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MartyG

Replacing the tube in Leslie 3300

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I have just ordered at Leslie 3300 and have read about replacing the stock tube with a NOS version to get a beefier bass and mid.

There are so many out there that I need a recommendation.

(12AT7 or 12AX7? ) (Tungsol, GE, etc.)

 

Anyone?

 

thanks,

 

-marty

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Marty,

I recommend a NOS Tung Sol 12AT7. There are new tubes branded as Tung Sol, but I've tried them and don't care for them. Tung Sol tubes were used in the original Leslies. The 12AT7 has less gain than a 12AX7 and works in the 3300 circuit better, in my opinion. With the 12AX7, there's not much room as you turn up the tube gain before it gets into really nasty, almost fuzz-box territory. With the 12AT7, on the other hand, you can dial in some very nice "grunge", like a 122 overdrive, without getting over-the-top distortion.

If you can't find a NOS Tung Sol, a NOS RCA would also be a good choice. I've tried NOS Philips as well and they are ok, but the bass isn't quite as good. For new tubes, the Electro Harmonix 12AT7's are hard to beat.

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Thanks, Jim.

That's exactly what I was looking for. Any recommendations where to purchase?

-marty

Edited by MartyG

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I obtained a pair of NOS Tungsol 12 AT7s and swapped one out on the Leslie 3300. I could hear little to no difference in my studio setting, maybe different on stage?

I think this tube replacement deal is a self-serving rumor started by the tube sellers, or it's the emperor's clothes. :)

I heard no volume difference, nor low/mid boost from swapping the X7 to the T7. Maybe it's just me, old and deaf

Also, Dave at Goff professional told me he tried the same and went back to the stock.

Guitar players change out tubes for disortion purposes, it seems.

-m

Edited by MartyG

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Set both tube drive and tube mode knobs on the 3300 to the 12 o'clock position, put your XK3's master volume at just above 12 o'clock, put the (expression) pedal to the metal (er... wood), and then try both tubes. I think you'll agree that the 12AT7 is not as nasty sounding. It is a lower gain tube, which means there are more degrees of growl and grunge without doing into nasty distortion than a 12AX7. To say it doesn't change the tone is perplexing. I have a lot of different tubes and tried at least a dozen in the 3300 and each sounded different.

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I think that it might be the settings you mentioned, Jim.

I will give it a shot.

Thanks,

-m

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Well, things have gone from OK to worse.

When I pulled the tube out, the retaining clamp fell onto the circuit board and caused a spark, even with the Leslie unplugged. Some damage has occured.

Strangely enough, everything still works pefectly, EXCEPT for the tube, which no longer glows.

I contacted the dealer, Goff Professional, and told them the story. I am waiting a reply.

Damn!!! If it ain't broke don't fix it!

-m

Edited by MartyG

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Sorry to hear that. The retaining ring should be removed completely when swapping tubes.

Is the tube circuit still working? They use little orange LEDs to simulate a tube glow, since they are running the tube as a "starved plate" (ie, not a full 300vdc plate voltage) and it won't glow on it's own like tubes in older Leslie. The LEDs are just for show and don't affect the sound. It's possible one of them is out, but the tube still works. If you fiddle with the tube drive and mode knobs, does it affect the sound?

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Jim,

I do notice a difference in volume when I turn the drive level and tube mode pots, but not as big a difference in tone. The tube never glows. It might just be the LED, which wouldn't affect the functionality of the speaker.

Thoughts?

-m

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If you crank both tube knobs, it should get pretty dirty. If so, then I think just the LED got burned out. The tube doesn't glow on it's own, again because it's a starved plate design.

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remember to "lace" from left to right. :rolleyes:

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Jim, it did not get very dirty, only volume increase. There must be more than the LED out.

I can get dirty with the XK tube.

Got another comment from a knowledgeable Hammond friend that said I should not swap a tube that was designed specifically for the distortion circuit.

Damn!

-m

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Went to Goff today and got my 3300 back. It was only the LED that shorted out in the tube change process.

It sounds better and Goff didn't charge me anything.

-m

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Cool. That's good news.

I've had no issues trying different tubes in the 3300. Sorry that it didn't work out for you.

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Jim,

Goff recommended that I keep the original tube in.

Also, the LED that was replaced is bigger, re,d and less brilliant glow than the original, not that it is important in the slightest.

The problem was strictly caused by me. All's well that ends well. Thanks for your support, Jim.

-m

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Hi there.

I`ve got a Leslie 3300, & like Jim i`m not happy with how little room there is,as you turn up the tube gain, before it gets into really nasty, almost fuzz-box territory.

After reading Jims recommendation of using a NOS 12AT7 tube,i`ve ordered a NOS 12AT7 ECC81 CV4024 M8162 Mullard Tube.(I live in England & there isnt a lot of choice tubes wise!!).This tube is supposed to be a really good one,& wasnt cheap!!!!.

However,after lots of research,i`m concerned about causing possible damage to my beloved Leslie 3300,by changing the tube.

Some people say the 12AT7 is interchangeable with the stock 12AX7,others say its not. There is also mention of voltage & temperature changes etc.

