Page 1 of 2
#1
Hey folks. Has anyone of you had the chance to compare amps with 5881 and 6L6 GC power tubes? It terms of tone, not power or anything, just tone. I found some YT videos, but they don´t sound very informative.... So I´m looking for someone with personal experience. I trust your ears, so tell me what they heard.
Thanx in advance
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 28, 2016,
#2
5881's are actually a lower powered tube than a 6L6GC. So that translates into less headroom. If you want power tube breakup go for 5881.
That awesome tone that Gary Moore pulled out of a JTM45 for Still Got The Blues were 5881's driven hard.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#3
Quote by Cathbard
5881's are actually a lower powered tube than a 6L6GC. So that translates into less headroom. If you want power tube breakup go for 5881.
That awesome tone that Gary Moore pulled out of a JTM45 for Still Got The Blues were 5881's driven hard.


Still Got the 5881s? Wow, that´s interesting, thank you for the info! I love the tone in that song!

And how about the lower frequencies: which of these two tubes can give me a tighter, more focused/articulate and less boomy/woofy low end? Provided that I drive them equally hard....
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
#4
Run below clipping, the brand makes a bigger difference than type. The fact that a 6L6 is an extra 5W per tube, it will drive the bass a bit better for the same brand - in theory. But really, if you want to run them clean, run 6L6GC. If you want distortion run 5881. Tone is more down to brand once you've decided on that.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#5
Quote by Cathbard
Run below clipping, the brand makes a bigger difference than type. The fact that a 6L6 is an extra 5W per tube, it will drive the bass a bit better for the same brand - in theory. But really, if you want to run them clean, run 6L6GC. If you want distortion run 5881. Tone is more down to brand once you've decided on that.


I´m a preamp filth guy and don´t like my power amp to distort too much (Gary Moore´s tone is great, but I´m somewhere else, in the area of heavy palm-muted rhythm riffs with aggresive atack, etc), so my choice would be 6L6 GC.

And any suggestions for a 6L6 GC brand with a nice tight and articulate bottom end?
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 28, 2016,
#6
I like JJ 6L6's
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#7
Quote by Cathbard
I like JJ 6L6's


Oh, my home brand (I´m from Slovakia) - that´s nice to hear you like them. One more reason to give them a shot.
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
#8
Quote by Airfish
Hey folks. Has anyone of you had the chance to compare amps with 5881 and 6L6 GC power tubes? It terms of tone, not power or anything, just tone. I found some YT videos, but they don´t sound very informative....


You're not going to hear much from YouTube vids, and you won't hear a lot of difference between the tubes unless they're running at max. Their job is to reproduce whatever the preamp section of the amp is putting out, when run at their rated levels. If you overdrive them you'll hear some differences, but minor.
#9
Quote by dspellman
You're not going to hear much from YouTube vids, and you won't hear a lot of difference between the tubes unless they're running at max. Their job is to reproduce whatever the preamp section of the amp is putting out, when run at their rated levels. If you overdrive them you'll hear some differences, but minor.



Does this apply also when I compare 6L6s to.... let´s say EL84s? I´m asking because some people advised me to upgrade my EL84 power amp to "something better", like a one with EL34s, or 6L6s.... Will I ever hear a difference between EL84 and 6L6 GC without pushing the power amp to overdrive?
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
#10
Quote by Airfish
Does this apply also when I compare 6L6s to.... let´s say EL84s? I´m asking because some people advised me to upgrade my EL84 power amp to "something better", like a one with EL34s, or 6L6s.... Will I ever hear a difference between EL84 and 6L6 GC without pushing the power amp to overdrive?


