Tell me which NOS EL84's I should look for

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by SoCalSteve, Jan 13, 2008.


  1. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    I have an ebay gift card from Christmas that I can't decide what to use on and thought I might replace these two 6N14N's in my Budda with a pair of NOS 6BQ5/EL84's.

    I see some RCA, GE, Sylvanias on ebay for around $50 -ish for the pair. Would any one of these be most likely more satisfying than going with new JJ's?
     
  2. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Possibly any of them. Tone is subjective. Be sure you buy a pair that is matched for IDLE CURRENT, which can be difficult, but sometimes possible on Ebay.
     
  3. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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  4. cfdude

    cfdude Member

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    If you want a voxy tone (more complex in the mids) get Amperex's. If you want a more open sound buy some Mullards. In my book, these are as good as it gets. They all sound a little different especially in a good amp. If you have a sound in mind I could probably give you an idea as to what you would like.
     
  5. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    Well, I mostly use my Budda's dirty channel, which sounds very Marshally to me. I have no idea of the origin or quality of these 6N14N's that are currently in it. It sounds good but if these 6N14N's are of low tonal quality I'd like to replace them.


    Thanks!
     
  6. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Supporting Member

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    My only experience is with Phillips ECG 6BQ5's. I like them a lot.
     
  7. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    I very much like Tungsram for all 'round tone and value. Telam (or Polam - = same) are likewise a great value. Sylvania black-plate 6BQ5 are wonderful for earlier-breakup, and somewhat rolled-off highs. My all-time favorites are '50s Dutch Philips (square-getter wire) for clarity and chime (typically "Amperex" or "Miniwatt" branded; sometimes bugle-boy logo). I also like RCA black-plate for bright liveliness. Tesla are also a wonderful (bright) NOS value. I'm not favorably impressed by Mullards or Valvos, especially considering the price, but I haven't tried their '50s versions.

    p.s. don't make the mistake that all "Amperex" are the same - look for etch codes, and make the distinction between manufacturing eras (i.e. '50s vs. 60s-70s) - they're quite different.

    Good luck with getting fine-quality tubes on eBay!

    - Thom
     
  8. DanD

    DanD Member

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    SoCalSteve,

    I personally like Mullard, and Amperex. They're expensive but worth it for serious recording.

    DanD
     
  9. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    I purchased a quad of NOS Tesla EL84s (not JJ) from Mike at KCA some time back for my Budda SD30 head. I would absolutely recommend these! I don't know if he still has them or you can find them on ebay - but, they are worth looking for. I've also got a quad of JAN Philips EL84s in my Matchless HC-30 that sound fantastic as well. Another reasonably priced option.
     
  10. cfdude

    cfdude Member

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    Buy some Mullards! You will thank me later.
     
  11. CPA

    CPA Gold Supporting Member

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    Telefunken or mullards
     
  12. ked

    ked Supporting Member

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    I'd agree, the NOS Tesla tubes are great sounding tubes. I don't think you can go wrong with them. I use them in a Marshall 18 watt, NOS Teslas and Mullard preamp tubes made this amp outstanding.


    Ken
     
  13. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll have to eliminate many of these choices due to pricing, but I should find something suitable.
     
  14. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    I've got some NOS Teslas that sound great. I bought a few quads from KCA some time a year or two ago and have been very pleased with the ones I've used so far. That said, and at the risk of starting yet another NOS tube war... check out some of the current production stuff, too. It's a fairly low cost way to try multiple varieties and find what works best for you.
     
  15. bunuel

    bunuel Member

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    I'm way sold on a variety of NOS 6BQ5s, and am especially to partial to RCAs & Sylvanias (especially for what they cost!). That said, I've had very good experience with the current production JJs--in a couple of my amps (but not all) they've sounded every bit as good as NOS tubes & relatively speaking, they are dirt cheap!!
     

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