Want to transform your HT-60 into a BEAST? Here's what I did!!

Discussion - HT Venue amplifiers. Inspiration from Studio to Stage.
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Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:00 am
Location: Tampa Florida, U.S.A.

Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:56 am

Firstly, I'm no newb..I've been playing for 28 years, have owned many amps, and am an ANAL human being, when it comes to tone. I purchased the HT-60 2x12 combo on a whim, after owning Marshall JCM800 2205's, DSL's, TSL's, Boogie Stiletto, Soldano Hot Rod, Peavey 5150, 6505+, XXX (twice), JSX, (twice), Laney GH50L, (twice), GH100L, Laney TT50, Splawn Quick Rod, Line6, and probably forgot about more, than I've listed. I can honestly say, the HT-60 has made me happier than I could have imagined, and after some tweaks, is truly a great little amp..

First thing - PREAMP TUBES! Before getting in depth, this thing sounds it's best with V3 remaining an ECC82!! Anything else offers too much gain, and added mush, and lack of clarity. The stock TAD ECC82 in V3 will do it's job, and will work well, but I've gone to a JJ ECC82.

V1 - The most crucial to your tone - I've tried a JJ ECC803S, JJ ECC83S, Tungsol 12AX7, and Mullard 12AX7. The JJ ECC803S has remained the longest. That tube just has a warm middy tone to it, that I've really have grown to love. Less gain than the Tungsol, and to my ears, warmer than the Tungsol. The Tungsol 12AX7, in fact, is probably the biggest selling, number one go-to preamp tube on the market today. And, for good reason. It's an EXCELLENT sounding tube, and currently, is in V1 of my HT-60 right now, for another trial run. I LOVE the round tone it has, but again, is brighter than the JJ ECC803S. The jury's still out, so they've been playing favorites, and are DEFINITELY the BEST of the best, for V1. The Mullard is bright, & grainy to my ears, and the JJ ECC83S is nice & thick, & warm, BUT, stiff, and lacks any real character as a tone generator..
V2 - Here's where the JJ ECC83S has it's place. It's extremely QUIET, and that warm character it has works well, when used in a gain stage, rather than a primary tone stage. It blends well with the ECC803S, or Tungsol, adding warmth to either. The Tungsol is NOISY in any other slot in my opinion, and the JJ ECC803S is even noisier. This is due to plate structure on those, they tend to be noisy in a gain stage, (V2), rather than a tone stage, (V1). My personal choice in V2 - JJ ECC83S.
V3 - Again, I've not gotten fancy with this one. It's choice of an ECC82 is for a reason - it balances the high-gain nature of the amp, with lower noise & clarity. And, should you deviate from that, you'll find out why - It is a low gain tube, and a higher gain tube will SOUND LIKE SHIT! But, you're welcome to do what you want..

Second - POWER TUBES! The chinese TAD's are a very good, sturdy tube, actually, and probably the same as a SINO/Shuguang EL34B, or Ruby EL34B. An aggressive tube, nice tone, but somewhat bright, to me, notably at high volume, when power amp distortion begins to reign, IMO. Here's what I've tried - JJ E34L, JJ KT77, & Tungsol EL34B. Short & sweet, the Tungsol is THE BEST sounding EL34 I have heard today. It is tone, tone, tone! Nice & balanced - sweet mids, clear bottom, and controlled highs. For that Marshall, British flavor, this tube RULES!! HOWEVER, the JJ KT77 is pissed off city. Mids of the EL34's, and some of the CHUNK of a 6L6. Warm, and fat. I'm a metal guy, so this is the tube for me. It has more THUD than the Tungsol. So, for classic rock/blues, I'd keep the Tungsols. For classic rock, blues, and BRUTAL METAL CHUG? KT77!!!

Lastly, THE SPEAKERS!! For what it's worth, the 70/80 is a pretty damn fine sounding speaker, for the money. But, as we all know, there's better out there. Personally, as a metal guy, who also enjoys 80's thrash, classic rock, & Gary Moore blues, I went the "mix" route, with a Vintage 30 for metal, and a G12H30 "Anniversary" Heritage 30. And I'm tellin' ya, like a kid in a candy store, it's pure magic. My lead tones are sickening, and though the bass has dropped a little, it's clearer, & more defined, only to improve with age, I'm sure, (I bought them new)...

