6L6's for Soldano amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jlb32, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. jlb32

    jlb32 Member

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    For members that own a Soldano what is your favorite brand/type 6L6 tubes for high gain tone?

    Right now it has the stock 5881's which seem to be very similar to EL34's. Personally I much prefer the tone of 6L6's over EL34 based tubes.
     
  2. Robbgnarly

    Robbgnarly Member

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    what's your budget?

    If you don't mind spending a little the SED 6l6 are pretty nice.
     
  3. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    Any NOS is going to be an improvement. My fav are Philips 7581A. I have some Gold Lion new KT66 that need testing. The biggest improvement you could make in that amp are NOS preamp tubes.
     
  4. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    Sovtek 5881 is my favorite in the SLO. It is a beam tetrode, so it is a 6L6GC equivalent. Not like an EL34.
     
  5. shanesiegle

    shanesiegle Supporting Member

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    The ruby 6l6gc-str is a really good sounding tube and will have less mids than the 5881. The Sed is stellar too but they are expensive.
     
  6. jlb32

    jlb32 Member

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    Thanks! For some reason I was thinking the 5881's were similar to EL34's.

    So with the 5881's basically being 6L6's would there be any advantages of even changing the 5881's to a different 6L6? Do not dislike the 5881's. Just looking for options if I swap tubes in the future.
     
  7. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    I don't think you'll notice much difference between 6L6GC and Sovtek 5881. Preamp tubes... now that's a different story. Significant tone variation between 12AX7 brands.
     
  8. Damian The Man

    Damian The Man Member

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    Another vote for RUBY GCMSTR. Unbeatable at that price!
    If you want to invest in NOS, save money for pre-amp tubes.
     
  9. jlb32

    jlb32 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Great info.
     
  10. Promit

    Promit Member

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    Pointless to go for super expensive power tubes in a Soldano design. It's designed not to lean on them much for tone. I would go for the Ruby GCM STR. If there's nothing wrong with the tubes in the amp, then don't change them at all.
     
  11. gtr777

    gtr777 Supporting Member

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    I have TAD's in my SLO right now. very happy with them.
     
  12. JB6464

    JB6464 Member

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    I Don't hear a major tone change with different 6L6's in a Soldano unless you run your masters above 6 and more , it's more about the preamp section imho .
    I've tried the Sovtek 5881 , SED 6L6GC , NOS Sylvania and cheap china tubes and I'm back to the stock 5881's Mike puts in from the factory.
    Why , because they can handle the 500+ voltages hammering the tubes with ease and the trick to making them sound good is up the bias to 30ma from the cold setting of 22ma from the factory.
    Most newer 6L6's max out around 450-500v and that's not going to cut it when your amp idles at 500v + , and if you see voltage increases which happens a lot from gig to gig something is going to give .
     
  13. JB6464

    JB6464 Member

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    100% agree !
    Just up the bias on the cold factory setting on the stock 5881's to 30ma .
     
  14. shanesiegle

    shanesiegle Supporting Member

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    Very true!
     
  15. Double 07

    Double 07 Member

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    Stuff like this is why I should really stop wasting my time on forums. Comments like that come from the mindset that if a tube is not contributing distortion to the sonics it's not contributing to the tone. That however is absolutely false. If that was true then why would the audiophile crowd be even more picky about tubes than guitar player's? Why? Because tubes do impact the tone even when amplifying cleanly.

    Case in point: there is a certain "cult like following" of modern high gain player's who like to use the standard Shuguang 12ax7. Not an expensive tube but it does exhibit an artificially pumped up bass which might appeal to some modern metal guys. But start backing off the gain and that tubes deficiencies start to glare. A clean player would throw those out in a heartbeat in favor of an Amperex, RCA, GE etc. Something with some real sonic goodness. In my experience it's really the OPPOSITE of what you're saying. It's not that tubes amplifying clean don't matter (that's wrong) it's more like heavy saturation can actually cover up some deficiencies in a tube.
     
  16. Promit

    Promit Member

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    While you're welcome to feel that way, you're arguing against what Mike Soldano has clearly stated in the past, in a thread asking about Soldano amps. If you're going to tell the designer of the amp that he's wrong about his own amps, I don't know how to respond to that. And consider what I said: the Soldano design in particular is designed to minimize the contribution of the power tubes and indeed the entire power stage to the tonal signature of the amplifier. I'm not making any global claims about the impact of power tubes in any random amp.

    From an engineering standpoint, any change to the tone requires "distortion", in the technical sense of the term rather than the guitarist sense of the term. This is basically the definition of the term in signal theory, but I don't know if you meant something else. In hifi tube amplification, some broadband harmonic distortion is considered acceptable due to improvements in other aspects of performance (eg frequency response or IMD, both of which are distortion but not 'THD'). Of course in some cases the tubes are explicitly adding distortions that are considered desirable, but I do not wish to go down that rabbit hole.
     
  17. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    It really depends on how you run the SLO in general. It also depends on how old the slo is. Up until about 89 SLOs came stock with 6l6s. Sylvanias if I recall. If you're running total gained out saturation at low volume. Correct power tubes don't matter in an SLO. If you run them on edge of breakup clean sustaining notes like Adam or myself like to run them then Power tubes make a HUGE impact. But then what do I know. I've only been playing SLOs since 87 when I bought my first two from Michael in Hollywood.

    Bill Sundt used to tell people the circuit design was exactly the same in the new ones as the old ones and exactly the same components were used. If you ever bothered to look in one before 92 and then before 99 and then before 2010. You know that to be false.
     
  18. JB6464

    JB6464 Member

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    I run my OD pre gain on 5 and master on 5 which is loud for today's standards , and with that setup there was little difference between 5881's and SED6L6GC tubes in my amp if both tube types were biased properly . There is a slight tone difference , but it's not a big enough difference enough to write home about .
    The NOS Sylvania's 6L6GC's sounded the best when driven past 6 on the MV which gets crazy loud at that point and is almost unusable for club gigs , but you will empty your wallet real quick for those bad boys these days .
    How many really play above 6 at gigs these days , I bet very few unless your on a world class stage or playing outdoor gigs a lot .
     
  19. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    Like I said it all depends. If you're running it through a fryette power station or using it for recording you can hear a very noticeable difference. If you're only running it to five. Why bother with an SLO. Just get the little 25 gizmo or the decatone. And again. If your running it soley for metal type rock tubes won't make much difference. If you're running it as a dynamic string to string balanced amp with great clean to mid OD tones. Tubes make a HUGE difference. The fallacies come into play when we all assume we are using the amps for the same outcome. In some circles the SLO is used as a poor mans Dumble. Rather convincingly.
     

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