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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by ftbtx, Aug 4, 2017.
Has anyone used the old hammer and sickle 6P6S' in place of 6V6GT with good results?
I've ordered a few matched pairs from the Ukraine of the 80's reflektor 6P6s. I've only tried them in my super champ x2, but cranked up to 10 on channel one, they distort quite nicely to my ears. Sound a bit more pleasing than the tung sol reissues I have used in the amp prior.
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Bought some for use in a planned single ended amp, hopefully to be built later this year, and as spares. A pair of OTK marked and a pair of civilian. Markings aside, they look identical. They could be identical, just one has the marking, one maybe had the marking? Who knows. Both pairs have the Reflektor logo.
Tried out the supposed matched 'Military ( OTK ) 'pair in my Cub and they were close-ish ( ~5mA out ). Biased it to ~70% and compared to the JJ 6V6S that were in there, they compress more, compress earlier and have a nice sort of 'old valve radio' tone to them. Really quite pleasant. Physically, they run hot as in degrees C. Noticeably hotter than the JJ
The civilian ( non-OTK marked ) matched pair were also a few mA out. I couldn't get them to more than ~65% before the bias pot ran out of adjustment though. I felt they broke up earlier than the OTK marked ones and they didn't have that warm, almost woolly, nostalgic feel to them.
While I had the chassis out, I refitted the stock Ruby valves and tweaked them to as close to 70% as I could get them. They were almost as close a match as the JJ. Dull, flaccid things with minimal character compared to the three sets that went before. If I hadn't played swap'n'chop, I guess I'd be happy with the Rubies. I was happy with them for a year before trying JJ.
1st = JJ + OTK marked 6p6s. They have a different sound. The JJ are a superb valve, the Russian one sounds 'older', more 'valvey' The Russian ones are datemarked VII 74. Both go very loud. Both sound fantastic. Different, but fantastic.
3rd Non-OTK marked. Nice. As clear as the JJ up to a point, then they break up. They break up quite nicely after entering a pleasant region of compression. I -think- I can make out a date mark of 73 on one of them.
4th Ruby. They were stock, they were OK, and I liked them until I tried something else when I felt they'd lost their edge.
I have read they don't like the high voltages some amps apply to 6V6's. My Cub only hits them with ~300V. If your amp uses very high voltages, you may end up with Soviet lightbulbs.
Thanks for the detailed information, I think I'll give them a try.
I've read this too, and have seen conflicting information either way. I think my x2 puts out about 350v, but don't quote me on that.
I've seen conflicting accounts on the plate voltage too, with a few people reporting having used them repeatedly at >400V without issues. The 90s Sovtek branded 6v6 that looks the same as these has a reputation for failing under the high voltages in Fender amps, but I don't want to assume that everything about those is identical - if nothing else I can imagine that the factory might have been managed quite differently between the 70s and the 90s.
I'm currently trying a pair of OTK marked 6P6S in an amp I've just built. I only put them in yesterday so can't comment in detail, but they didn't instantly melt down at my 410V plate voltage, they bias OK and don't sound wildly different from JJs at low volume. I haven't had a chance to turn the amp up with them yet. I'll see how they get on over the next few weeks.
I know years ago before the interwebs ... I restored a 68 Deluxe Reverb. At the time I didn't know much about amps, so I got some of the Sovtek 6V6s which I think are / were rebadged 6P6S tubes.
That amp ate those tubes up, they didn't last anytime, redplated.
I found some old stock 6V6s and they worked fine for years, later I tried some JJ 6V6s which also worked well.
So I personally wouldn't ever use a 6P6S tube in place of a 6V6 in anything I own.
Using these in my Excelsior. Excellent tubes for that month. Very happy with tone and output levels. No redplating.
An update on the pair of 6P6S I was trying out in my 6v6 plexi build:
I had them biased at 65%, with a plate voltage of around 410V. While they biased OK when first installed, didn't get unusually hot and sounded fine, today I was playing at low volume when I noticed a sudden "hot electrical" smell coming from the amp. I switched it off and noticed that the power valves were a great deal hotter than normal, and they'd been fine up to that point. I'm not certain if it was one or both of them, and I couldn't see if they were red-plating due to the black coating. The amp is running problem-free with JJs, so I guess the caution about using the 6P6s at higher voltages may be well founded.