There are tubes out there that even vintage valve nerds overlook. We get the same requests every day for RCA and Mullard tubes, but what about the other ten plus manufacturers? They must be inferior because no one is talking about them, right? Wrong. In our opinion Raytheon, GE, CBS and Sylvania tubes can go toe to toe with the best of them, and so here is Fuzz Audio’s list of the best underrated 6V6GT power tubes to improve your rig’s performance.
The best part about buying tubes that fly under the radar is they typically cost less, and yet they provide performance similar to the tubes the community regards as the premium options. The Raytheon 6V6GT (and GTA) tube is the perfect example of a tube that deserves more attention than it gets. With this tube you can expect rich overtones, shimmering highs and responsive lows. These qualities, coupled with its reputation for ruggedness and long life, makes this valve a classic. If you buy a set of these tubes, you may discover why Raytheon is still in business today-they know how to make quality long-lasting components.
GE 6V6GT tubes are extremely long-lasting and are built to handle abuse. Similar to Raytheon (and unlike RCA), GE is still a household name, and we can attribute a very small portion of their success to GE’s ability to make kickass vacuum tubes. We have found GE power tubes in Fender, Gibson, Valco, Supro, Airline, Hammond, and Danelectro amplifiers. Tonewise, expect classic robust American guitar tone with lots pronounced lows and highs.
CBS-Hytron 6V6GT tubes are typically a bit more rare than Raytheon, GE, RCA or Sylvania power tubes, but when you find a good one, they make amps sound magical. In 1951 CBS acquired Hyrton Radio and Elecronics Co. and for ten years they made quality vacuum tubes under the CBS-Hytron name. CBS may not have been a great company at the time, as they notoriously lacked quality control. But Hytron in contrast was a top-notch tube manufacturer, perfecting their craft of making valves during both World War I and II. Hyrton (pre 1951) and CBS-Hytron tubes are always worth looking at, especially because you can find they for less!
Although Sylvania 6V6GT are slightly more popular and more expensive than other tubes mentioned on this list, they must be talked about because they are as good as any tubes ever made. Whether we are talking about 6V6, EL34, or 6L6GC, Sylvania power tubes could outperform tubes the community regards as the best ever, such as the Mullard EL34 or the RCA 6V6GT. What makes Sylvania tubes special is their rugged build quality, which outshines manufacturers like RCA, along with their clean tones and headroom that cannot be beat. If you are looking to add slightly more headroom to your amp and want the best clean tones money can buy, you should choose Sylvania.