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Thread: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

  1. #21
    Wookieologist Gr8Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by misterwhizzy View Post
    I don't really get the obsession with bass in the guitar world. Isn't that what bassists and drummers are for? I run my bass typically on about 3, maybe 3.5, and it fills out the sound a little bit. Beyond that, it just starts to muddy up a bit.
    Depends on your gear and how you run it my friend. I run the bass knob on 10 on my 2204 and I feel that it's not enough most times. Thinking of modding her now that I've had a little quality time with her. I need more ass and she's not carrying enough ass to make me happy.

  2. #22
    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by gibson175 View Post
    Diego if you wany heavy you need wattage. Theres no substitiue. Heres why:
    For us players, watts do not equal volume. For example you can get 100db at 1m with 1w.
    Watts are a god indicator of headroom - and by headroom i mean bass. Bass frequencies require more wattage to reproduce because the speaker needs to move further. As a result the amp needs more power to push it. With insufficient wattage, you simply cannot produce enough power to reproduce enough bass. El84s, when used in pairs or fours can produce 20w or even up to 50w. 5 watts is simply not enough.
    Now even tho you hear about all the heavy players talking about tight bass, they are still using big wattage amps like 100w marshalls or big mesas. Sure they tighten things up with a tube screamer to knock off some lower end, but there is still plenty there. And the amps (and speakers ) can reproduce it with ease. Thats how you get tight - by not maxxing out the power tubes. Those super heavy modern tones you hear on the radio are mostly preamp crunch with the power tubes just running warm, not totally saturated.
    So - will a lionheart do it? No.
    Will a blackstar 20w -well its no JCM marshall or dual rectifier - but yes its a great little amp that will give you some pretty great (heavier) tones.
    Despite what all the ppl who play guitar in their bedroom believe - you still need wattage to get bottom end in a band setting.
    Out of the two amps you mentioned, then the blackstar is better. But if you gonna play it in a band, then maybe look around for a 50w jcm900 cos they are still pretty cheap - and you can run the power section at 25watts if you want. It will get fatter with more volume, but you will be able to get some killer heavy tones at low volume too - especially if you like your pedals. EL84s juts do not offer what an el34 can do. Yes they can sound great and yes they can do some great crunch sounds - but they physically cannot reproduce the same frequencies the same way. Most 900s came with celestion g12t75s, which is a more bottom heavy speaker, They do not have a lot of top end so they dont icepick your ears - they just seem to get fatter and ballsier as you turn them up.
    Dont fall into the trap of thinking low wattage = manageable volume. Its not that simple. And youll find a lot of ppl turning up their little amps because they cant hear or feel the bass.
    The main determinant of percieved volume is speaker efficiency and spl combined with the resonant peak of the speaker because some frequencies are detected by our ears better than others. No you wont go deaf with a 50w amp necessarily, you can go deaf with a 1watt amp! Its all about frequency response and reproduction.
    Wow, thanks man.

    I'm honestly a big, big newbie in the tube amp world. I've never had a tube amp and all of this experience is very important.

    It's great that you took the time to explain all that. I'll definitely have to consider all of this, because I do want a modern tone, british flavored but modern, and bass is important. It can't be muddy or loose, at any volume.

    I'll keep all of this in mind for my future amp choice.

    And whizzy, bassists are there for pure, unadulterated bass indeed, but I think that actually the guitar can compliment the bass with it's push just fine, and make everything bigger without turning into a mess. It's a matter of allowing spaces and moments for each.
    I believe it's a matter of playing WITH your bassist and your drummer, not just along them.
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  3. #23
    Mojo's Minions misterwhizzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Diego View Post
    And whizzy, bassists are there for pure, unadulterated bass indeed, but I think that actually the guitar can compliment the bass with it's push just fine, and make everything bigger without turning into a mess. It's a matter of allowing spaces and moments for each.
    I believe it's a matter of playing WITH your bassist and your drummer, not just along them.
    That's kind of what I'm trying to say. I don't mind filling the upper mids of the frequency spectrum. That doesn't bother me at all. I don't really need to be doing the bass thing. I also don't have any desire for a seven-string guitar, so make of it what you will.

    I guess a lot of it has to do with the voicing of the amp, too. I never thought of the JCM 800 as a real bassy amp, so maybe that explains your experience, Scott. Or maybe you just like a bassier tone. Who knows?

