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Thread: 6L6 Vs. EL84

  1. #1
    Regular Fretter ibanezjunkie's Avatar
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    Default 6L6 Vs. EL84

    which actually sound better to your ears? personally i prefere EL84s because they give off that dirty british kinda sound when you crank them.

  2. #2
    Lefty O'lman oldguy's Avatar
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    Depends on the amps circuitry......my Ceriatone uses 6L6's, as does my Traynor, my SoCal uses EL34's, Valve Jr. uses an EL84. I like 'em all!
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  3. #3
    Regular Fretter markb's Avatar
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    Let's see now. I like Fenders and I like Voxes. Both/either, please.

  4. #4

    Default It may not just be the tube

    I think part of the sound difference maybe due to the transformers used. I saw this in a posting about transformers at Tales from the Tone Lounge. Also if the amplifier was designed with feedback as most Fender amps are (6V6 6L6). I think most English amplifiers (EL34 EL84) did not use feedback and used over designed (big) output transformers. While Fender amplifiers look to always have feedback and somewhat smaller transformers. The feedback would actually allow use of a smaller transformer by reducing output impedance so lower reflected impedance needing less inductance for bass response. But if you are going to drive the amplifier into distortion then feedback will make the transition into over drive abrupt causing another tonal difference between the amplifiers. So it may not be a simple question of the tube in the amplifier but the design of the output stage of the amplifier and the transformer used.

  5. #5
    Regular Fretter tot_Ou_tard's Avatar
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    Jim,

    Whatdo you think the results would be if you took an AC30 but added negative feedback or removed the negative feedback from a blackface Fender?

    My Gries 5 is a single ended class A blackface champ style with a 6V6 but no negative feedback. (You can also dial out the tonestack for a Tweedy vibe).

    BigG's Swart is a Tweed-type circuit with no negative feedback, but it does have a switch allowing one to switch in some negative feedback.


    As far as the original question, I thought that it was common knowledge that EL84s break up sooner than 6L6s regardless of transformer or of whether there was negative feedback. Is this not so?

  6. #6

    Default RE: Breakup?

    I am not sure of the point at which the two types of tubes break up but I am sure there are differences. One big difference between the two types is the 6V6 and 6L6 are power beam tubes so they have no suppressor grid and are actually a tetrode not a pentode as the El tubes are.
    With regard to feedback if you are after a clean sound and an increase in bass response it would be worth trying. In the mod #201 posted for the Crate V5 I explained how to add it to the V5 with a pot to control the level. In the posts at 300 Guitars they were taking the feedback out of the Champ 600 and making tone stack mods for a Vox sound so? To add feedback you need to know the over all gain of section of the amplifier you are going to add it to because your feedback gain needs to be less then this. Then need to use the proper phase so you donít wind up with positive feedback and make an oscillator out of the amplifier.
    Just wanted to bring up the point that the tonal differences may not just be due to the tubes.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by markb
    Let's see now. I like Fenders and I like Voxes. Both/either, please.
    The Egnater amp w/ both would be right up your alley then.

    =-) PJ

  8. #8
    Regular Fretter markb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P.J.
    The Egnater amp w/ both would be right up your alley then.

    =-) PJ
    But the Trademark 60 does it with much less fuss (and weight)

  9. #9

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    My Fender Bandmaster (6L6) and my Delta Blues 210 (el84) have distinctly different sounds....I wouldn't say one is "better" than another. It just depends on what you want. Most of the time, you'll find 6L6's in higher wattage amps (e.g., 40 watts and higher) whereas EL84's are used alot in lower wattage amps (e.g., Blues Jr., 30 watt amps, etc.). A nice 50 watt El84 amp is the Peavey Classic 50.

    I don't know that one tube is "better" than the other...it's just a matter of preference.

  10. #10

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    Indeed, the tubes are only part of the tone, the whole circuitry matters.
    That being said, I prefer the Fendery 6L6 amps. I love small tweed Fender Champ style amps (about 5W) like nothing else.

    Traditionally, the EL84 sound is more "Marshally" - less chime, compact mids. I also own a Peavey Classic 30 which is a nice enough giggable amp, and I do like it with Les Paul type guitars, but I'm always going to my 5F1 6L6 5W amp for a tonal high. I'm addicted to the chime .

    Of course, there are ways to tricking them all with a subtle pedal in front, such as a well-designed booster with a tone control and judicious use of your guitar's tone knob.

    So yes, I've ranted too much, but in a couple of words, what I love is: 5F1 6L6s.

  11. #11
    Regular Fretter tot_Ou_tard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p
    One big difference between the two types is the 6V6 and 6L6 are power beam tubes so they have no suppressor grid and are actually a tetrode not a pentode as the El tubes are.
    I've certainly heard these words before, but I don't have a clue as to what they might mean.

  12. #12
    Super Duper Fretter tunghaichuan's Avatar
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    Not to discount what you're saying, but I've had the opposite experience:

    I find EL84 amps to be more chimey than 6L6 based amps or 6V6 based amps. The classic examples are the Vox AC15 and AC30. Chime city. The Marshall 18W less so, though.