No. As long as tubes are run inside their rating envelope there's no real tonal difference. They were designed (all of them) to accurately reproduce the signal fed to them. Because of manufacturing tolerances you could probably see some minor variations on an oscilloscope, but if all the tubes are operating properly you should not be able to hear a difference.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
Quote by Arby911
No. As long as tubes are run inside their rating envelope there's no real tonal difference. They were designed (all of them) to accurately reproduce the signal fed to them. Because of manufacturing tolerances you could probably see some minor variations on an oscilloscope, but if all the tubes are operating properly you should not be able to hear a difference.

I'm pretty sure I hear a difference when running EL34s in my GH50L compared to 6L6s, and I play it at pretty modest volumes.
I do understand that either tube was designed for a reasonably flat response and they should therefore sound very similar, but I'm not sure that design goal was fully achieved.
And I'm not much of a cork-sniffer, either.
#12
Quote by TheQuailman
I'm pretty sure I hear a difference when running EL34s in my GH50L compared to 6L6s, and I play it at pretty modest volumes.
I do understand that either tube was designed for a reasonably flat response and they should therefore sound very similar, but I'm not sure that design goal was fully achieved.
And I'm not much of a cork-sniffer, either.


Confirmation bias?

Could you accurately pick out which set you were running in a blind study across...say...50 tests?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#13
Quote by Arby911
Confirmation bias?

Wouldn't rule it out.

Quote by Arby911
Could you accurately pick out which set you were running in a blind study across...say...50 tests?

Honestly don't know. Would be nice to have another GH50L here for a proper test.
#14
It's a bit hard to pick out power tube differences, the most distinct to me are EL84s, but that's probably because typically EL84 amps I play are Class A and therefore fairly low-power and so they get run closer to the limit.

While people like to talk tonal differences, the reality is that you can make an amp running 6L6 have that classic Marshall sound associated with EL34s, and vice versa.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#15
Quote by dementiacaptain

While people like to talk tonal differences, the reality is that you can make an amp running 6L6 have that classic Marshall sound associated with EL34s, and vice versa.


That's why the RM100's and similar work as well as they do, because the power end just doesn't color the tone that much (unless it's pushed beyond spec) so as long as you've got a quality preamp behind it you can get almost any tone you need.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#16
All right, so if neither the type nor the brand of the power tubes, then what difference can I expect from the class of the amp? My Marshall EL84 20/20 should be a class A amp (not sure though). So if I found a class A/B amp, what difference could I expect? Let´s say in a case when the type and brand of tubes is the same and only the class is different.... Right now I´m trying to find out what class is the Engl E810, sent an email to Engl, waiting for response. Google failed....
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 28, 2016,
#17
Quote by Airfish
All right, so if neither the type nor the brand of the power tubes, then what difference can I expect from the class of the amp? My Marshall EL84 20/20 should be a class A amp (not sure though). So if I found a class A/B amp, what difference could I expect? Let´s say in a case when the type and brand of tubes is the same and only the class is different.... Right now I´m trying to find out what class is the Engl E810, sent an email to Engl, waiting for response. Google failed....


Almost all guitar amps are class A/B, including your Marshall 20/20 and the Engl E810.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#18
Quote by Arby911
Almost all guitar amps are class A/B, including your Marshall 20/20 and the Engl E810.


100% sure? Because in that case changing from the 20/20 to the 810 wouldn´t really be an "upgrade"....
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Last edited by Airfish at Apr 28, 2016,
#19
Quote by Arby911
No. As long as tubes are run inside their rating envelope there's no real tonal difference. They were designed (all of them) to accurately reproduce the signal fed to them. Because of manufacturing tolerances you could probably see some minor variations on an oscilloscope, but if all the tubes are operating properly you should not be able to hear a difference.


Do you want to come over to my house to hear differences between Power tubes? Even with power tubes which pretty well are almost the same (6L6 to 7027A) there's a huge tonal difference. I have some 6L6GCs as well, totally different sound from a 6L6. Of course their are tonal differences between manufacturers, but what I look for when it comes to name types is the way they breakup.


