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The Best 6V6?

5/7/1999 2:36 PM
The Best 6V6?
I got lucky with my BFSR and found a pair of NOS RCA 5881's at a local surplus store, but what should I do about my SFDR? I want it to be pretty clean sounding. I heard a Blackface Princeton (not reverb) that kicked ass all over mine. I know it has different circuitry and a ten inch speaker, but I know mine can sound better. It has the original Fender tubes in it (it is a 70's model) that were made in the US. They look kinda chintzy. Any new 6V6's out there, or should I go with NOS? I found a box of used (RCA, Sylvania, Tung Sol) 6V6's at that surplus store; would it be better to buy several of those and find a matched pair, or buy new (like Sovtek) 6v6's? I don't want to pay a lot of money for NOS tubes, I only paid $12 for the RCA's, and the used ones are $6 each. I am planning on replacing all of the tubes, BTW, and recapping it at the same time.
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5/7/1999 6:37 PM
Dave James

Stating what would be the "best 6V6" is kinda subjective...  
The only 6V6 I have experience with is the Sovtek brand. While it sounded AWESOME, it ran at ATOMIC temperatures even in a '68 silver-faced Princeton. I don't believe the current Sovtek 6V6 is built to withstand B+ voltages above 350VDC. The Fender Deluxe Reverb runs the plates at around 420VDC and Sovtek 6V6's, again, made the chassis so hot that you couldn't touch it.  
I wound up using the Pearl(?) tube heat-sinks to keep them from melting.  
Dave James  
James Music Products
5/7/1999 7:03 PM

Try's got some Phillips 6v6gt for 15 bucks apiece no charge for matching.A bit more costly than Sovtek but a much better sounding tube,I think,and they should hold up better with the higher B+.
5/7/1999 8:23 PM

YOu could try ebay IF you're careful not to get caughtup in the bidding, is a good outfit, I buy from them occasionally. They have an extensive parts listing.  
There's a bunch of other sellers out there; - triode electronics always has a good selection of tubes,  
angela has NOS 6V6's if you're not fussy about matching.  
Radio electric supply out of FLA is a good op.  
I'm with alot of others who post here about the Sovtek 6v6's - not for any thing over 350V. I had 'em in my Marshall studio 15 and they sounded lame.  
just a couple thoughts...  
5/7/1999 8:54 PM
Rob W.

Give Tubeworld a try:  
They have a wide selection of 6v6's, you should be able to find something that you could use.  
5/8/1999 9:14 AM

Re: The Best 6V6?...opinion
I've built a mess of amps with the 6V6's and there really is a wide range of what's good & bad out there.  
Mooks farrr better at this than I am but in a very quick summary I ended up trying a bunch of different brands.  
Sovtek's: Well, I don't know how to say this but they make a pretty 12AX7! (ha, ha) The 6V6 is pretty rough. It's terribly sensitive when it comes to the voltage being a bit to high but every other NOS 6V6 I replaced them with did fine...odd or what? These really aren't the way to go unless you do not have axcess to NOS 6V6's.  
RCA'a: The black based RCA's are the best I've come across so far in my travels. They have a tight lowend without getting mushy and love being driven hard! They have a really nice "glassy" tone that hard to beat and amazing mids! For singing tones this is the 6V6 for the job.  
GE's: I haven't seen too many of these where I am at but these are pretty good as well. They don't seem to have the sweet "glassy" quality like the RCA's do but aside from that they seem to sound pretty darm good to my ears. The mids are not as pronounced as the RCA's but these beat the pants off from the Sovteks hands down.  
SYLVANIA'S: These have a nice top end quality to them but tend to compress pretty easily when driven hard. The lows and mids are pretty good but not as singing as the highs.  
These are the only ones I pretty much use. I obviously go for the RCA's first and usually I can always get these. There seems to be pretty supply of these still around. I don't know if this helps anyone or not! (ha, ha) As I said, Mookie is far better at this aspect than I am.  
Anyone else??  
5/8/1999 3:12 PM

I'll reply.  
Been playing with the various 6V6's for a couple years now. RCA's with high transconductance readings are very nice. I agree they like to be run hard. Sovteks get regulated to Magnavox consol duty (275v). GE's sound not too shabby but have found some to be a bit noisy when starting out, but quite down and peform well after they kind of "break-in?". Use JAN Philips all the time. I sell these at pretty good rate. 50's Sylvania WGTA's are very nice also.  
This is a bit odd, but one of the nicest pair I use is a perfectly matched set that came out of a 58 Magnavox, made in Japan. Stunning!!  

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