Anything Better Than JJ EL84's?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by MrKite89, Oct 10, 2018.

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  1. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    My main amp is a (slightly modded) AC15H1TV, I just bought a used DRRi, the EU version with the "modified" tremolo circuit, and I'm still trying to decide if it's a better amp for me...anyway, I run the AC15 2-3 hours a day with the volumes always between 3 and 10 (no MV), generally around 6. My power tubes last 6 months at best. JJ are rugged enough, cheap enough and the tone is not bad, but there's anything more durable, better sounding and still pretty cheap? I tried Tung Sols and EHX and didn't last, also the tone wasn't spectacular...
     
  2. Jr Deluxe

    Jr Deluxe Member

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    There are several that sound marginally better and some that last longer including NOS Russian things. But at 10 bucks a piece, 6 months of heavy use on JJs is probably the best deal going. I don't like several JJ tubes but their 6v6s and el84s seem to be pretty good.
     
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  3. Humble Texan Fan

    Humble Texan Fan Member

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    I'd look up those Prefered Series 7189, which are known to hold up very well and breaks up quite nicely.

    Then the Gold Lion ones and TAD ones really deliver the goods with a lengthy life expectancy.
     
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  4. easyed

    easyed Supporting Member

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    Go with Russian 6p14p military tubes. Much more durable than current production stuff and sound better to boot.

    I replaced the Sovtek EL84M (supposedly military grade) in my MAZ Jr with the 6p14p tubes and was so delighted with the improved tone that I immediatley bought a second pair, just so I'd have a set when the supply runs dry or prices go sky high.
     
  5. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    For new EL84s that run in cathode biased amps, most will last about as long as you experience at the amount you play. I hear great things about those NOS Russian ones but, have never tried them. I know they are still reasonably priced. But, if you are looking for better tone (subjective obviously) and longer life - NOS stuff wins by miles, IMO.

    That said, I do like JJ EL84s for new production. The only other new production EL84s I've tried are Sovteks which were fine but, I thought the JJs sounded a bit better.
     
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  6. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    I've heard good things about the Gold Lions. Good tone when pushed? Need to try those sometime. Can't use the TADs as they won't fit in the tube sockets of my EL84 amps. They have a bit fatter bottle.
     
  7. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    Yeah, that's the point with EL84's: NOS stuff last just a tiny bit more, these tubes in a Vox circuit are not made to last! ;) So pricey stuff isn't always the best option...

    I'll definetely look into the 6p14p...Gold Lions seem pricey but I've been impressed with their 6V6GT, so I may give it a try...I always had bad experiences with TAD (re)branded stuff and I don't trust them anymore: I know a lot of guys love them, but I'll spend my money elsewhere...

    Anybody tried some chinese EL84?

    Basically I'm looking for reliability, reliability, reliabilty, good tone, good price...Shuguang preamp tubes are not bad IMO, but I've never tried their power tubes...
     
  8. Glitch Magnet

    Glitch Magnet Member

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    I'm curious, what did you not like about the new production Tung Sol EL84? In my AC15HW1X and AC4C1-12, I much prefer them to JJ, and find them comparable to the 6p14p tone wise.
     
  9. GreatSatan

    GreatSatan Member

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    Yes, mesa boogie el84s.
    i directly compared some jj's to the original (i guess early '00s) MB el84's in my Maverick and the MB's were better by miles; much cleaner, much louder, much quieter noise-wise & (at least i think) a li'l sweeter in the highs.
     
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  10. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    Interesting...and what about reliability?
     
  11. Michigan guitar

    Michigan guitar Member

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    I bought a used AC15C1X a few months. One of the JJ EL84’s went last week so I replaced them with Mullards (local shop was out of JJ’s) and, so far anyway, am very happy. Just a nicer overall sound. Warmer with a slightly fuller low end and smoother high end. It’s the best the amp’s sounded so far.
     
  12. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

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    The Tung Sols lasted few hours in my amp, at the volume I play at: they just started to rattle very soon...tonewise they're not bad, a little soft\muddy, JJs are tighter, punchier overall, but it depends also on the preamp\PI tubes you're using and you can make them work...mainly I'm concerned about reliability...Also remember that your AC15 is much tighter sounding than mine, mainly because the filter caps are all 47uF in your model (IIRC) and 10\10\47\10\22\22uF in my (slightly modded) amp...

    Right now I'm running:

    V1: EHX EF86

    V2 (TB Channel): Sovtek 12AX7WC

    V3 (CF): Sovtek 12AX7WC

    V4 (PI): 90's chinese "square getter" 12AX7 with matched triodes (actually a Marshall labelled version pulled from my JCM600 head)

    JJ power tubes and NOS Tungsram EZ81...

    I'm pretty sarisfied with this setup, but always looking for better alternatives! ;)
     
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  13. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    I used to dig JJs; gigged with them for years. I then had a pair crap out on me after a week.

    I went with NOS RCA smoked glass 6BQ5 tubes. Killer. I also have a number of matched quads of the Russian military tubes - sound great. I bought them from our TGP brother PerryR. He supplies Dr. Z with his NOS Russian power tubes. Perry is a great cat that tests his tubes "to the nth degree". The Russian tubes sound great as well, and are built to last 5,000 hours.
     
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  14. GreatSatan

    GreatSatan Member

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    Well considering the mesa maverick has been discontinued & when i opened up the back (to replace a broken preamp tube during shipping) it still had the factory sealant around the back panel (i.e. never been opened before) then i'd say these original tubes were at least.. decade and a half to two decades old?
    Whenever it is the dual recto maverick got dc'd.
     
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  15. copperhead

    copperhead Member

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    Russian 6p14p military
     
  16. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Absolutely this.

    Have them in my AC30.
     
  17. specialidiot

    specialidiot most likely to seceede Supporting Member

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    Lots of love for these and I agree. As an audio guy, I learned about 6P14p tubes several years ago and have a nice stash of matched quads that I picked up for $10 a set. I threw a pair in my Reeves Custom 12 and they are phenomenal. I'm not sure where they are price wise these days but with how long these last and that I have a couple dozen of them, I'm not buying any more anyway.
     
  18. stargazer747

    stargazer747 Member

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    My 4 Orange Terror amp head have JJ EL84, stock factory tubes, so reliable. I keep a fresh set of preamp & power tubes for each head, also all JJs. But I do have a set of Tung-SOL & Sov-Tek laying around that I may use one day to hear any tonal differences out of them.
     
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  19. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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    JJs have a nice chime to them in my Hughes & Kettner Edition Tube 20 amps. Kind of Voxy sounding. I like the Regular Sovtek El84s also, but they don't have the chime the JJs have.
     
  20. stg1

    stg1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I use KT77 Gold Lions and love them
     

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