Yeah… So I opened up the 30th, took one look and bailed out pretty quickly. No way was I going to get too involved inside this amplifier. I’ve serviced it before but not changed valves and as I’ve said before get a pro to do it if you’re unsure!!! So I did…
So, I’m fitting out with original Svetlana Winged ‘C’ 6L6’s for the power stage and JJ-Tesla ECC83S for the pre-amp. The 30th takes 11 valves so it’s never going to be a cheap or easy exercise. In the research I’ve read over at Watford Valves both these choices are top of the pile. The JJ’s appear to be the best of the current production valves available today. The only other way you might be able to top these are to source some New Old Stock or original Mullard’s, if you do find some expect to pay top money! I’ve seen some part used singles going toward the £80 area!! However back to the real world, it’s said JJ’s will tame the treble in Marshall and Fender amps, they are very warm and rich, I was impressed with them when I installed them into my Blackstar and an added bonus is the construction is rugged, just what’s required for life on the road.
[info]Might wanna read the first part of this here[/info]
The Svetlana’s came out in the tests as the best all round power valve suiting a variety of playing styles and being in a covers band playing a varied set, they prove to be a great match for the job.The Sound characteristics are full, deep bass, rich mid’s with smooth treble, they also have a great clean sound and a nice ‘chime’. Perfect if your trying to tame a harsh or bright sounding amp.
I took the new valves and the amp over to the guy’s at Essex Amp Repairs, not only do they fit them, they’ll also bias and balance them. While they had the amp on the bench I got them to give it an overdue service. I returned a week later to collect the amp and had a really good chat with the tech’s there, they both commented on how great my 30th now sounded and seemed quite surprised. They continued to explain that the old valves were really past their best and I should notice a big difference. With this in mind and my curiosity piqued I decided to take it out that evening to the gig at The White Horse in Sudbury for a test run.
After setting up, I switched on, tuned my PRS then flicked the standby on. I can honestly say I was totally unprepared for the massive sound that blasted forth!!! My jaw dropped as I took a step back in surprise. I’ve always used the amp in the half power 50 watt range, it sounds better and I’m able to push the amp harder for a warmer fuller tone. Also I don’t know of any venue where I’d need a full 100 watt from this amp, it would simply make peoples ears bleed! So I set the amp down further to the 25 watt setting and still the volume had seriously increased and so had the bass, I could feel the whole pub reverberating around me – I’ve never had that with this head previously. After some quick EQ adjustments, like reducing the massive amount of bass I was up and running with a superb, brilliant, fat, warm and tight sound that I’ve not heard from this amp before. And I thought it sounded pretty damn good already!
The time spent researching was well worth it, I now have an amp that sounds better than ever. I can’t recommend this valve combo enough and everything they say about the original Svetlana’s is true, it’s easy to see why Marshall used these in all their amps. The EL34’s are just the same where I had equally great results in the Blackstar.
Yes, these valves aren’t cheap but I’m a firm believer in you pay for what you get and this set of valves are worth every penny! You won’t go wrong…