EH tubes -- junk ?


Ive had many amps come in to me with failed Electro harmonix power tubes in the past year or so. Both 6L6 and EL34 .
The owners are all telling me these tubes are less than a year old.
I have a jcm900 and a Super reverb here now with crapped out EH power tubes .

Anyone having similar experiences ?

Dr. Jimmy

I just had one go bad on my Marshall 50W, so I replaced the pair, threw it on the bench and got it all biased and nice and suddenly "pffffft" lost another one (different position, so I know it wasn't an amp issue).....

No more EH EL34's for me! Winged C's all the way!!!!

Steve Dallas

I use their 12AX7s quite a bit but have not been impressed with the power tubes.

FWIW, I have not found a perfectly reliable brand of new production tubes. I just buy lots of them and sort through to try and weed out the bad ones.

Sovtek 12AX7WA and 12AX7EH seem to be the most reliable and least prone to microphonics. The EH obviously sounds better.
Seen way too many failed EH EL34s and 6L6s, pretty much remove any that come through as a preventative measure. The EH 6550, OTOH, I've had great luck with in SVTs and Marshalls alike--not a single failure. The preamp tubes are generally pretty good, but I've had such good luck with the Ruby tested and selected JJ 12AX7 (the ones they call "high grade") that those are the only ones I stock.
Tried the Mullard EL34s when they first came out and found them just OK. The new TungSol EL34 I'm very impressed with so far--more low end than any other EL34 I've heard (although this opinion was not formed through AB testing) and a very smooth and present top end, plenty of treble without being icepicky. Plus, they've got a cool green base and a nice slim bottle. The TungSol 6L6GC is my current fave of its type also.

mark norwine

"Junk" might be too strong. That said:

My problem with New Sensor tubes is that "you don't know what's what" or "who's making what"....

I suppose you need to believe that everything is coming out of the Reflektor plant, because MM owns it, so it begs the question: what differentiates a particular EH tube from a "Sovtek" tube of the same designation? Or, now that he's bought the naming rights Tung-Sol, Mullard, Svetlana....what's what?

Moreover, are these even "6L6's" or "5AR4's", etc.? Or are they just the "closest, passable, russian tube" that would seem to work in the application?

I'm not saying "YES". I'm saying "I don't have a clue!" NS's marketing strategy seems to be founded on "trust us".

Confusing is putting it mildly.

I buy JJ tubes. If it says JJ on the box, I know who made it, and I know they're striving to make their tubes to spec.


Gold Supporting Member
I've seen too many of their EL34's fail and their 12ax7a's come microphonic from straight out of the box. The 12ax7a's started out great but went through a bad production run and I've steered away since.
Not my experience. The Tophat Supreme 16 used EH EL84's and 12ax7's straight out the gate. I did have a problem with the EF 86 tube in the AC 15 circuit and swapped in another. Sounds great to me. My Exemplador 2 I don't know well enought to muck about yet. Leaving the hood closed for now. I fell this amp is peaking right now but I could be wrong.

I bought some NOS Mullard EL 84's and Siemans El 34's along with a pair of Mullard ECC 83's for the V1 slots

I haven't felt the need to swap them just digging on the Tone I have with my differnt Pickups, Cabinets and Amp settings.

Groovey Records
listening to The Golden Palaminos
on Vinyl of course


I've had very good luck with EH EL34s and 6v6s. Their EL34s are actually my personal favorite EL34 for new production (Winged C/SED a close second). I've got them in a few amps and they sound great. I really like they way they break up and foward sounding mids. I've had no reliability problems with their EL34s. The 6v6 sounded great in my Victoria 518 (Tweed Champ repro). Again - no reliability problems.

I've only tried one set of their 6L6s and they went bad within a couple hours. One completely shorted out/died on me. They sounded decent through. I prefer Winged C/SED 6L6s the best for new production.

I haven't used any of their other tubes in my amps.

Blue Strat

I've seen too many of their EL34's fail and their 12ax7a's come microphonic from straight out of the box. The 12ax7a's started out great but went through a bad production run and I've steered away since.

EH doesn't have a 12AX7A. They have a 12AX7. So I wonder whether your tube number is wrong or the brand name is wrong.

Top Bottom