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Which Tube Driver Rules?


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10/17/2000 4:48 PM
Matt
Which Tube Driver Rules?
I may have this wrong but this is the info I have: Chandler made both Tube Driver pedals and Tube Driver rack mount units. The Chandler Tube Driver pedals came out in at least 2 versions; one with a wal-wart and one with an internal power supply. Both Chandler pedals had 4-knobs and the rack mount unit had 7.  
 
Tube Works then started making Tube Driver pedals after Chandler discontinued them. Tube Works at first, only made 3-knob Tube Driver pedals. Currently they make both 3-knob (910) and 4-knob (911) Tube Drivers. This doesn't include the Real Tube or Blue Tube pedals, or the Real Tube II or any other rack mount unit.  
 
Can anybody verify any of this?  
 
I own an older Tube Works 3-knob Tube Driver and an older rack mount Chandler Tube Driver (mine doesn't have the words "Tube Driver" printed on the top surface of the unit). These two units sound completely different. For the most part, the Tube Works Tube Driver doesn't sound very good. The mids are kinda scooped and it just doesn't sound good. The Chandler rack mount unit on the other hand sounds great but I've got three of the seven controls either dimed (contour & bias) or OFF (high EQ). But it has a great thick midrange that sounds like OD on the bridge pick-up but almost approaches a fuzz (think lead on The Guess Who's "American Woman") when using the neck pick-up.  
 
Can anybody provide any other comparisons between these units (especially the Chandler pedals vs. the Chandler rack mount units)? Thanks.
 
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10/17/2000 7:24 PM
aron

Matt,  
 
I have the Chandler Tube Driver 3 knob cream version. It sounds blah..... not that good and I thought it was ok.  
 
Then I popped in a magical Mullard.... oh well, it's killer - has tons of everything.  
 
Anyway, the tubes DO make a difference. That cheapo tube that was in there was horrible.  
 
Just FYI
 
10/17/2000 7:30 PM
Matt

I didn't know Chandler made a 3-knob version, I had only seen Tube Works 3-knob versions. So I've already learned something. And I've spent too many hours trying different tubes in mine, you're right. I'm not that crazy about the Sovtek 12AX7WXT+ but for some reason it just sounds good in my Chandler rack mount unit. Go figure.
 
10/17/2000 11:11 PM
aron

Matt.  
 
You are right, mine is a Tube Works version. It's crappy because there's epoxy over everything on the board. rrrrrrrrr!!!!  
 
Cool that you have already experimented with different tubes.  
 
I have the Sovtek LPS tubes but haven't tried them in the Tube Driver.
 
10/18/2000 7:19 AM
Matt

Matt,  
I currently own two 910, 3 knob, tube drivers.  
In one one I have a gt 12at7, and in the other  
a gt 7025. The at7 tube driver is a great clean boost  
and the 7025 tube driver pretty much blows. I  
experimented with many tubes, however the 12at7 seemed  
to my ears to sound the best.  
Fyi,  
Matt  
 
Ps If anyone knows how to get a great scooped mid sound with one of these please drop me a line. Take care. Matt
 
10/18/2000 8:58 AM
aron

The obvious answer is to follow the pedal with a graphic EQ.  
 
Otherwise, if it didn't have all that epoxy on the board, I could probably put in a notch filter or semi-parametric.
 
10/19/2000 3:02 AM
friday
TUBE DRIVER - QUICK OBSERVATIONS
Just a few ramblings about Tube Drivers.  
 
I own 3 different "Tube Drivers" .  
1)Chandler Rack.  
2)911 Tube driver  
3)Black Real Tube.  
Firstly I must say I find that they can produce a remarkably open and natural overdrive in comparison to regular chip/ transister pedals. Drivers really shine when the output is almost fully or totally cranked.  
 
Tubes make all the difference as has been pointed out, my fav is a JAN5791 followed by the Sovtek 12AX7LPS. The Chandler rack came with a Yugoslavian Tube (EI maybe) and it sounds darn good too.  
 
I like the rack because of the extra controls and the fact that the transformer is better isolated from the components(quieter). The Chandler racks go for a song dollarwise compared to the pedal, get them while you can! The rack offers more flexability like the extra boost switch, mid eq, line out and is not covered by "epoxy".  
 
Speaking of which, my two pedals had silicone on them and were easily "revealed" with a bit of careful exacto blade trimming.  
 
The high EQ on all three units are awful, best in the almost off position (the guy who comes up with the mod that solves this problem will be greatly appreciated!)  
 
The bias and contour on the Chandler rack don't do too much ... the contour has a subtle squash thing going on in it's upper ranges.  
 
As for the floor models,  
I've read that it's worth isolating the audio wires from the power wires with copper tape. Both of my pedals are fairly noisy and appear cramped and sloppily assembled inside. The copper tape sounds like a fine idea.  
 
The Real tube has a button switch which I don't care for but has the mid eq which the 911 doesn't have.  
None of the "Drivers" ever clean up enough for my taste, even with a 12AU7 and the gain down.  
 
In a recent testing at a friends studio the 911 wasted a half dozen SS & germanium fuzzes IMHO. If big open natural tone is what you are looking for check out a driver.  
I also agree that putting an EQ after the driver is a great way to go.
 

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