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View Full Version : Which was the finest EL84 tube made ?


BryanMatthews
11-08-2008, 12:38 PM
I see some tubes are being sold as new mullards, upon further inspection I noticed they say "made in russia" , they are sold by tube depot . I had gotten my hopes up that they would be made in england, just like the originals were.

The sweetest and most toneful EL84 was what then , perhaps you can tell me. Im assuming it will be a NOS tube.

hogy
11-08-2008, 01:10 PM
That depends on the amp.

BryanMatthews
11-08-2008, 01:11 PM
If I were fitting it to a Vox AC30 , what would be your choice ?

riffmeister
11-08-2008, 01:12 PM
they're all good. the only ones I've heard about that have had occasional reliability problems is EI.

hogy
11-08-2008, 01:14 PM
If I were fitting it to a Vox AC30 , what would be your choice ?

That depends on the AC30 :D.

msgdsrf
11-08-2008, 01:45 PM
:stir Buy a few and check'em out... different flavors.

Maybe post what you'd like to hear more of or less of from your circuit as you hear it now. But every circuit will make tubes sound slighty different although there are generalizations about each tube type that members will suggest.

hamfist
11-09-2008, 03:07 AM
Some great old tubes that tube cork-sniffers regularly rave about are :-

Mullards (obviously)
Polams (or Telams ....same thing really)
Siemens E84L

I used the Polams myself (compared to NOS GE, some NOS 1980's Russian tubes, and various new stock), and didn't find them anything outstanding. Don't think I'm really an EL84 guy though.
THe best I used were the old Russian tubes (got from TubeTramp).... pretty cheap too !

darko
11-09-2008, 05:08 AM
Some great old tubes that tube cork-sniffers regularly rave about are :-

Mullards (obviously)
Polams (or Telams ....same thing really)
Siemens E84L

I used the Polams myself (compared to NOS GE, some NOS 1980's Russian tubes, and various new stock), and didn't find them anything outstanding. Don't think I'm really an EL84 guy though.
THe best I used were the old Russian tubes (got from TubeTramp).... pretty cheap too !

Wel, it will be:
Philips (togather with daughter companies Mullard and Valvo),
Telefunken
Siemens
and beleive it or not - on same ground is old production of EI Nis.
I have tried more EL84's from various manufacturers in a AC30, but...
I dont have experience with all new produced tubes, but I know is that I hate those Russian tubes.

Millo 3.1
11-12-2008, 12:32 PM
What about current-production EL84's--anyone has a favorite?

jlagrassa
11-12-2008, 01:11 PM
What about current-production EL84's--anyone has a favorite?

I use TAD EL84 STR in my VHT, very nice sounding power tubes!

wyatt
11-12-2008, 01:12 PM
I see some tubes are being sold as new mullards, upon further inspection I noticed they say "made in russia" , they are sold by tube depot . I had gotten my hopes up that they would be made in england, just like the originals were.

The sweetest and most toneful EL84 was what then , perhaps you can tell me. Im assuming it will be a NOS tube.

New Sensor (Mike Matthews) has been quickly buying up obsolete trademarks. Mullard, Tung Sol, Genalex/GEC, are all the same company and made in the same factory as Sovtek and Electro Harmonix. Though there are differences in most tube deisgns (and performance/quality)

As to the original question. NOS Mullards.

Oddos
11-12-2008, 01:31 PM
There is an old The Guitar Magazine article where the writer and Brian May check all the types they were interested in and wrote their findings. Maybe be worth checking out.

Millo 3.1
11-12-2008, 01:39 PM
I use TAD EL84 STR in my VHT, very nice sounding power tubes! Thanks! Any idea what STR stands for? Is the S for Slovakia, Serbia, SED, Svetlana?

How about the GT EL84S? Are these JJ's or Ei's?

hudpucker
11-12-2008, 01:50 PM
STR = Special Tube Request

goodwill559
11-12-2008, 01:52 PM
One meaning of the abbreviation STR is "special tube request."

don't know if there are others...

68_Custom Shop
11-12-2008, 04:24 PM
I got JJ-Tesla el84 matched quad for the output,and JJ Ecc83 gold pin high gain for the pre-amp.It only cost about $120.I am putting them in tonight.I am told these are awsome replacements for the Ac30,and that the original tubes are pretty crappy. I'll let you know what happens.

68_Custom Shop
11-12-2008, 09:12 PM
Dude!!! You have to completely dis-assemble the whole freakin amp to change the tubes.The originals were Elec.Harmonics(output),2-tong-sol,1-sovtec(pre-amp). They didn't even match. The output tubes looked kinda burnt.I think the tube upgrade is gonna kill in this thing:dude. I can't tell you how it sounds until tomorrow night,,,I ordered new speakers to put in it while I had it torn apart already.I had them over-night'd.So ,,,I will let ya know man!!:stir.But if you do anything at all ,from my experience,any tube upgrade will be money very well spent.

