Badlander Retube

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Not sure, never used JJ EL34 power tubes in any Mesa amp. The exception was the 6CA7, they did not last very long, I was lucky to get 2 weeks out of them before one stopped working and ended up with taking out screen resistors. Was not a good experience but the tubes did sound good while it lasted. Mark V90 was the amp in question.

As for the EL34 JJ tubes, I only see the EL34L suggested for the TC50, it may be due to its lack of low end compared to the TC100. If Eurotubes is recommending the EL34II that by be the better choice. The description of the EL34L looks more appealing than the EL34II. Just read about the power tubes. The BAD can use a bit more "in your face aggression" in the EL34 tube department. So far I have only use the STR447 (EH EL34 tube) for many years. the STR446 is new (TAD red base EL34) which seems promising and sounds great. If the JJ EL34 tubes had merit, I would think that Mesa would have some in their tube offering. At the moment, they do not (excluding the fact the STR445 is the JJ 6L6GC tube).
 
Not sure, never used JJ EL34 power tubes in any Mesa amp. The exception was the 6CA7, they did not last very long, I was lucky to get 2 weeks out of them before one stopped working and ended up with taking out screen resistors. Was not a good experience but the tubes did sound good while it lasted. Mark V90 was the amp in question.

As for the EL34 JJ tubes, I only see the EL34L suggested for the TC50, it may be due to its lack of low end compared to the TC100. If Eurotubes is recommending the EL34II that by be the better choice. The description of the EL34L looks more appealing than the EL34II. Just read about the power tubes. The BAD can use a bit more "in your face aggression" in the EL34 tube department. So far I have only use the STR447 (EH EL34 tube) for many years. the STR446 is new (TAD red base EL34) which seems promising and sounds great. If the JJ EL34 tubes had merit, I would think that Mesa would have some in their tube offering. At the moment, they do not (excluding the fact the STR445 is the JJ 6L6GC tube).
As you talk about the 6L6, what diff does it make. Typically im a 6L6 guy as i love the scooped mids and fat low end but from what i have seen the badlander does not get any thicker with 6L6's, and it even seems to loose gain and output, but thats just with me watching vids online so if you have experience with this i would love to hear what you think.
 
Relying on information and video content is not always up to date.

In my opinion, the most aggressive grind I have yet to hear out of any amp with the 6L6GC is the JP2C when using the STR415 NOS Sylvania tube. the STR448 (TAD red base 6L6GC) in the grey bias color is just as effective. Now with that said, the Badlander with the STR448 tubes of the same bias color was about as good as it gets. I did not have the Mark VII at the time. After getting the Mark VII, I thought the STR445 (JJ 6L6GC) tubes sounded really good. Well the stock tubes that came out of the Mark VII are in my Badlander 100w head. Well that was a huge surprise, it blows away the Mark VII and practically steps on the JP2C with the STR415 tubes. No issue with tone loss, volume loss, gain loss, actually it is better.

Badlander 100W does get thicker with the STR445 tube, meaner and more aggressive too. No volume loss, actually it was a bit louder. Kyle Bull had compared the EL34/6L6 tubes, he claimed it drops considerably in volume. It is possible, he is only using a BAD 50. Not sure if that makes much of a difference though. It does when doing the same thing with the TC50 vs TC100. I want to get the gear out and run a side by side video, if I can squeeze it in this weekend, not sure when I can get to it.

What was before with the stock EL34 STR447 tubes using the crush mode, it compared to the Mark VII in the VII mode but with less low end and not as much gain but still had plenty to be a decent performer. Now with the STR445 green bias color tubes, it rocks. Crush is more aggressive than the Mark VII in the IV mode. The STR445 (green bias color) or STR448 (grey bias color) wakes up the Badlander and makes you realize how much of a beast it really is. I am being serious too. I am stoked about that combination.

Some of the video I have seen on the Badlander using the 6L6 tube, what 6L6 tube was used? Nobody ever states it. What bias color was the tube? Sure, reds or yellows will sound weak. STR440 just does not cut it, more volume drop and not as robust in character (stock tube used in the Rectifier line up until Shuguang fire happened and stopped making tubes). STR441, STR443, will not matter what bias color they are, there is no tube distortion with those tubes. In my opinion, they suck. Sorry if that is a bit rude. STR441 is better suited for the Mark V90. STR443 is better suited when not used. They are ok, just no tube saturation to enhance that characteristic OMG sound.

