Available in Singles, Matched Pairs and Matched Quads
All Tubes are tested and matched
Large bottle (big bulb) type for the look and sound of 6L6 tubes used during the golden age of hi-fi in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Uprated to 6L6GC specs for improved performance and reliability.
A beam tetrode tube with an octal base, the 6L6 tube (valve) was originally developed to bypass a patent by Philips on the pentode tube and the result is fantastic.
Without a doubt, most of my favourite amps use 6L6 tubes. That may be a coincidence or it may be the design but I do love these tubes. I also love El34s, KT88s and the list goes on but the 6L6 tubes are one of if not my favourite.
What equivalents exist?
6L6 tubes have seen so many variations over the years including
- 6l6wxt (made by Sovtek)
- 7581 (made by TungSol)
You may see a version of 6L6 with a W placed after the 6L6, these are a military suffix and are compatible e.g. 6L6WGA. There are also some NOS variations such as the EL37 but I will let you investigate these.
Some other considerations:
- 5881 *note: The 5881 is a similar tube only it is 23watt version versus the 6L6 which is 30watt therefore a 6L6 could be placed in an amp designed for a 5881 tube but not necessarily the other way around.. Check before simply swapping these tubes.
- KT66 similar but not a direct equivalent and you must check before adding these into your circuits, The transformer may not be capable of handling these tubes. As an example, the heater filament on the 6L6 tube draws .9A whilst the KT66 draws 1.3A
- We receive enquires around the 7027 (they are similar to a 6L6 but is not a pin for pin replacement)
What version should I use for my amp?
Well, Fender has been using 6L6 tubes for near 50 years and that should say enough. Often known for the bright clean sound yet with plenty of punch down low you will find these tubes in some of the best brands of amps in the market.
Hi-Fi enthusiasts love the 6L6 tube range as they perform so well. Just look at how many Tube HiFi units are built to work with 6L6 tubes. That should prove they perform well and the Electro Harmonix brand is loved by HiFi enthusiasts,
I have tried all the brands and really I cant pick a favourite, I mean whilst they vary to some degree its almost like they all vary in a positive way. if I was forced to pick then it would be JJs for my guitar amp and EH for my HiFi (today, I might change my mind tomorrow).
Rember though, not everything is a direct replacement, the KT66 can often fit in but the extra draw on the heater filaments could be an issue. If you are a fan I would recommend looking at the 6L6WXT and 7581 which are both upgrades on the basic 6L6.
For more information try reading this Wikipedia page
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