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Sovtek EL84 soft, medium hard gradings, Budda content

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,638
I'm trying to decide between the soft and medium graded Sovtek EL84's. I'm thinking soft would be best for earlier breakup since this amp, Superdrive 30, is loud. Does anyone have any experience with different tube grades with this amp or any other that they can share? I need to order pretty quickly to have spares.

One of my concerns is does the soft grading tend to wear out faster or does it have any affect on longevity at all? I know they aren't made to be different, just matched to similar tubes, so I'm not sure how much difference it would make. I also notice some sellers don't even offer the option, some do, while even those that don't still offer matched quartets, but you don't know what grade you're getting.
 
Messages
3,855
el84s lifespan are measured in months rather than years like most tubes. i wouldnt be concerned w the effect specs have on longevity, go for sound. youll be replacing them soon anyway if you play at performance levels often.

im a big fan of JJ early break up el84s from Dougs Tubes for the same reason you describe. its my opinion the source of a tube actually has a bigger effect on the sound than the brand. theres only a few manufacturers and a bunch of rebranded going on. the key is getting tubes tested and sorted by performace specs. ive never gotten a bad sounding tube from Dougs Tubes and hated most of the stuff i bought from GC or sam ash- same brands.
 

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,638
Thanks, that's where I'm most likely buying them. It's my first EL84 amp so the short lifespan is not encouraging at nearly $50 a pop but I'll try the soft ones most likely.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,277
I prefer the medium to hard for my Budda SuperDrives. The drive channel already has more than enough gain for me as it is and using the medium to hard hopefully gives me better cleans on the clean channel.
 

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,638
Thanks Hoboman, I already ordered the soft, I hope to hit the sweet spot at a little lower volume for home use. I might try it for band use soon so I'll see how that works, probably with the old Sovteks first ( no idea what grade).
 




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