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EL34 or 5881 tubes


Greg B.

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My latest GAS relief is a 1995 Carvin Valvemaster 2X12 combo. It has 5881 tubes in it now, but has a bias switch on back to change to EL34s. I know that ultimately it is a personal taste issue, but is there alot of difference that I can expect from changing to EL34s? Right now I'm extremely happy with the amp, it sounds awesome, and my band really likes the way it sounds also, but I don't think that I will be 100% satisfied till I at least try EL34s in it. Who knows, it may take it to the next level for me. Comments, suggestions, opinions, etc... Thanks

Avoid playing the amplifier at a volume setting high enough to produce a distorted sound through the speaker-Fender Guitar Course-1966

 

 

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In general, 5881s will have more pronounced treble and bass response, compared to an EL34s more prounounced mids response. A 5881 is a 6L6-type, so if you have an idea of what 6L6s sound like teh 5881 will be in the same ballpark.

 

But there are a whole lot of variables that complicate a generalization like the one I just made. Different brands of tubes sound different, how the amp is biased can effect the tone, how the circuit drives the tubes, what the plate voltage is....

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Thanks, Michael. That's right along the lines of what I was wanting to know. Now, off to ebay to find some EL34s. :thu:

Avoid playing the amplifier at a volume setting high enough to produce a distorted sound through the speaker-Fender Guitar Course-1966

 

 

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Personally I like 6L6 tubes better than EL34, but that was in my Bivalve. It probably depends alot on the amp too. My Bivalve had plenty of mids already so the 6l6s worked nicely. It had a tighter low end and crisper highs.

 

Generally I think 6L6 will give tighter low end response. El34 are more midrangey but the low end doesn't seem as tight. But thats just from clowning around with the Bivalve which is a different amp than the Carvin, so I guess you will find out!

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That's what I was thinking. I'm gonna buy some EL34s, just wanted to get a little bit of an idea about what to expect. Then I will probably try some different types and brands of each, to find the right ones. If its tweakable, why would you leave it alone?!

Avoid playing the amplifier at a volume setting high enough to produce a distorted sound through the speaker-Fender Guitar Course-1966

 

 

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I'd ask Myles for some suggestions of various EL34 or 6CA7 types (as well as 5881's) that would have the most noticeable sonic differences. I'd also ask for his pick of a matched phase-inverter tube to go with each set, and I'd swap out the phase-inverters with their respective output-tubes each time I changed 'em out... both to wear them evenly together as a set, and to have a tonally cohesive brace of tubes each time to get the most out of the different tube-types.

 

I'd be sure to state the specific amp when asking, as well.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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