6V6:Tung Sol vs. JJ/Tesla

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by fridgit, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. fridgit

    fridgit Member

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    I am looking to replace the EH 6V6s in my '77 Princeton NR and would like to know the tonal qualities/differences between these two brands of 6V6 tubes. I have heard nothing but good about both, so I am having a hard time making a final decision on which ones. I play blues and classic and southern style rock. Thanks!
    :munch:BEER
     
  2. Axekisser

    Axekisser Member

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    I've got two Princetons. My '71 NR has JJ's and they are very 6L6 like... big bottom, round with subdued highs. They make the amp sound big to me.

    My '68-'69 PR has the Tung-Sol RIs and they seem to have less bottom and are somewhat brighter. I have a NOS Tung-Sol in my Champ and the RI tube seems to be similar if not smoother in the highs.

    I generally run both amps clean so I can't comment on breakup.

    I bias both Princetons at 18-20ma. If you want round, do the JJs, if you want a more "forward" sounding tube, do the Tung-Sols.
     
  3. Free

    Free Member

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    I have these reviews in my archives - from various sources, plus my own observations...



    JJ 6V6S:
    While there is a market for the NOS tubes, you are no longer required to buy NOS in order to get really great results. With JJ 6V6S tubes that had been subjected to rough handling, over biasing and under biasing in amps with plate voltages ranging from 380 – 475 VDC, these tubes would not die and matching on them drifted less than only 2 mA over the life of the test – six months of continuous use and abuse.
    These tubes sound great - period. They do clean with smooth clear high-end and produce a fat rock solid bass that is well-defined and possesses a piano-like tonal quality – bass response exceeds most any NOS tube. Crank up the gain, and you’ll get a nice crunch, not just mush, but a very controllable and musical distortion. A well tuned amp running the JJ 6V6S getting a good strong signal from your guitar can make a TS-808 obsolete. Just about any genre of music from Blues and Jazz to Classic Rock can be obtained. Tube construction is rock solid with thick glass, good internal supports, and nice clean alignment of the tube bottles. The test set was even accidentally dropped in their boxes but did not break. These outstanding tubes simply must be tried. And, it’s highly recommended to go with these JJ 6V6S when playing live venues, because the JJ’s hard midrange cuts better, and it is louder tube overall.

    On a particular amp I was previously using various '50s Sylvania NOS for 4 years, which I thought were my favorite, with their great thick, clean, and high-fidelity tone. However, the 6V6S tubes kicked my amp up several notches and in several dimensions. With 3 Mullard CV4004's in the preamp, the JJ 6V6S's added a more crisp, yet pleasant, high-midrange articulation and clarity that cuts through better, even when just arpeggiating chords with a soft touch. Also added was a slight overall volume increase, as well as, a little more gain even, which really surprised me. More bass and a bolder midrange presence was added that carries more effectively throughout the room. The tone does not dissipate as readily when off-axis or a good distance away – the amp is tonally stronger all-around. The overdrive articulation/clarity is improved to Marshall “Plexi” proportions, as the midrange is harder and edgier now. Gone were any tones too compressed.

    Those seeking to "tame" an amp or wanting nice compression and tweed-like tones with amps that can get a diversity of tones (e.g. the myriad cathode-bias boutique amps in the market) should consider other brands in this reviewer's opinion. These tubes are made to rock hard in Marshall style. That should be noted, as other tubes like Tung Sol (new) and various NOS tubes facilitate "tweed" tone better.

    It should also be noted that JJ Tesla 6V6S tubes are close in construction and capacities to 6L6 style tubes, with bigger bottles than most any 6V6. This 6L6 nature is also conveyed tonally, as my personal results indicated. The JJ 6V6S is not a traditional 6V6. It is closer in nature to a 6L6 or 7591 type tube. It can handle more current than any 6V6 past/present, and it has great bass response and a hard midrange, where other (new and NOS) 6V6’s can often sound compressed and muddy. Additionally, the same plate and bottle is used for the 7591, which JJ Tesla has issued recently.


    Tung Sol 6V6GT:
    The Tung-Sol 6V6GT is an outstanding tube, and it delivers a much smoother overdrive that can be described as creamy instead of crunchy. The tone is better than almost anything I've heard. The only comparable tube is the NOS 7408 from RCA, which is industrial-grade and costs a fortune. The trade off is that Tung Sol’s are not as loud as the JJ, they have less "in your face" midrange, but that's about it. I ran a set in a slightly modified ‘59 Bassman at 450 VDC. No problems at all, and the Blues tone was incredible, much smoother than JJ with a fluid musical distortion and moderate compression. By comparison, the JJ was louder, compressed hard, and had a crunchy rock sound.

    No microphonics with the Tung-Sol and a very low noise floor. In a tweed amp like a “Deluxe” that is made for a 6V6, the Blues players may wet their pants. They are a well constructed tube too. All of the Tung Sol brand tubes seem to be well worth the money. The JJ Tesla and Tung-Sol are the only 6V6 tubes that I will use in my amps or sell to customers from now on. Note that for vintage purists, I would go Tung Sol all the way. Though, the JJ is a louder, bolder, and better tube for gigging.
     
  4. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 Agreed on all points made. I have a few matched sets of RCA 7408's and the new Tung Sol 6V6 is as close as it gets, and dare I say a tighter envelope and better note seperation. The RCA is sweeter when pushing the amp into distortion without the use of some type of OD, but I prefer the Tung Sol's for a clean platform when using a pedal.
     
  5. Shnook

    Shnook Supporting Member

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    Now THAT's what I call a tube review!!!
     
  6. murphj1

    murphj1 Supporting Member

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    I've tried both tung-sol and tesla tubes in all my amps. And I would agree with that reveiw 100%.

    By the way, If the tube quality from these 2 companies start going down hill, we are all screwed. I worry about this everytime I think about tubes.
     
  7. fridgit

    fridgit Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their replies. I think I may actually get both and try both. Is the Princeton a fixed-adjustable bias? I've seen bias kits for sale for the Princeton.

    This may be a stupid question, but will the Princeton need to be biased after the tube change?
     
  8. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Yes, it should be rebiased. It's fixed, non adjustable as is. I highly recommend making it adjustable.
     

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