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When Should I Replace My Valves?!

ValveWe have often been asked by our customers when is the best time to change the valves in my amp?

The best way to answer this is to first look at the different types of valves.

Category 1. Pre-amp and Pre-Drive Valves.

These are the smaller valves in a guitar and or Hi-Fi amp, and are normally very reliable, the only time that they normally require replacement is when they become noisy or unstable. Therefore… If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.

Category 2. Output Valves.

Output valves tend to work hard, and over a reasonable amount of time they tend to wear out, they need to be changed at regular intervals otherwise if they should fail they can cause damage.

Just like a bald tyre affects the performance of a car, worn output valves will sound “flat” and lack the punch that they should have, and again, just like a tyre that is wearing out you dont notice the detrimental effect they have, as they wear / deterioration happens gradually.

We have seen numerous amps with worn out output valves, and once the output valves are replaced they give the new amp a completely new lease of life, to the delight of the owner.

If you are gigging on a regular basis (4-5 nights a week) and rely on your valve amplifier, then we would recommend replacing your output valves every 12 – 18 months depending on how loud you use the amp, and how long it is used. If you have noticed your amplifier does not sound “as good as it should” and sounds flat, it is again more than likely time to change your output valves.

When valves do need replacing it is very important to have the bias of the valves checked by a technician, otherwise your valves will not last long and could cause other faults that could damage the amplifier, I.e power supply failure, or worst case scenario, output transformer damage.

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