#1
I got a used JCM 900 50 watt 1x12 Dual Reverb combo, and it appears my local guitar amp tech recommends i get some new power tubes at least, maybe i'll get some pre amp ones as well

It is a 1990, so it came with EL34's stock, but after a couple years they switched to 5881's, which are just a type of 6L6 tube.

These are what i think i know about the characteristics of tubes already:

EL34:
-less headroom
-more mid/treble bite
-a little more vintage marshall sounding
-a little lesser cleans
6L6:
-more headroom
-possibly more bass response/slightly scooped mids compared to the EL34's
-more modern sounding
-better cleans
-more gain

Are these characteristics correct?

I'm leaning towards 6L6's, because i'm not really going for vintage marshall tones

I play more hard rock, thrash metal, grunge, and more overall like 90's music.
Quote by progbass
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#2
go with the 6L6's
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#3
the 6L6s are probably better for you you get a more gainyer american tone bbetter for the music you want to do
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#4
Quote by WTF!!is a TAB
go with the 6L6's



thanks for the reply, but elaboration?


also, people say to buy online, i'm in the U.S. whats the best place to buy online?

also i'm looking at JJ's so GuitarCenter and MusiciansFriend won't due
Quote by progbass
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#5
Quote by acdclandon
thanks for the reply, but elaboration?


also, people say to buy online, i'm in the U.S. whats the best place to buy online?

also i'm looking at JJ's so GuitarCenter and MusiciansFriend won't due

tube depot and the tubestore the stock JJ's Tungsols and some other brands.....
and i chose the 6L6's because it can give you more gain for Thrash Metal....
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#6
Quote by acdclandon
I got a used JCM 900 50 watt 1x12 Dual Reverb combo, and it appears my local guitar amp tech recommends i get some new power tubes at least, maybe i'll get some pre amp ones as well

It is a 1990, so it came with EL34's stock, but after a couple years they switched to 5881's, which are just a type of 6L6 tube.

These are what i think i know about the characteristics of tubes already:

EL34:
-less headroom
-more mid/treble bite
-a little more vintage marshall sounding
-a little lesser cleans
6L6:
-more headroom

-possibly more bass response/slightly scooped mids compared to the EL34's
-more modern sounding
-better cleans
-more gain


These two are contrary to each other.

EL34s have less headroom, they break up earlier and they have a pretty prominent mid range bark, and slightly mushy bass. 6L6s are cleaner, have a much bigger, tighter low end and have a brighter, and more bell-like top end.

6L6s are generally preferred in high gain situations, having a lot of power tube breakup along with a high gain preamp is just going to end up being a muddy mess.
#7
I'm not sure exactly how the difference sounds in a JCM, but from other amps where I have heard the comparison, I would be inclined to go with 6L6's
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#8
Quote by al112987
These two are contrary to each other.

EL34s have less headroom, they break up earlier and they have a pretty prominent mid range bark, and slightly mushy bass. 6L6s are cleaner, have a much bigger, tighter low end and have a brighter, and more bell-like top end.

6L6s are generally preferred in high gain situations, having a lot of power tube breakup along with a high gain preamp is just going to end up being a muddy mess.


ah okay thanks for the correction

also would replacing the pre amp tubes be worth it?

the tubes are old, i don't know how old, but i do know they are old
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#10
Tubedepot.com is spot on. I got a quad of JJ e34ls for 3/4 what it would have cost me in a shop.
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#11
EL-34 + High Gain = Sex imo.

I'd stick with the EL-34s just cause I prefer that tone better for metal, but just judging by what you want and using stereotype guestimations, I'd say go with the 6L6s.
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#12
JJ KT77s.


