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Basic tone differences between 6v6, el84, 6L6 and el34?


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From what I know, EL34s have a little more mids, usually add some growl to the amp. 6l6s have a little more bass, and my 6l6 amps tend to have a slightly crisp-er/more defined sound then my EL34 ones.

And thats just they very basics, Im sure some guys on here will write paragraphs about this.

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It really comes down to the amp in the end...but I have noticed general things through the years (it also helps that I've been able to use all 4 tube types in my Tweaker).

 

6v6s have a nice thick "centered" sound when turned up, probably the hardest tube for me to describe out of the bunch but I like the certain kind of sag they give.

el84's I just can't gel with. They sound nice in a Vox but I can never seem to get the bass I want from them and they start to grate on my ears in the highs.

6l6s are the biggest sounding of the bunch, good lows and highs but don't sound that great for drive tones. Beautiful sounding for cleans though.

el34's have an AWESOME midrange, by far my favorite tube for overdriven sounds. Good el34's just sound so rich.

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I only have experience with EL84s (Peavey Bravo) and 6L6 (VTM).

 

The EL84s in the Bravo are awesome, but I'm biased because I feel the amp is awesome. They won't give you low end thump, but they will give you enough power that with the right preamp stages (like the Bravo) will give you high levels of gain. So, no low end thump (such as "modern" metal needs) but plenty of gain for 80s metal and everything up to that.

 

 

6L6s are awesome, can give you a massive roar and thump and with the right design are the awesomest mindblowing thing you will ever hear. Like the Peavey VTM. My Triumph has those as well. That amp has amazing, no, I mean AMAZING cleans. Crank the post gain, keep the gain low, you have beautiful full cleans. I mean GORGEOUS. Put them with the right gain stages, you have heaven (see VTM again).

 

I know some people gel with some tubes over others, but honestly I think it comes to the application and the amp. EL84s won't give you modern low end thump. But they work for other things. 6L6s might not be EL34s, but in the right amp they will blow your mind.

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To add to this, how do KT88's or 6550's compare to the others? Those are two types I've yet to use.

 

One brings the "THUMP" and the other the "awesome" more than other tubes.

 

 

*Has no fucking clue*

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LOUD.


There
:lol:
. The KT88's will seriously bring the lows though, and they stay really clear.

 

So, a VTM modded to use KT88s will kill people? Cause seriously, that amp brings volume like pretty much nothing else. (Is sure other amps do, but holy crap who knew 4 power tubes could bring volume like they do!)

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I only have experience with EL84s (Peavey Bravo) and 6L6 (VTM).


The EL84s in the Bravo are awesome, but I'm biased because I feel the amp is awesome. They won't give you low end thump, but they will give you enough power that with the right preamp stages (like the Bravo) will give you high levels of gain. So, no low end thump (such as "modern" metal needs) but plenty of gain for 80s metal and everything up to that.



6L6s are awesome, can give you a massive roar and thump and with the right design are the awesomest mindblowing thing you will ever hear. Like the Peavey VTM. My Triumph has those as well. That amp has amazing, no, I mean AMAZING cleans. Crank the post gain, keep the gain low, you have beautiful full cleans. I mean GORGEOUS. Put them with the right gain stages, you have heaven (see VTM again).


I know some people gel with some tubes over others, but honestly I think it comes to the application and the amp. EL84s won't give you modern low end thump. But they work for other things. 6L6s might not be EL34s, but in the right amp they will blow your mind
.

 

This is what it comes down to.

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I'm a tube noob but here is what my ears tell me.

 

6L6's bring higher highs and lower lows.. a wider range.. and naturally helps give a more scooped sound since the range is wider. Very clear sounding.. more headroom also..

 

EL34's.. a narrower range.. but lots and lots of mids.. especially high mids.. really good for cutting through a mix.. easier to be muddy.

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There are some killer 6l6 hi gain amps .Soldano, 5150, Mesa.

a lot of the difference between a 34 and 6l6 IMO is "feel".

 

the 34 compress more and will have some give which is especially good for lead players.

