Favorite EL-34 for JCM 800?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Ugh, May 21, 2015.

  1. Ugh

    Ugh Supporting Member

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    I've recently acquired an '83 JCM800 4010 (50W 1x12 combo) that I've turned into a head, so it's very similar to a 2204. I'm going to take it in for a checkup soon and was considering having it converted from 6550s to EL34s with the hope of getting a slightly more "classic" Marshall sound. It sounds pretty great as is, but I'd like a bit more compression - it's a little "hard" sounding now. Since this is an '83, I'm assuming that it has higher plate voltage that earlier 800s or JMPs...

    So, for anyone who's done the 6550 to EL34 swap, what did you end up using? How did it turn out? Did you like the results?
     
  2. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    NOS
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  3. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    I have SED's in my 2204. It's a late version with about 460 plate volts. That amp killed a Siemens/RFT EL-34 when it was a 4010 combo. I don't know if it was the vibration or high pv, but one tube was killed off. Boo. They sounded fantastic. I may try another pair

    I ran JJ EL34L's in that amp as well, and was happy with them. Still like the SED's better. Too bad you can't get them for a reasonable price anymore.

    I tried JJ EL-34 and KT-77's. Did not like them at all

    The TAD EL-34STR is a nice tube. I have a pair in a Bad Cat and they sound great. Have not tried them in the 2204
     
  4. broken_sound

    broken_sound Silver Supporting Member

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    Hands down for me has been the RFT EL34. Very warm, very balanced, sounds great from vol 1 to vol 10.

    You will notice a huge difference switching from 6550's to 34's. I personally have never liked any 6550 based 800 I've played.
     
  5. Ugh

    Ugh Supporting Member

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    I was considering ordering some RFTs but am having second thoughts for this very reason...

    Is your 800 an earlier one with lower plate voltage? How would you describe the difference in sound from 6550 to EL34 in this circuit?
     
  6. Miracle Man

    Miracle Man Member

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    JJ 6CA7. Sounds amazing and is affordable.
     
  7. Ugh

    Ugh Supporting Member

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  8. illini

    illini Member

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    My 2204 is an 82. Has the higher plate voltage. I believe the lower plate voltage 2204's sound more classic and the higher plate voltage ones sound a bit more aggressive. How big a difference depends a lot on the guitar, speakers and style of play.

    As far as tubes go, I always ran and loved Winged C's. Because the availability and cost I was forced to try something else. I am currently using JJ EL 34's. I will run them awhile, but it has been an adjustment for me. I have some older Winged C's that still have some life in them, and will probably drop them in again one of these days to see how much I do actually dislike the JJ's. For what it's worth, I have adjusted pre amp tubes and EQ and am again happy with my 800, even with the JJ's.
     
  9. broken_sound

    broken_sound Silver Supporting Member

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    Both my 2204 and 4104 are 82's. (Ended up selling the 2204) The few 6550's I've played seemed to be more "clangy" if that makes sense but slightly larger sounding. Much more headroom and much less saturation and spongy-ness. 34's to me just seem warmer (not more bold or bassy) and are easier to feel the amp with the guitar. The preamp of the 800 is so bright to me that I like to get as much power amp going as possible and can't get that done with 6550's.
     
  10. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    New Production you should be able to still find a match pair of SED Winged C's

    NOS, I guess Siemens since NOS Mullards are crazy expensive.
     
  11. Echoplexi

    Echoplexi Silver Supporting Member

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    Siemens or tesla are my favorites for 2203/2204s (in that order)
     
  12. Ugh

    Ugh Supporting Member

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    How would you describe the difference between =C= and JJ? I'd like to get some =C= but if the JJs are close I'll probably go with them and save some dough...
     
  13. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    I've never done the conversion as my 2203X amp was designed and shipped with EL34s. But anyway I like JJ EL34s in it.
     
  14. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    The higher plate voltage is always going to make it stiffer, "sharper" sounding.

    But I believe the issue with tubes, like the RFT, is the high screen voltage. Most can handle a lot more plate voltage than they can screen voltage. It's common to increase/insert a higher value screen resistor to preserve tubes.
     
  15. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

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    Winged C's in my '86 2204S sound great, but they are getting harder to find. Scored a quad recently to stash away and hopefully last me for a long time. Haven't tried JJ's in there so I can't compare, but I did have JJ's in my Fargen which is voiced to sound like a 2204 and they sounded pretty good in there.
     
  16. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    I like Siemens/RFT EL34s in my 79 JMP 2204.
     

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