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In short - difference between 6L6, 6V6, EL84?

Super Locrian

Member
Messages
1,507
What's the tonal difference between the most common tubes (6L6, 6V6, EL84)? Any good soundclips on the 'net that illustrate this?
 

Free

Member
Messages
1,304
6L6 - Most headroom (as well as wattage potential) of the three. Most bass response and most piercing and least-compressed treble range. Also has the most recessed midrange response of most any tube. It's more oriented toward very solid clean tones, though it can overdrive with great character too.

6V6 - More midrange emphasis than 6L6, with considerably less headroom too. It has a less compressed midrange character, in general, than el84 tubes, as well as, more low-midrange than el84's. 6V6 tubes overdrive with a harder midrange edge than el84 tubes. And, 6V6's have a very pleasant high-end, with just enough compression. This tube, along with KT66 and EL34 tubes, produces some of the greatest overdrive tones possible IMO.

el84 - Has the most high-midrange emphasis, which creates it's very characteristic chime in almost any circuit, which is not readily EQ'd out. It's the Vox-type chime. The overdrive tone can be quite compressed - it is not as hard a crunch as 6V6 - it's considerably softer. Some love this, some don't like it at all. It can produce some very characterful and chimey clean (bordering on crunch) tones - that's what it does best IMO.

-Free
 

toneman335

Senior Member
Messages
527
I heard that the 5881 is a good sounding tube in place of a 6L6. I was told alittle less power than a 6L6 but can develop a nice clean and overdrive tones. I haven't tried the 5881. Perhaps someone can comment on the virtues of that tube.
 

seedlings

Member
Messages
44
6L6 - Most headroom (as well as wattage potential) of the three. Most bass response and most piercing and least-compressed treble range. Also has the most recessed midrange response of most any tube. It's more oriented toward very solid clean tones, though it can overdrive with great character too.

6V6 - More midrange emphasis than 6L6, with considerably less headroom too. It has a less compressed midrange character, in general, than el84 tubes, as well as, more low-midrange than el84's. 6V6 tubes overdrive with a harder midrange edge than el84 tubes. And, 6V6's have a very pleasant high-end, with just enough compression. This tube, along with KT66 and EL34 tubes, produces some of the greatest overdrive tones possible IMO.

el84 - Has the most high-midrange emphasis, which creates it's very characteristic chime in almost any circuit, which is not readily EQ'd out. It's the Vox-type chime. The overdrive tone can be quite compressed - it is not as hard a crunch as 6V6 - it's considerably softer. Some love this, some don't like it at all. It can produce some very characterful and chimey clean (bordering on crunch) tones - that's what it does best IMO.

-Free

Free, that's a great summation! I was specifically looking for this when I found it (for once)! Didn't even have to start another another redundant reduntant thread. ;)

Could you (or another helpful soul) add the characteristics of el34, KT-66, KT-88?

CHAD
 

redtoploader

Member
Messages
641
I heard that the 5881 is a good sounding tube in place of a 6L6. I was told alittle less power than a 6L6 but can develop a nice clean and overdrive tones. I haven't tried the 5881. Perhaps someone can comment on the virtues of that tube.
Max plate dissipations(in tetrode connection):

6l6/6l6g = 21 watts
5881 = 23 watts
6l6GC = 30 watts

So, the 5881 has a little less power than a 6l6GC(which is what most people refer to a 6l6 nowadays). The GC is also rated for a higher max plate voltage.

Tung Sol developed the 5881 as an uprated version of the 6l6, built to withstand higher voltages and vibration. This is all subjective, but I always felt they have a bit more mids, with nice detailed cleans....not as 'wide' sounding as GC's. They remind me a little of a bigger sounding 6v6...awesome sounding in tweeds.
 




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