Millo 3.1
11-12-2008, 09:44 PM
STR = Special Tube Requestoh! Meaning it's their own design, made somewhere else? China?

59Vampire
11-12-2008, 10:27 PM
Some great old tubes that tube cork-sniffers regularly rave about are :-

Mullards (obviously)
Polams (or Telams ....same thing really)
Siemens E84L

I used the Polams myself (compared to NOS GE, some NOS 1980's Russian tubes, and various new stock), and didn't find them anything outstanding. Don't think I'm really an EL84 guy though.
THe best I used were the old Russian tubes (got from TubeTramp).... pretty cheap too !


Yeah those saratovs from Terry are great. I prefer in my 18 watter hex plate Teslas, then mullards.

Mikey Likes It
11-13-2008, 06:27 AM
When I first got a Maz Jr., I decided to try some Mullards. They sounded great, but one of them failed after a few months, and they're too expensive for that kind of gamble, IMHO. I have also tried Telefunken and Tungsram, both great. The best of all, for me, is a Phillips JAN pair, and I hope I'm right in assuming that JAN specs will translate to reliability. Mike K has them in stock - $95 for a matched pair. Excellent tubes.

trwigg
11-13-2008, 06:33 AM
What about current-production EL84's--anyone has a favorite?

I sort of partial to the JJ tubes, all types. Sure you get a few "duds" but they are not $100+ either.

Timbre Wolf
11-13-2008, 08:09 AM
'50s Dutch Philips EL84, usually labeled "Miniwatt" or "Amperex," with square getter wire is my all-time favorite for clarity and chime.




Someone mentioned Tungsram, and I like those quite a bit. Honestly, I like them better than genuine Blackburn-made Mullard and Hamburg-made Valvo.

Sylvania black-plate 6BQ5 are my favorite for a thicker, earlier-breakup kind of character.

RCA black-plate 6BQ5 are also very nice - with a great, bright clarity.

- Thom

Rosewood
11-13-2008, 08:43 AM
One meaning of the abbreviation STR is "special tube request."

don't know if there are others...
Another I've heard is "special tube requirement" same thing I guess.

Clashcityrocker
11-13-2008, 09:36 AM
Use JJ EL84's in my Hoffmann 15 and Marshalll 1974x. Great tubes. No problems.

Randy Van Sykes
11-13-2008, 09:43 AM
Use JJ EL84's in my Hoffmann 15 and Marshalll 1974x. Great tubes. No problems.
Agreed, I really like them.
I have three EL84 combo amps and I use JJ EL84's in all of them.

brads
11-13-2008, 10:44 AM
'50s Dutch Philips EL84, usually labeled "Miniwatt" or "Amperex," with square getter wire is my all-time favorite for clarity and chime.
Someone mentioned Tungsram, and I like those quite a bit. Honestly, I like them better than genuine Blackburn-made Mullard and Hamburg-made Valvo.
- Thom

I'm with you on the above. Also, nothing wrong with Telam/Polam or RFT (which sound quite similar to one another).

Mike9
11-13-2008, 10:53 AM
I like Amperex and I have a pair of Sylvania blackplate EL84's that sound very nice. For my 30 watt amp I just replaced a quad of nice Saratov 6n14n-EP's with a quad of General Rohren's - the GR's sound brighter, more harmonic to my ears than the Saratov's.

Timbre Wolf
11-13-2008, 11:04 AM
I'm with you on the above. Also, nothing wrong with Telam/Polam or RFT (which sound quite similar to one another).

I've not tried RFT, but I agree about the Telam/Polam, which I forgot to mention - great tubes, if you can get them.

- T

68_Custom Shop
11-13-2008, 10:22 PM
I installed the JJ el84 today. OMG . It sounds like a totally different amp!! Cleaner,more headroom,harmonics,richness,all that kinda good stuff. With the better pre-amp tubes this baby is whisper quiet, even when it is cranked! The best upgrade I have ever done to any amp.

bunuel
11-14-2008, 12:45 AM
JJ's are my fave for current production & are very tough to beat price-wise. On the old stock front, I've been extremely impressed by Amperex & Mullard, but some sylvania's will give them a run for the dinero.

soundchemistry
11-15-2008, 03:53 AM
+1 for JJ's as well. JJ just makes great tubes in general but in particular I love the EL84's which I have used in Divided by 13 amps and my Suhr badger as well. They are super chimey and great when pushed.