Electrically, they are the same. Now, with that out of the way, there is a fair amount of difference in how these tubes sound. Mullard UK designed the EL34 tube in the s. The venerable EL34 tube produces clean, smooth output. EL34 handled lots of power in a thin glass tube.
The smaller size and high power made the EL34 tube very popular in audio and guitar tube amps.
EL34 tube has a fairly unique sound. In guitar amps, EL34 is all about mids and upper-mids. You get more of that brown tone with your rhythm work.
EL34 gives you smooth note separation with complex harmonics and sparkle. In audio amps, the smooth velvet mids of EL34 takes the center stage. If you like listening to classical or jazz music with horns and vocals, the EL34 tube is the perfect fit.
These EL34 tubes follow the original design, but with modern manufacturing and quality control. They provide the classic rich mid-tones of the EL34 with consistency and reliability. They are step up from the OEM tubes shipped with the amp, and will provide great tone. The Americans adopted the same beam-forming tetrode design as the 6L6 to create 6CA7. In a beam tetrode, a wing-shaped plate forms a beam of electron.
Because of the beam-forming wings, the plate assembly is physically larger. The 6CA7 and EL34 tubes sound distinctively different. Like the 6L6 and6CA7 tube has a more pronounced low end. In a guitar amp, this makes for a tone that is more substantial. People often describe 6CA7 sound as heavier and darker than the EL34 tube.
The KT77 was the ultimate EL34 for audiophile use. Current production Genalex Gold Lion KT77 was introduced in recent years to recreate the original magic. Gold Lion KT77 has a smooth texture and balance, and is worthy of consideration as a premium upgrade for any EL34 amp. By the 's, tube manufacturers consolidated worldwide, and the distributors started treating EL34 and 6CA7 as the same tube.
Many EL34 tubes from this era were marked as 6CA7, and vice versa. KT77 all but disappeared when GEC quietly stopped production in the s, as people danced funny to synth music wearing shoulder pads and dangling earrings.
To cater to increasingly demanding tastes of tube amp aficionados today, tube manufacturers are releasing tubes that are true to the original design. Current production EL34 tubes closely resemble Mullard pentode design. Likewise, current production 6CA7 are beam-forming tetrode like the original Sylvania design.
And re-issued KT77 deliver the legendary magical sonics of the original. There is now a wide range of tonal landscape to choose what fits you best.
Stay well, stay safe. To understand the difference, let's start with a bit of history. Then they were the sameOnce you start to push a little air, however, your amplifier will show off what it can do and the power tube will display its individual characteristics more.
Keep in mind, that by using pedals, you can make one amp sound pretty much like any other one. So, this discussion is focused on how a few of the most popular power tubes differ from each other when using the amp, and not the pedals, to get your sound.
So, here is a rundown of how these tubes differ in sound. The EL84 tube has a snarly sound bright with midrange punchand is usually found in smaller wattage amplifiers. They break up faster than any of the three power tubes mentioned here and have the least amount of headroom. EL84s can be brighter than the EL34 and have a bit less low-end.
In America, these tubes are known as 6BQ5. They were first produced for radios. This helped to eliminate the need for a driver tube and provided an inexpensive alternative to the larger audio tubes of the time.
The EL34 is larger and it puts out two to three times the watts as the EL84s. More watts equal more Volume, more Headroom, and a better Frequency response, even at low volumes.
6L6 Tube / Valve: 6L6G & 807
Bass needs power, and the higher wattage of the EL34 is what leads to the warmer tone as the tube is better able to handle the full frequency spectrum. The increased headroom can lead to a more open and less compressed sound than that of the EL84s.
EL34 tubes were quite popular in stereo amps years ago. Originally designed to be used in less expensive consumer radios, the 6V6 tube is just a scaled-down version of the 6L6.
Consequently, you do get a little less headroom and they break up earlier than 6L6 tubes. It is still very popular in guitar amplifiers. Start by listening to your own playing. You probably want the natural breakup of the tubes to distort your sound and give you that warm crunch that made you want to play the guitar in the first place. And EL34 and EL84 tubes just enhance natural amp distortion so nicely and drive the amp so well.