I only have the 100W head, I do not bother with the 50W versions as my experience with the TC series did not rest well. Sure, I like the TC50 but it goes lame with the 6L6 tube, even the STR445. Not the case with the Badlander 100W. STR445 in green or STR448 in green or grey would be good. If you order any Mesa tubes from the various vendors, always specify the bias color you are after. You may end up with red bias color and they are not enough to make the BAD happy. Green or Grey, GRN or GRY and nothing else. My mistake when I ordered the other set of STR448, I did not specify a bias color and got red. Those were lame ducks in both the JP2C and the Badlander. I can use them in the Mark VII since I get most of the power tube distortion from the class A socket anyways and the other pair of tubes are just more for support and power. Look for my comments on the "no praise for the Badlander?" thread. I also recently posted my experience with the TC50 and the STR445 tube.
 
After all that running blog, I got the two badlanders set up to record. One with the STR445 tubes and the other with the STR447. 6L6 vs EL34. I did not get the mics set up or the camera out from where I left it last, need to find it if I want to get this done. Just for S&G I got them both going first thing this morning. Well, Kyle was right on his comments regarding the 6L6 tubes in the Badlander. I guess it does not matter if it is the 50W or 100W amp. There is a slight volume difference between the 6L6 and EL34 tubes. It is not much though. I am hearing more top end and upper mids with the EL34 and that is a bit less with the 6L6GC tubes. That will make the volume perceptually different between the two amps of equal construction. The one I have the STR445 tubes installed is a pre-100 build as I bought this as a pre-order deal through Sweetwater. The other one is post-1100 and I got that from in-stock ready to ship through Sweetwater. While I was looking for the SN of the new one I bought just before Mesa announced the Mark VII (those bastards), I noticed something different and confirmed with the older one. The OT and PT are completely different. Not the same construction. Just based on the bobbin covers, the old one has deep drawn steel covers, the new one has box formed and welded covers. I should open it up and see if the board was updated. The pre-100 version has some of the capacitors soldered onto the bridge rectifiers. Curious if they made a change or are still doing that. I have yet to look inside the new one, figured it would be the same.

Sorry for miss-leading you on the volume issue. As it turns out the 6L6GC tube will have a bit less volume than when using the EL34. In retrospect, I could not tell much of a difference between the two BADS with different tubes in terms of gain characteristics. Both have enough grind to smear the Mark VII. EL34 tubes are a little bit more piercing than the 6L6GC. That would explain why I was dialing back on the presence and treble a bit. As for the low end, it is not much different. However, as it being the first thing in the morning, I am not running at gig level. I also have to consider the change in dynamics of the room since I moved the cabinets into a position that had better lighting from the over head light. Both cabs are sort of at a 45° angle in respect to the walls in the room. That can change a lot on sound. I am finding it difficult to choose which I prefer. I may have to stick with the EL34. Need to return the pre-100 to tubes I had in there before and review the differences between the two amps again. Since I am running a blend of the green and blue bias colors. I still have the original preamp tubes in both amps as well. I may have replaced one or two but they are still Mesa branded 12AX7 (JJ ECC83s tubes).

Bottom line, It probably does not matter which you decide to choose, 6L6GC or the EL34 tubes. Since I have no experience with the JJ EL34 tubes, I cannot recommend which will be a good fit. I only have used the STR447 (Mesa tested Electro Harmonix EL34) or the STR446 (Mesa tested TAD red base EL34). I have found both of those tubes are exceptional in the Badlander. I will admit I did try the EH 6CA7 briefly, not as good as the STR447. Even the Tung Sol EL34B, not as much Punch and Judy with those either. I had better results with those tubes in the TC series. I even tried a quad of the Mesa STR442 (SED =C= EL34) but red plated one instantly. They were near EOL anyway as I used them for a few years in the RA100 and made use of the multi-soak more than I should have. Just one reminder: I would avoid using NOS EL34 tubes unless you are certain they can handle the plate voltage and applied screen voltage. STR450 NOS Siemens EL34 was not a good match for the TC50. At that time I was not aware of the limit on the screen voltage. TC50 and TC100 run at 450VDC. Not sure on the Badlander but assume it is around the same. RA100 runs at 400VDC which is fine for those tubes. Why is it when I make some sort of discovery and think it is the next best thing only to find out I had that without swapping power tubes. Ah, it was in a different forum as one commented on the Mark VII having more gain than the Bad. That I knew was not so as I have the Mark VII as well. It is all about perception, what tubes are in the amp, bias colors and such. Enough said. Sorry for yet another long post. I can be wrong at times too. Still not the end of the world, I could easily settle on using the 6L6GC tubes in the STR445 or STR448 as long as the bias color of the tube falls in the GRN and GRY range. No RED, YEL for the BAD unless you want to strip the life and body out of it.
 
