A word about Integrated quads and a rebuttal for Roger Crimm
An article written by Bob Pletka in 2005A few of my customers have brought it to my attention that Roger Crimm from Peavey has written an article about Integrated quads. He has not named Eurotubes as the supplier for this particular set of tubes but he STRONGLY insinuates it and states many things that are false. You can read his article at the bottom of this page. Roger also accuses "this" tube vendor of selling sub par tubes that are not matched and of poor quality.(I would also like the thank Roger Crimm for his endorsement of Eurotubes! Roger states on his personal website on his tech page, and I quote " Eurotubes - Don't buy tubes from this guy". Anyway, Thanks Roger! It goes to your integrity, and plenty of my customers have acknowledged this!)First I would like to go over a little history. I participated on the PV forum for a couple of years up until August of 2001 which I enjoyed very much. The PV forum was open and no topic was off limits. The players who were regulars there were outstanding people and definitely some of the nicest folks I've meet.It was during this time that I started tubing lots of 5150 and Ultra amps which I found to be biased VERY cold and in July of 1999 I first experienced a 5150 that was actually biased correctly. To me the difference was amazing, taking a cold sounding amp which is known world wide as having a horrible clean channel and a real lack of dynamic response and turning it into an amp worth playing.I started spreading the news about this on the PV forum at which time I was contacted by Roger Crimm asking me to stop because he was fielding too many questions about bias and why PV had biased their 5150's incorrectly. My question was the same as everyone else's, why?? Of course the answer was that I was incorrect and they were correct but the ears of all the 5150 players who were modding their amps and experiencing the difference was undeniable. There were also lots of players of all models of PV amps who were finding out that the JJ Electronic tubes sounded better to them than the chinese and sovtek tubes PV uses.I find it VERY amusing that PV responded to the 5150 bias question for several years by saying it was absolutely not necessary for the best tone and dynamic response and then decided to make the 5150 II an adjustable bias amp as is the Triple X... This may seem very arrogant but I think I may have had an influence. In the fall of 2000 I decided to mod a 5150 to be able to run more than one type of power tube with a separate bias control for the inside tubes and the outside tubes. I had volunteered to host the first Northwest PV gathering and I wanted to have something different to play and for others to play. The 5150ex was born and after trying several tube combination my favorite was running two JJ KT88's in the outside two sockets and two JJ E34L's in the inside two sockets. It turned out to be a monster! All of the players who played the 5150ex at the PV bash loved it and were very surprised at the tone and the response. Pic's were posted on the PV forum and players posted their praise for it. Roger posted that this could not be done, would not work and would cause the amp to blow up in very short order...Well it's been four years now and the 5150ex gets about 8 hours of hard use every week. It still has the original KT88's and E34L's in it and they have not drifted more than one milliamp. The amp simply screams. It has absolutely no other mods to any internal components other than the split bias mod and the addition of the twin bias meters. There are now four 5150ex amps out in the world and all are in excellent health! There are approximately fifty 5150 amps out there belonging to my customers that have had simple bias mods done and are using Integrated quads and the players love them. On top of these there are another 200 plus amps including Triple X's, Mesa's, Carvins and Marshalls using the Integrated quads. We all know that the internet makes the world a VERY small place and if the Integrated quads did not sound good or were causing problems it would be all over the net in very short order so I find it amusing that Roger seems to be the only source for the old "It can't be done"... Even Myles Rose from groove tubes posted on harmony central several times about the amazing sounds that the Integrated quads provided and the matching was to "medical standards".Now I usually wait until the end of a page to quote my most favorite saying of all time but I think it's appropriate to do this right now so here it is! "Man who says it can not be done should not interrupt man who is doing it." Well, everyone has opinions on tone which in short makes the world go round, it would be a very boring place if we all liked exactly the same thing, but if it's one thing I have it's respect for everyone's opinion about tone and tubes, there is no right and wrong. I even have a couple customers who request tubes that are way out of match because they like the sound of them, I don't like the sound of out of matched tubes but they do and that is more important.In August of 2001 Roger sent out an email to quite a few of the long time regulars which did not set well with them as it was basically telling them that the tubes they liked were "not all that". Rogers email was posted on the forum and one the internet so now that the gloves are off and Roger has seen fit to attack my business and my creditability here it is. Rogers