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Re: EL 84's vs. EL 34's
6/5/2011 8:50 AM
Danny Danzi (2052) wrote:
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. :)