I havent got a clue,basically!!!

I was just wondering if Jim or anyone else could give me some advice.

I really dont wanna damage my Leslie!!!!

Many thanks.

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I've been using a 12AT7 in my 3300 basically since I bought it in the spring of 2008 and haven't had any issues. As far as damaging the Leslie from changing the tube, just make sure you take your time and put the tube in the right way. And it goes without saying that the Leslie should be off and unplugged. :)

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I've been using a 12AT7 in my 3300 basically since I bought it in the spring of 2008 and haven't had any issues. As far as damaging the Leslie from changing the tube, just make sure you take your time and put the tube in the right way. And it goes without saying that the Leslie should be off and unplugged. :)

I purchased a Leslie 3300 (at the last minute before receiving my XK3C Pro system). I changed the Tube as Jim has suggested (12AX to 12AT) and am pleased with the results, much better control over the distortion than the stock tube in my opinion. I am going to experiment with some of Jim's other suggestions..specifcally adjusting the experession pedal settings for a fuller range of control this weekend.

All of that being said the XK3C Leslie 3300 is a killer combination in my view and I am glad the sales guy talked me into the 3300. Easily transportable, (I carefully lay my Leslie on its side), authentic Hammond sound..(in my opinion there is no "one" authentic Hammond sound as various Leslies and B3s etc all sounded a little different and various players coax very different sounds from apparently the same rig)...and where I play...most of the audience assumes its a B3...(possibly they are in no condition to discern XK3C on the organ). I have previously owned an M3/Leslie 145 combo, Roland VK8 and test drove a Nord by renting it for a month. Would not go back to any.

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Bob, that's great news! I'm glad you're happy with the 3300. I think it's possibly the most versatile Leslie they've made.

Yesterday I experimented with running VB3 on my laptop (a really great sounding B3 simulator software) and controlling it via MIDI from the XK System. I had the output going into the 1/4" input of the 3300. I could easily compare the sound of VB3 to the XK3. The general consensus is that VB3 is the most authentic sounding B3 simulator on the market. But here are my thoughts, which I originally posted on the Keyboard Forum.

As I mentioned in this thread, I need to use VB3 for some gigs / rehearsals in Florida in the next few weeks with Janiva Magness. I've used VB3 once before on a gig with that band but it was with a really crappy synth (Yamaha W7 iirc) and I had to play it through a tiny guitar amp. Needless to say, the experience wasn't fun.

I wanted to test my rig and make sure it was stable, with no clicks or pops and no crashes, so I took my laptop, my Steinberg C1 interface, and the necessary cables to my gig tonight in Grand Rapids. It was a low-key gig; a jam session really. We (organissimo) play the first set and then people sit in. Easy.

I had my normal organ trio rig with me as well; the Hammond XK System (with the XK3) and full pedals along with the Leslie 3300 and a powered subwoofer. Lots of headroom, full and loud, it's a really fun rig. I connected my laptop's MIDI interface to the MIDI out of the XK3, loaded up Cantible Lite with VB3 running, got everything talking fairly quickly, and connected the 1/4" left output of the C1 interface to the 1/4" of the Leslie. I also had the 11pin connecting the XK3 to the Leslie so I could easily compare the two sound engines. All I had to do was turn down the C1 and turn up the XK3 to hear my normal rig, and likewise turn down the XK3 and turn up the C1 to hear VB3.

Well, first and foremost, VB3 ran like a champ. I had the Steinberg latency set at 96 samples. I tried 64 but there were pops and clicks. 96 worked great. The latency was around 9ms, not so bad. The XK3 was definitely faster. The bass pedals worked great, the lower manual worked fine, and I also had that free MIDI mapper so the drawbars controlled VB3 as well.

I played the first half of our first set using VB3. The only drag was that it wouldn't correctly respond to the XK3's chorus/vibrato on/off switch, nor and of the percussion switches. Not sure why that was. I tried the MIDI learn function. No dice.

Any way, here are my impressions:

VB3 has much less bottom end that the Hammond. I had to crank the sub way up to get the same amount of low-end punch from VB3 as I get from the XK3.

VB3 has better sounding percussion and key-click.

The chorus/vibrato? I preferred the XK3. It was deeper, added more shimmer, and sounded better with the 3300.

In terms of playing live? I have to say, I liked the XK3 better. It was more direct, cut through the cymbals better, and the bass was much fuller. I know it sounds crazy and I wasn't expecting it, but that's my honest opinion. VB3 sounds great and is overall more authentic in that it sounds vintage, but the XK3 just cuts. VB3 sounds rather tame in comparison.

I'd sum it up this way: VB3 sounds like my old 1954 Hammond C2 with the original tubes. Mellow and warm and a little worn around the edges. The XK3 sounds like my 1974 Hammond B3; bright, muscular, and snappy. Both are perfectly valid, just different flavors.

What surprised me the most was how close they sounded in general. The differences I'm talking about are pretty minute. I was expecting a much more obvious difference between the two. Maybe the 3300 is the great equalizer. I should try putting the XK3 through the VB3's Leslie sim and compare them that way.

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