...to actually explain, they retain some of the high-end Marshally emphasis of the EL34s, but take away the "ice-pick-in-the-ear" part of the highs. It adds in more lows, reminiscent of a 6L6, with headroom in between the EL34 and 6L6. Best of both worlds...I've tried it w/ friends and customers, about 80% prefer the KT77 over the EL34 and about 60% prefer the KT77 over the 6L6.
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#13
Quote by MatrixClaw
EL-34 + High Gain = Sex imo.

I'd stick with the EL-34s just cause I prefer that tone better for metal, but just judging by what you want and using stereotype guestimations, I'd say go with the 6L6s.


alright, thanks for the reply.

could you comment on replacing pre amp tubes, wether its worth the extra 20 or 25 bucks?
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#15
my amp uses EL34's and i prefer its tone much more over some of the 6L6 amps ive played
(for instance, 6505+, surprisingly i wasnt feeling it too much)
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#16
Quote by acdclandon
could you comment on replacing pre amp tubes, wether its worth the extra 20 or 25 bucks?



A new preamp section can have a large influence on your sound as well, might as well get that changed to if you have the money. You could always keep the other preamp tubes as backups. I've bought from eurotubes before, they have "kits" for amps that have descriptions of the setups.

https://ssl.eurotubes.com/cart/index.php?page=view_products&category_id=9&sub_category_id=135
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#17
i would say go with 6l6s, however, if your not into the british sound, then your buying the wrong amp. it will still sound like a marshall, just a marshall with 6l6s. the voicing of an amp has more to do with the circuit than its tubes.
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#18
Ok, Landon, i just pulled one of the power amp tubes out of mine so i could tell you what it is. SVETLANA Electron EL 34 there made in russia, i had a local amp builder Glenn Morris of morris amps put them in, the pre amp tubes are the same company i think, Glenn said there high gain tubes and they are, i had JJ EL 34`s in mine b4 and the Svetlana`s are deff, higher gain.
#19
ok, well i have 2 JCM 900`s here mine with the EL 34`s and my nephews with 6L6`s, i just ran though both heads through my Marshall 1960 cab as a big 2X12 and honestly it all depends on what your looking for.

the 6L6 is more modern metal sound, the EL 34`s have way more mids to them.

EQ Volume and gain were set the same for both heads

ok so mine the 4500 EL 34.

Volume was at 8 so it was LOUD LOL, gain at 20.

i had ALOT of mids dailed in at 7 the gain with EMG`s is enuff to do any form of metal you want the EL 34`s are more Marshall then the 6L6. very tight, darker sounding then the 6L6 but being a Marshall you have LOTS of high end on tap. i was Playing mostly Slayer and the fast riffing just melted into eachother like there suppost to, dail the mids back to get a scooped Metal sound.

Nephews 4100 6L6

this is for newer metal sound, it`ll do thrash no problem but once again has to be CRANKED also was playing Slayer and there was loads of gain with the EMG`s the bottem end was tigher then the EL 34`s but not nearly as much mid, but did have more highs (which I heard the 6L6`s were darker guess not) , there are more for Metal, but i think will limit your tone for metal, make you sound more like "everyone else" you know.

honestly i think i`d stick with the EL 34`s, use less mids more highs and you`ll have a true Metal tone, with more of a Marshall sound, cause i WANT to sound like a Marshall the 6L6`s take some of that away.

Throw the MXR 108 in the FX loop and fine tune your tone, you can get a CRAZY thrash tone out of the 900 with the MXR and pretty much all the low end you want.

Things i HIGHLY recommened for your search of the THRASH..... EMG`s 1st and formost you HAVE to have EMG`s in your guitar, the MXR 108, which you said you own, best f`ing pedal in the world. PA2 Gain booster you don`t NEED it, but is helpfull for playing at low levels. oh and don`t forget the FLYING V LOL :P .

oh and the 900 will do metal with passive pickups too you just HAVE to crank the hell out of it.

