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Discussion Starter #1
would it be output tubes or amp circuit design that gives the amp's tone.
I have owned many amps over the years and while they have their own personality tone-wise
I'm not sure that it's the output tubes that characterize the tone.
for example, I have owned a few EL84 output amps which I have never found to have a Vox-like
complexion that I read about.
a few moths ago I picked up a bad cat cub II head with 2xEL84 output and the tone was stellar.
it definitely has the Voxy harmonically rich thing going I was curious about.
it's a keeper and I haven't played any of my other amps since then.
so, what's the deal with that ? what has your experience been ?
enquiring minds want to know.
 

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In my opinion circuit is 90% of the amps tone, output tubes add in the final 10%. If you've ever tried any of the egnater amps that have the pot that can switch between (and anywhere mix of) 6v6 and EL84, or maybe two other output tubes, the difference is very subtle. One capacitor value change could change the character of the amp far more that the output tube could.

YMMV of course. But I don't let output tube type decide which amp I might like anymore. You can get 6V6s to sound voxy, and you can get EL84s to sound fendery with the right circuit
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In my opinion circuit is 90% of the amps tone, output tubes add in the final 10%. If you've ever tried any of the egnater amps that have the pot that can switch between (and anywhere mix of) 6v6 and EL84, or maybe two other output tubes, the difference is very subtle. One capacitor value change could change the character of the amp far more that the output tube could.

YMMV of course. But I don't let output tube type decide which amp I might like anymore. You can get 6V6s to sound voxy, and you can get EL84s to sound fendery with the right circuit
Yes that pretty well confirms what I have been finding on line and have found with my own ears.
you mention the egnater, with the mix of output tubes. I have a mesa blue angel with the mix of 6v6 and el84 output tubes and don't really hear a whole lot of difference other than gain.
thanks for your response
 

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Tone is more from;
1- Circuit desing
2- Voltage on tubes; different voltage on same same circuit = different tone
3- Capacitor, how they are made; metal film, polyester film , ceramic. polypropylene , silver mica......
4- Transformers quality or how they are made.

A Peavey Classic 30 use four EL84 like a Vox AC30, amps tone and sound are day and night.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tone is more from;
1- Circuit desing
2- Voltage on tubes; different voltage on same same circuit = different tone
3- Capacitor, how they are made; metal film, polyester film , ceramic. polypropylene , silver mica......
4- Transformers quality or how they are made.

A Peavey Classic 30 use four EL84 like a Vox AC30, amps tone and sound are day and night.
you're right, years ago I had a peavey classic 50 and it sounds exactly like a peavey classic 50.
 

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I hated the sound of anything EL84 based, until I tried a Marshall 18W TMB. No more hate for EL84's here! The circuit, the transformers, and the speaker make the differences you can hear. Not the power tubes (imho)

An amp tech who doesn't come 'round here no more, would gladly argue all day long that a tube only processes electrons, and electrons don't have a tone or any influence on the final sound.
 

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As others have said. It's the sum of everything together. The power tubes are a very small part of that equation. I think preamp tubes have a bigger effect on the sound.
 

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Lincoln, until you give names of amp you hate, it's mean nothing.
Or many of amps you hear are not in the best working order. Too many people don't want to pay for a good tech and there a not many good tech.

Some Traynor have EL84 ( I have one, YGM-3 ) and sound is very good.
I have a Wem Dominator with EL84 , great sounding amp
Old Vintage Vox AC30 with four EL84 is one of the best sounding amp I never hear.
Fender Blues Junior sound very good.
You want more ?

Peavey Classic 30 with 4 X EL84 ; I hat the sound , I had one I sell it, I can't hear it
 

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Lincoln, until you give names of amp you hate, it's mean nothing.
You want me to be tared and feathered???

It started a long time ago (back in the 70's) with Traynor products, probably the speakers they used more that anything, but I blamed it on the tubes and it just carried on. An adult me knows better, and like I said, that 18W TMB really opened my eyes. I was wrong, it's not the tubes.
 

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throw a graphic equalizer in front of the amp and make it have any tone you want
 

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You want me to be tared and feathered???