Cathbard, you seriously like the JJ 6L6 tubes? I tried out a pair in my old '77 Ampeg VT-40 and it made the amp sound bad. It was way too dark and it lost a lot of the overtones that I loved, as well as dropped the headroom quite a bit. This was going from true NOS Magnavox 7027As to the 6L6 though.
..I was watching my death.
#20
Quote by timbit2006
Do you want to come over to my house to hear differences between Power tubes? Even with power tubes which pretty well are almost the same (6L6 to 7027A) there's a huge tonal difference. I have some 6L6GCs as well, totally different sound from a 6L6. Of course their are tonal differences between manufacturers, but what I look for when it comes to name types is the way they breakup.


Cathbard, you seriously like the JJ 6L6 tubes? I tried out a pair in my old '77 Ampeg VT-40 and it made the amp sound bad. It was way too dark and it lost a lot of the overtones that I loved, as well as dropped the headroom quite a bit. This was going from true NOS Magnavox 7027As to the 6L6 though.


Are you driving your amp into distortion? I find it genuinely difficult to believe that you would be hearing a "huge" difference if you weren't driving the tubes near or above their limit. Now, that doesn't mean what you are saying is not true, but color me skeptical.

To your second point, that could be a bit of an unfair comparison, as was hinted. I'd say for a modern production tube, JJs are about the best without going crazy on budget, but they aren't going to stand up as well against some older tubes. My '72 Silverface I had for awhile had some old RCAs and a couple other old-school tubes in the preamp, and it sounded a ton better with those than my JJs.

Of course, for high-gain applications I really don't think the difference can be appreciated as much.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#21
Quote by timbit2006
Do you want to come over to my house to hear differences between Power tubes? Even with power tubes which pretty well are almost the same (6L6 to 7027A) there's a huge tonal difference. I have some 6L6GCs as well, totally different sound from a 6L6. Of course their are tonal differences between manufacturers, but what I look for when it comes to name types is the way they breakup.


Cathbard, you seriously like the JJ 6L6 tubes? I tried out a pair in my old '77 Ampeg VT-40 and it made the amp sound bad. It was way too dark and it lost a lot of the overtones that I loved, as well as dropped the headroom quite a bit. This was going from true NOS Magnavox 7027As to the 6L6 though.


You're running all these tubes through the same circuit, biased optimally for each and not pushed into distortion?

I guess you would have to show me, and it's a pretty long drive.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#22
Quote by Airfish
100% sure? Because in that case changing from the 20/20 to the 810 wouldn´t really be an "upgrade"....

They are both definitely class A/B. Actual class A amps are rare, rarer still if we're considering push-pull designs only. Some manufacturers like to claim class A, presumably because it looks cool on the spec sheet (looking at you Vox and Orange), but it's mostly not true.

Far as the 20/20 and 810 are concerned: There's more parts in an amp than just the output tubes.
The phase-inverter could be very different, as could be the stage(s) leading up to it. Obviously the 810 also adds a "depth" pot, which the 20/20 doesn't have. They both have "presence" controls, but the respective filter might be completely different between the two. Finally, just sticking with the output tubes, differences in bias, HT-voltage, primary impedance on the output transformer, screen-resistors, and grid-stoppers can signifacantly alter the way the power stage sounds.
Not that I've seen the schematics, but that's beside the point - saying two amps are basically the same just because they have the same output tubes is patently ridiculous.
#23
Quote by TheQuailman
They are both definitely class A/B. Actual class A amps are rare, rarer still if we're considering push-pull designs only. Some manufacturers like to claim class A, presumably because it looks cool on the spec sheet (looking at you Vox and Orange), but it's mostly not true.

Far as the 20/20 and 810 are concerned: There's more parts in an amp than just the output tubes.
The phase-inverter could be very different, as could be the stage(s) leading up to it. Obviously the 810 also adds a "depth" pot, which the 20/20 doesn't have. They both have "presence" controls, but the respective filter might be completely different between the two. Finally, just sticking with the output tubes, differences in bias, HT-voltage, primary impedance on the output transformer, screen-resistors, and grid-stoppers can signifacantly alter the way the power stage sounds.
Not that I've seen the schematics, but that's beside the point - saying two amps are basically the same just because they have the same output tubes is patently ridiculous.


