In your opinion what is the most musical sounding power tube type?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by EADGBE, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    (Not necessarily the loudest). 6V6? EL34? 6L6? And I've heard that the 6550 tube wasn't originally designed for music. That it was some kind of industrial tube. Is this true?
     
  2. Rock Fella

    Rock Fella Member

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    for Fender/ Clean / Reverb ...........EL84 or 6V6 are my choices

    for overdriven tones with humbucker type gtr, I like 6L6 tones.

    Jimmy
     
  3. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    For quieter, sweeter tones with a touch of dirt, I am partial to 6v6's, and generally like them wrapped in tweed - jv
     
  4. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane apolitical Silver Supporting Member

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    6V6 for tweed blues. el34 for power grind. 6L6 for loud clean headroom.
     
  5. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Power tubes aren't musical. Amplifiers that employ them can be, but there are so many "it depends" between the amp and the music that the question simply boils down to "what amps do think you like, based on the power tubes?"
     
  6. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    I prefer 6V6 based amps in most cases.
     
  7. 1964

    1964 Member

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  8. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    I'll say EL34, but that's only 'cause many of my fave amps are designed around that power section (Hiwatt, Orange, some VHT...) - so, +1 to Leonc. Also having success w/ a range of tubes in my cathode-biased Victoria Regal (5881s, 6V6s...), yet EL34s may be my fave in it.
     
  9. ChazMania

    ChazMania Silver Supporting Member

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  10. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    A while back a guy did a comparison between a 6V6, El-34 and 6L6 with the same amp and I always thought the 6V6 was the best but after hearing those clips it quickly changed my mind. The 6V6 was easily the worst tube. This all could change with another amp of course but it was interesting none the less. I like EL-84's and 34's now, but 34's can get a bit rough if in the wrong circuit.
     
  11. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    I am partial to kt66's for a big full and loud amp but for small combo's I love 6v6's
     
  12. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Member

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    6V6 & EL84 get my vote in that order...
     
  13. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

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    in general 6L6 (headroom & smooth grind) and el-84 (more aggressive grind) have been my favorites, subject to the fact that they happened to be in certain amps accentuating those qualities ;)
     
  14. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    There is so much more that determines an amps tone than the power tubes. If you buy an amp based on the kind of tubes it uses, you could be making a big mistake.
     
  15. Bruce

    Bruce Member

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    Leon, you hit the nail on the head. I've heard great and crappy amps with all kinds of power tubes. For Example: I've heard EL-34 amps have great cleans and 6L6 amps have really bad cleans. And the same for distortion as well. It just depends on the circuitry, speakers and cabinet and the sound you are looking for.
     
  16. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    This is true. Different power tubes may impart some characteristic response to a given amp depending on the circuit but they're a small part of the equation.
     
  17. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    I agree to some extent but I have an amp that allows switching power tubes at the flick of a switch and have found the differences to be quite significant. Even different makes of the same type of tube can vary greatly.

    My favorite amps (Zeeta, Metropolis, Marshall 2061) are all EL84 powered, though admittedly they share other characteristics such as cathode biasing. I do think we could make some generalizations about EL84's. They just seem to have a great focused breakup and the perfect frequency response. They're easy to overdrive which I find to be very useful while others may not. I also seem to have an easier time finding great sounding EL84's than other types.
     
  18. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I like 5932, 6L6G, or 5881 for cleaner tones, and EL84 for dirtier cleans. But it really all depends on the amp.

    - T
     
  19. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    I have 3 amps that allow power tube switching, and I find the very differences to be subtle. Budda DS 30 - EL 84's/6L6's(5881's), Mesa Blue Angel EL-84's and 6V6's (I've tried 6L6's for the 6V's, again, subtle), and a Road King 6L6's /EL-34's. Again, subtle. The output tube doesn't dominate the tone. Very subtle changes. Especially when compared to changing channels on the RK, or swapping speakers/cabs. (The DS 30 and BA only have one preamp channel) Or changing guitar types(Strat to LP). To my ears, there's as much difference quantitatively from switching from Sovtek's to RCA NOS tubes. Not necessarily the same difference, but you get the idea.

    The amps that are designed for use with different types of tubes like the Flexi, UniValve, GT solo, and others may be less subtle, but I haven't played with them much. I've still never played a Flexi, myself. The circuits in those amps may stress the difference between different tube types. But I don't know from experience.

    Right now, the most musical for me is the EL-84's + 6V6's in my BA.
     
  20. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried any of those, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some amps are more sensitive to power tube choice than others. I did most of my experimenting with a Maven Peal RG88 since I could audition different pairs of power tubes just by throwing a switch. Of course there are unique features of this amp such as the the wattage and sag controls that come into play. Unfortunately I can't test EL84's on this amp without some special adaptors.
     

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