Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Terry McInturff, Nov 23, 2017.
Keep in mind, when that tube is 'redplating', it is already pulling WAY TOO much current draw.
I personally like the "glassiness" of the JJs. Before them I had tried the Sovtek el84M. I found them to be big, and clean, and "round". Less "voxy" to my ears. I have other amps for that.
I've been looking into the 6p14p-EV / 6n14n-EB tubes and from what I see, they are generally perceived as a bit less harsh in the highs with more of a push in the midrange/lower frequencies.
I can corroborate that.
Considering you mean **Current production** tubes only, here's my reference:
- JJ EL84: Chimey, sparkly but not harsh highs, balanced lows with some mid cut, good headroom and moderate output, slightly trebly when pushed into power tube distortion. This is the current "standard" EL84 tube. No amp sound bad with JJ EL84;
- JJ EL844: Softer and more compressed version of the regular JJ sound. Low headroon, will distort early when you dial more volume. Not the tube for big, 3-d el-84 sounds;
- Tung Sol EL-84: Like a richer sounding and slightly higher output version of the standard JJ EL84. The Tung Sols still sound balanced when pushed into power tube distortion;
- Mullard EL-84: smoother, lower outut and less headroom version of the Tung Sol sound. If you need high headroom and articulate highs they're not the best choice. To me, this is the best choice of current prod el84s for high power el84 amps like the current AC30 and Dr.Z Maz 38. For 15-18w el84 mas i'd only try these if i need to tame highs and don't need high clean headroom;
- Sovtek EL-84: my *personal* experience with these is of low reliability. Not as much output nor harmonic content as the JJ. Decent sounding el84s just not as rich sounding;
- Electro Harmonix EL84: possibly a selected Sovtek EL84.. i think. They have roven themselves reliable to me. Sound-wise, they are less sparkly than the JJ and bit richer sounding than the Sovtek;
- TAD EL-84: A VERY different kind of el84. EQ curve is strongly shifted towards low-mids and they are loud el84s. A bit stiff if you dial in too much highs, very rounded if you set a balanced eq. Don't exepect chimey or compressed tones out of these el84s. They are unique in what they do and that's not chimey tones;
- Genalex EL84: Much like the Tung Sols but perhas more output. Disclaimer: I may be wrong here because i only tested 1 set of these so far;
- Chinese EL-84: I have no experience with those.
Your experience may vary deending on playing technique, music style, amp circuit type and speakers, but this is a good reference.
What type of amp are you using? Any reason you prefer new manufacture as to opposed to old? I am a big fan of the NOS Tesla Hexplates and the round plates as well. I uses these in an 18 watt marshall clone. AS others have mentioned RFTs are a nice choice as well.
How's the longevity with them?
They have been reliable for me. Haven't had to change any out yet, but I usually have 4 or 5 amps in a gig rotation so none get played very much.
I think these are the Sovtek el84M. I'll have to take a look at them to see if I can confirm.