It started a long time ago (back in the 70's) with Traynor products, probably the speakers they used more that anything, but I blamed it on the tubes and it just carried on. An adult me knows better, and like I said, that 18W TMB really opened my eyes. I was wrong, it's not the tubes.
The 70's Traynor amps were up against bad speakers for certain, at the time it was pretty clear that they were missing something, too bad most everyone thought it was anything but the speakers. myself included.
 

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When I was shopping for an amp 20 years ago, I auditioned a lot of amps. Eventually I realized that there were features I kept coming back to. 15" speaker, cathode bias, 6L6 power tubes. I also wanted a spring reverb and tremolo.

The amp that ticked all of the boxes was a Victoria Victorilux. I've got a couple other amps, but the Victorilux sounds like me. Ric 12 or a Byrdland......it sounds like me. I rarely use pedals, even more rarely play with a dirty sound. The 15" and the cathode bias seem to give a softer attack....not compressed, but a more gentle attack to the note. I've got a late 70's 135W SFTR, with the ultralinear OT..... that is the poster child amp for Fender clean, but it's just not what I want to hear when I play.

My vote.....it's the complete recipe.
 

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Just because one company doesn't do well with a particular tube type doesn't mean that tube type is shit.
I hated all EL84 amps, especially Fenders, until I tried (and bought) a 1st generation Boogie .50 Calibre.
That totally changed my mind.
Now I have a Boogie Mark V 35 and it has a quad of EL84 and it's fantastic.
But it's more than just the circuitry.
The cabinet type and size and the speaker(s) play HUGE roles.
I don't think you can pin it down to just a couple of key things.
It's a network of systems and every component in those systems plays a role.
 

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Many valid and interesting perspectives expressed in this thread. As someone who’s experienced my fair share of “amp euphoria“ and “amp remorse“ (Gawd, I never should’a sold my 65’ Vibro Champ!...), I also agree that it’s the whole package of tubes, circuit design, transformers, speaker, etc that make up an amp’s tonal character.

However, I’m a little surprised that only one member so far has mentioned the cabinet’s contribution to overall tone. (speaking of combos, primarily) I’m certainly no expert but I gotta ask...why is that a Blues Junior with a 12” speaker and 15 watts sounds boxy compared to a Carr Raleigh with a 10” speaker and just 3 watts?! (my opinion only, of course) Both are EL84 powered amps..just sayin’.
 

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Many valid and interesting perspectives expressed in this thread. As someone who’s experienced my fair share of “amp euphoria“ and “amp remorse“ (Gawd, I never should’a sold my 65’ Vibro Champ!...), I also agree that it’s the whole package of tubes, circuit design, transformers, speaker, etc that make up an amp’s tonal character.

However, I’m a little surprised that only one member so far has mentioned the cabinet’s contribution to overall tone. (speaking of combos, primarily) I’m certainly no expert but I gotta ask...why is that a Blues Junior with a 12” speaker and 15 watts sounds boxy compared to a Carr Raleigh with a 10” speaker and just 3 watts?! (my opinion only, of course) Both are EL84 powered amps..just sayin’.
Interesting.
Has anyone every experimented with a Blues Junior in a larger cabinet?
 

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I love JCM 900’s w 5881 tubes as opposed to almost everyone else that would say I’m stupid and EL34 are better. I’ve bought a few 5881 900’s that were converted to EL34 that I converted back.

This is only the case with certain speakers. Through a greenback loaded 4x12 I prefer the EL34. Through 75’s or 65’s I prefer the 5881/6L6 900’s.

I find the EL34 900’s shrilly through 75’s. That is until you mod the tone stack and remove the clipping diode, then all bets are off and the 5881 versions just rip through any speaker really.
 

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Hammer on your favourite Marshall EL34 Marshall, then do the same with a Hiwatt Custom 50 or DR103. Pretty different sounding, and in case it hasn’t been said, include transformer type and size in the equation as part of the circuit.

I loved the Dual Rec I put KT77s into, can highly recommend...but it still sounds like a Dual Rec. Just more SOLID than EL34. And tastier than 6L6, more low mid sweetness.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hammer on your favourite Marshall EL34 Marshall, then do the same with a Hiwatt Custom 50 or DR103. Pretty different sounding, and in case it hasn’t been said, include transformer type and size in the equation as part of the circuit.

I loved the Dual Rec I put KT77s into, can highly recommend...but it still sounds like a Dual Rec. Just more SOLID than EL34. And tastier than 6L6, more low mid sweetness.
 
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