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Old 03-27-2015, 05:47 AM   #1
71GA
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UK Bugera 333XL - swapping stock tubes with 6L6

Reecently my Bugera 333XL's tubes got worn out. All of a sudden all the LEDs on the back of my amp lit and I think that I have to swap all power tubes which are Bugera's EL34.

Now I wanted to swap those for 6L6 which suit me more, because I like modern sounding guitarists like Marco Sfogli. I then watched a 6L6 comparison video and decided that companies like TUNG-SOL or RCA produce 6L6s that I want.

Now when I read an article here, I realized that there are more 6L6 models:
  • 6L6GC
  • 6L6GB / 5881
  • KT66

Which one should I go with? Reading that article I read, that the 6L6GC are better sounding. Can I plug those into my Bugera 333XL? What are your experiences with 6L6 tubes?
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:58 AM   #2
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At first I was concerned that swapping from EL34's to 6L6's would wreck your amp. But it seems your amp can be compatible to use both. I presume you know how to set your amp so that it runs correctly (proper switching, bias, etc.)

I use Tung Sol 6L6GC's in my ValveKing (no compatibility without mods). The VK is a pretty dark amp, and the 6L6's don't seem to help "brighten" it up at all. My V1 preamp Tung Sol does however. The "dark"ish sound might be what you're going for. That's just my experience though.

The quick demo I heard of your amp loaded with EL's showed a "tight" midrange but sounded a bit scooped and kinda meh (could be the user doing that). The clip of Marco (in comparison, a lot better) sounded like there was a strong midrange presence. If my research (haven't had a lot of hands-on experience here) is correct, EL's are often used in Britty amps with strong midrange like VOX (although the blues jr. uses EL's). I guess 6L6's would be considered "darker". I would stick with EL's if that's how your amp would react. I view preamp tubes as having more of an effect on the tone then the power tubes though.

Here is the amp presumably being used in the demo: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Mark5-112 Loaded with 6L6's stock. I guess you also have to take into account your < $400 amp head compared to a $2k combo in your tone-chasing. Really, either tube type would work, you just might have to compensate with EQ and such.
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Last edited by Will Lane : 03-27-2015 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:50 AM   #3
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The Infinium tech in the Bugera allows you to plug in just about any power tubes you want. Supposed to be a self biasing sort of thing. You'll be able to plug in 6L6s.

The best way I've heard 6L6s compared to EL34s is the 6L6s have more "sear" if you can imagine that. There's a bit more edge to the tone that American amps have vs say a Marshall. You can always hear a comparison between a 6505+ and a 6534+ (same preamp, different power section) to make a true comparison.

Now what I am concerned about is the fact that all the LEDs came on at once. Was it an abrupt thing? Did you get any symptoms like volume drops or sparks? How old are the tubes? My buddy had the same amp and when all four lights came on he had also blown a fuse and something was internally wrong with the amp and he had to send it back to Bugera.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71GA
Reecently my Bugera 333XL's tubes got worn out. All of a sudden all the LEDs on the back of my amp lit and I think that I have to swap all power tubes which are Bugera's EL34.

Now I wanted to swap those for 6L6 which suit me more, because I like modern sounding guitarists
Which one should I go with? Reading that article I read, that the 6L6GC are better sounding. Can I plug those into my Bugera 333XL? What are your experiences with 6L6 tubes?


Quick Hits:
  • If all four LEDs came on, something is wrong with your amp other than the power tubes. The chances of all four power tubes dying at once are tiny.
  • 90% chance that you will NOT hear the difference between EL34s and 6L6s in that amp.
  • Never make tube choices based on articles you read or YouTube videos.

My best advice would be to get that amp to a warranty station or a good tech to find out what's really wrong with it.

Two, don't fuss over what "brand" your tubes are. Educate yourself a bit more. You'll find that most tubes, these days, come from just a few remaining manufacturing plants in Russia, China and eastern Europe. These survive from a time when tubes were used heavily by the Soviet military, and now supply a declining guitar tube amp market. Most western tube plants were already disappearing in the '60's, and the only thing that saved tube amps at all was Nixon opening trade relationships with China and the Soviet Union. With the Soviet military still 20 years behind the times and using tubes, companies like Marshall and Fender found that they had a new source of valves.

Larger companies like New Sensor own a number of brand names (like Tung-Sol, Mullard, Sovtek). In the case of New Sensor, most of those tubes are manufactured at the Russian Reflektor plant. In the old days, some of those brands did their own manufacturing in the UK and the US (I think Tung-Sol developed the 6550?), but the brands have been sold off, those plants closed and the current Tung-Sols have nothing whatever to do with the originals.

Three, you're unlikely to hear the difference between EL34s and 6L6s in that amp. I have a Carvin TS-100 stereo tube power amp which allows me to use EL34s in one channel and 6L6s in the other. At any reasonable volume (gigging levels), you really can't hear the difference. Hearing the differences between brand names stickered onto the various tubes is just cork-sniffing at a very high level, and likely has more to do with manufacturing tolerances within the same plant than between brands. And that would apply to the Carvin, a really well-done low-distortion power amp only. Forget about hearing significant differences in your Bulgera.
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Old 03-27-2015, 01:01 PM   #5
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Ok so I bought four new JJ 6L6GC tubes (102,6) tonight and plugged them into my amp, cleaned them with ethanol... I haven't powerd my amp on yet because I am a bit worried - the 6L6 valves that I bought have fewer contacts on the bottom than EL34 but I assume some of EL34 contacts are NC (not connected)... Is my assumption correct?

