExiles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:23 am 
Offline
Professional Musician
Professional Musician
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
There is no controversy on my end. I rarely use modern tubes. Only for practice or a heavy gig schedule. Even then I use Sovtek LPS (with dampers for combos). Don't wanna burn out my good tubes for no good reason.

Why argue over the bottom feeders, go NOS and never look back.

Compare a Sovtek LPS to a GE 12ax7a LP.
Compare a JJ High Gain to an RFT ecc83.
Compare any modern tube to a Sylvania, RCA, Mullard, Tung Sol (nos), Raytheon, Tesla, Telefunken, etc.

It's not a matter of GT getting a bad rap as much as it is an issue that no modern day plant can feasibly make tubes as good as NOS tubes were made and make any money in a time when all tubes are used for is amplifiers and old CB radios. Television, radio, and military technology basically eventually wiped out the tube making business.

Nowadays, tube manufacturers can make good tubes, but won't make great ones. They can't afford to make 'em great anymore. By the way, I just saw where the Blackburn plant was recently shut down for good. For those who understand the history of tubes, that's a very sad day for Tube amp owners.

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/ne ... istration/

Link courtesy of Thom from the Mesa Boogie Board.

Like I said, no controversy here. Eventually whether you like NOS or modern tubes, it's inevitable that someday SS will rule the amp sector and tubes will be only left to the enthusiasts. The masses and technology rule like we see today with the ipod over vinyl albums. I'm just waiting for the day when I can mic my head and the music will be heard by the pin-head sized microchip implanted in my brain transmitted to the 1/2" speaker in my nostril.

Or better yet, I'll just dance around like an idiot while it's all just wirelessly transmitted through the ether from the guitar and amp that is just a figment of my imagination.

Maybe then I can afford another high end Fender.

_________________
Image
HaleAmano- House Of Sharks (Now On iTunes)
http://www.reverbnation.com/haleamano
http://www.haleamano.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:18 am 
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 8468
No controversy. GT's IMHO just plain suck. You can't really crank an amp in a store for any length of time to get an idea of what's going on. Most tube amps won't exhibit tube problems at low volumes. My GT's lasted 2 months. Two of the preamp tubes went microphonic and a power tube shorted out.

I currently use JJ's , Tung Sols or Jan Phillips in my amps and have for many years. My HRDlx came with them. The amp is now gone.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:23 am 
Offline
Amateur
Amateur
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:23 pm
Posts: 157
msvolpe wrote:
let me add that before i delved into tube amp land, everyone made it look like some kind of utopia, creaming their pants at every reference to tubes. as soon as i converted from solid state to tubes, i quickly learned all the hidden evils of tube technology that those same snobs and audiophiles never tell you when they justify why tube amps are better. this helps illustrate the GT controversy a bit more.



Wow the exact same thing happened to me. I finnally got a tube tester because my tubes were giving me trouble. I found out that after only 6 months of owning my brand new amp, every single preamp tube has gone bad. All Sovteks rebranded as GT's. That just doesnt seem right to me. I pulled the tubes out of my Blues Junior that I bought a few years ago, never played it very hard (only for home practice in my room) and those tubes were trashed. (ironically i still like the sound coming out of it). It just seems silly to me that after 6 months id have to put that much money into tubes in a brand new amp. In a few years from now ill have put more tubes in that amp than it is worth at this rate.

It just seems stupid to me when a tube company like Electro Harmonix will give you an 12ax7 with all sorts of tests for 12 dollars or a supposedly tested groove tube for 20.....which is just a "re tested" sovtek...

_________________
-Fender 92' Telecaster unknown
- 2007 Gretsch 6118T
- Ibanez 02' AF85 Artcore hollowbody, modded
- Epiphone Firebird
- Line 6 Variaxe 300
- Squire strat (refinished)
- 2008 Fender Supersonic
- Fender Blues Junior (original)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:45 am 
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 8468
vjcor wrote:
msvolpe wrote:
let me add that before i delved into tube amp land, everyone made it look like some kind of utopia, creaming their pants at every reference to tubes. as soon as i converted from solid state to tubes, i quickly learned all the hidden evils of tube technology that those same snobs and audiophiles never tell you when they justify why tube amps are better. this helps illustrate the GT controversy a bit more.



Wow the exact same thing happened to me. I finnally got a tube tester because my tubes were giving me trouble. I found out that after only 6 months of owning my brand new amp, every single preamp tube has gone bad. All Sovteks rebranded as GT's. That just doesnt seem right to me. I pulled the tubes out of my Blues Junior that I bought a few years ago, never played it very hard (only for home practice in my room) and those tubes were trashed. (ironically i still like the sound coming out of it). It just seems silly to me that after 6 months id have to put that much money into tubes in a brand new amp. In a few years from now ill have put more tubes in that amp than it is worth at this rate.

It just seems stupid to me when a tube company like Electro Harmonix will give you an 12ax7 with all sorts of tests for 12 dollars or a supposedly tested groove tube for 20.....which is just a "re tested" sovtek...


Bingo!!! Fender owns Groove Tubes. GT's have always been a ripoff. JAN Phillips makes some really nice sounding and reliable tubes. I'm still running a GE and RCA tubes in some of my older amps. Those things are probably 25-30 years old.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:56 am 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 632
Location: SoCal323
So far what I've gathered is not that the tubes tone sucks, but rather that the reliabilty vs cost is at the heart of the dispute/bad rap. I can fully understand how it would be more economical to just purchase the same tubes from a vendor selling the sovtek brand, if that's what they are rebranding, but what about all the other tubes that are "made" by GT? Does anyone have any feedback on those tubes?