Well, that´s about exactly what I needed to hear, as an excuse for a possible new toy purchase. Thank you, sir!
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
#24
I may be crazy, but I am positive i could tell the difference between 6L6's and EL84's.

Also why would say my splawn promod sound different from a quickrod? Everything is IDENTICAL other than the tubes. EL34 and kt88.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
Last edited by trashedlostfdup at Apr 28, 2016,
#25
I bet you can tell the difference! There's a bunch of reasons. In a sentence, I'd say it comes down to this: making an amp isn't a double-blind affair, so the practical reality is not the same as the theoretical. For instance, an EL84 was originally designed not to need an input stage. So even in some theoretical power amp that works identically for a 6L6 and an EL84, it's going to respond very differently to the preamp signal. Guitar amps tend to exploit tubes well outside their originally intended uses, so it's not surprising that different ones do different and interesting things in real life. In a lab experiment they could be made to sound identical, but that's the opposite of what we're doing with them, guitar-wise.

My much simpler point would be this: We can pretty certainly tell the difference between brands of tubes. If we agree on that, why should we think that the type of tube shouldn't yield a similar difference?

But, in case you want a more technical breakdown:

This is a bit of a "what is the sound of one hand clapping" issue.
The hypothesis is pretty darn hard to test, and it implies a lot of things that aren't necessarily true. Saying that thereis a difference implies some things that aren't true, but we tend to be more comfortable with those implications than the implications we have to assume to accept the opposite claim. So if I had to evaluate just those two statements in the context of guitar tube amps, I'd have to say that it's a bit more true to say that there is a tone difference (or, if you prefer, it's less wrong.) Basically, neither statement is "true" in that we are able to evaluate it and come to a sure conclusion. So we have to use shorthand, and I prefer the shorthand that models practical reality a little better.

Here's why:
Tubes, as noted, are designed to be run at different specs. In order to reach those specs, you have to adjust the amp. Now that you've adjusted the amp, you now have two moving variables, so isolating one of them is not practical (I'm sure it's possible, but the NSF keeps turning down my proposals for a billion-dollar research and statistical analysis facility for such things). So, now we're at an impasse, at least if we're to be strictly rigorous.

I'm perfectly happy just shrugging and saying "we don't know for sure," but this is the internet so of course it is impossible to do that. We must argue until a binary answer is reached, or at the very least we must take a position that someone can argue against, for cathartic reasons.

So! Let's review our options. I see four main ones. They generally range from "rigorous but untested" to "informal but with plenty of experiential data."

1. We could say that the tubes don't matter, which implies that we are able to isolate the tubes as variables, and have done some reasonably convincing statistical analysis suggesting that they sound pretty darn similar. Certainly no such thing has occurred, and even if it did, I am not sure how relevant it would be to practical application, for a bunch of reasons. Anyway, this is something you could believe, but it's not something that has been proven. Since it relies on rigorous analysis which does not exist, I think it would be irresponsible to present it as fact.

2. We can fudge a bit, and say that tubes run within their design envelopes sound the same. This is troublesome because "within the design envelope" is actually a bit of a moving target. For instance we know that amps sound different with different plate voltages, so even within their own design envelopes they sound different - given this, why should we think that another tube should somehow behave exactly the same? They are clearly not perfectly linear, well-behaved devices. Our collective experience seems to point away from tubes not making any difference. It is not impossible that it's some sort of confirmation bias, but it seems unlikely, and anyway hasn't been convincingly disproved. So it's not impossible that this claim is true, but there doesn't seem to be any compelling evidence for it either.

