Rattling tubes

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Orphin
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Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Fri 04/19/13 4:06 pm

I have an annoying problem. I can't get rid of the acoustic rattling of the larger tubes.
At first I suspected the rectifier tube. I swapped it for two different ones (Ediswan, Mullard and now JJ), but it still rattles.
So now I swapped my Siemens output tubes for a pair of Tungsram. It seemed like the Siemens were singing on its last verse 'cause I got a lot better bass response out of the Tungrams. But the rattling is still there!! :evil:
Actually it's even worse as the bass increased.

Any ideas?
Do you guys have the some problem?
Maybe it's just inevitable and something I just have to live with?
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby CurtissRobin » Fri 04/19/13 6:58 pm

It's definitely not something you have to live with.

Is the rattling coming through the speaker or is it only at the amp chassis? If it's in the speaker have you tried other speakers to rule that out? Speaker cabinets used to be notorious for rattling but market forces killed off the worst offenders. Sometimes it's good to have isolation between a head and a speaker cab. I once had a head that was so sensitive and unfixable that I put it on a folded rug on a chair to keep it from driving me nuts. (That was before I learned troubleshooting.)

Have you narrowed it down to a tube or might it be some other part? Are the tube socket contacts clean? Caps have been known to be microphonic, resistors that have been mechanically stressed sometimes exhibit evil traits and sockets aren't immune to affecting the tubes that are plugged into them.

I'd get out the old [non-conductive] chopstick and the schematic & layout diagrams. With the amp on and the usual safety precautions in mind, tap each component while listening to the speaker. Start at the input and working your way part by part to the output. Tap with the tip of the chopstick as if trying to spear the part. This should identify the culprit(s).

HTH
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Sat 04/20/13 5:44 am

The rattling is acoustic, it doesn't go through the speaker, and it's definitely has nothing to do with the speaker as it doesn't rattle when I'm trying the amp from the workbench.
The sockets are clean. I always clean the sockets when changing tubes.

The sound of the rattling is a sound that you wouldn't think it's caused by faulty components. It's an obvious sound of small rattling metal pieces inside the tubes. If I remove the tubes and tap them gently I can hear something loose, probably the grid spiral. But what tube doesn't have loose parts? They all do right? Some just more loose than others.

But what makes it weird is that I've tried different pairs and they all rattle. Am I just that unlucky?
(Rattling noise only happens when I play low notes of course)
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby JMPGuitars » Sat 04/20/13 6:35 am

This may be a dumb question, but does it get worse at higher volume? Do you have any guitars, especially acoustics on display? ...........if so, try muting the strings of anything on display before testing. :)
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Sat 04/20/13 8:03 am

No, it's quite simple. As long as the volume get loud enough to start the rattling it doesn't get any louder. If I play the amp loud enough the guitar will overpower the rattling. Think of it as placing a tambourine in front of the amp. Muting strings, playing technique of choice of guitar doesn't have anything to do with it. It's all about vibrations causing the tubes to rattle.
I don't have the same problem with my Deluxe Reverb, but I figure that the 6V6 tubes might just have a sturdier construction..?

As long as I play with the band I don't even hear this rattle tbh, but still, it's there, it's annoying and I'd like to find a remedy if there is one.
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby JMPGuitars » Sat 04/20/13 11:01 pm

Orphin wrote:No, it's quite simple. As long as the volume get loud enough to start the rattling it doesn't get any louder. If I play the amp loud enough the guitar will overpower the rattling. Think of it as placing a tambourine in front of the amp. Muting strings, playing technique of choice of guitar doesn't have anything to do with it. It's all about vibrations causing the tubes to rattle.
I don't have the same problem with my Deluxe Reverb, but I figure that the 6V6 tubes might just have a sturdier construction..?

As long as I play with the band I don't even hear this rattle tbh, but still, it's there, it's annoying and I'd like to find a remedy if there is one.
No, I wasn't referring to the guitar you're playing. I have guitars on the wall, and the acoustic guitar's strings vibrate when I turn my amp up, or play lower notes sometimes, which sounds a lot like rattling...but it's just the guitars on the wall, not the amp. Scared me the first time. :)
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby CurtissRobin » Sun 04/21/13 12:53 am

Rattling due to resonance is really common and finding the source, like finding a cricket, can be maddening. Good luck!