I have run both the El34L and the EL34II, in several amps (but unfortunately not the Badlander)
for me the EL34II is the clear winner. the "L" adds a lot of bass but in my JVM and MY Splawn it was just boom. the II's broaden the entire tonal spectrum of sound, they just sound like more of everything. I've been running them in my Splawn for the last 2 years and absolutely love them.
But!1... if I did have a badlander I'd definitely try 6L6's . this guy goes back and forth between both tubes and you can hear the difference.
 
I have run both the El34L and the EL34II, in several amps (but unfortunately not the Badlander)
for me the EL34II is the clear winner. the "L" adds a lot of bass but in my JVM and MY Splawn it was just boom. the II's broaden the entire tonal spectrum of sound, they just sound like more of everything. I've been running them in my Splawn for the last 2 years and absolutely love them.
But!1... if I did have a badlander I'd definitely try 6L6's . this guy goes back and forth between both tubes and you can hear the difference.

I’m going to try the JJ 6L6s for sure but I may also get a set of JJEL34s as well to try
 
After testing with just one BAD, the STR445 were good, Did not notice if it lost anything until I ran it side by side with the other BAD loaded with the STR447 EL34 tubes. Not much of a difference in gain characteristics but volume level was off with the 6L6 tubes. The STR445 (JJ 6L6GC) tubes did have some merit as they are voiced close to the JJ 6CA7 tube. At least that was the sound I got with those tubes in the Roadster (STR445). I had run the JJ 6CA7 in the Mark V90 a few years ago. It did not take long for those tubes to crap out in the Mark V. With selection of the 6L6 GC tubes, the Shuguang version Mesa sold as STR440 did not fair well. That was a reduction in more than just volume. STR441, STR443 about the same effect as the STR440, not worth trying. STR448 were much better, close to the character I got with the STR445 tubes. I prefer the STR447 EH-EL34 or the STR446 TAD-red-base EL34 tubes. Do not run with the STR442 (SED=C=EL34) or the STR450 (NOS Siemens EL34) or they will have issues. The =C= EL34 tubes I tried were probably near EOL as two of them red plated as soon as I took the amp out of standby. Plate voltage too high? Not sure. I run the =C= EL34 tubes in my RA100s and they are fine in that amp. It was insta-kill in the Badlander. Did not care for those tubes in the TC100 either. I would not dubt the change in impedance of the 6L6GC results in a drop in volume. The Bad is already tuned to have a specific characteristic. May not be as scooped as a Rectifier but you can get much closer to that sound if you opt to use the variac power mode.
 
After testing with just one BAD, the STR445 were good, Did not notice if it lost anything until I ran it side by side with the other BAD loaded with the STR447 EL34 tubes. Not much of a difference in gain characteristics but volume level was off with the 6L6 tubes. The STR445 (JJ 6L6GC) tubes did have some merit as they are voiced close to the JJ 6CA7 tube. At least that was the sound I got with those tubes in the Roadster (STR445). I had run the JJ 6CA7 in the Mark V90 a few years ago. It did not take long for those tubes to crap out in the Mark V. With selection of the 6L6 GC tubes, the Shuguang version Mesa sold as STR440 did not fair well. That was a reduction in more than just volume. STR441, STR443 about the same effect as the STR440, not worth trying. STR448 were much better, close to the character I got with the STR445 tubes. I prefer the STR447 EH-EL34 or the STR446 TAD-red-base EL34 tubes. Do not run with the STR442 (SED=C=EL34) or the STR450 (NOS Siemens EL34) or they will have issues. The =C= EL34 tubes I tried were probably near EOL as two of them red plated as soon as I took the amp out of standby. Plate voltage too high? Not sure. I run the =C= EL34 tubes in my RA100s and they are fine in that amp. It was insta-kill in the Badlander. Did not care for those tubes in the TC100 either. I would not dubt the change in impedance of the 6L6GC results in a drop in volume. The Bad is already tuned to have a specific characteristic. May not be as scooped as a Rectifier but you can get much closer to that sound if you opt to use the variac power mode.
So it seems the EL34 is the better sounding tube for the badlander if im reading through the lines.
 
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