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EL34 vs. 6L6 power amp tubes

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  • EL34 vs. 6L6 power amp tubes

    My Mesa Nomad has a bias toggle that will allow me to load her with either of these. Currently using the stock 6l6s. At some point I'd like to experiment with the el84s but offhand what are the major differences between them, sonically and even functionally?
    -"Who is John Galt?"-

  • #2

    6L6GC and EL34 are both relatively the same output, you can push the EL34 for more with higher plate voltages with the right amp design, but roughly you are looking at 25-30 watts max from each.

    The 6L6GC is generally a fuller, rounder more balanced tube, and offers more clarity and definition is running a highgain preamp, the El34 has a more mid-canteric tone. But ultimately, if running a clean power amp, you'll notice nothing more than subtle tonal differences. It's really when pushed to overdrive that the EL34 will get thicker, more complexe overdrive...which is why they are loved for using in things like the non-master-volume Plexi's and stuff.


    • Viesczy
      Viesczy commented
      Editing a comment

      EL34s have a midrange bite that people have been conditioned for years to equal a great one.  To me, they just honk in an annoying way. 

      The only EL variants I'm running right now are JJ E34Ls and the aggressive sounding Ruby EL34 variant (SBR? STR?).  And the moment they go belly up, I'm moving to KT77s or 6CA7s (or back to 6L6s).



  • #3
    I prefer EL34 for the strong mids and tight bass. Can't touch the shimmer of the 6L6 with them.


    • #4
      Ok we'll then let me ask this...can I use any el34 in my amp? It seems there are several different kinds, the str447 or an str442? Does it matter? My amp only says el34.
      -"Who is John Galt?"-


      • joshatlasstands
        joshatlasstands commented
        Editing a comment

        I think the make converters..."yellow jacket tube converters".

    • #5

      EL-34's are my favorite in old Marshalls. .png" alt=":smileyhappy:" title="Smiley Happy" />

      I endorse Laura & Valve Queen tubes, you should too.Marshall, Gibson, Fender, Charvel/Jackson."I'm happy to pay my tech $40 bucks to take the Zap for me."One kick-butt deal with johnpace2 Dave Friedman of RACKSYSTEMS is a genius.After the Firebird X, i'm quite convinced Henry Juszkiewicz is crazy.Member of the JMP Hall of Fame.