Best current production 6L6

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by golfnut, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

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    That's correct, but only specific runs from the late 70s and early 80s.
     
  2. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

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    I like the TAD as well. And when asked current production tubes in the past, Mike at KCA has also recommended the TAD. I prefer the short bottle, but some like the tall bottle. TAD no longer has an exclusive on these, they are available branded as Sino, Ruby and others. That said, there are so many opinions as to which sounds best...since it's subjective

    The Winged C/SED were great, but they've been out of production for 5+ years and in their last couple of years SED flooded the market with rejects making it a crap shoot. Heck, even the Sovtek 5881WXT isn't the same military-grade tube it used to be, compare a new one to an old one and you'll see the construction is very different these days.

    Tubes have always had a wide tolerance for bias and current draw. Something like +/- 25mA from tube to tube coming off the same assembly line. Doesn't matter if comparing Russian to Chinese or even two NOS RCA from the same year. That's why it's important to get them matched and check bias.

    6L6 versions are backward compatible. You can use a 6L6GC in any 6L6, 6L6G, 6L6GA, 5881, or 6L6GB application. So when the Ari Force orders a ton of 5881/6L6WGB (these were servo tubes for F-16 Falcons), any tube that met the minimum specs qualified for the order. No need to retool for WGBs if already making GCs, which easily meet the WGB specs. However, it can be dangerous to make assumptions based on hearsay and others experience. The WGB only had to met 5881/6L6GB specs, which means they may have shipped both 23- and 30-watt tubes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The F16 had tubes in it at some point? Wow.... I thought that tech was long gone in those.
    Yeah, some people think "oh cool Mil Spec" . Let me tell you, You could drive a truck through the holes some of those specs, and yet other parts are so tight they make no sense. That's one reason you can (could) find nice 5AR4 rectifiers mil labeled as 5V4's!

    I always thought the Wafer Base Sovtek 6L6/5881's weren't bad at all. What I think some sellers (like TAD) bring to the party is selling only good consistent tubes, even though they may be Sino or Ruby etc. maybe I'm dreaming though.

    All mil spec WGB's will be short bottle, where GC's are big bottle though right? The weird thing about 5881's is that, back in the day, I remember them being tall bottles, now everyone says "5881 are just WGB's" Am I mis remembering that?
     
  4. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

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    F-16 were the last to go all solid-state in the mid-'80s. At one time tubes were considered EMP-proof, but eventually there was so many other circuits in the plane that wouldn't survive an EMP, keeping the tubes was pointless.

    It's like the scene in "Support Your Local Sheriff" when they are looking at the bullet dent in the badge...
    • James Garner: "Well, I guess this saved someone's life."
    • Harry Morgan: "It would have if it weren't for all the other bullets."
    The original Sovtek 5881 was also a jet servo tube.

    Sylvania made one short bottle and two tall bottle GC's. GE also made a short bottle GC.
     
  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Cool, yeah I have a couple Sylvania short bottles here but they are WGB's.

    Yeah, regarding military ideas, it was said for a long time that the Soviets would win the Nuclear War after battle tank battle as their tanks were plain diesel old school, not even needing electricity to run. The Abrams tank is turbine powered, fuel sucking, and wont survive EMP or be useable if it does as it's all computer. I guess the thinking is no one will survive the start of the war!
     
  6. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    The Philips ones that I'm talking about were part of the gigantic load of mostly Philips military grade tubes that flooded the market something like 20 years ago when the Government decided to dump all of there warehouses full of military spec tubes on the market, as they weren't needed anymore. All of a sudden there were Philips/Sylvania 7581A's, the small bottle Phillips tubes we were speaking of, and many more. Some GE military spec stuff too. They were plentiful for some years after that, at pretty good prices. Some of the more desirable tubes, like the 7581A's, became scarce pretty quickly, but those small bottle Phillips tubes were around for quite a while, and only have gotten scarce in the last few years. It was a great time for tube people when the government let those out.
    Al
     
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  7. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

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    I have a pair of TungSols that are marked 5881 on the bottle, and 6L6WGB on the base.
     
  8. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

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    I was too punk to care about anything but being obnoxious on guitar 20 years ago. I do miss my 20s, but man was I awful.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I may have some of those too. Brown base.
     
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  10. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    A true 5881 is a military spec 6L6WB, 6L6WGB is another designation for 5881.
    Al
     
  11. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Uh, 5881 were servo tubes in early B-52 bombers during the late '50's early 60's...not sure about in F-16's.

    All of the below tubes share the same operating characteristics--except for their differing plate & screen dissipation ratings!

    6L6....19W
    6L6G...19W
    6L6GA..19W
    6L6GB..19W
    6L6GC..30W
    5881...23/26W
    7027...25W
    7027A..35W
    7581...30W
    7581A..35W
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  12. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

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    Yes. My TungSols are JAN tubes.
     
  13. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Are you talking about original Tungsols or new manufacture Tungsols?.
    Al
     
  14. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

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    These are originals. I actually took them out of a PA built in 1958. Then I converted the amp for guitar, and put them back in. It's the amp in my profile pic.
     
  15. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Right, vintage 5881's were military spec tubes, these days some are just lower power 6L6's and some are faithful to the military specs. The Sovtek 5881 is neither a real 5881 nor a 6L6GC.
    Al
     
  16. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    Same here. Power tubes are disposable. As great as some of the old ones are, I just can't really getting all spendy over them. I'll use an old low signal tube every now and then, but I can't tell you which and where. I just rummage through the shoe box and plug them in until I get one I like. There's no science to it. I've had tubes that sound lousy everywhere, and just perfect in exactly one location.

    I also have had good luck with the Tung Sol's. Very solid tubes. I like their 6V6's a lot. Actually, better than any older 6V6's. I've also liked the GT Black Plate 6L6-CHP and the 6L6-GE.

    My favorite new production 6L6's are whatever Mesa sells. They're the only 6L6's that really sound right in my MK IIB.
     
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If you're on a budget, get TAD short bottles. Good sounding tube.

    If you want to spend money, get a very good tube, that will last a long time, get some RCA blackplates from KCA.

    If you want the highest quality, best sounding non-vintage tube I've ever played (obviously subjective LOL), get some SED Winged Cs. Recently discontinued, but still gettable, for now. I actually like them better than my RCAs. I've bought some from this guy on Reverb, and will do so again if need be.
     
  18. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Holic

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    This is in my notes for my 6L6 amp. Pulled from some unknown locations online. I wish I could give them credit. Anymore I tend to scrutinize tubes by their factory/country of origin rather than the name on the label.

    TAD 6l6gc=Sylvania/Philips tall bottle clones, warmer, rounder bottom and neutral top end.

    TAD 6L6wgc=GE fat bottle clones, clearer, crisper bottom and bit punchier in mids and treble.

    Tungosl for clarity and articulation.

    JJ's for low end ?

    Electro Harmonix for midrange grind.
     
  19. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    KCA has no RCA blackplates. And if he did, $400 for a matched pair is too rich for my blood.
     
  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes, they're pricey. I was just covering all bases as I see it.

    There's some logic to getting a pair of those RCAs: they may well outlive you. The TADs are really nice, won't hurt your wallet, but they'll last five years, give or take. Like most any modern tube.

    You can always buy a early 70s SF Twin for $700. :twisted: Many come with original glass. There's four RCA ... probably gray plates... right there. You're welcome :lol::lol::lol:
     
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