3. We can fudge a bit more, and say that tubes appear to sound different, but that some of that difference is the circuit required for that particular tube. This is a bit circuitous because it means we don't really know how much each thing contributes, but it has the benefit of being in line with the experience most of us have in playing amps with different tubes. I'm ok with this one. It's the "shorthand" answer - sure, we know that the tubes aren't the only difference, but saying that they sound different illustrates the practical reality well enough for most of our purposes.

4. We can say that tubes make a difference all on their own, and that no self-respecting amp maker stays entirely within the tube parameters anyway, so the notion of a nice polite circuit for them is a moot point. Guitar amps are not generally supposed to be linear, well-behaved pieces of equipment and if the claim requires that tubes be treated nicely and within their specs, it is halfway to a useless claim in our context. This doesn't strictly address the point, but it is important. We can't rely on claim parameters that are irrelevant to our actual use.


I think it's like this: the phrase goes, "it's not the drop that kills you, it's the quick stop at the end." Well, if a tube requires a change in circuitry and/or operating parameters, and those subsequently sound different, what does it matter if it's the drop or the stop? They're inseparable in our case, and I think it's fair to say that the tube then sounds different, even if it wasn't, strictly speaking, the tube all on its own that changed things. So it's a bit of a half-truth, but to me it is more useful than saying that in some circumstances that don't generally exist, there is no difference. Of course, like most of these disagreements, the truth is that it just doesn't matter that much. As far as playing goes, it's really not worth worrying about. But if we're having the conversation, we shouldn't confuse "it doesn't matter" with "there's no difference."
#26
Quote by timbit2006
Cathbard, you seriously like the JJ 6L6 tubes? I tried out a pair in my old '77 Ampeg VT-40 and it made the amp sound bad. It was way too dark and it lost a lot of the overtones that I loved, as well as dropped the headroom quite a bit. This was going from true NOS Magnavox 7027As to the 6L6 though.
As far as modern tubes go, yes. Of course real NOS 6L6 will kick their arse but who can afford those any more?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#27
I haven't played a ton of NOS 6L6s but I was pretty impressed at how close the JJs sounded to some of the better NOS stuff. I've replaced a few sets of GE and RCA power tubes with JJs and only cried a little bit. Wish someone made a 12AX7 that sounded as near to its ancestors.

Tung-Sol are worth a mention as well in modern 6L6 types.
#28
I replaced a set of Brimars with JJ's and was quite happy with the results too.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#29
I like JJ 6L6 quite a bit. The EL34L's are one of my favorite EL34's. Dare i say that I liked them over the =C= EL34's in my JSX (however the SED's were old and the jjs were new).
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#30
I have JJ E34L's in my RM100. They rock.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#31
Yep, different tubes sound different, all the testing and analysis that the manufacturers did and all the data they left us with when tubes were the only game in town means fuck-all.

Believing is hearing.

I'm done.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Apr 29, 2016,
#32
The frequency response does vary and not just type but brand as well. Hell, like everything else, ones made on Wednesday are better than Friday's. Sometimes it's subtle and sometimes it isn't.
I'll give you that it matters more once overdriven but no two tubes sound identical even of the same type and brand.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#33
Quote by Arby911
Yep, different tubes sound different, all the testing and analysis that the manufacturers did and all the data they left us with when tubes were the only game in town means fuck-all.

Believing is hearing.

I'm done.

Shame, you've got some quality input when you've got the patience for a conversation

All that testing and analysis was for (relatively) hi-fi, with nice polite input stages and delightfully efficient linear transformers. They did largely the same testing and analysis for speakers, too, if I remember correctly, and I don't think anyone would claim that those all sound the same. I'm not sure I've ever seen any analysis that indicated that different types of tubes sounded the same, but it would be very interesting, though unfortunately probably not transferable to guitar amps, at least not perfectly. The existence of data of course does not mean that the results were perfect or correct or relevant. There's gobs of data on tubes from the 50s but we're not using tubes like it's the 50s. They didn't have Tinder, for starters.

