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Which 6L6?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Transverz, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    After reading the tests done on Watsonvalves.com under the advisement of an older thread, I wanted to get your comments:

    Which 6L6 would give the best and most usable bass sound goodness, while at the same time giving the most wattage? Either or is fine too. I like it slightly overdriven when I dig, but headroom is extra important.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. 6L6


    Apr 7, 2005
    Hi !
    I haven't tried the gear you are reffering to.
    Shall i use a large powerfull tube amp
    or a medium power one is a hard choise.
    (at least this is my experience from Guitar amps.)
    Because if you use a very powerfull one
    and like the sound just before the amp
    starts to clip, the SPL are starting to get Unbearable.
    this is one of the reasons the less powerfull el84
    are so popular ( typical 15 - 30 W from a small amp)

    Having an amp that runs 60 - 120 w on one channel
    and twice as much in bridge. (120 - 240), can give you
    more choices.

    Have been thinking about to have a top with 2 x 10"
    or 2 x 12" with dual output, one for a singel driver (8 ohm)
    or both in 4 ohm. Then i can adjust the spl
    using 60 to 120 w (in my 60/60) in either 1 or
    2 speakers. this will at least give me the possibility to adjust
    spl at least 6 - 9 db.
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I recently order a matched set of six JJ 6L6GC's for one channel of my Mesa Strategy 400 and six matched EH 6L6GC's for the other. Unfortunately, I have not been able to really get a feel for them, as once I put new tubes in the amp, I realized that there was a problem with Channel B (looks like it might be the transformer), and it has been in the shop for over two months! :spit:

    But, after asking a lot of questions form a lot of people, I chose the JJ's for their clear high end, punchy lows, and nice "grind", and the EH's for their tight lows, slightly darker sound, and Fender-like detail.

    Svetlana 6L6GC's are also excellent (and I am borrowing some from Big String - but again, I have yet to be able to try them!), and other folks seem to like Sovtek 6L6WXT+, which are similar to the EH's.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  4. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks to both of you...this really does help! Anything at this point helps because I know NOTHING about tubes hehe. Except I got really badly interested in it lately. I hope it's worth it (I'm sure you would attest to that).

    6L6 (the TB'er, not the tube hehe) - Yes, I was talking about the 240w tube head I mentioned somewhere else. I'm trying to gain as much volume as possible as my band and gigs tend to be loud loud loud. But of course it has to sound good! :D

    Tom: Thanks for that specific run down of your experiences so far. I was going to shoot for the JJ's until I read your EH comments. It appears to me that you're saying the EH's have more lower end and clear detail, and can hold up more until they start to break up? And the JJ's have are about punch, tight low end, and grind? Hmm. Of course I have the preamp (see below) to do all this tone shaping, but I'm sure the sound also has much to do with the power tubes. Darn, I can't decide. But thanks nonetheless.

    As mentioned, I'm thinking about a lower power amp (240w) that I'm trying to bring up to status with everyone's Mesa 400+ or Strategy 400 or SVT. Is that expecting too much? Or rather, would it be possible to expect

    a) A "lowly" :rolleyes: Peavey Classic 120/120 and a carefully selected preamp to rival (not necessarily emulate) *insert favorite high power all tube amp here*?

    b) How about in terms of volume? Will it have enough to make my 1x15 + 2x10 (or anything else I'll get) use their full potential?

    I have a feeling the right preamp will help greatly. Saying this...

    Another question: As mentioned in another thread, I plugged an active bass similar to my own in the input and it was able to be clearly heard. Not superb volume or anything...just "clear". How much additional volume or gain in volume will I get with a preamp? In general, I mean. Like, what is the difference between instrument level (of a 9V active bass) and the typical output level of a preamp? What I'm really asking is, how much louder would it have been if I would have hooked up a preamp instead of going directly in?

    Sorry for all the dumb questions. Thanks for even reading...

  5. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    Choice of output tube brand or variant will have precious little effect on your SPL.

    Using my Ampeg B15 bone stock, I found that National Union 350B (licensed by Western Electric-WWII vintage) gave me better sound when the amp was driven to its limits as compared to the EH 6L6GC that it came with. The actual SPL was really about the same, but the tone was quite a bit nicer, and less ragged. I ultimately decided that burning uber-expensive OP tubes was not the answer for bass guitar (that right is reserved for my stereo in the living room), so I invested in some horn cabs designed by Bill Fitzmaurice.

    If you really want to maximize acoustic output with medium to low power (read: affordable to own) amps, you should consider high efficiency speaker systems.
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    There are some differences in the gain structures of pre-amp tubes (12AX7 versus 12AT7 for instance) but precious little in power tubes with the same model designation, and the bottom line is that if somehow you found some tubes that gave you an extra 10 watts of output you wouldn't be able to hear it in any event.
  7. ..not necessarily. Even though raw spl differnces may not be so great, the major difference between a 'good sounding' tube versus a 'bad sounding' tube is the amount of plate current it can safely handle. Cheap tubes may have high transconductance (voltage amplification) but sound like crap because they disappate relatively low plate current to that voltage: i.e.- Chinese 12AX7's. Better tubes have better plate current and have more low end, because low end is directly proportional to current. That's why better tubes are smoother sounding at their peaks.
  8. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    It's been my 6L6GC experience that the JJs are tighter in the low end than the Sovtek WXT+. In a Mesa 400+

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