Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

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volatileNoise
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Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by volatileNoise » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:43 am

Hey guys, long time since I last logged in!

My 2009 stock 3ch Dual amp head is boring me a little in the tone department as of late. I am playing in a heavier band more recently, and the tone with the SED Winged C 6L6's is not really cutting it IMO.

I would like it to have a bit more of an aggressive voice, but without thinning out the bottom end.

Never run EL34's before, but not sure about going that route, was thinking the KT77's could be the right alternative.


I know this stuff has been discussed endlessly, but on the internets there is a lot of mis-matching of opinions, so looking for those that know first hand the differences to be expected when you crank these things up!

Thoughts please?! :)

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:42 am

Hmm, that question again.....

Players that favor the EL34 will tell you it is the best, while players that favor the 6L6GC will tell you that's the only tube to use. To me, the difference between powertubes is very subtle. I've tried =C= & JJ 6L6GCs, =C= EL34s, JJ E34Ls, and now Tung-Sol 6550, and I keep going back to 6L6GCs, which I feel has the best overall balance of tones, and what the amp was originally voiced for. I think the difference between powertube types is more noticable with clean tones.

IMO if you really are looking for more tonal variety you'll get more bang for your buck in the preamp. Different brands have different tonal qualities which are quite noticeable in the early stages of the preamp, much more than the powertubes.

EL34s will not make your Dual Recto more British sounding as some people think. Check out Haggerty's Music YouTube videos, he does an EL34 vs 6L6GC comparison.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by Jackie » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:13 am

Dom gave some very good advice there. I agree tube rolling the preamp section would yield better results.

Try slamming a TungSol in V1 and a Chinese 12AX7 (like TAD 7025, GrooveTubes 12AX7-C) in the cathode follower position (I don't know which one that is in a Recto, V3 or V4 if I'm not mistaken).
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by mikey383 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:26 am

In my opinion, JJ E34Ls sound best in a Recto. They're more aggressive on the top end, and don't lose any of the bottom end.

I tried KT77s for a while, but ended up going back to the E34Ls.

I agree that changing V1 - V3 can make a noticeable difference, but I disagree that power tubes won't make much difference. Especially if your power tubes have a lot of playing time on them.
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:45 am

mikey383 wrote:I agree that changing V1 - V3 can make a noticeable difference, but I disagree that power tubes won't make much difference. Especially if your power tubes have a lot of playing time on them.
Good point, a fresh set of powertubes, even of the same type/brand can make a big difference.

The Cathode Follower positions in the Dual Rectifier are V3 & V4.

A 12AT7 in the PI ( V5 ) will change the character of the amp as well, usually less agressive and smoother.

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:52 am

Here is the Haggerty's video comparing EL34 vs 6L6GCs in the Dual Rectifier.

http://www.youtube.com/user/haggertysmu ... PTtbk-b1H4

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by volatileNoise » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:58 pm

Thanks guys.

Dom, I have seen the vids previously, but looking at your specs has got me thinking.

I really want to get more driven tone, I don't run huge amounts of bottom end, because these amps just do not track tight enough from my experience.

My clean tones are probably the only sounds I am 95% happy with, cause you can get some nice lows and still retain a crisp tone with good clarity.

I don't want to quickly jump ship, and go shopping for a 6505+ to search for a better heavy tone, but maybe the V30 traditional cab is more my issue?

Really looking to enhance more of the lower mids with more driven tones, retain bottom end, with a tight sound that doesn't get muddy.

Thank for the feedback so far.

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:31 pm

volatileNoise wrote:I really want to get more driven tone, I don't run huge amounts of bottom end, because these amps just do not track tight enough from my experience.

Really looking to enhance more of the lower mids with more driven tones, retain bottom end, with a tight sound that doesn't get muddy.
With this description I would try a Tung-Sol reissue 12AX7 in V1, Penta/Shuguang or GT 12AX7-C Chinese in V2, V3 & V4 (unless you allway hard-bypass the FX Loop, then you can skip V4) and a Sovtek 12AX7LPS in V5.

If you need powertubes, try the JJ E34L. Very punchy in the low mids.
volatileNoise wrote:....... but maybe the V30 traditional cab is more my issue?
The Traditional/Stiletto 4X12 cab is tighter with a more pronounced mid-range while the Rectifier Standard/Oversized 4X12 cab has a more pronounced and slower (loose) low-end. IME mixing Mesa C-90's with the Mesa V-30's will bring out a little more midrange and slightly reduce the low bass response of the cabinet.

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by plapnab » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:52 pm

mikey383 wrote:In my opinion, JJ E34Ls sound best in a Recto. They're more aggressive on the top end, and don't lose any of the bottom end.

I tried KT77s for a while, but ended up going back to the E34Ls.

I agree that changing V1 - V3 can make a noticeable difference, but I disagree that power tubes won't make much difference. Especially if your power tubes have a lot of playing time on them.

