6N3P is found on many smaller tube amps today. 6N3P is a great little triode tube, but it's not well known that you have many options if you would like to upgrade. If you would like to see the selection of 6N3P tubes, see our 2C51 / 5670 / 6N3P Tubes page.
Origin of 6N3P
6N3P designation came from the now-defunct USSR. The real tube designation is 6H3П in Cyrillic. Of course, we (i.e. westerners) can't read Cyrillic, but they looked like 6N3P - so we called it 6N3P.
Chinese military licensed (copied?) 6N3P from the Soviets, but the Chinese also couldn't quite read Cyrillic. So the Chinese tube manufacturers designated the tube 6N3P as well. Today, you see Chinese-made 6N3P tubes on many tube amps from China today.
2C51 and 5670 Tubes
Although the 6N3P tube came from Russia, the Russian 6N3P was actually a copy (a very good one at that) of the American 5670 tube.
5670 is the high-reliability version of the 2C51 tube. 2C51 / 5670 tubes are compact, low noise, versatile, and saw very wide use.
Western Electric also made WE396A, a direct drop-in replacement for 5670. WE396A was made for high-reliability communication applications and is sought after by Western Electric enthusiasts. around the globe.
The Russian 6N3P came in different grades. This is pretty common for Russian small-signal tubes. There are 6N3P, 6N3P-E, 6N3P-EB, and 6N3P-DR variants. E is a bit higher grade than regular 6N3P, where EB is for high reliability, and DR designated tubes are the highest durability grade.
Soviet 6N3P was produced at several tube factories. These are:
Reflektor JSC in Saratov Russia
Voskhod JSC in Kaluga, Russia
Oktjbr' factory in Vinnitsa, Ukraine
As far as we know, 6N3P tubes are no longer produced in Russia or Ukraine.
Tube Rolling 6N3P
All of the 6N3P, 2C51, 5670, and WE396A tubes are drop-in compatible despite having very different names. While some variants are in more demand and priced higher accordingly, they are all good-sounding tubes with characters of their own.
If you want to try tube rolling with your 6N3P amp, look around our 6N3P / 2C51 / 5670 page. We stock many variants in various price ranges to match your needs.
What to Watch for When Buying 6N3P
Russian 6N3P tubes are well made, but the two triodes can be unmatched. This is not as critical in line stage applications, but you may want to specify matched triode when ordering one.
Due to its mall size, 6N3P tubes (as well as 5670) are not very microphonic. Russian 6N3P in general also has a relatively low noise floor. If you want to make sure you don't get tubes with more microphonic or white noise, you may want to specify low noise option as well.
Related Pages: Buy 2C51 / 5670 / 6N3P Tubes