There is something about those amps with the EF86 in the front end ...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dr. Tweedbucket, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    A regular 12AX7 amp is a great sound, nice an tasty like a nice sponge cake.

    An EF86 amp is like a cake factory with a frosting dept. and a coffee bar.

    That may be an exaggeration but really, those EF86 tubes are magical! The tone is like 3D and I think the frequency bandwidth is possible wider.

    I have to end this thread because I'm hungry. :confused:
     
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  2. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    I agree. EF86-based preamps can be awesome!

    And I'm hungry! :p
     
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  3. neville5000

    neville5000 Supporting Member

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    Thirded. I love them and will always have one.
     
  4. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    I love EF86 too. My latest build is an EF86 straight into a single 6L6GC (or EL34), just a volume control, no tone stack, no nonsense :) sounds great. I use it as a clean pedal platform, the EF86 has loads of headroom.
     
  5. vibrostrat43

    vibrostrat43 Supporting Member

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    EF86's can sound awesome. My TopHat Super 33 is like Fender Bassman that has an EF86 as the first stage. It does also have some Vox mixed in at the output stage, but it has an amazing extended range (but it is still voiced mainly for midrange, mostly upper mids).

    The non boost mode is just the EF86 by itself, and is voiced darker than the boost mode. Kind of like a Vox normal channel, but using an EF86 rather than bright voicing of Vox EF86 channels.

    People usually associate them with tons of gain in one stage, but from what I've heard of some EF86 amps, and definitely with the Super 33 is that the amount of gain seems to depend on the design used for the stage.

    It's definitely got a unique breakup sound, and unique harmonics, but voicing and gain wise it can be similar to a 12ax7 if you design it that way or it can be way different too.

    The best thing about it though in my opinion is how well it takes large input signals, and how dynamic they seem to be.
     
  6. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    My favorite front end.
     
  7. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    It does, I think that's what makes them sound so good. Almost 3D or hi fi. I was playing one this weekend and each chord sounded so full and alive. Hard to explain, but wow, what a great tone. The tubes are mullards, so that probably helps a little bit too.

    I wonder how good the Russian EF86 variations are? I think JJ makes one don't they?
     
  8. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Ditto. And mix it with a cathode-biased el34 backend and we have a winner!
     
  9. Gearopenia

    Gearopenia Supporting Member

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    Love em!
    Can't think if an amp that doesnt impress with this tube.
     
  10. Gretsch47

    Gretsch47 Member

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    My Dr. Z KT-45 has this and it is a very sweet amp (cleans with nice late breakup).
     
  11. Black_Label

    Black_Label Member

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    I have a Vox AC30 heritage. It has 2 channels - 12ax7 and ef86. I've got old Mullard glass in the 12ax7 top boost channel and it just never sounds as sweet as the ef86 side. In the side-by-side, blind taste test, the ef86 wins every time. Love those ef86s!
     
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  12. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Does anyone know of a single ended amp that uses an ef86 front end... Maybe 6L6 or 6V6 ?
     
  13. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    Yeah same here, I have the AC15 and that EF86 is always getting a work out!


    A single ended EF86 amp sounds interesting..... I wonder why I've never seen one. They all seem to have a 12AX7. :huh
     
  14. thiscalltoarms

    thiscalltoarms more gadgets than Batman. Gold Supporting Member

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    I believe the original AC4 Vox back in the 60s was EF86 into EL84. I seem to remember Brian from Top Hat making a EF86 into 6v6 called the Portly Cadet or the Prince Royals (not sure he preamp and power combinations, one was el84/6v6 the other was 12ax7/ef86)
     
  15. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    I don't know any commercial single ended amps with EF86 preamps. I've built a couple though - my latest:

    My single ended EF86 - 6L6/EL34 build

    [SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/eddy999-1/10w-combo-clean-demo[/SOUNDCLOUD]
     
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  16. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    HUGE EF86 fan. Just an awesome tone. Very different than a 12AX7 to my hear. Just fantastic stuff.
     
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  17. Cornbread

    Cornbread Member

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    I have this little Vox AC-4 Klone with an EF86 into EL84 and it sounds fantastic.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. la noise

    la noise Member

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    I have a custom Winfield Cyclone that is EXACTLY this. :aok

    My first EF86 amp. Colour me super impressed!
     
  19. JeffHaddad

    JeffHaddad Supporting Member

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    Winfield Typhoon is a single EL84 with an EF86 and 6AV6 (or 6AT6?) pre. It's a great sounding amp!

    [​IMG]
     
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