    I find the 6L6 based amps kind of scooped sounding, at least the later Blackface Fenders. The true 5881 amps like the Bassman were more mid-rangy.

    I don't find the 5F1 circuit to be chimey at all. The one real 5F1 I heard was very mid-rangy.

    Does your 5F1 have a 6L6 in it? I ask because the 5F1 originally had a 6V6 in it.

    tung


    Quote Originally Posted by red
    Indeed, the tubes are only part of the tone, the whole circuitry matters.
    That being said, I prefer the Fendery 6L6 amps. I love small tweed Fender Champ style amps (about 5W) like nothing else.

    Traditionally, the EL84 sound is more "Marshally" - less chime, compact mids. I also own a Peavey Classic 30 which is a nice enough giggable amp, and I do like it with Les Paul type guitars, but I'm always going to my 5F1 6L6 5W amp for a tonal high. I'm addicted to the chime .

    Of course, there are ways to tricking them all with a subtle pedal in front, such as a well-designed booster with a tone control and judicious use of your guitar's tone knob.

    So yes, I've ranted too much, but in a couple of words, what I love is: 5F1 6L6s.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tunghaichuan
    I find the 6L6 based amps kind of scooped sounding, at least the later Blackface Fenders. The true 5881 amps like the Bassman were more mid-rangy.
    Is the scooped sound more a function of the 6L6s, the tone stack, or some other part of the amph?
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  14. #14
    Super Duper Fretter tunghaichuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold
    Is the scooped sound more a function of the 6L6s, the tone stack, or some other part of the amph?
    The scooped Fender blackface tone is due partially to the circuit and partially to the inherent characteristics of the 6L6 tube. The 6L6 tube, at least the 6L6GC, has a stronger bottom end and less mids than an EL34 or even an EL84.

    I think that EL84 tubes are chimey because they have a lot of top end, not so many mids and a relatively weak bottom end, IOW the tube emphasizes the top end. The EL34 is less chimey as it emphasizes the mids.

    tung

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by tunghaichuan
    Does your 5F1 have a 6L6 in it? I ask because the 5F1 originally had a 6V6 in it.
    Yes, my 5F1 amp has a 6V6 in it.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold
    Is the scooped sound more a function of the 6L6s, the tone stack, or some other part of the amph?
    I would say that the 6L6 has a contribution to that, but it's very small. The main culprit is the tone stack. Before the 5F1 I had a small Fender Champ 600 RI which is a slightly modified blackface circuit with a very pronounced mid scoop. That's why I sold it and got the 5F1, actually. The 5F1 is a tweed, not a blackface model circuit, and it gives you more mids.

    So IMHO the scooped thing is really a function of the blackface Champ circuit, not so much a function of the power tube.

    As for the chime, by chime I don't really mean high end in itself. I mean shimmer - well, it's hard to explain sounds in words .

  17. #17
    Regular Fretter tot_Ou_tard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red
    I would say that the 6L6 has a contribution to that, but it's very small. The main culprit is the tone stack. Before the 5F1 I had a small Fender Champ 600 RI which is a slightly modified blackface circuit with a very pronounced mid scoop. That's why I sold it and got the 5F1, actually. The 5F1 is a tweed, not a blackface model circuit, and it gives you more mids.

    So IMHO the scooped thing is really a function of the blackface Champ circuit, not so much a function of the power tube.

    As for the chime, by chime I don't really mean high end in itself. I mean shimmer - well, it's hard to explain sounds in words .
    Ahhhh, shimmer. That's a different beast than chime. I'm a shimmer-hound, I love the stuff.


    I have a Champion 600 reissue and a Gries 5, both champ-based with an 6V6.


    The Gries 5 allows one to dial out the tonestack and so move between a blackface and something similar to a 5F1 tweed or any stop in between.

    With the tonestack dialed out the amp has more mids & harmonic content & can get significantly louder.

    My experience is that the 6V6 is a sweet, rich tube that in a single ended amp can shimmer 'tll there's no tomorrow.

    I have only briefly owned an EL84-based amp (H&K 20th anniversary). I cannot really recall, but my recollections is that the clean channel on that amp was brighter & chimier.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by tot_Ou_tard
    I have only briefly owned an EL84-based amp (H&K 20th anniversary). I cannot really recall, but my recollections is that the clean channel on that amp was brighter & chimier.
    With the outmost respect for your experience: brighter, definitely; chimier, no way .
    Either that, or I've lost too much perceived high end in my ears .

    EDIT: Sorry, I've missed the "clean channel" part - you might have a point there, I'm not sure how the clean channel uses the circuit but it's not chime-defficient, definitely. I still think that the 5F1 and other 6L6 based-amps are more chime-friendly, mind you. Perhaps chime means some low end factored in as well?

  19. #19
    Regular Fretter tot_Ou_tard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red
    With the outmost respect for your experience: brighter, definitely; chimier, no way .
    Either that, or I've lost too much perceived high end in my ears .
    Well, I did preface my remark with some mumblings about how uncertain my recollection was .


    I am trying to work out how many dimensions respect exists in---whether outmost is the same as utmost or perhaps just almost.

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