Now I will see. If my amp still won't work, I will try and change the fuse...

ADD1: I took out the fuse in the back and it has resistance close to 0.04Ω which looks fine.
ADD2: I powered on the amp and my power on button starts to blink while all 4 LEDs turn on... Yeah it really isn't the power section tubes... Might be the preamp tubes?

Last edited by 71GA : 03-27-2015 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71GA
Ok so I bought four new JJ 6L6GC tubes (102,6) tonight and plugged them into my amp, cleaned them with ethanol... I haven't powerd my amp on yet because I am a bit worried - the 6L6 valves that I bought have fewer contacts on the bottom than EL34 but I assume some of EL34 contacts are NC (not connected)... Is my assumption correct?

Now I will see. If my amp still won't work, I will try and change the fuse...

ADD1: I took out the fuse in the back and it has resistance close to 0.04Ω which looks fine.
ADD2: I powered on the amp and my power on button starts to blink while all 4 LEDs turn on... Yeah it really isn't the power section tubes... Might be the preamp tubes?

No the Infinium section is fried. You should still be under warranty if you bought it new (if your lucky). Now you have learned first hand why people don't suggest Bugera amps around here.
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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Are you absolutely sure about this? How do you know? And yes I learned it the hard way, but that is not the point.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71GA
Are you absolutely sure about this? How do you know? And yes I learned it the hard way, but that is not the point.

You can check and see if there is a fuse somewhere. But if the lights are coming on then I'd say your getting power and the self-biasing system is bonked. I have seen 2-3 Infiniums with an issue with the system.

Contact the warranty phone# and ask them your options
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:24 PM   #9
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The only fuse I am allowed to change is the one in the back - other fuses are inside the amp, but warrante prevents me from opening the amp.

I noticed thatl tubes don't even heat up in the warming stage and remain completely cold after powering the amp on. Weird. I better not turn it on any more.

Last edited by 71GA : 03-27-2015 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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While you're at it, demand a full refund and get the Boogie combo up above C;
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:36 PM   #11
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Oh well I can't get a refund... I am 2 months late for that... Sooo I opend it up and measured resistance on all the internal fuses... They all seem to be okey. Weird.

Last edited by 71GA : 03-27-2015 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:54 PM   #12
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Where's Arby?
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by evmac
Where's Arby?

Who is Arby?

ADD: I realized now, that preamp tubes are glowing while power section tubes aren't.
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:23 PM   #14
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Yeah, because like the other stated the self biasing part of the power section is shot. It's something that is probably not able to be repaired at home and is not worth taking to a tech because it will cost as much as the amp. If you're still under warranty you can ship it to Bugera to get repaired, but I'll tell you right now they'll make you pay $80 for shipping.

Same exact thing happened to my buddy's amp. He got it fixed and sold it for a $100 loss, which is probably your best option.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheStig1214
Yeah, because like the other stated the self biasing part of the power section is shot. It's something that is probably not able to be repaired at home and is not worth taking to a tech because it will cost as much as the amp. If you're still under warranty you can ship it to Bugera to get repaired, but I'll tell you right now they'll make you pay $80 for shipping.

Same exact thing happened to my buddy's amp. He got it fixed and sold it for a $100 loss, which is probably your best option.

+1

(pretty sure your original tubes are fine too)


Quote:
Originally Posted by evmac
Where's Arby?

It doesn't matter. Bugera fixed all of their quality issues.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
+1

(pretty sure your original tubes are fine too)



"Fine" is open to interpretation.....
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:50 PM   #17
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Always nice to have a spare set of t00bs c:
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:49 AM   #18
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let add this to the bugrea log. it is a shame though that it isn't working.

there is a small chance that there is a high tension fuse (HT) somewhere in the chassis, but you would have to open it up, and know what you are doing so you don't get fried.

don't poke around an amp if you don't know what you are doing.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
+1


It doesn't matter. Bugera fixed all of their quality issues.



He never claimed that that I have seen, and neither did anyone else other than hardcore few Bugera faithfuls and possible shills. He (and to some extent I) is merely tired of the stupid witch hunt and harping on the burning molex issue that really was fixed many years ago.

Bugeras are cheap disposable amps. Sound good and cheap enough to replace IF it goes boom prematurely. I paid 270 for mine brand new last christmas and it has paid itself back already in the amount of enjoyment I have had from it. If it goes boom, say, next christmas then I wont loose my sleep over it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:06 AM   #20
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He never claimed that that I have seen, and neither did anyone else other than hardcore few Bugera faithfuls and possible shills. He (and to some extent I) is merely tired of the stupid witch hunt and harping on the burning molex issue that really was fixed many years ago.

Bugeras are cheap disposable amps. Sound good and cheap enough to replace IF it goes boom prematurely. I paid 270 for mine brand new last christmas and it has paid itself back already in the amount of enjoyment I have had from it. If it goes boom, say, next christmas then I wont loose my sleep over it.


270 euros for something you expect to blow up ina year? Id invest my money elsewhere. I wouldnt drop $16000 on a car I expect to burn out the transmission on in 3 years.

I dunno how it converts to Euros but I paid $450 for my laney and the only issue ive had is one fried filter cap, which is to be expected on a 10 year old amp.

Its not just a witch hunt on the amps themselves, when they work yeah theyre fine. But bugera themselves are a bunch of dickheads in my experience. Getting them to cover anything under warranty is just a hassle.
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