All tests were done with my BC Rich Kerry King sig V with the booster turned off, Marshall JCM 900 4100/4500, 1960A cab in stereo and NO MXR 108.

if i knew how i`d do sound clips for you, but i don`t know how .
#20
I'd change the preamp tubes as well, just because it's used. Start fresh. Tungsol.
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#21
are 6L6 and EL34 tubes interchangeable? i thought it was an "either/or" deal
#22
Quote by chea_man
the voicing of an amp has more to do with the circuit than its tubes.
Exactly. People over estimate the tonal impact of powertubes. They think if they go with a certain tube than they will get a certain sound just like that.
British sound EL34's, American sound 6L6's, not exactly.
I mean, Marshall's were originally made with 6L6's, then changed to EL34's for supply and price reasons. But the amps still sounded the same either way. How an amp sounds is based on it's circuitry and preamp. A poweramp tube swap will only affect the tone marginally.
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#23
Quote by Slayerdeath
ok, well i have 2 JCM 900`s here mine with the EL 34`s and my nephews with 6L6`s, i just ran though both heads through my Marshall 1960 cab as a big 2X12 and honestly it all depends on what your looking for.

the 6L6 is more modern metal sound, the EL 34`s have way more mids to them.

EQ Volume and gain were set the same for both heads

ok so mine the 4500 EL 34.

Volume was at 8 so it was LOUD LOL, gain at 20.

i had ALOT of mids dailed in at 7 the gain with EMG`s is enuff to do any form of metal you want the EL 34`s are more Marshall then the 6L6. very tight, darker sounding then the 6L6 but being a Marshall you have LOTS of high end on tap. i was Playing mostly Slayer and the fast riffing just melted into eachother like there suppost to, dail the mids back to get a scooped Metal sound.

Nephews 4100 6L6

this is for newer metal sound, it`ll do thrash no problem but once again has to be CRANKED also was playing Slayer and there was loads of gain with the EMG`s the bottem end was tigher then the EL 34`s but not nearly as much mid, but did have more highs (which I heard the 6L6`s were darker guess not) , there are more for Metal, but i think will limit your tone for metal, make you sound more like "everyone else" you know.

honestly i think i`d stick with the EL 34`s, use less mids more highs and you`ll have a true Metal tone, with more of a Marshall sound, cause i WANT to sound like a Marshall the 6L6`s take some of that away.

Throw the MXR 108 in the FX loop and fine tune your tone, you can get a CRAZY thrash tone out of the 900 with the MXR and pretty much all the low end you want.

Things i HIGHLY recommened for your search of the THRASH..... EMG`s 1st and formost you HAVE to have EMG`s in your guitar, the MXR 108, which you said you own, best f`ing pedal in the world. PA2 Gain booster you don`t NEED it, but is helpfull for playing at low levels. oh and don`t forget the FLYING V LOL :P .

oh and the 900 will do metal with passive pickups too you just HAVE to crank the hell out of it.

All tests were done with my BC Rich Kerry King sig V with the booster turned off, Marshall JCM 900 4100/4500, 1960A cab in stereo and NO MXR 108.

if i knew how i`d do sound clips for you, but i don`t know how .



woah man thanks so much

i think the other thing for me is that i'm not playing like only metal either, and i don't think i'm really after the old vintage marshalley kind of sound (the 900 isn't for that anyway)

i appreciate the review a lot though, and i plan on getting a dinky with EMG's i think

also i like the lack ok mids a little bit, the thing already screams with mids so i don't need too many more i think, plus the tight bottom end is awesome too

thanks man
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#24
Quote by Van Noord
Exactly. People over estimate the tonal impact of powertubes. They think if they go with a certain tube than they will get a certain sound just like that.
British sound EL34's, American sound 6L6's, not exactly.
I mean, Marshall's were originally made with 6L6's, then changed to EL34's for supply and price reasons. But the amps still sounded the same either way. How an amp sounds is based on it's circuitry and preamp. A poweramp tube swap will only affect the tone marginally.