I agree...JJ E34Ls are my favorite. No one ever seems to give JJ's much love and, I don't know why. Most balanced tubes IMHO...6L6's to me tend to get too scooped. They get lost in the mix it and the cleans are too brittle...no fatness.
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by volatileNoise » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:54 pm

Thanks heaps guys, so considering I have all stock preamp tubes I decided to try a set.

Dom, closest my local supplier can give me is as follows

1x tungsol 12ax7
1 x sovtek 12ax7lps
1 x tad 7025 wa
2x tad ecc83 wa

Please let me know your thoughts on best placement of these, will get them later this week to try out.

- Paul

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:26 am

I have no experience with the TAD tubes so I can not directly comment on them. You need to ask your supplier if the TAD tubes are able to withstand cathode follower use ( V3 & V4 in the Dual Recto ). The data sheets for both tubes list the cathode-to-heater potential as 150V MAX. The EH 12AX7, which has been known to fail in Cathode Follower use, list cathode-to-heater potential spec at 100V MAX so you should be OK.

The Tung-Sol 12AX7 is a good choice for V1, high gain and plenty of articulate top end that many Recto users here like. Based on descriptions I have read on line, I would put the TAD 7025WA in V2, and the TAD ECC83WA's in V3 & V4. The Sovtek 12AX7LPS I would put in V5, which is my choice of current production tubes for Phase Inverter use.

Read here for information on the Cathode Follower positions in your amp:
http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.ph ... 2&start=19

Hope this helps,
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by domct203 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:31 am

Also, if you play the amp regularly at band volumes, I would change the powertubes if they are the original ones. With 2 years of regular use they have most likely, very slowly and un-noticed, grown dull and lack-luster.

Also, a tube failure could, and has been known to, take out other components in the amp like Screen Grid resistors.

Regular powertube changes are required maintenance on your amp, simular to brakes and tires on your car.

Preamp tubes will last much, much longer.

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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by glassjaw7 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:23 pm

I like 77s the best followed by 34s, then 6l6. As said already, it all depends on the player. They are all good for different sounds and the effects are noticeable. 77s are a nice middle ground between 34s and 6l6s and have their own mid thing going on.
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by mikey383 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:42 pm

glassjaw7 wrote:I like 77s the best followed by 34s, then 6l6. As said already, it all depends on the player. They are all good for different sounds and the effects are noticeable. 77s are a nice middle ground between 34s and 6l6s and have their own mid thing going on.
I'll take back my previous statement about 77s. I used them in my last band, playing a 7 string tuned to A, and I liked them more in that situation than the E34Ls. The mids fit a lot better in that situation. Right between the bassist and the other guitarist playing some sort of Line 6 head.

However, I didn't like them in the previous band tuned to C against another Recto with 6L6s. The E34Ls worked better in that situation.
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Re: Dual Rec - 6L6 or EL34 or KT77...?

Post by volatileNoise » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:37 am

domct203 wrote:I have no experience with the TAD tubes so I can not directly comment on them. You need to ask your supplier if the TAD tubes are able to withstand cathode follower use ( V3 & V4 in the Dual Recto ). The data sheets for both tubes list the cathode-to-heater potential as 150V MAX. The EH 12AX7, which has been known to fail in Cathode Follower use, list cathode-to-heater potential spec at 100V MAX so you should be OK.

The Tung-Sol 12AX7 is a good choice for V1, high gain and plenty of articulate top end that many Recto users here like. Based on descriptions I have read on line, I would put the TAD 7025WA in V2, and the TAD ECC83WA's in V3 & V4. The Sovtek 12AX7LPS I would put in V5, which is my choice of current production tubes for Phase Inverter use.

Read here for information on the Cathode Follower positions in your amp:
http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.ph ... 2&start=19

Hope this helps,
Dom
Hey Dom, got the tubes in today and fitted them as you suggested.

Sound is great, cleans are as always but fuller, channel 2 is smoother, and channel 3 angry and crisp.

Amp makes more noise at idle now, but I couldn't care about that really when the tones are there.
Only tried it in the bedroom, turned it up momentarily and it all seemed sweet, when I get my bands line up back to being sorted out again, I will take it into the studio for a proper blast...

I am using a LP custom 57 re-issue, tuned to drop B tuning. I am still in the mind that I should be looking at going away from 6L6 power tubes, in order to find more aggressive tones out of this thing. I am using a clean boost virtually all the time as well but it isn't quite enough, and I don't like to use more gain on ch3 modern than around 1.30pm as the sound only seems to get sloppy.

So I guess the original question remains, but even after that little test in the bedroom it is safe to say I don't want to sacrifice much bottom end, preferably none at all.

Appreciate the feedback, I am leaning towards the KT77 idea at this stage.

Oh and also the stock tubes that were in it - Mesa Russian 2 in V1, and Mesa Chinese in V2 - V5.

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