What's the difference in tone between 6L6 and 6V6 tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Animal Mother, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Member

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    The title of the thread pretty much sums it up. I'm not talking about swapping 6V6's for 6L6's, I'm just curious about the tone difference between both.
     
  2. roadfilm

    roadfilm Member

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    My experience is that 6v6's break up earlier, you get some nice warm dirt with them even at fairly low volumes. 6l6's have more clean headroom (higher wattage tubes) that break up at higher volumes. I like 6v6's a little more.
     
  3. Hendog

    Hendog Member

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    There is really nothing like a 6L6. It's fat and bottom heavy. Absolutely amazing full round cleans and fat chunky dirt.

    The 6V6 (I do not own a 6V6 amp so wait for more replys) is a little skinnier and creamier.
     
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Lower frequencies require more watts to amplify than higher frequencies. The lower wattage 6V6 (~12 watts) will therefore not produce as large a bass response as the higher wattage 6L6 (~25 watts).
     
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  5. small axe

    small axe Member

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    what he said....no 6L6's are a bigger, high watt tube that is heard in the "american" sound amps of the day.....6V6's are a lower watt with less headroom and a creamier sound that is more mellowed out....i think
     
  6. Nonvintage

    Nonvintage Member

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    I have 3 vintage Fender amps. A modded SF Princeton reverb with a custom cab that has a 12" celestion blue, a 69 SF Vibrolux reverb and a 65 BF Super Reverb. Essentially they all sound alike to me. I have them for different size venues. And they all sound great with a Stratocaster.
     
  7. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Member

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    I guess you are not vintage but your amps are! :crazy

    But seriously, are they all 6V6? I've seen that Hot Rod Deluxes have 6L6 and DRRI have 6V6.

    Why did Fender use different type of power amp tubes?
     
  8. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    6L6s develop more power than 6V6s so a 2x6L6 amp can be turned up louder and stay cleaner longer than a 2x6V6 amp.
     
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  9. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Member

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    Since the HRD is 40W and the DRRI is 22W, I guess that's why...
     
  10. Nonvintage

    Nonvintage Member

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    The Princeton has 6V6's the other two are 6L6's. I've got some friends that say my Princeton is the loudest they've ever heard. I have to admit the Stokes, Paul C mods and the Celestion Blue are probably responsible for that.
     
  11. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    My experience with Fender style amps is that 6V6s have less bottom but more mids and compression (when turned up) compared the the 6L6s. The 6L6s have more bottom & more note separation. Both are great and it's a matter of what works best for your playing and your guitar.
     
  12. ellpolo

    ellpolo Member

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    When pushed into overdrive, 6v6's will be creamier and less aggressive sounding. More mid focuses too.
     
  13. nb_fan

    nb_fan Member

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    I have to agree with what's being said so far about the mids. I find my Deluxe Reverb (6v6) retains more mids, or at least is more neutral than 6L6s, which seem to be a little more scooped. You also tend to hear it more when you crank it up and the tubes get cooking a bit.

    the 6V6s are definitely more loose sounding than the 6L6s, although your speaker choice (and tube choice for that matter) might make a difference in that respect. The JJ 6V6's i'm using now seem to have a pretty nice low end response and doesn't break up as early as the tubes I had in their before (I forget what was in there.. RCA NOS or something).
     
  14. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    To me, 6V6's tend to sound congested like an amp has asthma...while 6L6's, on the other hand, tended to sound open, breathy, & clear.
     
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  15. Joe L

    Joe L Supporting Member

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    JJ 6V6s tubes are very close to 6L6 tubes. They will give bigger bottom and a generally fuller sound and more headroom primarily due to the larger plate size.
     
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  16. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Member

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    Excellent... thanks your answers guys.
     
  17. Hand of Doom

    Hand of Doom Member

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    6V6GT tubes have nice cleans in my Vibro Champ. They break up real nice and can get a little saggy sounding. If you dig in hard they can get ratty.

    6L6GC tubes in the same amp have more head room and sound clear when they break up. They never get ratty but can sound stiffer than a 6V6GT

    6V6GTA tubes are a little stronger in the overdrive, a little brighter.

    Different brands have different characteristics.

    6V6G tubes are even better at getting that sagging overdrive.

    JJ 6V6S tubes sound more like the 6L6 but break up sooner, and are more stiff than the 6L6GC.

    EL34 tubes are darker and have a mid range overdrive that can get a little unfocused similar to the 6V6GT.

    Right now I like a Marconi 6V6G in the old V Champ.
     
  18. misterzachariah

    misterzachariah Member

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    Really informative thread. I've been thinking about sticking some JJ 6V6's in my 410 Hot Rod Deville to warm it up a little and get it cooking at lower volumes...good idea or bad idea?
     
  19. Oldtone

    Oldtone Member

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    MisterZach,
    I tried some new JJ 6V6s in my Deville and it smoked the tubes within an hour or two. It did break up much quicker with the 6V6s, but the headroom was gone. Apparently it works fine for some folks though.
     
  20. vicdeluca71

    vicdeluca71 Member

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    ALL things being equal I think that 6v6's are more balanced compared to the scooped sound of 6l6's
     

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