6L6 vs EL34 – Know Which Vacuum Tube is Perfect for You

What is a Vacuum Tube?

A Vacuum tube is a tube in which air is removed from inside. In the starting phase, Vacuum tubes used to have two elements namely, a Filament and A plate. The combination of two was called a diode. In 1907, DeForest invented a vacuum tube with the added cathode in the surrounding filament. The cathode padding helped in a better flow of electrons. These vacuum tubes were used in sound reinforcement and sound recording. Nowadays, Valve amplifiers or Vacuum tube amplifiers are used in music performances. The audio amplification is used in guitar performances. Various vacuum tubes are being used in amplifiers. 6L6 and EL34 are such two vacuum tubes that have been used in amps a lot. 6L6 and EL34 are both used for different purposes. So let’s dive into 6L6 vs EL34 and find which one is perfect for your use.

6L6 vs EL34

6L6 and EL34 both are different vacuum tubes and were invented for different purposes. You can use either of the tubes in your amps but you have to make sure of some technicalities. Let’s dive into the comparison of 6L6 vs EL34.

1. The Bias Range

6L6 requires more negative voltage than EL34 at pin 5 to bias the amp. While one resistor or two can be used to change and adjust the bias range right for EL34. Also, a jumper wire from pin 8 to 1 on tube sockets is required for EL34 while it is not required for 6L6.

6L6 Vacuum Tube

2. The Bottom End

6L6 has a bigger bottom end, The prominence thing about 6L6 is that it has a more complete sound as compared to EL34. The 6L6 tubes offer a wider range of sound. The highs are great as well. Because of the more complete sound people tend to prefer 6L6 instead of EL34 if they want a decent high and a better hand on bottom or a low range.

3. The Mid-Range

When it comes to the mid-range section, The EL34 has a lot to offer. The mids are huge and when you hit them harder, the sweeter sound is produced. Due to a better mid-range section, the sound of EL34s is more crunched than the sound of 6L6. The sound of 6L6 vs EL34, you’ll notice the sound of EL34 is clean and crispy. So if you need a solid mid-range and a huge crispy and clean sound, you can opt for EL34 instead of 6L6.

EL34 Vacuum Tube

4. The Grid Difference

The EL34 is a pentode while 6L6 is a beam power tube. The difference is that the EL34 which is a pentode has a suppressor grid while 6L6 which is a beam power tube does not have that. The functionality of the both tubes are the same but the exact shape of characteristics are little different. The distortion is a little different as well. Due to distortion difference, the sound is different. Also, EL34 tubes are transconductors, which means these tubes need less input signals and will require less bias voltage.

The Bottom line

So now you know some technical differences of 6L6 vs EL34 tubes. 6L6 has a better low range while EL34 has a better mid-range and a huge high range. EL34 has a crisp and crunch sound as compared to 6L6 tubes. I hope you can now decide which vacuum tube you should get for you as per your requirement. And feel free to share your views in the comment section and stay tuned for more such articles.  

Reynolds Thomas

Hello folks, I'm Thomas, and I'm a music enthusiast, and I love playing and making music. I have a keen interest in sharing the knowledge I have in music. Apart from a full-time job, I thought of combining my passion for music and my interest in sharing knowlegde; hence I started this blog.

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