6l6 can be more strident or a lil stiffer which is great for tighter metal rythms but can be tougher for lead.

 

34s tend to stand out more due to their freq in a mix but can get honky.

A 34 plays more a lead role in a band mix if you want the guitar as a supporting instrument and not so much a main focal point a 6l6 will be better for that IMO.

 

Of course there are exceptions to every rule , the SLO and 5150 will cut through a mix and be dominant as well

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I swapped 6L6's for EL84's in my HRD, and I really like the change in tone , chimeyer, more warmth, faster breakup,

less brittle at gain and less ear splitting raw power. So much finer clean tones with much better definition, sparkle and jangle. Alot like Vox AC30, it's got balls but has improved character...sounds so much better with

FX in front of it now too. I play generally humbuckers, with coil tapping on most of me axes, a few with straight single coils too, and @ times feel like I'm channeling Keith or Pagey himself...

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TUBES DO NOT HAVE A FREQUENCY RESPONSE!!! :facepalm:

 

They do have unique plate characteristics, which makes them amplify and especially overdrive somewhat differently, producing certain pattern of harmonic distortion. But even that trait is largely controlled by the surrounding circuit. A 6L6, for example, in one amp may act differently than a 6L6 in another amp just because the overall designs can be quite different from another.

 

For example, judged according to plate characteristic curves 6L6 tubes generally overdrives harsher than a EL34 tubes. But if the EL34 amp uses a lot of negative feedback and is fixed bias while the 6L6 amp has no feedback loop and is cathode biased the 6L6 might actually behave more like a traditional EL34 amp and vice versa. The power supply, feedback, biasing arrangement, type of phase inverter, the type of the output (e.g. push-pull vs. single-ended) and often even the output transformer will all have enormous effects. Application is everything!

 

...and I don't even want to discuss preamps, speakers et cetera which's effects - for some mysterious reason - people in most cases seem to add to the discussion about tone of various power tubes. How many of you have actually judged the sound of a power tube by plugging directly to a power tube stage and nothing else? I guess pretty much NONE.

 

Tubes do not really have a tone of their own. Circuits do. You do not find frequency response or spectrum analyzer plots from tube datasheets because tubes on their own do not pose any such universal characteristics.

 

/thread

 

 

I've had a whole lot of amps over the years and while there may be some tonal differences in tubes I can tell you that there is no way that I could tell you what tubes were in an amp by just listening to it. I'm sure others can but not me.

 

Pretty much this.

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every time i think i can pin down a tube's sound, i find an amp that makes me think oti herwise than what i thought.

 

i always associated 6v6es with small fenders. then i played a roccaforte with them. sounded like a gainy hiwatt. i always thought el84's were too little and not beefy enough. then i played a mesa .50 cal. totally not so. i always disliked 6l6es because they were too hard and midrange scooped. then i played a mesa electradyne which sounded like a classic marshall.

 

there's generalities.. but even they don't hold very well. look into the circuits-- i think there's more similarities in CIRCUITS than there are in the tubes themselves-- but this's been said..

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What are the main differences you would say? I know some of the basic characteristics of each but wanted to start a thread for more input.

 

Main difference:

 

1. Wattage..

 

More subtly

2. ..breakup (the way it compresses/breaks up)

 

and if you do A/B comparisons, you might notice (but I'm not sure if its even noticeable):

3. Harmonic distortion/feel etc..

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When I had my Rebel 20 there was a noticeable difference between 6v6 and el84. The 84s were a little more gritty and midrange focused, and sounded better with a little breakup or crunch. The 6v6s had a more rounded off bottom end, and more full, chimey upper end and sounded best clean. The difference wasn't in your face obvious, but if you A/B'd them you definitely heard the difference.

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This is a good summary.

 

6V6- Warm, semi-aggressive. Nice cleans

6L6- Glassy, best cleans, complex, but not in your face distortion

EL84- Chimey, of course. Interesting distortion with a nice bark

EL34- Best distortion. Round, aggressive. Not great cleans

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