Other goodies!! An EQ in the loop KILLS!! You'll get all the low-end thump you can handle, add a little grind with a slight boost in the low mids, and have more control of your tone. I use a 10-band MXR, and only boost low, & low-mid frequencies. It's the only way to go for me. If I lost my EQ, I'd not play until a new one arrived - that's how much I believe in it. In addition, an overdrive in front of both OD1, & OD2 also yields wonderful results. I like an aggressive tone, and for me, my Wylde OD is MY secret weapon, (next to an EQ)..I can get some of the sweetest clean tones as well, with my Black Label Chorus in the loop. It's insanely good, with my DD3 delay, and some reverb. I can play cleans for hours on end, and that's a first for me. I've always liked a good clean, but never enjoyed them as much as I do right now.

All in all, I'm a happy, happy camper with this amp. Is it a BETTER amp than those I've listed? Maybe some. It's no Soldano, no Stiletto, and no Quick Rod, (my personal faves). But, it's damned close, and a fraction of the money.... It's not REALLY a back-breaker to carry, the speakers I installed are top-notch, and will always deliver, and the tone, to me, is VERY CLOSE to the "tone in my head"! If I had to label it, I'd say a JCM800 2205-type tone, in 2x12 combo form, and more pissed off!! Which, is what I've always wanted!! I'm extremely impressed with this amp!

Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:00 am

Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:16 pm

Very helpful thanks.

It's just hard to put into words or perspective.. your tone preferences. I like to chase a Metallica black album like tone (as a starting point), I mean I like to know that what I have is capable of that, even if the amp isn't dialled in for that. A Mesa Boogie/Marshall hybrid type chug chug, with tight low end and a broad thick sound. So when I make speaker and tube changes in the near future, it will be aiming in that direction. Even though I also want to be able to play funk or blues or classic rock with it, at other times. The HT60 already delivers for me (I love it) but by the sounds of your post it could be alot better!

Do you think these tube preferences you made would fit for me? Or would I be better trying different tubes? Maybe it'd be easier if you could compare how your amp sounds now, to default. Since I can relate more to comparisons to your new sound vs default Stage60 sound. By the sound of it, I think I'd like the JJ KT77 for power tubes, I like the sound of 6l6 bottom end, but unsure of preamp tubes. The default tubes sound ok to me, but maybe I don't know what I am missing. Maybe standing next to your amp, I'd wet myself.

I was thinking of a V30 and Greenback hybrid (or warehouse variations of these), but really unsure of tubes. Have no experience changing them, so reading thoughts like yours helps alot. Thanks for your help.

BTW have also had nice experiences with EQ in the loop and OD for boost.

Posts: 770
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Oman

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:16 pm

Hey man, those are awesome tips.

I'm also waiting for new Veteran 30 speakers from WGS, i believe those will make the biggest difference in tone.

I have a JJ ECC83s in V1 and V2 and JJ ECC82 in V3. JJ EL34B in the power section biased at 52.5 mV.

I find my tone good, but not great yet.

Will try JJ ECC803S in V1. I have Tungsol 12AX7 but didn't like them. Maybe i will give it another shot.

Didn't know that you can put KT77 in there Image


Thanks for the tips. Image

Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:00 am
Location: ohio

Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:11 am

Sweet, how about a youtube demo

Posts: 770
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Oman

Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:15 am

Hey Stage 60, two questions for you since you seem to be an expert :P

How do you use your 10 band eq?

And to what extent you do boost or cut the freq's.


Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:00 am
Location: Jacksonville, FL USA

Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:10 am

Jono82 wrote:I like to chase a Metallica black album like tone (as a starting point)
I have got a good "Black Album" tone while using Tung-sol 12AX7's and two WGS Veteran 30 speakers.

Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:00 am

Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:50 pm

Hey stage60, your setup sounds a lot like mine; I use the BLS chorus in the loop along with a DD7, and the ZW OD. I just recently got an MXR GT OD as well, so I'm kinda toying with it comparing it to the ZW44. First impressions are that they're very much alike, but the ZW is warmer and the GT OD has more mid-range punch. However, the ZW44, DD7, and BLS chorus are like my "holy trinity", they sound fantastic together. I also run an MXR 6-band EQ in the loop to sculpt my sound (slightly scooped), and a 10-band right next to it that I use as a boost since it has the volume and gain sliders. Works like a charm. I usually like to turn the gain all the way down on the ZW44 and crank the volume, with the gain on OD2 dimed out, it sounds awesome. If I want some really saturated metal tones though, I usually turn the gain down on OD2 (about 9 or 10 o'clock) and crank the gain on the ZW44. They make a great combo. I just got my set of JJ's (2 ECC83's and 1 ECC82) so I'm going to put them in maybe today and see how they sound.

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