A LOT of guys around here (Matt Crooks being a notable exception) say they don't like the tone of EL34's in a Rectifier. I threw mine back in for kicks the other weekend, and after a week of playing with them, I gotta say, I don't get it.
The amp sounds awesome with EL34's - a bit crunchier as the presence knob comes up, but it also has this great focused lead tone. The mids seem a little more liquid somehow, and it's a bit easier to keep the bass under control. And, the real surprise, pick up my Strat and bring the gain up on the clean channel, and the cleans rule. In fact, with the gain most of the way up on "Clean" and with my normal settings on the distortion channel (gain halfway, mids up, presence a bit low), it actually totally cops the SRV vibe - I gather he was using Soldano's at the end of his career, and the Rectifier and SLO have similar circuits, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
And this is all with a basswood guitar through a V30-equipped 2x12. So, what's the scoop? Do we just go after different things in tone? Or does something in particular about them bug you guys?
I think it comes down to when you think of the rec tone it is 6L6's which give it the great sound. I have known many people that goto the EL34's, love them at first then a few months later go back to the 6L6's.
If i remember right i read somewhere on the mesa board by either voodoo or FJA mod's that even though the rec's have the option to use EL34's, the transformer is really not set up to handle the EL34's and doesnt supply the right voltage or something to that effect.