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    New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

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    tmcella

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2015-06-03

    New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by tmcella on Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:18 pm

    New to the forum.....had some questions
    Looking for owners of this amp to help

    Had the TM18 head for about 6 months now. The chinese tubes gave out and I swapped them all out with JJ's first. Got alot of noise from them. Replaced the V1 with a Mesa shielded 12AX7 and it quieted down.
    The JJ's seemed harsher on the drive channel, so I put a JJ 12AT7 in V2 and it calmed down a bit.
    I play mostly blues and classic rock. I have a Squier CV tele (stock), Fender standard strat (Lollar pups, locking tuners, Graphtech nut and saddles) that I play mostly

    Two questions:

    First, looking for ideas for other tubes that others have tried and like. Not totally in love with the JJ's.
    Looking for musical cleans, actually mostly interested in the cleans, as I use pedals mostly for OD.
    Been reading about EXH, TAD, Mullard,etc......
    JJ's seem thin and weak to me
    So looking for better options for all the tubes

    Second, looking for ideas for a second cab. Interested in what owners have used to compliment the Vintage 30 in the 1x12
    Thinking Creamback (Vox cab uses a Creamback)

    I know everything is subject to everyone's own ear, so all this is subjective

    Just wanting to know what other owners have used for a reference point

    Any and all comments will be greatly appreciated


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    bordonbert

    Posts : 767
    Join date : 2015-01-28
    Age : 97
    Location : Southern England

    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:59 pm

    How are you using it? On the full power setting or lower. It will make a big difference as to whether you are driving everything hard at low power to get the volume you want or powering up and dialling back on the gain and volume.

    I do now notice a big difference in tone with the power soak settings. Those Chinese valves are not the weak link that everyone, (including me initially), seems to think they are once you get to know the amp better.

    Haha! Can't imagine what you are doing to shag the valves in 6 months? Shocked

    tmcella

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2015-06-03

    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by tmcella on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:27 pm

    Was using it mostly on 1w at home when I first got it....

    For the last month, switched to 18w and dialed back the gain and volume, sounds better to me this way
    I agree with you, there is a big tone difference with the power soak.
    Almost thought I had made a bad choice on the amp, until I put it back to 18w and dialed everything back

    Had nothing against the chinese tubes, just had one go bad, so replaced them all while I was in there
    Saw on the back of the head that one had gone bad and noticed a change in the sound

    Now it seems I am chasing tone (aren't we all)

    Been doing some reading on the TAD EL84 tubes......sound interesting

    Any thoughts on tube replacements other than JJ's?
    Or a 1x12 cab to match with the H&K 1x12 with the V30?
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    bordonbert

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    Age : 97
    Location : Southern England

    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:13 pm

    I've got to say I took exactly the same path you are.  When I first got my TM36 I had questions about the amp's lack of bottom end and a bit of a sharpish top end, especially as I was using a pair of cheap Harley Benton cabinets with Vintage 30s in.  So I did the same thing as you, started looking for advice on valve replacements.  But everyone seemed to have a different opinion as to what was best and the way people even describe the differences is very subjective.  Every shop[ I went to told me there was a distinct improvement over the originals and guess what, it was alweays the one they stocked that was the best!  The final straw was when I went on to the Watford Valves site and went through their catalogue.  The descriptions of the differences in their valve listings didn't make sense.  I found them describing valves from different manufacturers in the same way and realised that they were struggling to find differences to describe!  So I waited in order to get a better picture to move forward from and, what do you know, the more I used the amp the more I found the problems I thought I had weren't really there when I learned how to get the best from it.

    The amp is what in hifi would be described as "revealing" and "transparent".  This isn't lacking in its own character, its more that it responds beautifully to every other aspect of the tone generation.  What guitar you are pumping through it is important.  I use a Les Paul Trad which sounds solid while my Les Paul Special DC with P90s sounds more chesty and growly than with any other amp I have played, and my cheap Dillion and Epi 335 were all different again.  I learned the importance of using the guitar tone and volume controls.  We all use them of course but, with the TM, it is astonishing how it responds to them.  Speaker choice is another area the amp lets through too.

    I really don't think the valve choice is as important as people say it is.  I'm sure there are subtle differences of course, but I know from many years of experience with other components how little difference there is in real life under playing conditions.  The trouble is that people do hear what they want to hear when changes are made without being able to test them against the original in a rigourous way.  I've never met anyone who could identify any difference between capacitors when comparing in a proper blind listening test!  That's ANYONE!  The legends start and everyone wants them to be true.  You had to change your valves of course as one went belly up, but my advice is don't obsess over what you are hearing and fix it on the valves.  Play it a lot and try out over a longer period all the variations of source and use you can before you really decide to go down the route of spending money on this.  As I'm sure you know, that 12AT7 is a lower gain version of the original 12AX7.  Could you not have got the same smoothing out by just turning down the gain control a tad?  (And make sure those JJs are burned in properly before deciding.)

    I'm sure others will disagree with me as is their absolute right but I still maintain that, under proper playing conditions, it isn't the deal breaker it is made out to be.  Now if you could find someone who would lend you a ready burned in set of something else to try out, your problem would be solved.  Laughing

    tmcella

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2015-06-03

    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by tmcella on Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:25 am

    I really appreciate the honest opinion you offer...

    I think you may be right. I need to give it some time to let the JJ's burn in. Its true , the more time I spend with the amp, the more I love it.


    As far as cabs/speakers you use with your TM?
    I bought the matching 1x12 with the V30. Great sounding but heavy mids.
    Have you experimented with other speakers? Creamback? Greenback? Cannabis Rex? ..... Seem to all be highly regarded in the forums
    I have not had a chance to try any of them

    Do you have any experience with these or any others that would compliment the V30. I thinking more low end and more highs?

    Again, thanks for the solid insight, it is most appreciated
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    bordonbert

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    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by bordonbert on Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:40 am

    Haha! You have said exactly the same thing I did, and still do a little. I think Vintage 30s can perhaps be a little middly and harsh and light at the bottom end, though I want to hear a difference with say Greenbacks before I am sure it isn't something else which I can solve without shelling out my next months mortgage payment. I would dearly love to try out other speakers but I am not one of the lucky ones who can go out and buy one on a whim to just see if it is a match!

    Have a look in the Grandmeister section in the "Choosing A Cabinet" thread, you'll find a lot of hot air wafting around from me about this with Phrasemaker, and a couple of pics to boot. He has a lot more experience with different speakers than I do although it is with his GM not a TM. There are a few other good knowledgeable guys here who will have good advice on the issue too. It seems to be a hot topic in a few threads at the moment.
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    bordonbert

    Posts : 767
    Join date : 2015-01-28
    Age : 97
    Location : Southern England

    Re: New TM 18 head & 1x12 matching cab owner

    Post by bordonbert on Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:17 am

    Just thought I'd update quickly.

    I tried using only one of my 8ohm Vintage30 cabinets the other day and I'm an immediate convert. It may be matching to the amp at 8ohm or it may be those damping factor changes but it sounds much better to my ears with the sound balanced out nicely now. It's so much better that I'm looking for a couple of 16ohm Vin30s to replace my 8ohm ones. The Vintage 30s are really a good economical solution over other much more expensive models.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, I do have a couple of barely used Eminence drivers from a Fender Blues Jnr but these are both 8ohm too so no dice there regarding using them both at 8ohm. I could use them in series at 16ohm or have the whole shooting match as a 4 x 12" setup at 8ohms, but there goes the damping factor again.

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