View Full Version : 6v6 vs 6l6 vs el84

09-25-2011, 12:11 PM
probably the 3 main configurations...yes??... set me straight ...whats the main characteristic each will impart on a combo??????

09-25-2011, 12:21 PM
Power level, and clean headroom, but tone wise it is up to what comes in front of the power tubes.

09-25-2011, 12:33 PM
thanks ...can you elaborate just a little??????

09-25-2011, 12:53 PM
6l6~20w, 6v6~11w,el84~9w, this is per tube in a push pull output section.

09-25-2011, 02:09 PM
6v6 - tweed tones
6l6 - blackface tones
El84 - voxy grind/chime tones

09-25-2011, 02:54 PM
Can't remember where I C&P this from:

EL84: Classic Vox sound. Bright, jangly, chiming clean operation. Develops a midrange peak with a bright and aggressive edge when overdriven. Earliest (lowest headroom) breakup of all the output tubes. Because of lower bass output, can be thin at some settings
6V6: Classic 'tweed' sound. Warm, rich clean operation. Loose and fat when overdriven. Softest and most 'round' sounding overdrive of all the output tubes. Can be a bit mushy in the bass at maximum levels
6L6: Classic 'blackface' sound. Great all around tube. Wide spectrum in clean operation, with powerful bass and clear treble. Overdrives with all frequencies evenly. Brigher and harder edged than the 6V6
5881: A Variation of the 6L6. Compresses more readily, tighter with a tad more mids than the 6L6, without the bell-like glassiness of the 6L6. This tube was found in the "big tweeds" in the 50s and 60s
7591: Sonically between a 6L6 and a 6V6, but with higher sensitivity more like an EL84. Doesn't quite have the same amount of output power as the other large tubes
6550: A super duty 6L6, harder and cleaner. Lots of power and bass. Clean until pushed to its limits - Overdrive is a bit more musical than the even larger KT-88
EL34: Classic Marshall sound. Clear, sparkling treble in clean operation. Has tight, focused sounds when overdriven, with more compression than a 6L6. Articulate and aggressive midrange-focused overdrive. Classic rock tone. A bit thinner than the 6L6 in clean operation.
KT-66: Similar to a 6L6, But with a flatter frequency response, and a thick British (EL34) sound when overdriven. Warmer sounding than the 6L6 - does not quite have the glassy sparkle of the 6L6, and overdrive can be a bit grainy
KT-77: A Super duty EL34, more power and bottom end. Stays a lot cleaner than the standard EL34
KT-88: Cleanest sounding output tube available. Extremely wide, clean spectrum of sound. Full, powerful bass and sparkling treble for maximum clarity. Very uncolored (flat frequency response), overdrives with all frequencies evenly. Tends to be more sterile sounding than other output tubes

09-25-2011, 03:18 PM
While it may be true that EL84s and EL34s have wider frequency response and crunchier distortion on average vs. 6V6s or 6L6s I think a lot of the tonal characteristics being ascribed to these tubes are more the result of the typical, well-known circuits these tubes are found in than inherent tones of the tubes themselves.

Dave Zimmerman, designer of the Maven Peal gear, has a pretty interesting discussion of the various common guitar output tubes in his book The Guitar Amplifier Player's Guide. For example we think of 6L6s has kind of sparkly and chimey because we think of how they sound in BF amps which are sparkly and chimey. But in an otherwise identical circuit (but biased appropriately) the 6L6 will produce kind of a veiled, midrange heavy tone compared with a true pentode like an EL34, at least that's Zimmerman's finding. So unsurprisingly, the BF preamp voicing boosts treble and scoops mids ahead of the 6L6 ouput stages.

09-25-2011, 04:39 PM
thanks ...can you elaborate just a little??????

The tone of the amp is from the preamp/tone-stack design, and the Phase inverter design impactd a lot on the "feel"'and breakup of the amp.

Power amps/power tubes are all relative linear. I'm not say they don't all have their tonal curves (which can be corrected for...curve correction is the heart of amp design), but ultimately the impact they make on the amp is neglible vs. preamp design, PI design and speaker choice.

To say EL84's are Voxy, EL34's are Marshally, etc. is incredibly simplistic and naive. You can build a blackface Fender with EL84's and it's still going to sound like a Fender, not a Fender/Vox hybrid. Marshall has built plenty of Marshall-sounding amps wih EL84, 6V6GT, 5881, 6550, etc.; Vox made the EL34 AC50 and many classic SS amps that all had the Vox sound; etc.

I admit the power beam tubes (6L6GC, 6550, 6AC7) all have their inherent scooped midrange; EL84's have the most distinct tone curve because of their minature design; and every tube type (and often every tube line) imparts difference characteristics on breakup, but you will never be able to pick out what amp is using EL34's vs. 6L6GC vs. 6550 in a band mix, the differences just don't matter. But you may be able to zero in on a Vox vs. Fender vs. Marshall because if their distinctively voiced preamps.

09-25-2011, 04:49 PM
Go to Guitarget and play an Egnater Renegade (6L6, EL34) and a rebel 30 (6V6, EL 84). As you sweep the mix from one tube to the other, ther is not a whole lot of tonal difference. The cool thing that happens with these amps is the sweet spot between 11 and 1 somewhere. As you sweep thru that range it will be obvious.

In the Rebel, I can say that the EL84 is a little more aggressive, and the 6V6 a little sweeter, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with some more knob twiddling. I haven't had a chance to play the Renegade yet to go between the big glass. I almost bought one, but due to the weight of the combo(80 lbs) I opted for the Tweaker 40-112, and didn't even try the Renegade.

09-25-2011, 06:31 PM
thx fellers