The idea is to get that unbeatably clean tone with infinite headroom, and add pedals to get any sound that you want. And keep in mind that as much as power tubes differ, amplifiers differ as well. So, depending on how the amplifier is designed, the overall voice and behavior of the power tube will vary. If you want to really get a feel for how these tubes differ in sound, get your hands on something like the Mesa Lone Star, which can use both the EL34 and 6L6 power tubes.
Skip to content When you start to push an amplifier, the characteristics of these tubes become more apparent. EL84 Power Tube The EL84 tube has a snarly sound bright with midrange punchand is usually found in smaller wattage amplifiers. Summary Start by listening to your own playing. Humbucker Soup.At the time Philips had already developed and patented power pentode designs, which were rapidly replacing power triodes due to their greater efficiency.
Owen Harries and marketed by the Hivac Co. Harries is believed [ by whom? This design also minimized interference of secondary emission electrons dislodged from the anode.
EMI engineers Cabot Bull and Sidney Rodda improved the Harries design with a pair of beam plates, connected to the cathode, which directed the electron streams into two narrow areas and also acted like a suppressor grid to redirect some secondary electrons back to the anode.
The beam tetrode design was also undertaken to avoid the patents which the giant Philips firm held on power pentodes in Europe. Because this overall design eliminated the "tetrode kink" negative resistance in the lower parts of the tetrode's voltage-current characteristic curves, which sometimes caused tetrode amplifiers to become unstable, MOV Marconi-Osram Valvea subsidiary of EMI jointly owned with General Electric Company Ltd marketed this tube family under the sobriquet "KT", meaning "kinkless tetrode".
Because MOV's engineers did not feel the kinkless tetrode could be successfully mass-produced, they licensed the design to RCA.
This proved to be a poor business decision on MOV's part. RCA subsequently had enormous success with the 6L6.
It replaced the use of power triodes in public-address amplifiers almost overnight. So many applications were found for the 6L6 that a complete list would be impossible to assemble. MOV introduced their version, the KT66a year later. RCA's first version was an early octal base tube.
Like most with this base it had a metal, rather than glass, envelope. The voltage and power rating of the 6L6 series were gradually pushed upwards by adding features such as a Micanol base, thicker plates, thicker grid wires, grid cooling fins, and special ultra-black plate coatings.
The original metal version was rated for 19 watts dissipation while the later 6L6GC is usually rated for 30 watts. A "W" in the descriptor, as in 6L6WGB, identifies the tube as designed for mechanically rugged environments, such as military or airborne use. Early variations included transmitting tubes such as the with 6.
One of the largest-volume post-WWII applications was in the basic design of television sweep power tubes, starting with the 6BG6Ga modified TV designs rarely used transistors in place of sweep tubes—a challenging high-power and high-speed application—until the s. The was preferred to the similar 6L6 by amateur radio enthusiasts because high transient voltages on the 6L6's anode when operating in class C could cause a flashover between pins 2 and 3 on the octal base, whereas this was not a problem with the top-cap anode of the otherwise identicalphysically distant from all the base pins.
In guitar amplifiers, this flashover problem sometimes occurs if the amplifier is operated without the speakers connected, causing the self inductance of the output transformer primary winding to generate high voltages when the current changes due to the applied signal.
6L6-type vacuum tube shootout
For this reason the speaker terminals of 6L6 tube amplifiers are sometimes short-circuited by a switching 6. Further testimony for this device's success would be even simpler: as of [update] the 6L6GC version was still being manufactured and used, primarily in guitar amplifiers.Each tube in this comparison was installed in the same custom-built, fixed-bias single-ended guitar amplifier in order to obtain the voltage gain measurements and conduct listening tests.
Each tube sample used for comparison was chosen because it measured in the middle range of idle plate current draw at the same operating point set by a Maxi-Matcher Digital Tube Tester:. The "mid-range" DC plate current value measured in Maxi-Matcher.