gotta agree with Van Noord and chea_man. All depends on the amp circuit. Some of the meanest modern sounding metal amps produced use EL34. ie. Bogner Uberschall, Diezel Herbert, Framus Cobra, ENGL SE, etc...
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#25
Quote by acdclandon
woah man thanks so much

i think the other thing for me is that i'm not playing like only metal either, and i don't think i'm really after the old vintage marshalley kind of sound (the 900 isn't for that anyway)

i appreciate the review a lot though, and i plan on getting a dinky with EMG's i think

also i like the lack ok mids a little bit, the thing already screams with mids so i don't need too many more i think, plus the tight bottom end is awesome too

thanks man


oh no prob. and also the hotter you get the tubes, within reason the better it`ll sound and more gain you`ll get, i notice this in band practice the amps ALWAYS sound better and have more gain when there nice and hot.
#26
Quote by Slayerdeath
oh no prob. and also the hotter you get the tubes, within reason the better it`ll sound and more gain you`ll get, i notice this in band practice the amps ALWAYS sound better and have more gain when there nice and hot.



sweet that will be nice

hey how much did the guitar booster cost?

did you do it yourself?
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#27
Quote by acdclandon
sweet that will be nice

hey how much did the guitar booster cost?

did you do it yourself?


i think it was $60 installed. if you buy the EMG`s to install in a guitar make sure to get the KFK set, they come with the PA2.


http://www.emginc.com/products/index/183
#28
Quote by Slayerdeath
i think it was $60 installed. if you buy the EMG`s to install in a guitar make sure to get the KFK set, they come with the PA2.


http://www.emginc.com/products/index/183



ah i see, my only issue is are the pickups just exactly an 81 and 85, or are they any different than the normal ones because their Kings Sig. pups?
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#29
Quote by acdclandon
ah i see, my only issue is are the pickups just exactly an 81 and 85, or are they any different than the normal ones because their Kings Sig. pups?


yes Kings 81/85 are the same as normal ones, there just his sig pickups cause there the ones he uses live and in the studio.
#30
Quote by Slayerdeath
yes Kings 81/85 are the same as normal ones, there just his sig pickups cause there the ones he uses live and in the studio.



ah alright, is there anyway to get the boost seperately?

guess i'm looking at getting a Jackson Dinky DKMG with EMG's already on it

(and btw dude slayer rules, was just listening to Seasons In The Abyss, ****ing great song)
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#31
Quote by acdclandon
ah alright, is there anyway to get the boost seperately?

guess i'm looking at getting a Jackson Dinky DKMG with EMG's already on it

(and btw dude slayer rules, was just listening to Seasons In The Abyss, ****ing great song)


ya you can buy the PA2 seperately, it`s 40 or 50 bucks.

and yes SLAYER ****ing rules LOL.

thats funny you said that about Seasons, back like 11 years ago when i was 15 i was watching Much Loud on TV and Slayer Seasons in the abyss comes on, and well me being a hardcore MetallicA fan, diddn`t really care much for anything else, i diddn`t know who Slayer were at the time, so I`m watching the vid for Seasons and when Kerry King did his solo i was blown away, Kerry Kings solo in Seasons in the Abyss hook me on Slayer and Kerry King ever since.
#32
Quote by Slayerdeath
ya you can buy the PA2 seperately, it`s 40 or 50 bucks.

and yes SLAYER ****ing rules LOL.

thats funny you said that about Seasons, back like 11 years ago when i was 15 i was watching Much Loud on TV and Slayer Seasons in the abyss comes on, and well me being a hardcore MetallicA fan, diddn`t really care much for anything else, i diddn`t know who Slayer were at the time, so I`m watching the vid for Seasons and when Kerry King did his solo i was blown away, Kerry Kings solo in Seasons in the Abyss hook me on Slayer and Kerry King ever since.



