Which tubes do you like?

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Which tubes do you like?

Post by krb813 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:20 pm

Which are your favorite tubes in the TC-50? 6L6, EL34 or 6V6? I lean towards 6L6.
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Re: Which tubes do you like?

Post by RobbieBoyette » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:47 pm

I'm really, really loving the 6v6's
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Re: Which tubes do you like?

Post by Daxman73 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:37 am

Search for some posts on here from bandit2013. He has some excellent info on this matter as he has done some extensive experimentation with different tubes in the TC series.
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Re: Which tubes do you like?

Post by bandit2013 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:24 pm

I may have experimented with many tubes. I have settled on the stock Mesa STR447 EL34s for both TC-50 and TC-100. Although both types of 6V6 tubes work well with the TC-50 (yes, there are two versions. The first pair I got has 6V6-GTA printed on them as well as "matched to 417", those I believe are Russian but someone had mentioned they could be Chinese, the other pair I got has 6V6-S and STR 417, these are JJ tubes. I think I liked the 6V6-GTA a little more. Did not care for the full complement of 6V6 tubes in the TC-100 as that seemed a bit muddy. Could have been the way I dialed in the amp though. 6V6 in the TC-50 sounded way better. For gig situations, EL34 are what I needed. Never tried the 6V6 in a live band setting. Have run both TC-50 and TC-100 with the stock tubes with really good results.

Overall, I like the Mesa STR447 (EHx EL34) for what I do with either TC-50 or TC-100. Someone else had recommended the Svetlana 6L6 tube (note that these are not the =C=6L6) This person's videos are quite impressive too. Here is one from Jake Smith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4NZFICgJEE I have some old Svetlana 6L6 (new sensor) a box I should try out. Also have some =C= 6L6GC which are the real Svetlana tubes.

Since the TC series runs a hotter plate voltage, it will not be to any advantage to get any NOS tubes like the =C= EL34 or the Siemens EL34. I thought they did not complement the amp all that well. If you have a Royal Atlantic then go for the =C= EL34 tubes as that has the most organic character you will ever get, almost 3D and will definitely get there with the multi-soak. However in the TC series, the tubes will sound a bit dull, I cannot say it sound bad but there is some compromise to the tone. The stock EL34 (Ehx) tubes can handle the higher plate voltage. Note that the Siemens EL34 tube will sound the same as the EHx tube but just a bit smoother. I killed the fuse on the TC-50 when I was running those, had to send the amp in for repair following since the strobe mute circuit failed (could be coincidental or related). Tubes still tested fine and they worked well after the fault in the RA100 or Multi-Watt Dual Rec. I believe the plate voltage on the TC-50 is on the too high side for NOS EL34 power tubes. Still could have been just a freak thing. Play at your own risk. Since I got the TC-50 back, I have been using the stock EL34 tubes. EHX 6CA7, interesting in the TC-100 but a bit too weird for my taste. Has an earie tone to it, Fender going Brit going... not really sure how to describe it. For me what made a huge difference with the TC-50 is speaker choice. Sure I love the amp with the Vertical 212 just as I love the TC-100 with the same cabinet. Since I got the California tweed and extension speaker I decided to try out the TC-50 with the Jensen Blackbird. :shock: I really had to back off on the bass control on both CH3 and CH2, did not get muddy but definitely had more saturation. Still had the same character I was getting from the Vertical 212 but more bottom end with the TC-50. For those who think there is no bottom end with the TC-50, the Jensen Blackbird will change your mind.

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Re: Which tubes do you like?

Post by bandit2013 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:30 pm

Now that Mesa has two other types of 6L6 tubes, STR441 which is a Tung Sol 6L6 tube and the STR445 which is the JJ 6L6 tube, Mesa's description of that one is like a 6CA7 characteristic and if that is anything like the JJ 6CA7 tube I may be interested in that. EHx 6CA7 is just a bit weird sounding. I have not tried them in the TC-50, only the TC-100 which is a bit more saturated. Also have not tried any of the new tube offerings from Mesa.

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