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EL34B's: TAD vs. Tungsol

Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,473
Here's to hoping:

I'm looking for a crossover EL34 to 6L6 tone.

I'm using gobs of power tube action these days in my amp.

I need enough 6L6'ish compression and crunch to pull off the spank and sizzle of a Fendery country tone, and the searing mid silk of an EL34 to pull off a JCM-ish hard rock lead tone on a like-configured preamp.

Will a EL34B do these things for me, or is the combi-tone descriptions from the tube vendors just marketing BS?

Which of these two tubes gives me the most authentic rendition of these two tones?
 

vibrostrat43

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,266
I can tell you that the Tung Sols definitely have more headroom than other EL-34's I've tried, and seemed brighter and tighter as well.

Can't comment on the TAD's
 

Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,473
Bump.

These tubes are described as having a little bit of 6L6 crunch at early breakup, and maintain the EL34 sear at higher OD levels.

Can anyone comment on how true this is, and the frequency differences between this and a typical 6L6 and EL34?
 

Roe

Member
Messages
7,988
the TAD sounds like an el34, not a 6l6gc. its good, given the price especially.
 

Rex Nomad

Member
Messages
583
I've always felt the JJ EL34L had a bit of 6L6 flavor. Still more of a EL34 but straying towards a 6L6 - if that makes any sense.
 

Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,473
Thanks RN...but keep em coming.

In particular I'm after a little more of that 6L6 compression and clip (for fenderish country) than a typical EL34 gives....but, when the power tube gets pushed more than that, it brings on EL34 smooth sear - eg sweet vintage upper mids.
 

solitaire

Senior Member
Messages
3,714
The TADs are big-bottle Shuguang EL34s. These have a frequency range much like a 6L6GC, but not glassy like a 6L6. The TS are brighter and crunchier in their breakup, but more like an EL34 wanting to be a KT77 or so but compresses like an EL34 when pushed.

I'd certainly look into 6CA7s and KT77s for more of a tetrode thing. The 6CA7 is the glassier of those, the KT77 more like a KT66 (rather hifi-ish) trying to sound like an EL34 in EQ.
 

Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,473
My wife said that a 34B may be too small for my moobs.....Hardyharhar.

Thanks for the input on the 6ca7's. I'll look into them.

Anymore advice or detailed comments on the character of 34B's.
 

solitaire

Senior Member
Messages
3,714
Anymore advice or detailed comments on the character of 34B's.
Their character will depend on how hard you intend to push them. Clean and semi-dirty the TS will sound more 6L6-ishly bright (with that associated crunch when ODed) whereas the TAD will be more warmish linear with not much of a mid peak to speak about.

You won't however get a tetrode vibe across the spectrum and regardless of output unless the bottle actually holds beam forming plates, that the KT77s and 6CA7s do. The KT77s can be made to sound a bit more like over grown EL84s at certain bias levels. 6CA7s are the bastard lovechild of the KT77 and the 6550 really.
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,187
You want more 6l6 flavor go with the KT77 from JJ..or the 6ca7
 

Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,473
Thanks for your input. I'm hoping everyone understands my objectives here....

Here is the description of the EL34B's from thetubestore's website:

At lower volume settings you hear a very pure balanced tone with a bit of the 6L6 sparkle in the higher frequencies while providing a midrange that is a little less prominent than most EL34 tubes. The tubes were very open and airy. The bottom end was percussive in the 2x12 open back combo. When driven into distortion it starts off a bit crunchy like a 6L6 but as you push it, the sound blooms into that singing EL34 tone with great sustain and modest compression.
Is this hype, tripe, or truth? Because the description is exactly what I want - but I never trust marketing in the tone business.

On the other hand, there are a lot of recommendations to go with 6ca7's. Yet, none of the vendors are advertising their strengths like the above quote.
 

Norjef

Member
Messages
1,163
Years ago Gerald Weber had a "blind-studio-test-shoot-out" of EL34 types for his high-falootin custom amp. He pretty-much picked JJ E34L's as the best 6L6/EL34 blend as well as most power.

I've had great luck and tones with these and KT77s by JJ. Yet EH 6CA7s sound quite Fender-ey in an Egnater 100 W head. You're just gonna hafta make the doughnuts yourself
 

SinkingShip

Member
Messages
189
If the TAD's are chinese EL34B's then IMO they are not close to 6L6 tones at all....they are however still my favourite new prod EL34 over last few years, just great all round rock tubes and pretty reliable. Not super tight for modern rock or pristine cleans but tons of fun to play for Hendrix,Page,Cream and even Indie stuff.

The Tungsol EL34B was a very nice tube from memory, bright and clean and when pushed gave up some nice tones great for lead-playing......until it blew. Lasted less than 2 weeks and died when I tried running it at 475V ( THD bivalve ), may have just been a dud but I couldnt justify risk of another one when similar tones can be found elsewhere. Check your voltage before trying these.

JJ KT77 sounds a bit more 6L6 for me and is a nice reliable powerful tube for gigging, if that's your main aim. Never tried the JJ EL34L but I didnt like their standard EL34 at all ( dry,bland, muddy, etc) much prefer the KT77.

Of course all above IMO with my gear.

Not sure you will get all you ask for from just the power tubes, the safer bet would be to go more 6L6 as it is easier to get to JCM800 starting from Fender eg numerous pedals can get close, rather than going the other way I think.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,873
I have a pair of the tung sols, and they do indeed seem to sound somewhere between a 6l6 and EL34. I don't care much for them tho, as i think they sound less complex than any other tubes i've tried in the el34/6l6 camp. It also depends on the amp. The B's to me sound more 6l6 like than 6l6's do in my marshall style amp. The amp really dictates the sound more than the tubes, which makes it even more strange that the B sounds somewhat 6l6 like.
 




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