yeah i might do that then, if the dinky's emg's aren't enough

thats awesome, still love metallica though, but they both are awesome

personally from what i've heard of them (i'm not die hard fan yet, still gathering knowledge) i think i like seasons the best album wise
reign in blood is cool and all, but seasons has the diversity that i like
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#33
Quote by acdclandon
yeah i might do that then, if the dinky's emg's aren't enough

thats awesome, still love metallica though, but they both are awesome

personally from what i've heard of them (i'm not die hard fan yet, still gathering knowledge) i think i like seasons the best album wise
reign in blood is cool and all, but seasons has the diversity that i like


Seasons is a great album, mine has got to be Reign in Blood though, i`m all about the speed, when i`m playing in my band, i can`t stand going slow, i get bored, i wanna be going at 200 mph like Angel of Death or War Ensemble. but i`m die hard LOL, hoping to get a Slayer tat this summer, i`m thinking Slayer with a BC Rich V and Warlock crossed and the dates that i`ve seen Slayer live.

you need to get some Thrash clips up on your profile when you get your dinky and JCM 900.

but i`m off to bed, night bud.
#34
Quote by Slayerdeath
Seasons is a great album, mine has got to be Reign in Blood though, i`m all about the speed, when i`m playing in my band, i can`t stand going slow, i get bored, i wanna be going at 200 mph like Angel of Death or War Ensemble. but i`m die hard LOL, hoping to get a Slayer tat this summer, i`m thinking Slayer with a BC Rich V and Warlock crossed and the dates that i`ve seen Slayer live.

you need to get some Thrash clips up on your profile when you get your dinky and JCM 900.

but i`m off to bed, night bud.



is there one you'd recommend besides seasons and reign?
i've heard south of heaven is underrated?
yeah i like both, thats whats cool about seasons, you have dead skin mask and the title track, along with war ensemble (awesome awesome song btw)

haha if you do post pics that would be cool

i will, although the dinky will be a while
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#35
Quote by al112987
These two are contrary to each other.

Are they?
What if we're talking about headroom and poweramp gain? Then surely they're not, as you're driving the preamp valves harder to get overdrive?

Quote by MatrixClaw
EL-34 + High Gain = Sex imo.

Agreed! Personally, I'd go with EL34s but that's just my taste.
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#36
Quote by Yngwi3
Are they?
What if we're talking about headroom and poweramp gain? Then surely they're not, as you're driving the preamp valves harder to get overdrive?

Uh... except the topic here is different power amp tubes in the same amp. A power tube that has a lot of headroom break up late. A power tube that has more gain breaks up early.
#37
Quote by al112987
Uh... except the topic here is different power amp tubes in the same amp. A power tube that has a lot of headroom break up late. A power tube that has more gain breaks up early.


i guess what i meant was like normal gain as in the gain knob on the amp, which i already know has a lot more to do with the preamp tubes but still...

i guess what i mean is this:

take the same amp at low volume and the same pre amp tubes, and one with 6L6's and one with EL34's and turn the gain to 10, they would be pretty much the same?
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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#38
Quote by acdclandon
i guess what i meant was like normal gain as in the gain knob on the amp, which i already know has a lot more to do with the preamp tubes but still...

i guess what i mean is this:

take the same amp at low volume and the same pre amp tubes, and one with 6L6's and one with EL34's and turn the gain to 10, they would be pretty much the same?

Yeah that gain knob has nothing to do with the power tubes. Master volumes are always placed before the power section, so at lower volume settings the "headroom" or "gain" of power tubes make no difference. Again, the difference is only in tonal qualities.
#39
Quote by al112987
Yeah that gain knob has nothing to do with the power tubes. Master volumes are always placed before the power section, so at lower volume settings the "headroom" or "gain" of power tubes make no difference. Again, the difference is only in tonal qualities.



alright i was just clarifying

and i'm pretty sure i'm getting 6L6's
Quote by progbass
right Metallica is a given. Personally I like to pretend the bus exploded and killed them all in '86.

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