#1
People always made me believe there was a great tonal difference in EL34s and 6L6s. Mainly that EL34=crunch and 6l6=metal, but then I came upon this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dby8RwA1rM

This amp has 6l6s in it and it sounds, well, crunchy. I basically hear all the characteristics people made me believe you only get out of EL34s.

I especially recall when someone suggested I put EL34s in a Triple XXX to "make it sound like a marshall".
It sounded nothing like a marshall, or anything close to resembling one.

So is the tube thing exaggerated in general or is there a bit of truth to it?
#3
There is some truth to it, but you got it all wrong (no offense):

6L6: More clean headroom, more scooped mids, more brittle break-up
EL34: Lower clean headroom, pronounced mids, more crunchy break-up

Of course types of tubes matter much less than the actual circuit of an amp, so if you put EL34s into a peavey it still won't sound like a marshall.
#4
Tubes make a noticeable difference, but it's not like 80% of the weight of your tone or anything. Laney is a British amp brand; I'm not surprised it can pull off those crunch tones like that.
#5
They do sound different but just changing the valves from 6L6 to EL34 will not turn any amp into a Marshall. There is a big difference between the sound of a Sovtek 6L6 and an Amperex 6L6 too. Every valve has it's own sound.
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#7
tubes do make a small difference, but from what i have read (and i mean read, because i have been looking into amp building, and haven't started yet),the tone stack makes more of a difference.
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#8
pretty much what everyone has already said.


here are some good recent threads that popped into my mind. If I had an XXX I'd probably put EL34s in it. Then again I like amps like the JSX and the 6534 better.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=473149&highlight=6L6+vs+EL34
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1359445&highlight=6L6+vs+EL34
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1351341&highlight=6L6+vs+EL34
couldn't find the one i was really looking for

but yeah....tone stack
#9
Eh. The tone shaping in the preamp stages has a much larger effect on tone than different power tube types and is what determines an amp's voicing. TBH most power tubes sound very similar until you get them cooking a bit.

And while the tone stack makes a bigger difference than output tube typ, changing the biasing of the preamp tubes along with bypass and coupling cap values makes a considerably larger difference.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Sep 9, 2010,
#10
Where they do sound different is when you are pushing them into clipping. If you are getting all your distortion from the preamp the difference is hardly noticeable. Swap them in a non master volume amp and you can definitely hear the difference.
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Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


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My band