email"I am going to ask you and a few others to cooperate with me. The guitar amp forum is turning into an ad for JJ tubes, which we don't use anymore for VERY good reasons which I will not discuss here. I have word from higher up, to tone it down or get it off the forum.I know you guys like those tubes, and Bob is a nice guy and you guys are friends, but give me a break. The same few people are posting every other post about how great JJ tubes are, and what a great guy Bob is. I like Bob too, but enough is enough. I have used plenty of JJs and they ain't all that! Let's be real here.If you like them, fine. If you want to use them and recommend them (and Eurotubes) that is fine. But do it somewhere else (why doesn't Bob get a forum?), or at least tone it down. I would really appreciate it. Starting next week I will have to be a little more strict about what gets posted. Thanks for your support,Thank YouRoger CrimmRegional Service Mngr.Peavey Electronics"After this happened a lot of the long time regulars were very angry and threatened to leave the forum. I felt responsible for stirring the proverbial dodo so I made a farewell post to lots of good friends and ceased being involved on the PV forum.Anyway, I will go over the points from Rogers article one at a time.#1. "Sorry, but this has to be one of the wackiest ideas I have ever seen". Well I'm sure that this has been said about millions of innovations and inventions. A closed mind will get you know where.... Oh, I forgot to bring up the fact that all of the Mesa Boogie Simuclass amps which are designed to run EL34 and 6L6's together and are coveted for their tone are just "whacky" aren't they?? #2. Plate current is not the only thing that matters and well made and burned in tubes will not drift more than a couple milliamps over time.#3. "Sounds like a good way to move some tubes which you otherwise couldn't sell to me". Hmm.. A real insult? Slander? Maybe jealousy??#4. "Using an "Integrated Quad", you start out with two sets of tubes, which are already at the extremes of their designed specs." False, #1 JJ Electronic has strict guidelines for what is acceptable and in spec for plate current and transconductance and the tubes I use in the Integrated quads while not exactly in the middle of their design specs are WELL within tolerance and actually not on the extreme ends. By making this statement Roger is basically telling you that when you purchase tubes from groove tubes that are #1's or #10's that these tubes are also of poor quality. If I believed what Roger says then I guess that I should throw out several of my NOS quads of Mullard EL34's that draw less current than the E34L's I use in the Integrated quads and those RCA and Philips 6L6's I have that are hotter than the JJ 6L6GC's I use in the Integrated quads are also junk.... Hmm...#5. "This is especially silly if you have an amp which gets most of it's tone from the preamp anyway." Once again, HELLO, Roger, are you even taking the time to listen to the difference that power tubes make? Your statement tells me otherwise, or maybe a tin ear??In closing I cannot state that Roger is talking about a set of tubes that came from me that caused a problem in a particular amp but since I am the only tube guy I know of that is doing Integrated quads I do take everything that Roger says as a direct hit to me.So there you go! Just remember that roger says it can't be done, it's wacky, it's stupid, the sonic benefits are dubious, it's foolishness, and most of all remember that Roger is the guy who "told ya so."So once again I would like to close with my most favorite Confucius quote of all time. "Man who says it can not be done should not interrupt man who is doing it." I invite you to search thru over three hundred of the reviews on my customer review page and do a search for Integrated quads, you will find quite a few. Here are a couple I just received from my customers..boBHere is what Steven Frank thought about the Integrated sextet in his Triple Rec along with a few other reviews on Integrated Quads.----- Original Message ----- From: "Steven Frank" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "Eurotubes" <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 6:00 PM Subject: Re: Tubes!once i got those tubes, i played from 10pm til about 3am straight. The sustain, the enhanced pick dynamics, the flexibility of all three channels, the actual now usability of chan 1, the killer gain.... I cant thank you enough for making this all possible. My amp is like a screaming hell beast now. The simplicity of the install was entirely more than worthy of the new amazing tones i can get out of my Triple Rec. It turned from a cold crap sovtek doorstop to creamy 'satriani meets satan' beast. I love the enhanced sustain, the amazing new responsiveness when i switch channels, the high high high gain, the chime of the JJ's, and the warmth added to every aspect of the amp. I dropped these tubes in an WHAMO! i didnt even have to touch a setting, and my amp sounded like something that i dream of in my mind. The sonic possibilities are now endless rather than restrained for this amp. I am a sold out lifetime customer. Thanks Bob!----- Original Message ----- From: matto To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 12:47 PM Subject: integrated quads Bob, i've had my triple XXX head set up with your integrated quad set since april 2004.I took them out and put the original sovtek 6L6's just to remind myself how it sounded with them in. I can't tell in words how much better it sounds with your integrated quads!!! I haven't had any trouble of any kind.Thanks,matt.