Can EL34's sound good at low volume?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Quantumphysics, Dec 7, 2005.


  1. Quantumphysics

    Quantumphysics Member

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    I find that 6L6 based amps tend to sound better than EL34 based amps at low volumes - of course all gear has it's sweet spot. Anybody else find this to be the case?
     
  2. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    It all depends on the amp, my Guytron sounds great (EL-34's) but then again it's a master volume amp. :BEER
     
  3. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    I'm of the mind that EL34 tubes sound good at all levels. :D

    A purist will argue that an EL34 is a true power pentode whereas the 6L6 is a beam tetrode and thereby inferior. :AOK
     
  4. Shea

    Shea Member

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    No, being a pentode makes the EL34 inferior. Beam forming tetrodes must have precise alignment between G1 and G2, so that the electrons flow in nice, orderly sheets from the cathode to the plate. In pentodes, the three grids are thrown on there any ol' way, and the electron flow just sloppily radiates out in all directions from the cathode like it doesn't give a damn. So beam forming tetrodes really have their act together, and pentodes are just slobs.

    Shea
     
  5. KLB

    KLB Member

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    So, the electrons in the slobby EL-34 play a little bumper pool versus the 6L6. How does this relate to the way it sounds in a guitar amp?

    By the way, JJ has just released its version of the KT-77, a 32-watt beam tetrode that is compatible with EL-34 amps.

    EL-34 sound good at ALL volumes in the right amp.
    My current fave is the Heritage Colonial.
     
  6. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Personally I find its the ther way around. Guess it depends on the amp. My JSX head sounds great at low volumes with EL34's but gets upper mid annoying at volume. 6L6's in the same amp sound better all around actually....
     
  7. Igneous

    Igneous Supporting Member

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    Yeah, ive got a XXX (which is basically the same thing) and after many tires, The amp was made for 6l6's. You can just tell.

    El's technically break up quicker so, yes, itr should sound better at lower volumes. However, I have found that in my XXX, the 6l6's sound better at lower volumes. cheers-Ig
     
  8. Shea

    Shea Member

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    That was just a tongue-in-cheek response to the statement that pentodes are somehow inherently superior to beam tetrodes. And for all I know, that may have been just a joke too.

    But I do generally prefer beam tetrodes to EL34s. The cleans are clearer sounding. 6L6s and American 6CA7s have noticeably more bass than EL34s. I like how the mids break up in KT66s better than EL34s - not as mucky sounding.

    It's just personal preference.

    Shea
     
  9. toddyjoe

    toddyjoe Member

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    I have a single-ended EL34 Hiwatt-type homebrew amp that sounds great at low volumes. Small speakers also go a long way in making bigger EL34 amps sound smaller.
     
  10. bluesbreaker59

    bluesbreaker59 Supporting Member

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    Quick answer, no.

    I hope that helped.:D
     

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