The 50Hz measurement was used for Lows, Hz for mids and 6kHz for highs. RCA introduced the 6L6 to the world in the s. It had a metal envelope which was popular at that time for use in radio sets since it was less likely to break than a glass envelope. Today, the 6L6GC is one of the most common power tubes used for electric guitar amplification and there is an almost overwhelming supply of current production options to choose from.
The purpose of this comparison is simply to provide guitar players with a frame of reference to help in finding the best current production 6L6GC for their needs. The 6L6GC is an octal, beam power tube. What does that mean? The octal part tells us what kind of socket the tube plugs into. There is a key between pins 1 and 8 to ensure that the tube can only be plugged in one way.
The beam power part tells us that the tube, as RCA put it, "is a tetrode or pentode in which directed electron beams are used to increase substantially the power-handling capability of the tube. A feature of a beam power tube is its low screen-grid current. Because of the effective suppressor action provided by space charge and because of the low current drawn by the screen grid, the beam power tube has the advantages of high power output, high power sensitivity, and high efficiency.
Each tube sample was installed in the same custom built, fixed bias single-ended guitar amplifier see schematic with a Fender black face style preamp circuit. A frequency generator was used to measure voltage gain and plot the frequency response from 10Hz to 20kHz. The input voltage was measured at the 6L6GC control grid g1 and the output voltage was measured at the output transformer secondary winding while connected to an 8 ohm load. Three frequencies were chosen from the frequency plots to represent the lows, mids and highs: 50Hz, Hz and 6kHz, respectively, for each tube brand for a quicker visual reference.
A custom 6L6GC switching box was constructed to allow for a quick switch comparison of two tubes at a time while plugged into the V2 socket of the same fixed bias, single-ended guitar amplifier used for the frequency sweep. Listening tests were then conducted while playing guitar and switching between the tubes at various amplifier control settings to come up with "guitarist's opinion" descriptions for each tube.
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Maximum Ratings. Guitarist's Opinion : This tube has a straightforward, focused tone with an emphasis on highs for sizzling leads. Guitarist's Opinion : This tube is well balanced, smooth and warm. Guitarist's Opinion : This tube is fat and smooth with some sparkle on the top-end.
It offers more bite than most. Guitarist's Opinion : This black plate tube has a lot of grit in overdrive.A successful pre-production batch of the British M-OV type KT40 was produced at least a year earlier but its routine production was delayed and eventually abandoned because 'it was too difficult to assemble'.
The 6V6 receiver type of beam tetrode with which it shares pin connections is a derivative. This valve was mainly used for audio amplifiers.
The was based on the RCA type 6L6 beam tetrode, which had a long, fairly thin, anode and a carefully-aligned grid structure. The 6L6 employed rapidly-accelerated electrons and short electron paths. This made it efficient but its characteristic had a distinct residual kink.
It was a very successful valve but its characteristic was not quite straight enough to give the ultimate in audio quality at high output levels. The KT66 was essentially a 6L6 redesigned with a larger cathode and a shorter, fatter anode. The KT66 had less rapid acceleration, longer electron paths, and almost no kink. It was ace for audio hi-fi. A lot of power in the s and s. The metal tube hides the inner construction.
Our all glass 6l6GT version has a description of the electrode construction. References: Datasheet and private correspondence. Type 6L6 was first introduced in Pin Connections IO.Tube Substitutions. There are a lot of amps that can use different tubes to change or improve their tone for different styles of playing. Now if you want a little less power and an earlier breakup you can have it! The JJ EL is an entirely new tube that dissipates 9 watts and is a drop in replacement for EL84's in most all amps.
It has a very smooth sweet breakup just like the JJ EL84 and it will breakup a couple decibels earlier. Wait a minute!! Who says?? Thanks to Mark Beach a loyal customer of ours who reminded us that we needed to change this page there are now two solutions for Fender Deluxe amps. By choosing the proper grade these can be run in the EL34 mode and have the best clean tone we've ever heard from a Dual Rec. They also have a deeper thump and breakup earlier than 6L6's do. We literally have thousands of customers now using the JJ 6V6's in their Fender Hotrod Deluxe and Deville amps with great success since The 77's have even a bit more low end extension than the E34L's and they have a nice sizzle in the top end that is not brittle.