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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    I think it's easier to dial a well-settled guitar tone that stays out of the bass' way.
    But I find it more rewarding to give it a serious push and try to make the pieces fit.
    I don't like 7 strings either, it's just a matter of how tight are you with the rest of your band and the musical style, and what you wanna hear coming out of the speaker. There's no wrong way in this one.
    I wouldn't do that if I hadn't rehearsed everything with the band, plenty of times.
    Last edited by Diego; 04-27-2011 at 07:11 PM.
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    yes whizzy i know what you mean about bassists being there for bass. BUt theres bass and there is bass. You are absolutley right about 800s and especially 900s being not especially bassy. In fact they are not at all bassy -they are midrange voiced. Howver - those amps still have a ton more bass than any el84 amp can provide.
    You mentioned that if you turn your bass knob up past 3.5 then it gets muddy - well thats more about your amp than anything else. The bass knob on a modern marshall controls bass frequencies of course, but those frequencies are much higher than the bass frequencies governed by, say, a fender twin. Obviously the eq sections on any amp are voiced to accentuate certain frequencies. Bass frequencies cover a very wide spectrum. Some amps bass knob affects very low bass frequencies and can defintely run a narrow line between huge and flabby.
    Re: scott running his bass at 10. That i can totally understand - especially at lower volumes on that particluar amp, because those amps are not bass heavy at all - they are specifically built to sound fat and focused with high gain and volume. They higher those amps go, the chunkier they get.
    IN contrast, my 20w fender has a titanic bottom end due to the combination of its tubes and eq voicing - but only up to a certain point in volume - after that it just cant give any more. I rarely run that amp past 3 on the bass.
    So yeah - marshall 900/800s are not particularly bassy amps - they are voiced for crunchy mids and they sit in a band mix beautifully -but they will still make any small wattage el84 amp sound anaemic when you are playing next to a drummer and a bassist. Its all relative.
    A marshall like those we are talkign about is not voiced to reproduce a lot of bass thru the preamp section- but the fact is, the power tubes can handle way more than the preamp is giving them. Thats why they sound great in a band mix. There is no flab, just focus and power.
    I know there are a lot of amps that next to a mashall on their own make it sound kinda small and boxy - you know the ones with the huge bass and sizzling highs, but as you rightly pointed out, all that bass can be swamped by a bass player and all those sizzling highs can get eaten by the drummers' cymbals. So yeah your point is very accurate. All this stuff about where ppl set their bass knobs is relative to their particular amp.

    What im really talkign about is getting the sound that diego mentioned. ITs juts not possible with a little 5w thing. Yes he can get close using a 20w el84 powered amp, but in a band setting with a bass player and drummer etc, you juts cant go past an amp with a bit more wattage, bigger transformers and bigger tubes. I think its kinda funny that ppl try to get a particular amps sound by using a totally different amp, you know what i mean? Yes there are heaps of great sounding amps at all wattage levels and circuit designs, but in the end if you want the sound of a particluar amp, then the easiest way to get it is by using that particular amp.
    Last edited by Chickenwings; 04-27-2011 at 07:22 PM.

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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    See, I've played with guys with my Jet City head, and there was nothing anemic about it. Once you get the master up to 5, it's fantastic. The power tubes are cooking, and since I've dropped the gain in the PI and biased it properly, it holds up well. I think it's got a bit more bassy voicing than those classic Marshalls, but it's definitely in the same ballpark.

    To be perfectly honest, I think you're overselling the importance of the power tubes. Yes, it makes a huge difference in feel, and it makes a big difference when the volume is really rolling, but if the power amp is designed to stay clean, the preamp and the voicing are going to be much bigger participants in making up the overall sound.

  7. #27
    Alnico 6/8 Chickenwings's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    im glad you like your jet city -its a good amp. Im just saying that if someone wants say a jcm 900 sound then the easiest way to get it is by using a jcm 900.

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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    premier Guitar had a great article on tubes

    Tube Amp Buying Basics
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HNP_...=youtube_gdata

    Cornford Hellcat with 4 EL84s. No low end huh ?

  10. #30
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Give me (Original) GEC KT-66’s any day of the week, they will kill EL-34 in a marshall, so easily!

    Big bottom, sweet midrange, and killer, but not brittle highs.