Surely the inclusion of specs like second and third harmonic distortion and capacitance (with and without shields! hmmm...) in the tube datasheets would indicate that they aren't all expected to perform uniformly? There's some truth to that if we stay firmly in hi-fi territory, which assumes that we care about these parameters only in order to eliminate their pesky existence. So even if we accept that tubes sound the same within their operation envelopes (a tough claim, actually, since you can bias an amp within its envelope and make even the same set of tubes sound different!), we still run up against the fact that we don't use them that way, and wouldn't want to anyway.

This is like when the industry said that SS amps sounded the same as tubes, because "audio analysis." Then they did it again with vinyl, then CDs, and MP3s. If your beliefs about sound come only from industry papers, you may be missing something. They certainly seem to find room for improvement and variety even though while insisting that the current solution is correct. They might have been correct, but correct doesn't mean perfect and it doesn't mean the conversation is over.

Having messed around with tubes a fair bit, I feel like there's some difference between types. Most competent amp builders seem to agree, and I feel like they would be decently qualified to weigh in. The alternative theory is possible, but I haven't seen any compelling reason to believe it. It's not impossible that the difference in sound lies entirely in the circuitry/adjustments needed to care and feed for these tubes, but again I'm not sure what or where the evidence for that claim is.

Anyway, we can leave it there. No need to solve this question all in one thread.
#34
Jesus H. Christ, never thought I would open the Pandorra´s box with such an innocent looking thread....
But hey, never mind, that´s a lot of interesting reading for me from you wise guys!
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
#35
If you are looking for a tube poweramp, for the Mesa, i would go 6L6. I have tried both EL34 and 6L6 on a meda rec, and the 6L6's sounded better to me. Either way you are probably going to be much happier than the EL84's you are running now.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#36
Quote by Roc8995
Shame, you've got some quality input when you've got the patience for a conversation

All that testing and analysis was for (relatively) hi-fi, with nice polite input stages and delightfully efficient linear transformers. They did largely the same testing and analysis for speakers, too, if I remember correctly, and I don't think anyone would claim that those all sound the same. I'm not sure I've ever seen any analysis that indicated that different types of tubes sounded the same, but it would be very interesting, though unfortunately probably not transferable to guitar amps, at least not perfectly. The existence of data of course does not mean that the results were perfect or correct or relevant. There's gobs of data on tubes from the 50s but we're not using tubes like it's the 50s. They didn't have Tinder, for starters.

Surely the inclusion of specs like second and third harmonic distortion and capacitance (with and without shields! hmmm...) in the tube datasheets would indicate that they aren't all expected to perform uniformly? There's some truth to that if we stay firmly in hi-fi territory, which assumes that we care about these parameters only in order to eliminate their pesky existence. So even if we accept that tubes sound the same within their operation envelopes (a tough claim, actually, since you can bias an amp within its envelope and make even the same set of tubes sound different!), we still run up against the fact that we don't use them that way, and wouldn't want to anyway.

This is like when the industry said that SS amps sounded the same as tubes, because "audio analysis." Then they did it again with vinyl, then CDs, and MP3s. If your beliefs about sound come only from industry papers, you may be missing something. They certainly seem to find room for improvement and variety even though while insisting that the current solution is correct. They might have been correct, but correct doesn't mean perfect and it doesn't mean the conversation is over.

Having messed around with tubes a fair bit, I feel like there's some difference between types. Most competent amp builders seem to agree, and I feel like they would be decently qualified to weigh in. The alternative theory is possible, but I haven't seen any compelling reason to believe it. It's not impossible that the difference in sound lies entirely in the circuitry/adjustments needed to care and feed for these tubes, but again I'm not sure what or where the evidence for that claim is.

Anyway, we can leave it there. No need to solve this question all in one thread.


