6V6 v EL34? What do you hear?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Random Hero, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,811
    Location:
    London, UK
    I know it's hard to compare tubes as it's as much down to the circuit but I'm curious as to what you hear, all else being equal...
     
  2. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,811
    Location:
    London, UK
    Nada, huh? :)
     
  3. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,732
    Location:
    In the heartland of Sweden
    Well on one hand you have a pretty strong pentode in the EL34, known for its prominent midrange and even order harmonics (think 50W and 100W Marshalls) - on the other it's the 6L6s baby brother that's brighter and janglier, a bit like mix between a GE 6L6GC and an EL84 really, and gives up in a weezy and soft yet crunchy fashion (think lower power Fenders).

    Then obviously it's a matter of brand and construction methods used how the actual valve will behave in detail - and how the specific amp takes to that sound.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBSEzX2O0nY
     
  4. HipKitty

    HipKitty Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,463
    Location:
    Pennsylvania Dutch Country
    IMHO, the 6V6 offers more of the lower mids and a sweeter top end, that, depending on the manufacture, can be brittle at times. The lows are looser, similar but not as big as a 6L6.

    The EL34 has more upper mids and a tighter low end. the high end isn't as brittle as some current production 6V6's, but they can get piercing, also, depending on the manufacture.

    While both types compress well, they do so differently. Without getting too technical, just look at the tonal structures of each type and this will give you an idea as to the compression results of each type.

    Check these out for a referencing point, but I suggest that you let your own ears decide...

    http://thetubestore.com/el34review.html

    http://thetubestore.com/6v6review.html
     
  5. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,811
    Location:
    London, UK
    I know this is a ridiculous question but which is closer to an EL84, tonally? Neither, right? :)
     
  6. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    3,156
    Location:
    Carmel, Indiana
    EL-34

    but be cautious, don't pre-judge what you THINK the amp might sound like as HOW the tube is applied in the circuit DECIDES the sonic character.
     
  7. voojo

    voojo Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,349
    Location:
    Wisconsin's Northwoods!
    I would say that's correct. I don't remember exactly who it was but a fairly prominent amp builder said that the 6V6s is closer tonally to an EL34 than the EL84 is. I believe it, look at the Dr. Z Remedy, which is a Plexi inspired amp that runs two or four 6V6s.

    I had a Stephenson 30 Watt head that came with two EL84s and two 6V6s (any octal tube could be put in the 6V6 location.) That was a Marshall/Trainwreck inspired amp for sure. I always thought it sounded thicker and more Marshall like with the 6V6s. (You could switch any combination of tubes on or off.) Mark's (the amp builder) favorite tube recommendation for EVH Marshall type sounds was the 5881. I liked them much better than the EL34s.
     
  8. voojo

    voojo Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,349
    Location:
    Wisconsin's Northwoods!
    One other thought, I think that the closest octal tube that I tried in my amp to an EL84 tonally was the JJ KT77, it had a little bit more jangle than the EL34, a little tighter too (which isn't necessarily an EL84 trait.)
     
  9. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,811
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yeah, I'm looking for more jangle and high end I guess.
     
  10. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,933
    Location:
    Florida
    Depends entirely on the circuit IMO. I used to own a Roccaforte Custom 30 that ran 4 6v6's in the power section and a GZ34 rectifier, and that amp sounded & responded EXTREMELY close to my ss rectified '71 & '73 50 watt NMV JMP Marshall heads running EL34's.
     
  11. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,983
    Location:
    Lawrenceville, GA
    I cannot speak to the tonal characteristics like the more experienced guys here can. I can only offer this personal experience: I had a Swart Space Tone Reverb. Loved it! Came with a 6v6. Could take a 6v6, 6L6, or EL34, without re-biasing.

    I bought a cheap single EL34 at my local GC. Threw it in the STR. LOVED it! It brought the RAWK! After a couple of months... threw the Brimar 6v6 back in and fired up the amp and it took about 30 seconds before I shut the amp down, pulled the 6v6 and threw the EL34 back in... no brainer for me. As usual... YMMV.
     
  12. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Circuit design can have more influence on sound than the particular output tube. A Vox AC50 does not sound like a Marshall 1987. A Trainwreck Express type design can sound extremely similar to itself with 6v6s versus EL34s in it. Changing the 6L6s to EL34s in a classic Fender doesn't change the sonic character a huge amount.

    I'm not saying that there aren't differences in sonic characteristics of output tube varieties, but circuit design can have a gigantic influence on what those output tubes sound like.
     
  13. Gnarlly

    Gnarlly Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,322
    Location:
    Bowie, MD
    My two favorite power tube types. I used to own a small single-ended amp, somewhat of a "baby Marshall" (Allen Class Act). The 6V6 and EL34 were the most similar in tone and breakup with that amp (it could take any octal type, like a THD Univalve). The EL34 produced more power (7-10 watts vs. 4 watts for the 6V6), and the bottom end held together better (6V6s can get "mushy" when pushed hard), but they both sounded great.
     
  14. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,732
    Location:
    In the heartland of Sweden
    For more jangle in an EL34 context I would go with the TS EL34B. It has a bit more of that 6L6 sparkle in it, thanx to the slightly modified impedance. It's more of a true pentode than the KT77, though, which is pretty glassy like a KT66 yet in a high mid focused way.

    This asian guy has plenty of clips of the Tung Sol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iI_f2QYeyg
     
  15. guitarcapo

    guitarcapo Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    2,346
    Egnater makes an amp called the Rebel 20 that allows you to roll between two 6V6 power tubes to two EL84 tubes. I've tried the amp and honestly can't tell a difference in sound.
     
  16. wizard333

    wizard333 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,232
    Well lets put it this way.

    In my Germino Classic 45, I had KT88s, EL34s with a GZ34, and 6V6s with a 5Y3.

    The 6v6s sounded the best cranked, and I mean for pure yummy hard driven plexi tone. I didnt fine them brittle at all. If anything, they were less piercing than the 34s. JJs if anyone cares.
     
  17. Random Hero

    Random Hero Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,811
    Location:
    London, UK
    ^So you found the EL34s brighter, essentially? Which had more chime? ;)
     
  18. wizard333

    wizard333 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,232
    What is "chime" exactly? I find that different people use that word to mean different things, like some people would describe a "fat" tone as a very distorted, cruncy, scooped mid sound, and thats the oposite of how I use that word.

    Suffice to say, it didn't sound like "oh my thats not a marshall" with the 6V6s, more like "wow that sounds like great classic Plexi tone but its not breaking the glass out of the windows".

    Hope that helps.
     
  19. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    4,700
    Location:
    Chicago
    Good description. I agree. I also agree it COMPLETELY depends on the amp circuit.
     
  20. Red House

    Red House Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Messages:
    887
    Location:
    Woodshed
    I care.
    :beer

    How many volts are on the plates of your Germino?

    I have an original 59 Bassman and thinking about putting 6V6's in it. Currently I have original Tung Sol 5881's in it running 460V at 35mA which seems like it would be too high for a 6V6, but heard the JJ's can handle 500V.
     

Share This Page