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EL 84's vs. EL 34's

What is the difference in amps running 34's vs 84's? Which do you prefer?
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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 7:41 AM

Bill North (12505) wrote:

Hi Mike.

That question is awfully open ended as the actual amp circuits can affect the tone as much or more than the tubes themselves. Both can provide a more "British" sound than 6V6 or 6L6 family amps, but the main difference is that the EL34's have more plate wattage dissipation resulting in more headroom.

If you have a heavy handed drummer, use mainly clean tone (non over-driven) and do not mic your back line then EL 34's might be a good choice. For max crunch and distortion from the power amp section I would be tempted to use a EL 84 design.

One of my favorite "crunch and distortion" amps was an 18 watt EL 84 design Mesa F-30. Vox AC-15 and AC-30's (think early Beatles) were EL84 designs. Leo Fender's Music Man 65 series amps used EL34's and sounded quite a bit like his "Fender" designs. When James Marshall designed his EL 34 amps there was quite a difference from the a fore mentioned Music Master amp. The preamp/tone stack stage designs as well as speakers can really influence the final sound of an amp!

Hope his makes sense and helps rather than confuses.



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 12:09 PM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

I like the idea of the 84's being crunchier.



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/4/2011 9:24 PM

Rick Kelly (2659) wrote:

I have a Mesa Rocket 44 4x el84 amp, and it's "lead" channel (crunchy) is awesome, but the clean side sounds a little dull to my ears, but still use-able.

I've built several 2 x el84 "18 watter" style amps, and if you get the right combo of speaker, output transformer and tubes it can be incredible.

I still regret selling one of the heads I built cuz' I haven't heard anything like it since. The tone was sparkly and clear no matter how overdriven, and cut through even at the "stupid loud" jam I tested it at next to 50 watt Fender Super or Pro amps the other players were using.

Rick



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/5/2011 2:32 AM

Warren Hunt (5730) wrote:

Sometimes you just get lucky and have the right tubes, tranny and speakers that make an amp sound like a million dollars.

One day I will get around to making my own amp.

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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 12:39 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

Exactly what Bill says. You probably want to compare the differences of EL84's vs. 6V6's and/or EL34 vs. 6L6. While the plate dissipation are higher the later pair, the EL construction usually are warmer sounding tones while the 6's have more sparkle.

A pair of EL84's will usually produce 15-18 watts of power as a pair. The EL34's will produce about 36-50 watts of power depending on the circuitry.

Hope that helps



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 1:42 PM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

Tha amp I'm looking at has 4 EL84's. They call it 50 watts.



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 1:45 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

You want power tube overdrive, go to 2 x EL84's. You can then crank the master for awesome tones. Great for small clubs, mic for larger ones.



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 2:34 PM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

It's got a half and quarter power setting, but I want the clean channel to be sparkly clean like twin.



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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/3/2011 3:27 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

That is why I run two amps. No compromise - lol.

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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/5/2011 8:50 AM

Danny Danzi (2052) wrote:

Hi Michael,

This is a tough call for me to be honest. I have been collecting various amps for many years. Some of my my 34's are great, some suck. I think it depends on the amp. It's kinda like a guitar in a sense. Super powerful pups may not be the answer for some guitars due to how they resonate etc. In my amp collection, I seem to favor 6L6's because they DO cut a bit more.

Not only that, but to me, the 34's and 84's seem to give me more of a classic rock tone to where I have to rely a bit more on output tube saturation...which means you have to turn the amp up a bit louder for that to happen. These days, most venues start throwing wet napkins at you when you get too loud. LOL! I also favor a bit more gusto out of my pre amp section these days....which in turn, allows for lower volume and less that I need to rely on output tube saturation.

Plus, the 6L6's are a bit brighter and less loaded with what I call "mid range congested warmth". When I chug on chords (especially for rock, metal etc) I like to hear like a percussive "chemp chemp chemp" type sound. With 34's or 84's, I get more of a "rah rah rah" type sound which is darker, more mid sounding and just not particularly what I'm looking for in todays times.

Also, the additional brightness of the 6L6 really brings out the clean tone. Play through a strat or tele and it's almost "bell-like". To me, you can eq the 6L6's to sound close to 34's and 84's but I've never been able to make the 34's and 84's sound close to the 6L6's. The reason being, you're closer to that British sound when you bring in the highs on the 34's/84's in my experience and I really don't like what happens to that sound as you increase the presence or treble. It just gets harsh. As long as you don't go over a certain threshold with brightness using 34's and 84's, they are so warm and smooth...but too warm and smooth for what I do.

Now the 6L6's, they are bright in a good way. I'd say "the right amount of sparkle" and you can go to the extreme with them and still not get that harsh type sound I was mentioning that I get with the others. Also, if you pull out the sparkle on the 6L6's, it gives you that 34/84 type sound and is just as warm in my opinion. The differences in these sounds are in what happens on the top end when you increase it as well as how the pre-amp section works with 6L6's vs 34's/84's.

Now my tone is probably much different than what you are looking for. I get more of that EVH, George Lynch, Warren DeMartinni type tone. It's not loaded with gain, but it relies more on pre-amp gain than output power tube gain. When I do need to switch to a classic rock sounding tone or even a super clean, I have no problems achieving what I need. So it's definitely 6L6's for me no matter what style I'm playing. :)

I do think it's something you need to experiment with before you make a decision though. 20 of us can give you solid, life experience opinions. It's not going to mean a thing until you experirnce it with your guitar/pups, your fingers, the way you play/execute as well as your natural finger tonation. What works well for 3000 people, may not work well for you. This stuff is the intimate part of playing guitar and something you just need to experience on your own to make the right call honestly. Hope this helps....good luck in whatever you decide. :)

-Danny

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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/5/2011 8:06 PM

Matt Wood (2844) wrote:

even though its not your question my 2c

I'm with Danny on this one. 6l6's for me.

I had a El 34 amp for 6 years before my current amp . it was my 1st tube amp ,nice amp . but now I realise 6l6 amps are generally closer to the sound in my head . I find the slight scoopiness in the mids works for me and you can always dial the mids back up when you need em . but it seems with 34's you always have that mid hump

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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/6/2011 2:09 PM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

Do you have the same mid hump with the 84's? My original question was 84's vs 34's, but I appreciate all the input. I have an old Fender Bassman head with 6l6's, which is a great (albeit unreliable) amp. I'll never take it out of the house ever again! I'm looking at the Carvin V3 in the new 50w rackmount version with the 84's. I think it's going to suit my need very well, and at only $1100 for a half stack, it's pretty unbeatable. I've heard the 100w head with the 34's and I was very impressed.

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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's

6/6/2011 6:32 PM

Matt Wood (2844) wrote:

yeah my blurb wanst that relevant to your question . but you get that on the net.

My only 84 experience is playing through my buddies reissue non master AC30 a bunch of times over the years . Its for sure also a mid voiced amp but i wouldnt say its humpy. he gets a great sound out of it. Its hard to comment on the breakup vs the 34 amps I've used cause the AC30 being non master is a loud MF'er to break up

I can swap the 6l6s in my mesa for 34's if i want with the flick of a switch . you can also run 84's in it although its not factory approved but many do safely and love it .I'm sure I'll get around to trying it one day . but power tubes are just 1 more thing to spend money on