Best 6L6 Tube Reivew
Looking for 6L6 Tubes?
Check out our 6L6 Tube Catalog Page for 6L6 tubes we stock.
6L6 tube is a very popular output tube in guitar amps. Because of this, there are many versions by different manufacturers. All current production 6L6 tubes are great tubes. They are reliable, sound great and perform well.
As you use your tube amp, tubes wear out due to the heat it generates. This is more accelerated on output power tubes like 6L6. When power tubes wear out, the low end starts to fade, and your amp will sound flat.
Replacing with fresh power tubes on a regular interval is a good, easy way to keep your amp and tone in top shape.
Looking for tube sets for your Fender amp?
See Fender Amp Tube Sets.
6L6GC types can dissipate 30W and handle plate voltages up to 500V. 6L6GC can replace any other 6L6 or 5881 type tubes. The 6L6GC tubes we carry work great in any 6L6 tube amps.
Our top selling go-to 6L6GC tube is TungSol 6L6GC-STR. Along with Mullard 6L6GC, these new generation 6L6GC tubes are packaged in a compact form. The small form factor reduces vibration and associated noise. These tubes are ideal in combo amps.
TungSol 6L6GC-STR and Mullard 6L6GC have extra thermal fins. They also feature black anode coating. The fins and coating allow the tubes to dissipate higher power. Both TungSol 6L6GC-STR and Mullard 6L6GC have large side getters for longer life.
These tubes sound great in amps ranging Boogies to Tweed. We like to bias these tubes a bit cooler where it seems to deliver more harmonics and note separation.
If you are looking to upgrade from factory 6L6 tubes, Svetlana 6L6GC is worth a look also. Often overlooked, Svetlana 6L6GC has great mids which is not always the strength of 6L6.
Another tube we like is Ruby 6L6GC-MSTR. This is a great all rounder 6L6GC. Ruby tests and matches these tubes. We then run our own testing and re-selection. This makes Ruby 6L6GC-MSTR one of the most rigorously tested 6L6GC anywhere.
One of the more interesting tubes are TAD 6L6GC-STR RCA and TAD 6L6GC-STR Clear Top. These tubes are built by Chinese Shuguang for TAD. We didn't think too much of Chinese 6L6's till we tried these out. TAD 6L6GC-STR adds more thickness to the sound as well as plenty of headroom.
Any of these 6L6GC tubes will work well in an amp calling for 6L6 type tubes. Remember, all our power tube sets include free burn-in for stability and reliability.
Original TungSol 5881 from 1950's was legendary in its tone. NOS JAN 6L6WGB was also an excellent sounding tube.
6L6WGB / 5881 is smaller sized than 6L6GC, and rated only up to 23W. 6L6GB and 5881 cannot be used in amps that specifically call for 6L6GC.
There are two 5881 tubes in production today.
Comparing New and NOS TungSol 5881
We compared current production TungSol 5881 to NOS TungSol in a SF Bassman. We felt current production TungSol 5881 had a little more modern taste to it. Current production TungSol 5881 has a bit more bottom end as well as highs with harmonic content. NOS TungSol 5881 sounded a little smoother.
Use Tung-Sol 5881 if you are looking for that great 5881 tone, but make sure your amp calls for 5881/6L6GB and not 6L6GC.
If you are after that Tung-Sol 5881 tone in higher powered amp, try TungSol 6L6GC-STR tubes.
Links to Shopping 6L6 Tubes and More
See our 6L6 / 5881 Tube Catalog Page for all 6L6 tube types we stock.
If you are looking for tube sets for your Fender amps, please also see Fender Amp Tube Sets.
If you want to know more about all the different 6L6 types, see 6L6GC, 6L6GB, 5881, KT66 Differences