6V6 or EL84s?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by SlyStrat, Jan 22, 2006.


  1. SlyStrat

    SlyStrat Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking of ordering a hand-built amp. What differences in tone would these tube types have? Sustain? Distortion?
     
  2. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Depends on the circuit, there is no black and white answer.
     
  3. BozoTone

    BozoTone Member

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    Like Mr. Hanky said, depends on the circuit....I have read that there are a few people developing "higher gain" circuits around/for 6V6's...I DO know good EL84's are getting scarce and 6V6's are more plentyfull...may be something to consider.....
     
  4. asdf

    asdf Member

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    Personally I'm a bigger fan of EL84s.....
     
  5. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    Find an old Mesa Blue Angel, and you can use either or both!
     
  6. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    divided by 13 JRT 9/15 has a switchable power section of 6v6s and el84s

    never played one... but read lots of good reviews
     
  7. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Of all the things you can do with an EL84 and 6V6 I've come across, the one I like best is:

    One of each!

    Stephenson Reverb Head, also LJ-10.

    I have stuff I like with just 6V6 (e.g. Super Champ, Princeton Reverb II, Clubster '25) and with just EL84 (Bogner Metropolis Reverb is an awesome amp). There's stuff out there like the little Marshalls, the Deluxe Reverb, AC30, on and on, that gets excellent tone from either tube.

    But if I could only have one amp I would go with one of the Stephensons that can run one 6V6 and one EL84 for it's power section.
     
  8. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    FYI...very generally speaking: 6V6=Fender (wetter) tone, EL84=Marshall (dryer) tone.
     
  9. crazy4blues

    crazy4blues Member

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    Probably right. My el-84 is a Dr. Z Maz 18, and my 6v6 is a Fender Princeton. AaeCee has called it correctly! [​IMG]





    [​IMG]
     
  10. SecretAsianMan

    SecretAsianMan Member

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    AaeCee has the idea. But do understand that so much depends on the design of the amp. For instance, Roccaforte has a couple of 6V6 amps that are supposed to be more in the Marshall arena (IIRC). And a good portion of EL84 amps are more Voxy than Marshallesque. Your mileage will vary.

    As for me, I have a Top Hat Club Deluxe (6V6) which does a decent job at Fender- and Vox-like tones, and an Aiken Invader (EL84), which nails the Marshall side of things.

    EDIT: Changed Intruder to Invader. The dangers of posting while sleepy...
     
  11. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    ...you mean vox ac30 tone probably. and the dry/wet thing i dont really get. classic vox and marshall amps don't have reverb, while many fenders have great reverb, but that has nothing to do with the power tube issue.

    there is no easy answer to your question. like others have said, there are a lot of other factors other than power tube choice.

    in general, el84 are associated with vox guitar amps--think beatles' taxman etc, or rem monster, or the edge's tone or radiohead....etcet the list could go on forever.

    but just because your amp has el84s won't get you that tone. there's a lot more to it than the tube.

    the classic 6L6 sounds would have to go to the fenders (twin, showman, bassman, super, deluxe etc)...i dont even know where to begin a list of fender users.

    bottom line, who is your amp builder and what has he done? why can't you play each one and decide?
     
  12. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I know it doesnt mean much around here but I have a Crate Stealth GT50 head that hs a quad of 6V6's and that thing rocks! Loaded it with JJ's when I got it. Decent amount of headroom compared to my EL84 amp but thats probably because of the JJ's. More fun in that old carpet covered 90's misfit than most of my other amps.:)
     
  13. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Just to add to the data...

    I have a 6L6 power tube amp that has a Fender Super Reverb sound to it. I used Yellow Jackets to try out a set of EL84s. And you know what? It didn't suddenly make my amp sound like a Vox. Not that I expected it to. But it didn't even take much of a baby step in that direction. It still sounded mostly like it did before, with less power. Maybe a little thinner. I sold the YJs.

    As people have said, the tone of an amp has probably a lot more to do with the circuit design versus what power tubes are used.
     
  14. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    If you get a chance to compare a Club Deluxe and a Club Royale that should give you an idea of the difference between the characteristics of 6v6 and el-84 power tubes. They use the same preamp with the only difference being the CD using 6v6 power and the CR using el-84. They would need to be from the roughly same period because Brian has made some changes in these models such as tube or SS rectifiers, master volume or not, etc..

    Generally, the Top Hat users that have both decribe them as you did; the CD sounds rather Vox/Fender and the CR Vox/Marshall. For the most part, they sound pretty similar running clean. The biggest difference seems to be how they respond when you crank it up. The CR being a little brighter but compresses a little more when you really dig in and the CD getting a little "raspier" sounding and maybe a little more low end.
     
  15. SecretAsianMan

    SecretAsianMan Member

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    Yet not a lot of people would have both a CD and a CR at the same time, because of that similarity. I bet a dealer would be a good place to perform such an A/B test though.
     
  16. GasMask

    GasMask Member

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    The style of music you play and the type of guitar you will be using are important factors. I think a strat playing bluesman would prefer EL-84's while an archtop playing Jazzer would prefer 6v6's. Generalizations are risky though..... For my tastes the answer would be neither.
     
  17. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    What strat playing bluesmen play el84 amps?
     
  18. GasMask

    GasMask Member

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    You think a strat playing bluesman would prefer a 6v6 amp? Not in my neck of the woods. Blues is rampant around here. I see many players using amps like matchless, badcat, dr. z, etc. Sure, you will see the occasional deluxe. While it's not my sound, I agree with those that feel that single coil pickups go very very well with the cathode bias EL-84 designs. They just seem to have that "bite." My best friend gigs twice a week in a blues band with an EL-84 amp. The point, however, is that the choice between El-84 tubes and 6v6 tubes does somewhat depend on the type of guitar one plays and the style of music one plays.
     
  19. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    You're right, but having both would be fun :cool:
    Finding a dealer with both would be the way to go unless you have a friend with both.
    I was more or less repeating the conclusions of a couple guys from the Top Hat Forum that have both. Riffmeister owns or has owned about every stage of both the CR and CD and, if my memory is fairly accurate, his comparison between the 2 different power sections was about what I posted. Comparing amps that are the same except for the power tube used is about the only way I can think of to compare the affect of just the different power tubes.
     
  20. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    I was heavily into the blues scene in the early '80s when I was doing my first gigs. I played a 1961 strat through a super with a ts808 (because that's what srv was doing when i saw him before he made texas flood and became huge). Everyone I knew back then was using vintage fenders for that sound. I know srv switched to marshalls and dumbles later. I sat in with another visitor from Austin in the late '80s, Doyle Bramhall jr, and he was using a strat and a super too. Back then everyone was using a strat and some kind of old fender.

    I dropped out of the blues scene in the 90s to do touring and session work with rock bands and lost touch with the blues scene. Are fenders out of style now? It's surprising because to me, if I decided to do a blues gig, I wouldn't even think about using my 1965 jmi ac30 tb. I would use my super or vibroverb. But things change.

    What is Anson Funderberg using these days? Or Jimmy Vaughn?
     

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