  11. #31
    Ultimate Tone Member JB6464's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Lets not forget changing the speakers on that EL84 amp and how Hard you drive them will make a big difference in bass frequencies.
    A EVM12L speaker will make a Celestion speaker sound like a buzz box when driven to band levels.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Howdy,

    All I can offer is this: My 18 watt (EL84 duet) Dr. Z Carmen Ghia is the best amp for out and out raunch I've ever played. The low-volume chimey clean tones are a pleasant surprise, too. Good luck!

    PS: With my Duncan Vintage Soapbar-loaded LP Special, my Ghia is completely nasty! Just picture Halle Berry in fishnet stockings and a mini-skirt.
    Last edited by eggman; 05-01-2011 at 03:56 PM.

  13. #33
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    The VOX AC30 uses a quartet of EL-84s.

    I don't think it lacks treble, as one of the posters said.

    Anyway, what you hear is the combo preamp/amp/speaker. Changing any of those would alter the tone immensely.

    Anyway, if the amp muds up past three in bass, that's the tone stack's DESIGN that makes it sound that way.

    I have a three-channel boutique tube amp based on the VOX AC30 output section. The CLEAN channel is modeled after a Blackface. The CRUNCH channel after a Plexi and the DRIVE channel after a JCM. No mud in any of the distortion channels, no matter how much gain I use, and I've got enough both highs and lows in the clean channel that it never gets muddy nor ear-piercing. That's the mark of a good amp design.

    HTH,
    Last edited by LtKojak; 05-02-2011 at 12:49 AM.

  14. #34
    PRSlustologist Luke Duke's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    AGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!;

    ZOMBIE THREAD ZOMBIE THREAD!!!

    Guys, this thread is 6 years old!

    “That which we do for ourselves dies with us … that which we do for others lives forever.”

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    Talking Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
    AGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!;

    ZOMBIE THREAD ZOMBIE THREAD!!!

    Guys, this thread is 6 years old!

    I was 6 years old too...49 years ago. I'd like to think I'm still useful on occasion -Rod-
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    Tone Member USAPatriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Back on topic here...

    I have a Blackstar HT40 and am getting getting to replace the EL-34's. I'm dumping the TAD's and probably getting Tungsol EL-34-B's. My bias voltage, by specs, is to be 50mv, but what happens if I drop it to 25-30mv?

    My problem is that we got burned out of our home in August, are in an apartment temporarily, and I just can't turn this amp up enough to get the tone I want without the neighbors on the otherside of the wall hearing it. My thinking is that maybe I should temporarily configure the amp as a 25w which would (hopefully) allow me to push the master volume and gain channel without the volume. I get that I'll lose some bass but in this dinky room I've set up as a studio, bass isn't much of an issue and the HT has a lot of bass response. So, can I get what I want by dropping my bias voltage and most importantly, are there any consequences to the circuits? It's not like I'm overclocking, rather underclocking, but sometimes that's not a good thing either. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks -Rod-
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by greendy123 View Post
    Basically the el-34's give you the classic marshall tone everyone knows of. The el-84's are a completely different type of tone, not close to the marshall tone.
    It's funny because the 1987X uses EL84 and the "classic marshall" JTM45 uses 5881 tubes. None of the "old classics" actually used el34's.. Well, the 800 did, but by then they already had master and pre-gain knobs.

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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
    AGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!;

    ZOMBIE THREAD ZOMBIE THREAD!!!

    Guys, this thread is 6 years old!

    Damn.. and I'm just here drunk. Didnt notice it. Thanks.

  19. #39
    Let it B JeffB's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelfire View Post
    It's funny because the 1987X uses EL84s.
    Its really funny because you are completely wrong.

    Marshall switched to EL34s within 4 years (edit- too early for math), once the SS rectified amps 1987/1959, bass versions, etc) became the defacto Marshall heads. The majority of classic marshall amps of the 60s, 70, and most of the eighties (barring US imports) used el34s.
    Last edited by JeffB; 02-15-2014 at 04:14 AM.
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  20. #40
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: EL84 v.s. El34 - TONAL differences

    To me:

    El84 = Classic Vox tones

    El34 = Classic Marshall tones

    6L6 = Classic Fender tones

    Those original Marshall DSL EL84 combos sounded more like a Vox AC15 to me.
    The newer version (DSL40c) with EL34's sounds more like a Marshall.

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