The clean tone is very fat and full and the crunch has more of a chunk to it and it's very punchy but not quite as aggressive as the E34L. The only exception to this is if you choose to run one of our Integrated quads using two KT66's or KT88's in the outside two sockets and two 6L6GC's in the inside two sockets and this only works in the or heads.
Both the KT66's and KT88's use the large diameter bases so if you have an amp that uses the "bear trap" style tube retainers that pinch the base of the tubes then these will either need to be flattened out, removed or replaced with the "spring and cap" style tube retainers.
The JJ can be used in quite a few 6L6 amps that don't have room for KT66's or KT88's but this is a case by case scenario because the heater draw is 1. They are unlike any ever made and not sterile sounding at all. The breakup is raw, crunchy and gritty, we dubbed them "Angus in a bottle" they are just a lot of fun to play!
These are even fatter and make more power than the JJ 's.6V6 Vs EL34 - Power Tube Comparison
They are big, fat, round and very dynamic. In the Prosonic gain stage we use an ECC81 12AT7 to calm it down a little but we stay away from subbing a lower value tube in the clean channel because it usually takes away the sparkle and even adds a little noise. If your trying to cut the gain in your amps drive channel you might be interested in a hybrid tube we're using in my Prosonic and to cut the gain, it's called the JJ ECC which is a 12DW7.
We are using one of them in my Prosonic in V2. This actually sounds VERY nice in amps that cascade the gain through several preamp tubes. We've got lots of players using the ECC in one or two of the gain stages in everything from the Mesa Triaxis to Peavey Triple X amps with great results. All Rights Reserved All text and images on this website may not be used without express permission.
All prices and product information subject to change without notice. Shopping Cart Shopping Cart.The EL34 is a thermionic valve or vacuum tube of the power pentode type. It has an international octal base indicated by the '3' in the part number and is found mainly in the final output stages of audio amplification circuits and was designed to be suitable as a series regulator by virtue of its high permissible voltage between heater and cathode and other parameters. In common with all 'E' prefix tubes, using the Mullard—Philips tube designationthe EL34 has a heater voltage of 6.
According to the data sheets found in old vacuum tube reference manuals, a pair of EL34s with V plate voltage can produce 90 watts output in class AB1 in push—pull configuration. However, this configuration is rarely found. More commonly found is a pair of EL34s running class AB1 in push—pull around — V plate voltage and producing 50 watts output if fixed bias is usedwhile a quad of EL34s running class AB1 in push—pull typically run anywhere from to V plate voltage and produces watts output.
This configuration is typically found in guitar amplifiers. The EL34 is a pentode, while the 6L6, which delivers a similar range of power output, is a beam tetrode which RCA referred to as a beam power tube.
Although power pentodes and beam tetrodes have some differences in their principles of operation the beam forming plates of the beam tetrode or fifth electrode 3rd grid of the pentode, both serving to hinder the return of unabsorbed electrons from the anode or plate to the 4th electrode 2nd grid and have some internal construction differences, they are functionally closely equivalent.
However, Sylvania and possibly GE marketed a tube as 6CA7 which was not only in a markedly different 'fat boy' envelope, but used a beam forming plate much like a 6L6. Examining the mica spacer on the top of the tube will confirm the lack of a suppressor grid.
Although these tubes have similar but not identical characteristics, they are made very differently. Some firms make a related tube called an E34L which is rated to require a higher grid bias voltage, but which may be interchangeable in some equipment.
The EL34 was widely used in higher-powered audio amplifiers of the s and s, such as the very popular Dynaco Stereo 70 and the Leak TL25 mono and Stereo 60, and is also widely used in high-end guitar amplifiers because it is characterized by greater distortion considered desirable in this application at lower power than other octal tubes [ citation needed ] such as 6L6KT88 or From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Categories : Vacuum tubes Guitar amplification tubes. Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from October Namespaces Article Talk.
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An EL34 vacuum tube manufactured by Mullard.