Battle of the 6L6's !

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jnewmark, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Play guitar.
    Tube guys ( or gals ) who have 6l6's for your power tubes, what brand are you using and why ? Recently got a Music man HD150 head which uses 4 6L6GS tubes and was wondering what brand will get me the best clean tone with the most headroom. I've been told that the phillips 7581A is the #$% for this high plate voltage head, but, man, are they expensive and hard to find a quad matched set. So give me some alternatives and why !
  2. spacebassed


    Jan 31, 2009
    as far as new production tubes go, its hard to beat SED "winged-C" 6L6GC's - or are you looking exclusively for American NOS tubes?
  3. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Call Lord Valve at NBS Electronics in Denver. He'll tell you the straight poop.
  4. Yes to "winged C"s, but include in your options KT66's
  5. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    alos keep in mind that the large bottle philips 6L6GC's are basically the same as 7581A's.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll tell you one I will never use again, and that's JJ's. I've had two pairs of JJ 6L6's, and the first set developed a crackle after 4 months, and the second set is new and one is already microphonic.
  7. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    TAD's have worked good for me.
    Winged C's are good but for my money I'll take TAD's
  8. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    ruby tubes, came with the amp, sound great
  9. spacebassed


    Jan 31, 2009
    Ruby Tubes are just cheap Chinese tubes that have been rebranded.
  10. JB_Upright

    JB_Upright Guest

    May 14, 2008
    I've had consistent, good results with the JJ 6L6. I have a set in an Ampeg B-15N, and a Mesa 400+, which has 12 of them.
  11. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Google "Eurotubes". Then call and talk to Bob. He's quick to tel you "I'm no tech" but he knows more about tubes than any three techs I've ever met. After your conversation he'll sell you a matched set and if you can make it to his place he'll install them and set the bias for you.
  12. spacebassed


    Jan 31, 2009
    + 1 for Eurotubes - superior customer service.
  13. & only JJ tubes afaik. Fine if u want JJ's, but there are others .....
  14. I wouldn't recommend kt66's in high plate voltage scenarios.

    Some proper 6ca7s would be nice though :)
  15. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    How much do you want to spend? My preference is, whenever possible, go with NOS.

    This place has a nice quartet of GE's for $252. They do an excellent job of matching the tubes and do it at the operating voltage of your amp.
  16. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    The original tube designed by Mullard was the EL37, it's still the best 6l6
    In my book.
    As they used to say "Don't be a dullard, fit a Mullard".:hyper:
    Cost you though these days.:bassist:
  17. Always bought mine from Mesa Boogie as matched sets. 35 years with not one problem.
  18. It's hard to go wrong with the Sovtek tubes, maybe not the most glamorous of tubes but they have always worked well for me. I've also got a pair of new EH 6L6's and they sound great too.

    I was not impressed with JJ's, they rattled too much.

    Overall, I guess I've been unimpressed with any of the Chinese tubes. And I'm pretty sure spacebassed is correct, Ruby tubes are relabelled Chinese tubes.

    Similarly, Groove Tubes as well as Tube Amp Doctors also do not make their own tubes, they relabel tubes made by other manufacturers.

    For a regular gigging amp, I'm not sure if I'd pay for NOS tubes. The prices are too high, and some of the current production sound just as good to my ears for a lot less money.
  19. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    one thing to keep in mind, here, is that the MM runs very high plate voltage.
    This needs to be accounted for in your tube selection.