"As a bit of side info - Some people think that Groove Tubes "re-brands" other factories tubes. They do sell a number of tubes
from other factories which go through GT's own selection and testing process in some cases but they also have a number of
tubes specific to GT which are of their own design and done on their own tooling - exclusive to GT. Some of these are:

GT-E34LS (the only 30 watt EL-34 tube with additional plate mass and is NOT the same as the JJ E34L. If you look at the JJ and
GT side by side at the plates you will see a physical difference.

GT-KT88SV - also an exclusive tube off GT and Penta tooling out of the JJ factory from a long standing relationship with JJ and
formerly Tesla.

GT-6CA7GE - the reproduction of the General Electric 6CA7 which is an electrical replacement for the EL-34 tube but has a harder
vacuum and an active beam forming element not found in an EL-34.

GT-6L6GE - the reproduction of the General Electric 6L6GE clear top using the original micas and materials. This tube is stock
issue in Fender's custom shop series amplifiers.

GT-KT66HP - a proprietary KT66 which can handle over 525 volts on the plates.

12AX7M - a reproduction of the Mullard 12AX7. "

I took this exerpt from the Myles Rose website guitaramplifierblueprinting. Here is the link if interested: http://www.guitaramplifierblueprinting. ... heets.html


Has anyone, or does anyone use these tubes and if so what are your thoughts?

Thanks again to all who have responded to this thread with their comments and opinions.

_________________
Its a lifestyle.....

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:46 pm 
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 8468
GT is a sorting house. They don't manufacture tubes. They may design or have input in the design, so does Bob at Eurotubes, but they don't manufacture them. They rebrand JJ's, Sovtek etc. The JJ's in my Egnater Rebel are rebrended JJ's. you can clearly see the JJ logo under the GT logo.

There's a lot of lousy tubes out there. GT's are overpriced for what they are. Your choices are buy NOS, do your homework and try to get reliable opinions on tubes or go solid state. Owning a tube amp never used to be this hard. The newer lower end entry level amps which a lot of players especially younger players on this forum use, are not exactly the cream of the crop. Tube amps shouldn't be judged by amps that are poorly designed and manufactured using cheap components and cheaply made PC boards. My 76 Twin and 74 Champ that I currently own plus my Egnater are great examples of well made and designed tube amps that have been trouble free and do not eat tubes like crazy. I've only ever used GT's twice. Once in the 80 and they were unreliable then and with my HRDlx that I got rid of.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:20 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 632
Location: SoCal323
63supro wrote:
GT is a sorting house. They don't manufacture tubes. They may design or have input in the design, so does Bob at Eurotubes, but they don't manufacture them. They rebrand JJ's, Sovtek etc. The JJ's in my Egnater Rebel are rebrended JJ's. you can clearly see the JJ logo under the GT logo.

There's a lot of lousy tubes out there. GT's are overpriced for what they are. Your choices are buy NOS, do your homework and try to get reliable opinions on tubes or go solid state. Owning a tube amp never used to be this hard. The newer lower end entry level amps which a lot of players especially younger players on this forum use, are not exactly the cream of the crop. Tube amps shouldn't be judged by amps that are poorly designed and manufactured using cheap components and cheaply made PC boards. My 76 Twin and 74 Champ that I currently own plus my Egnater are great examples of well made and designed tube amps that have been trouble free and do not eat tubes like crazy. I've only ever used GT's twice. Once in the 80 and they were unreliable then and with my HRDlx that I got rid of.



Thanks for the recommendations, I'm not looking to ever purchase GT's as I do believe thare are far superior tubes out on the market that are just as expensive if not less expensive than GT's. I just wanted to get as many opinions as possible as to why they have such a negative stigma attached to them, that's all. Whether or not they rebrand some of their tubes is not relevant to me but the cost associated with the tubes is, because tone wise, they are pretty good, whoever makes them.... :wink:

_________________
Its a lifestyle.....

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:48 pm 
Offline
Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:54 am
Posts: 500
Location: My hut in the mystic ruins swamp
Ha i actually live in blackburn, i remember that, i went past it on my way home from college and there was a guy outside with a guitar crying into his hands, but at the time i forgot that it was that factory so that makes sense now... :?

Na i have groove tubes in my Deville and my Twin but i wana replace them as soon as i save enough money, but with the sheer amount of tubes in my twin, its quite an expensive venture...

_________________
"Oh, it's a windy and sunny day
And I can hear the faint sound of distant waves
The past weeks have been going by so fast
It's all the same, the bright sky and shining sun
I have a feeling it's gonna be a fun day"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:52 pm 
Offline
Rock Star
Rock Star
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 8468
I have a Twin too. I feel your pain. I think GT's SOUND awful too. My HRDlx's drive channels were useless, they were harsh and felt like an icepick in the forehead. I re tubed it with JJ's Blues Option #1 from Eurotubes and it tamed the drive channels down and made them actually usable. I dumped the HRDlx anyway due to numerous reliability issues. I was getting ready to change the speaker and said forget it, just dump it, it wasn't worth all the expense and effort. Some amps are just tone turds no matter how hard you try. :wink:


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group