----- Original Message ----- From: "Pierre Veronneau" <email@example.com> To: "Eurotubes" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 6:14 PM Subject: RE: Dual Rectifier Mesa Boogie I just read the article from Roger at Peavey.As you know, I used your integrated quad in my Peavey XXX combo 2X12 and used two ECC832 to tame the gain.The original EL34s from Peavey were fine but the gain on the amp was useless after 5. The reverb sounded very good but the clean channel would break up too fast. Replacing the EL34s by 6L6s increased the headroom but the clean channel sounded dry and lifeless.After installing the integrated quad and replacing the preamp tubes including 2 ECC832, the amp had a better clean sound, a bit more headroom, but still had enough of that rich EL34 sound left to make me happy. The ECC832 allowed us to control a smoother gain curve and made the gain knob actually usable from 1 to 10. This decreased the preamp noise a bit too, noticeable in the living room, but not really on stage.This XXX combo was a very good amp, out of the factory, but for the little extra money involved, your tubes made it into an excellent performer with a bit more tonal variety.The retubed amp performed flawlessly for nearly a year before we sold it.I always appreciate your instructions and recommendations. You always provided us with appropriate information an never pressured us into buying anything from you.Keep up the good work,A satisfied repeat customer,Pierre VeronneauHere is a copy of Rogers Article:Integrated Quad ( an article by Roger Crimm )Sorry, but this has to be one of the wackiest ideas I have ever seen. I know there are a lot of guys who are doing this, and there is at least one tube supplier who seems to think this is a good idea. I tried to stay silent on this one, after all it's your money. The theory here is that they pick a set of EL 34 and a set of 6L6, which draw the same exact amount of natural plate current. The danger here is in the assumption that plate current is the only spec that matters, and that the tubes will not drift from these specs as they age.Sounds like a good way to move some tubes which you otherwise couldn't sell to me.Using an "Integrated Quad", you start out with two sets of tubes, which are already at the extremes of their designed specs. That is my primary objection to this idea. I consider the sonic benefits dubious, considering the potential problems you may run into. Once these tubes are subjected to wear and tear anything can happen. I prefer tubes falling into the middle range of spec for that particular tube. That way, you are still ok as they age and slide one way or another.Every engineer (Including the guys around here who design the stuff), and every master level tech that I have approached with this idea either thought it was the stupidest idea they had ever heard of (a quote), or simply just laughed out loud. This is especially silly if you have an amp which gets most of it's tone from the preamp anyway. I have had a few guys come through here recently who fell for this particular sales pitch. Everything is ok at first, then you run into problems when the tubes drift away from spec. I was recently involved with servicing a Peavey Triple XXX, which had suffered from this particular bit of foolishness. The complaint was noise, low gain/output, and overall crappy sound. The owner had put an integrated quad in a few months back. All was well for a month or so, but then the amp just lost it.He brings it in, and sure enough, the only thing wrong with the amp was the tubes. The bias measured WAY off, and couldn't be brought to spec with the tubes that were in there. The two EL 34s I pulled out of that amp have to rank among the worst set of tubes I have ever seen that would still actually function. They aren't even close to a current match, they rattle worse than any EL 84 I have ever heard, and are microphonic as all get out. Compounding the problem, the preamp tubes he had in there were no better. They were low in gain and the amp sounded muffled and flat even after we cured the other stuff.Replaced the crappy tubes, and the amp came back to life. Guy left with a big smile on his face, and promised me he wouldn't make that mistake again. He got lucky this time, no other damage done (other than to his pocket book).Yes, I know some of you are doing this with no problems. You are pushing your luck I say, and remember who told ya so."Roger CrimmA 2014 update:So yes, while Roger along with all of his “engineer” friends laughed and called all of us stupid and idiots for mixing different pairs of tubes, it has been a pleasure to get so many positive comments from those of you who have experienced the expanded tonal palette of Integrated Quads. Your kind words about the tubes and this page are very much appreciated!I do find it odd though that over all these years there have been no amp failures and the number of our returning customers using Integrated Quads just seems to mysteriously keep growing. Thanks Roger!.boBPS; my 5150ex which has been running Integrated Quads since 1999 is still going strong. A pair of JJ KT88’s and a pair of JJ KT77 reside in it now. It still has the stock tranny’s and screen grid resistors. A nice amp (thanks PV) and a real dragon slayer with these tubes, we just shook the studio with it a few minutes ago!