Why are so many low wattage amps using EL84s?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by LaXu, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    There are tons of 5-20 watt amps around these days, but why are nearly all of them using EL84s? The venerable 6V6 tube would be just fine for those wattages as well and in the 20-30W range even 6L6 or EL34 tubes might work in Class A. So why the love for the EL84? Are they just more reliable than the other tube types or what?
     
  2. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    This is purely speculation, but I think it's the "chimey" Vox AC30 kind of sound that makes 'em popular. It appeals to me, which is why my tube amps are 4xEL84 types. It definitely ain't reliability. Almost any other commonly-used output tube will usually last longer than an EL84.
     
  3. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    Imo, before Graydon Stuckey started the 18 Watt group on yahoo, most el-84 designs (save Vox, WEM) ran B+ too high. Max power, but not the best tone. They were sometimes called 'buzz pencils.' The internet resurrection of the Marshall 18Watt started a mini gold rush....imo, ymmv, normal disclaimers.

    No one raves about the Traynor Guitar Mate, do they? 6V6s had been pretty well developed by Fender and Jim Kelly. I think either Top Hat or Budda were the first to set up an amp that was more or less an AC-30 running 6V6s.
     
  4. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    Because EL84s are popular low watt tubes.
     
  5. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Because they are capable of some of the lowest wattages.
     
  6. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Because the can imitate the sound of big brother EL34 at lower volumes.
     
  7. teleamp

    teleamp Senior Member

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    Bottom line....They're cheap.
     
  8. jac37656

    jac37656 Member

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    I was tube swapping the other night and came to the conclusion that I just don't really care as much for the EL84 sound. The KT66 or the 6V6 are amazing, though.
     
  9. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    This is the answer. That said there is a pair of Gold Lion 84s on EBay for $900.
     
  10. erikm5150

    erikm5150 Member

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    Can they really?
    Seriously, i've never had an EL84 amp... so if it can do the the EL34 thing at lower wattages/volumes, then i might have to look into one.
     
  11. Tommy C

    Tommy C Member

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    because they can sound very sweet :)
     
  12. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

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    BTW not all EL84 Amps are low power.

    The Andrews A-50 puts out 80 watts dimed. :banana:banana:banana:banana
     
  13. pjrhd28

    pjrhd28 Silver Supporting Member

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    Boy, you're going to get some different opinions here but here's my .02

    I have or had a Boogie LSS (4 EL-84's), a Z maz 38 (4 EL-84's), a Victoria Victoriette ( 2 EL-84's). I just got a Germino Classic 45 with the Kt-66's (a cousin to the EL-34) and I have played countless El-34 powered Marshalls and Boogies.

    Even at LOW volumes, the EL-84's just compress and break up SO much more/ earlier than the El-34's/KT-66's. At louder volumes, the difference is even more apparent.

    I played the 18 watt Marshall 2 EL-84 amps and they are NOTHING like the Germino with the KT-66's (and I think a big part of that difference is the tubes, not just design/ quality)- I hear it in the El-34 vs the El-84 Marshalls, too.

    It just seems the bigger bottles hold on longer before they compress and break up than the El-84's.

    The 6V6 just might indeed be the tube that best bridges that difference.
     
  14. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    James Peters used to make his custom dual channels in a twenty watt, 6v6 format. I am lucky enough to own one :)
     

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