6L6 Tubes - good current manufacturer?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by TravisE, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. TravisE

    TravisE Supporting Member

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    My old BF twin took a dump before a festival show on Saturday. Turns out it’s only the power tubes - but the others were old, possibly original (1964) RCAs.

    I haven’t had to buy a new tube in a long time since I have a decent stock here at the house. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good 6L6s anymore. Just wondering what you’d go for. Budget is definitely a concern. I can’t drop $100 per tube right now.
     
  2. gldtp99

    gldtp99 Member

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    These:

    https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/6l6wxt-sovtek

    Best value in tone/ruggedness in New Production 6L6GC type tubes out there.

    They are not RCA Blackplate 6L6GC's.

    But no other Current Production 6L6GC is, either.

    But they have given me good service and good tone in many, many 6L6GC amps.
     
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  3. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    Groove Tubes 6L6GE. Clear tops made specifically to be just like old GE 6l6. Check them out. They aren’t made any more but are still available. About $110 for 4.
    Nice. Better than Russian
     
  4. TravisE

    TravisE Supporting Member

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    I don’t think Groove Tubes ever made a tube. Theirs were rebranded after being tested and matched, I’m pretty sure. Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong here.
     
  5. derekirving

    derekirving Supporting Member

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    I like the TAD 6L6WGC-STR or the reissue Tung Sol 6L6GC STR
     
  6. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    This is the only tube that they made. They tested, matched and labeled every other tube with their GT logo. According to Aspen Pittman’s book Mr. Groove Tube himself, they produced this 6l6 in California.
     
  7. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    Page 112 & 113 “The Tube Amp Book “.
     
  8. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    I’ve got some. They are good. Old Tung Sol 5881s are better. Not the Russian ones.
     
  9. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    Not quite, they also had a proprietary Mullard EL34 copy (EL34M), and a Mullard 12AX7/ECC83 copy. They had planned on actually making the 6L6GE in their factory in CA, but ended up having them made for them by Shuguang, who also made the other proprietary tubes for them. There was also a GE 6CA7 copy in the works, I don't know if any of these ever hit the streets before they sold to Fender.
    Al
     
  10. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    I have quite a few quads of the EL34Ms and the 6L6GEs. I don’t know where they were made but they are great tubes. I recommend them. I’m keeping mine. Thanks for the information.
     
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  11. TravisE

    TravisE Supporting Member

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    So I’m searching for these and there are some available but I’m not sure if there’s an era of these that I should be looking for. Are they (Fender) making anything now with the same moniker that I should avoid?
     
  12. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

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    I am not a big fan of 6L6s ..I tried a few including the uber expensive highly esteemed SED Winged C and they were ok but I just think a tube needs mids to have vibe.

    Frankly the best Twin I ever heard had JJ5881s in it.

    That said.. I have read nothing but huge props from severly credible tubehounds who think either of TADs two 6L6 offerrings are tops.. the long bottle is supposed to sound like old Sylvanias.. and the shortbottle WGC version something else. Can't recall.

    As a trend I prefer squatty bottles.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  13. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Sovtek 6L6 WXT+'s are not RCA black plates, but yhey definitely have a black plate vibe. Both articulate and warm.

    Pretty much the only current production 6L6 I'll use these days.
     
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  14. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Currently, Groove Tubes, under FMIC, are strictly rebranded eastern bloc and Asian tubes, some better than others, but I've found it best to just buy the tubes I want under their original manufacturer's brand for much less.
     
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  15. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    yup, same here.
    I'm not a fan of current tubes in general, and certainly not MIC, but those TAD 6L6 and recently also 6V6 really work for me, I have a few sets of STR415 for comparison. :dunno
    definitely worth a shot, considering what you pay for Sylvanias etc ... :mob
    ymmv,
    Rhino
     
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  16. Wyzard

    Wyzard Member

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    The only amp I have with modern tubes in is a Two Rock Gain Master 35 - all the rest are on NOS or ANOS, and those are all amps I've been through multiple re-tubes on. So I've had every opportunity to try different tubes in these other amps over the years. These days, Sylvania 6L6GCs/STRs and JAN WGBs are pretty much what I use throughout.

    The Gain Master gets used a lot as my "travelling TR" and sounds pretty good to me with TAD WGCSTRs; to the extent that I still haven't even tried it with JANs since I got it over a year ago. For me, that's actually quite something: the JAN WGB is my go-to for a smaller 6L6-equipped amp.
     
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  17. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Member

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    These sound great & can take an absolute hammering (albeit they are a 5881 / 6L6WGC): -

    [​IMG]

    :beer
     
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  18. Vic Interceptor

    Vic Interceptor Member

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    There are only TWO makers of tubes on the entire planet. There are lots of labels put on them, but only 2. One Russian and one Chinese.

    The Russian - Sovtek - is the more harsh and colder of the two. In my brief experience it favors tweed and Marshall/British tones.

    The Chinese - Shuguang - is warmer and more "American" sounding to my ears in blackface type amp.

    Now all these other brands you see... GrooveTubes, Mesa, JJ, ALL OF THEM - are made by one of these two factories. So the only thing you're really looking for is what country they are made in, and in your case, a matched set of 4.

    You will need to have your amp biased by someone that knows what they are doing. Changing POWER TUBES is not plug and play, not when going from old American to modern communist tubes.

    If your amp is that old and hasn't been serviced - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!! - you have the filter caps changed and the rest of the internals looked at. You'll be shocked and awed at how good it will sound when returned to the original specs!
     
  19. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    that's not entirely true.
    JJ from Slovakia (ex Tesla) are definitely independent, a big player.
    and from what I heard (!) at least, there are several Chinese makers. Don't quote me on that one though, needs confirmation.
    just saying,
    Rhino
     
  20. VICOwner

    VICOwner Supporting Member

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    That’s what I’m pretty sure about too. China, Shaguang
    Russian, Sovtek (Mathews stuff) and Slovakia JJ.
    I have a bunch of JJ 6l6GC, they are pretty good. The Sovtek are darker to me, and they are tough.
    The short bottles are great but may have trouble above 450 volts.
     
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