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The EL34 vs 6L6 debate [message #92147] Mon, 10 August 2020 12:11 Go to next message
Dava is currently offline  Dava
Messages: 2
Registered: August 2020

-More mids,which could be percieved as a "fatter" tone.
-breaks up earlier
-More vintage tone
-British tone
-A crunchier sound.

EL34 questions: Why don't I see many high gain metal bands using EL34s these days? I know it might be because they don't want PT breakup, but EL34s and metal still sound great...


-More pronounced bass and highs. Less mids.
-Sparkly cleans.
-More headroom.
-American tone.
-More aggressive sound.

6L6 questions: Why are 6L6 valves associated as being the best for cleans? I know there is more headroom with 6L6 valves, but let's say if I wanted to switch out 6L6s for EL34s, would my clean tone be worse, or could it be better?

Overall, do you prefer EL34 or 6L6 valves/tubes and why? It would be interesting to gather opinions on this subject, and see which the UG community prefers. Thanks so much.
Re: The EL34 vs 6L6 debate [message #92151 is a reply to message #92147] Thu, 13 August 2020 21:54 Go to previous message
gofar99 is currently offline  gofar99
Messages: 1858
Registered: May 2010
Location: Southern Arizona
Illuminati (5th Degree)
Hi, Since I don't usually do guitar amps although I did two prototypes that were well liked you are probably asking the wrong person. My opinions tend toward high fidelity amps and how they sound. Overdrive and intentional distortion are not my thing. I actually had a tough time making amps that did those things. When in clean mode distortion was under 1% at half power and 2% at max (before overdrive) I ended up using VVR to drop the B+ enough to get overdrive distortion. Now for the what it is worth thoughts on the tubes as they do tend to behave the same in hi-fi as pro audio when not in distortion modes. IMO YMMV. EL34s tend to be clean sounding and relatively neutral in character. 6L6GCs more of a full sound especially in the bass region, not a detailed as EL34s. KT77s quite like EL34s in overall sound. KT88s a lot like 6L6GC but better details. And though not common in pro gear KT120s. At modest power levels quite clean and having a robust sound. When used at or near max dissipation a very robust but generally more mellow sound. I really like push-pull KT120s in ultra linear mode class A operation at about 65ma and 450B+ per tube. It seems a sweet spot and I am actually designing right now an integrated stereo amp like that (it will run the other tubes as well and can run at 140ma per tube with the KT120s if desired....just not the best sound IMO).

Good Listening
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