OT, resonance can also be inspiring. To wit, the Beatles' I Feel Fine opens with a single note held that causes another guitar to resonate. In the studio, when they heard that, rather than move, mute or turn down that guitar to get rid of the noise they made it a part of the song.

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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Sun 04/21/13 4:15 am

JMPGuitars wrote:
Orphin wrote:No, it's quite simple. As long as the volume get loud enough to start the rattling it doesn't get any louder. If I play the amp loud enough the guitar will overpower the rattling. Think of it as placing a tambourine in front of the amp. Muting strings, playing technique of choice of guitar doesn't have anything to do with it. It's all about vibrations causing the tubes to rattle.
I don't have the same problem with my Deluxe Reverb, but I figure that the 6V6 tubes might just have a sturdier construction..?

As long as I play with the band I don't even hear this rattle tbh, but still, it's there, it's annoying and I'd like to find a remedy if there is one.
No, I wasn't referring to the guitar you're playing. I have guitars on the wall, and the acoustic guitar's strings vibrate when I turn my amp up, or play lower notes sometimes, which sounds a lot like rattling...but it's just the guitars on the wall, not the amp. Scared me the first time. :)
OK, I see what you mean. Those effect are quite interesting. With an acoustic guitar on the wall you can actually see each specific string start to resonate when you play the same note.

The rattling issues I'm dealing with however is toneless, like a tambourine or a snare.
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Daviedawg » Sun 04/21/13 1:01 pm

The only rattling I have experienced in the form you describe was from a chassis which rattled against the cab top even though it seemed impossible. It took ages to find the source. Since then I have used fibre washers to mount the chassis into its cab.
I have never experienced valves (tubes) which rattle and also work.

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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Sun 04/21/13 2:06 pm

Daviedawg wrote: I have never experienced valves (tubes) which rattle and also work.
That's weird. I seem to have a whole bunch of them.
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby JMPGuitars » Sun 04/21/13 2:48 pm

Orphin wrote:OK, I see what you mean. Those effect are quite interesting. With an acoustic guitar on the wall you can actually see each specific string start to resonate when you play the same note.
Yeah, pretty weird and cool. :)
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Daviedawg » Mon 04/22/13 1:49 am

Orphin wrote:
Daviedawg wrote: I have never experienced valves (tubes) which rattle and also work.
That's weird. I seem to have a whole bunch of them.
Yes I have heard of it but assumed it was very rare or perhaps limited to some makes or types.

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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby AC Cobra » Mon 04/22/13 11:58 am

Sounds like it is a mechanical problem, the chassis not sturdy enough, or valve sockets not quite tight enough....
I would try taping parts of the amp with it turned off and see if any part seems to be where the rattle is originating from. Someting may need to be re-enforced a little. You could also try dampening the tubes, that may help stop them from rattling, but I look for something that is allowing them to move slightly.
Best of luck with it!
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby Orphin » Tue 04/23/13 11:15 am

Even though I feel quite certain that it is the actual tubes doing the rattle I cannot be 100% sure of course. But I remember a friend of mine having an Epiphone Valve Junior that had the same rattling and we checked everything, and there not much stuff in that little amp. Nothing was loose and then we swapped the tube and it went away.
My 1974X though has tons more bass response so I'm not surprised that it rattles a little. Still I don't like it.

I haven't done a thorough search for something loose in my amp though, but I think I should've noticed while flipping it back and forth and up and down while doing some mods.

How do I dampen the tubes?
I have seen dampers for octal sockets in the past, made out of rubber. You put these in the sockets and then the tubes into these. Is this what you are refering to?
AC Cobra wrote:but I look for something that is allowing them to move slightly.
How about a sh!tload of sound and very deep bass? :lol:
With the new tubes in place this amp has about as much deep bass as my Deluxe Reverb. :)
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Re: Rattling tubes

Postby dotfret » Sat 07/27/13 7:36 pm

I have an EL506 which has a cracked glass stem inside. It works, but it rattles - and it rattles if you shake it in your hand.

Now, assuming you have an 18 watt, that is an unlikely problem source, because all the valves in an 18 watt have no glass stems.
From what you say, this sounds like you might have one valve that has a squashed assembly, like the mica plates were pushed sideways when it was assembled and it is not a tight fit in the envelope.

Then again, have you tried taking the chassis out of the box and running it? Might just be a loose nut ...
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