Which NOS EF86 and EL84's

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JohnnyM, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. JohnnyM

    JohnnyM Member

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    Hello,

    Need to get some new/old tubes for my amp, what EF86
    do you guys go for, KCA has quite a few different ones for
    arounf $45-$60. Any cheaper good ones out there?

    What EL84 tubes for an AC30? I have heard the Ei are great,
    any others?
     
  2. thintele

    thintele Member

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    Mullard and Amprex are considered the holy grail of the EL84s but they are pricey. I personally have been very happy with the JJ EL84s . They are a very good sounding stable tube from my expreience.

    As far as EF86 I have only had experience with the Svetlana version ,and it did the job just fine ...but I'm sure there are others on TGP that have tried others...
     
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I've tried a short stack of about a dozen EF86 tubes and here's my findings.

    New (Svetlana) - not good. Thick and midrangey, lacking definition.

    Old
    Philips Miniwatt - excellent, but microphonic at high volume (in general). Some are obviously better than others in this area, so you may have to try a few out. Rich tone, very nice.

    Valvo - nearly identical to the Philips MW, may even be the same tube but rebranded. The ones I have sound better than the MWs I have and were made in Holland.

    Telefunken - I found a few of these that don't have a mesh screen in them, they're a more 'traditional' construction. They have, so far, sucked pretty thoroughly. Microphonic at medium-high volumes and flabby low-end.

    Well, that's about it.

    Drop me an e-mail if you want to know how/where I've gotten mine; it wasn't through KCA.

    I can't really help you with the EL84s though. I tend to run my EL84 amps full out, so I don't want to waste NOS tubes in them because not only am I pushing them really hard, the power at my house is dirty and I seem to go through a set of power tubes in about 6 months. I'm getting *excellent* results with the Groove Tubes EL84-S tubes rated at 6 and 7.

    --chiba
     
  4. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    For the EF-86s, I think it's the luck of the draw -- Mullards, Telefunkens, Valvo, Amperex all are good but some may be microphonic in every case.
     
  5. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    None are immune to problems, but I'm getting 1 to 2% microphonic problems in combo amps. EF86s, in general, are a poor choice of tube in combo amps, but the NOS varieties ALL behave better than the Russian tubes.

    Mike Z (Dr Z) has been thrilled with the Dario Miniwatts and has ordered quite a few of them.
     
  6. davebc

    davebc Member

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    Well I have to "chime" in here. Now maybe I just got lucky, but after testing many EF86's in my DC-30, the Tele's won hands down. It was like puttting a jet engine in that socket.
     
  7. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Supporting Member

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    I like Ei's for EL-84s.

    For EF86's, I'm liking the Amperex I'm using now. I just got a used Mullard with good emissions - I'll pop it in when the Amperex fails.
     
  8. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Of the Tele's I 've sold, none of them had problems in the field.

    It's impossible to draw meaningful conclusions (like the negative review earlier in the thread) from 1 tube.
     
  9. davebc

    davebc Member

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    And, while Mike K. seems to be floating around tonight, I'll add that when buying nos trust and knowledge is key. Mike is a guy you can do business with absolute confidence. He has a great inventory, knows his stuff, and his goods are the real thing, no issues.
     
  10. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence Dave.;)
     
  11. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Just for clarification, I didn't test just 1 Telefunken EF86, I got 4 of them from the same source. They all tested good but sounded wretched.

    --chiba
     
  12. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Different amps, different ears, different personal preferences. Also, good test results on a tube tester are not always indicative of a good tube.
     
  13. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    Mine's been fantastic. Need to grab a couple more to have some spares. But huge improvment in tone and reliability. The new Svet's go Microphonic quickly. Dario was made for the Z28!

    :RoCkIn
     
  14. Damon

    Damon Member

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    Just curious, can you guys describe for me what a microphonic EF86 sounds like? Does is ring, hum, hiss, whistle, rattle? Only when you're playing or even if you're not? I'm familiar with the tap test, but a lotta tubes make a noise if you do that... I'm talking about stuff that intrudes on your playing.

    Maybe I've been really lucky, I haven't heard anything funny so far with my bunch of various old stock. Only tried a few of them in the amp I built (longmesh Mullard, finemesh GEC, nickelplate Tele). Not a ton of difference to me in tone - they all sound good. Maybe a slight bit of "brand signature" character coming through.

    How easy is it to get an EF86 input stage to compress/distort with just a pickup? It sure does kick the crap out of the next triode stage... that's where I think most of the grind comes from, and the wider range of touch-sensitivity.

    In my microphone preamp/mixer (Ampex MX-10), I can say that my favourite is the finemesh GEC, for overall musicality. This unit runs them in triode. I use Philips SQ E80F (6084) tubes - a different tube from the EF86 but sometimes swappable - on a couple channels, for absolute lowest noise and highest gain (stereo ribbon mic). Thery're pretty clinical sounding though, I wouldn't really recommend them for guitar.
     
  15. SLG

    SLG Member

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    Sadly, I wouldn't recommend the EI's. They are a great sounding tube, one of my favorites, but the reliability and durabilty are "bottom of the barrel." It's just not worth taking a chance with unreliable tubes that could possibly damage your amp.

    AC30's are tough on EL84's. I would highly recommend getting a set of the Polam/Telam EL84's from KCA. These are great sounding tubes, and they are extremely reliable. Other good choices would be the NOS Tesla (not JJ) or the Russian EL84M (also know as the 6p-14p-ev) Should you get lucky, and win the lottery, you could spring for a nice set of NOS Mullard or Valvo EL84's.
     
  16. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Unfortunately, the Telams sold out quickly. Some of my customers who bought both, preferred the NOS Teslas (despite the endless hype about the Telams).

    Mullards are cool too, just got some in. They ain't cheap, but life is too short for anything but the best possible tone.:AOK
     
  17. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I wonder why we even bother discussing them then.

    --chiba
     
  18. BozoTone

    BozoTone Member

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    LOL chiba......for GAS and confusion...................
    Hey Blue Strat, would like to know what "preferences" some of your clients are having to the Teslas over the Polams....maybe I should consider the Tessa's........
     
  19. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Excellent point;)
     

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