Tube experts....what is the least glassy sounding (currently available) EL-84?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Terry McInturff, Nov 23, 2017.


  1. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    We all love that "chime" but is there a quality (new) EL84 that tends to sound a bit more rounded-off?
    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. Malcolm Irving

    Malcolm Irving Member

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    Just to get the ball rolling, I'm going to suggest Electro-Harmonix.
     
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  3. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Until now Ive been using JJ...they are ok...a bit glassy on top in my amp.
     
  4. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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  5. Bandit127

    Bandit127 Member

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    I tried some EHs in my amp. They were both microphonic out of the box. Back in went the JJs and they are not. It doesn't sound "glassy" with either make.
     
  6. jcs

    jcs Member

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    Depends on the EL84 circuit (not all are Vox copies) but i start with preamp tubes first.
     
  7. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Aren't there only three makers of these tubes now? JJ, New Sensor Corporation and Shuguang?
     
  8. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Pretty much, but some of TAD's Shuguang offerings are unique designs for TAD.
     
  9. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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    As a former JJ EL84 man all I use now are the regular Sovtek EL84's. Had 2 bad JJ's out of 2 matched quads. Chinese EL84's (Valve Art) were too short for the tube retainers. Sovteks I've had zero problems with.
     
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  10. BernardM

    BernardM Supporting Member

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    In the NOS category but not ridiculously expensive or rare, the Tungsram EL84 has a really direct punch and bite - more rock (upper mids) and less chime.
     
  11. Jr Deluxe

    Jr Deluxe Member

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    Ive never really heard buzz sticks sound glassy. Im not even sure i know what a glassy tube sounds like. It can really depend on the amp more than the tubes. ie vox ac30s sound pretty round and not too screechy with el84s. Most other el84 amps, usually with only 2 el84power tubes sound thin, bitey , harsh to me. Is there a clip of this glassy sound?
     
  12. Shoprocket

    Shoprocket Member

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    Sorry, I have to disagree with BernardM. In My opinion, the Tungsram EL84 is extremely bright, with a lot of chime, and a Hi-Fi sound. I can't think of a 84 tube that has more. The TAD EL 84's will dull the chime up. The RFT EL-84 (my favorite), if you are willing to spend a little more, would also be a good option. I like the EH and Mullard branded tubes for solo's as they overdrive easy, and have a very strong mid-range, making single notes thick and fat. Not so much for rhythm playing, as it's too congested sounding. I still think that the JJ is the best over-all, currently made EL-84 tube, but it isn't a dull sounding one. Observations made with a Reeves Custom 18 (Two EL-84, cathode biased, no Negative feedback, and Power Scaling).
     
  13. jcs

    jcs Member

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    You may need to experiment with speakers as well.
     
  14. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    RFTs are a great option too. Forgot about those. I had a pair in my Satellite Neutron - which now has Tungsrams in it. The RFTs were definitely darker and had very low headroom - which is a good thing for what I like to do on guitar. Definitely worth checking out.
     
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  15. Tone Meister

    Tone Meister Silver Supporting Member

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    Ahh, so you've never played a Budda, Dr Z, or Matchless amp? I highly recommend it.
     
  16. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    ^^^ This!
     
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  17. Avatar Tech

    Avatar Tech Member

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    I like Sovtek EL84's too. To me they're a little warmer than JJ. I like JJ except they will sometimes develop tiny cracks in the glass and lose their vacuum.
     
  18. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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    I gave up on JJ EL84's. Some of my problem was with Tube Depot though. I ordered 8 Matched JJ EL84's and what I received was 2 Matched Quads. Not the same thing when 1 quad was rated 24 and the other 28. No biggie though I guess as my amp only runs a quad at a time. Sent an email fussing at them about it and never heard a word from them. No "we are sorry" or nothing. Then first thing pop a quad of the new JJ EL84's and one tube start to red plate right out of the gate. Put in the other quad and another tube red plates. (no not the same tube socket) Anyway so now I've got 2 sets of 3 tubes instead of 8 matched tubes. Soured me on ordering from Tube Depot and JJ EL84's. I've since started buying regular Sovtek EL84's and not one problem from them.
     
  19. daFrimpster

    daFrimpster Member

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    I use EH EL84's in my EL84 amps. I like them. Visually they look much like the new Mullard remakes that cost more than twice the price. I have never bought the new Mullards so I can't comment on the sound similarities.
     
  20. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    That would be the new Tung Sol.
     

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