I think it's almost impossible that there is no difference but my argument here is how much does it matter? Now for some things I'd imagine it makes a tremendous difference: any sort of sound that requires power tube breakup I would agree that the power tubes are going to be important.

It's sort of like the "tonewood" argument for me though. Though we have some general characteristics that we may associate with different types, are these consistent characteristics across brands and even manufacturing periods that we can trust them to act as we expect?

My big gripe comes (and I'm not necessarily accusing anybody here) when so much stock is put into power tubes by people who are playing high gain amps designed to produce lots of headroom. Now obviously this isn't everybody but it accounts for more than a few people who I've seen getting all worked up over power tubes. I mean, when you've got an amp like that, really the power tubes are my last concern.

In any case, there will probably never exist a firm answer ends the conversation, you're right. What's it matter anyway, to the vast majority of non-guitar players, ALL of our arguments probably seem trivial.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#37
Quote by Roc8995
(I'm sure it's possible, but the NSF keeps turning down my proposals for a billion-dollar research and statistical analysis facility for such things). "


Bastards! Want me to talk to them about it?

More seriously, I just don't have the energy to argue right now. Pretty much everything I've read, been taught or experienced has left me believing that the tonal changes alleged are either illusory (believing is hearing) OR the product of vastly altered operating parameters.

And as you've noted, I'm not sure it matters. It either sounds good or it doesn't.

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#38
As much as Colin is probably correct - I'm pretty sure I can hear a difference in my Rectoverb all things being equal including the settings. That said, the amp biases itself based on EL34s or 6L6s so there's that.
#39
Quote by Arby911
Bastards! Want me to talk to them about it?

More seriously, I just don't have the energy to argue right now. Pretty much everything I've read, been taught or experienced has left me believing that the tonal changes alleged are either illusory (believing is hearing) OR the product of vastly altered operating parameters.

And as you've noted, I'm not sure it matters. It either sounds good or it doesn't.


It is fairly subtle but in the same circuit you can hear it back to back. Of course, that difference can be countered by what is going on in the preamp. My RM100 with e34L's still sounds like a Fender with a Fender card in it, so does the SLO module sound like a SLO. All I need to do is scoop the mids a tad.
So it does make a difference but such a small difference that it doesn't really matter. The power rating makes a bigger difference due to headroom concerns as I described early in this thread.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#40
Quote by trashedlostfdup
If you are looking for a tube poweramp, for the Mesa, i would go 6L6. I have tried both EL34 and 6L6 on a meda rec, and the 6L6's sounded better to me. Either way you are probably going to be much happier than the EL84's you are running now.


I know I know.... but it´s virtually impossible to get a stereo tube power amp in the wattage that I require. The Mesa 50/50 is not an option for me, it does not have the possibility to connect two 16-ohm cabs (and I will not touch my cabs, I am absolutely happy with them), the Engl 50/50 is not an option, because it has 5881s, which everyone describes as bluesy (including Mr. Cathbard whose opinion I really respect), the Engl 100/100 has 6L6, but f*king ey, thatś two hundred tube watts, simply too much for me. And thatś all that I can get my hands on, in my region. I am not an active gigging musician and for my studio/rehearsal room those 20+20 Watts of my Marshall are absolutely enough. Right now the best solution for me seems to be finding someone, who could custom build a power amp for me. I really like the power amp section in my Laney IRT30 - with two 6L6 GCs, and only 30W (with a possibility to turn the wattage down, which Works very nice there). So if I could find somebody, who could copy that power section, combine two of them into a stereo rack unit with 2x30W, I would be absolutely satisfied.... But so far didn´t find anybody usable....
B.C. Rich, Cort, Engl, Engl, Engl, Epiphone, Epiphone, Fender, Fender, Gallien-Krueger, Gallien-Krueger, Ibanez, Ibanez, Ibanez, KRK, KRK, KRK, Laney, Line6, Michael Kelly, Schecter, VHT, Yamaha....
Page 1 of 2