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Octal Tubes

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Milspec, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    It seems that with each passing day, we seem to dedicate most of our attention on the older amps, be them Black, Blonde, or Tweed, but it stops there. Since purchasing a '49 Epiphone Century amplifier I have really come to love the natural / hi-fi sound of the older octal tubes which makes me wonder a few things.

    I understand that the biggest reason they were phased out was due to power handling. They just didn't push more than about 10-20 watts and at a time long before good house PA systems, that was not great. Fast forward to now and 10-20 watts run through a good house PA system works out well and is about the same as what would be called a "house playing or small venue amp). It also makes for a good studio volume.

    So, I am wondering if there is another reason that these octal tubes are not desired? I see that there are a few builders out there using octals again which really has me tempted right now.

    So, what am I missing? Why are they not being more widely used? I don't seem to have any problems finding vintage tubes for my amp...except for the one that uses a loctal socket which is not that common anyway. The desire is strong....talk me off the ledge if it is a mistake.
     

  2. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    6V6, 6L6, EL34, haven't phased out octals.
     

  3. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Feb 12, 2011
    Around
    I thought the 6n7 6sj7 6j7 6eu7 twin triode octals
     

  4. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    That is what I am referring to.
     

  5. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    If you're talking about octal pre amp tubes, they have a tendency to easily become microphonic. They are larger with more elongated in parts which theoretically would be cause for more shaking. There are good ones out there, but unfortunately you probably will have to sift through some to find good ones. I've got two amps (new builds) that use octal pre amp tubes (actually all octal tubes).

    Some of the later ones have short plates. This was, as best I can tell, done to address the microphonic tendencies of the longer plates. Or at least to make them more durable.

    From a sonic standpoint, I do think they have something unique about their tone. I can't really describe it effectively, but it sounds more full frequency, rounder and dimensional. I know those are ambiguous, at best, superlatives but I've talked about this with others and we all sort of say the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    uriah1 and Milspec like this.

  6. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    Nebraska
    Your description actually is pretty good, I find them to be more open and complex...maybe more piano-like if that makes any sense? I really like the sound, didn't know about the microphonic issue...that isn't good, but I haven't run into that yet.
     

  7. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    If Tung Sol made a version of the tube you use (older ones, not newer ones) don't hesitate to pick up a few. I have never tried an older Tung Sol tube of any kind that didn't provide superior sonics to other tubes I've tried.
     
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  8. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Holic

    560
    Nov 28, 2010
    Winnipeg
    The "fat Octal" sound has its followers.
    Check out the Octal Special:

    [​IMG]
     
    SSL9000J likes this.

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