Best sounding current production EL34, what are you guys using ?

Cap217

Active member
I have just tried the Mullard, EH, and Tung Sol EL34s in the same marshall amp. Mullards were the most vintage sounding. There is some rattling of the tube and its annoying so I took them out. I then installed the Tung Sol and those were tighter in the low mids, punchier, and more highs than the mullards. Or you can say that the mullards had more mids, either way you get the same thing.

Then I tried the EH and those were in the middle of both.
 

japetus

Well-known member
I cant say they are the best, but I have been very happy with these in my SLX
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9985

Member
I'll risk getting blasted because they are NOS, but still listed for sale on Mesa website & treated as new for warranty purposes - EL34 STR 450 (Siemens, made in Germany). Got a pair about 5-6 months ago for my Mesa TC-50 & they are glorious.
 

Nigel

Well-known member
I'll risk getting blasted because they are NOS, but still listed for sale on Mesa website & treated as new for warranty purposes - EL34 STR 450 (Siemens, made in Germany). Got a pair about 5-6 months ago for my Mesa TC-50 & they are glorious.
Those shipped in Riveras made in the late 80's and early 90's. They have a fantastic lead tone, great tubes!!!
 

Subsonic73

New member
I've used several different kinds but pretty consistently had great results from the EH's, so I've stuck with those for the most part for a while now.
 

GlideOn

Member
I prefer the Telefunken new prod EL34s as runner up to the venerable but endangered Svetlana Winged =C= EL34. They have that charasmatic mid high thing but detail/presence in the bass that I love about the =C= too.

I have tried Ruby EL34B, Mullard, EH, JJ and they honestly don't have a bad sound among them but don't stand out or how any special "wow" factor in my Traynor YBA-1.

My favorite power tube remains the Genelex/Gold Lion KT77 because it is just an elite-level production tube all-around and nothing but perhaps vintage Mullard or Siemens come close. They are pricey but you are getting what you pay for - real world this translates to all of those desirable EL34 qualities you love in a British voiced amp but with deeper lows and extended highs, plus an "aged whiskey" quality to each note and chord. YMMV.
 
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Nigel

Well-known member
I prefer the Telekunken new prod EL34s as runner up to the venerable but endangered Svetlana Winged =C= EL34. They have that charasmatic mid high thing but detail/presence in the bass that I love about the =C= too.

I have tried Ruby EL34B, Mullard, EH, JJ and they honestly don't have a bad sound among them but don't stand out or how any special "wow" factor in my Traynor YBA-1.

My favorite power tube remains the Genelex/Gold Lion KT77 because it is just an elite-level production tube all-around and nothing but perhaps vintage Mullard or Siemens come close. They are pricey but you are getting what you pay for - real world this translates to all of those desirable EL34 qualities you love in a British voiced amp but with deeper lows and extended highs, plus an "aged whiskey" quality to each note and chord. YMMV.

You find the New Sensor KT77 to be superior to the JJ? I'd love your comments if you've directly compared them.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
You find the New Sensor KT77 to be superior to the JJ? I'd love your comments if you've directly compared them.
There’s a video where Bob Gjika compares them in his amps. I think he thought they were equally good in his amps to him, just different. I think the JJ’s sounded a little better in his clip
 

GlideOn

Member
You find the New Sensor KT77 to be superior to the JJ? I'd love your comments if you've directly compared them.
Yes - bigger, clearer and warmer all around. That's considering the EL34 apples to KT77 oranges I know, but it's just a superior Orange all-in-all.

I have only tried the JJKT77 in an SEL/AX84 build and similar broad sound but nothing special.

I really don't care it's a new production New Sensor and not old-school Gold Lion - they are their own awesome thing and they honestly threw down the gauntlet pretty hard.

I realize that they are not the heroic upper-mid archetype the EL34 is infamous for, those looking for classic V8 Marshall tones may not take this as gospel. But to my ears they are better than most 34 type tubes I have tried to date and only a handful of 34 tubes match in fidelity and character but fall short of the depth and punch a 77 delivers.

Worth a try if you've ever been curious. I haven't gone back since installing in 2013.
 
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GerryJ

New member
Hello (first post here) - I've got some 70s era Traynor Bassmasters- they were originally fitted with GE 6CA7s (they were current production back then!). Most recently, been using Tesla EL34s, which seem to do OK in the ~ 45 watt YBA-1 bassmaster (2 power tubes, screen and plate voltages ~ 427 volts), but less so in the YBA-1A (only 2 power tubes, but 90 watts- and ~ 535 volts on the screens and plates).
I'm looking for something more robust for tube dependability- I play them loud, but without obvious power tube distortion (they're insanely loud at that level!). Some people advocate JJ KT77s, or EHX 6CA7s. I actually have a small supply of GE NOS 6CA7s which I could use too, but prefer to keep 'saving' them if possible. What current production tubes would you advise? - thanks!
 

Nigel

Well-known member
I love JJ KT77’s. They’re everything I want in a tube until I can get some OG G.E.C. Valves. Prolly $800 a pair by now!
 

GlideOn

Member
Hello (first post here) - I've got some 70s era Traynor Bassmasters- they were originally fitted with GE 6CA7s (they were current production back then!). Most recently, been using Tesla EL34s, which seem to do OK in the ~ 45 watt YBA-1 bassmaster (2 power tubes, screen and plate voltages ~ 427 volts), but less so in the YBA-1A (only 2 power tubes, but 90 watts- and ~ 535 volts on the screens and plates).
I'm looking for something more robust for tube dependability- I play them loud, but without obvious power tube distortion (they're insanely loud at that level!). Some people advocate JJ KT77s, or EHX 6CA7s. I actually have a small supply of GE NOS 6CA7s which I could use too, but prefer to keep 'saving' them if possible. What current production tubes would you advise? - thanks!
KT77 do great in a YBA1...as soon as you have a correct bias for them
 

GerryJ

New member
KT77 do great in a YBA1...as soon as you have a correct bias for them
Thanks....I have a YBA-1 bassmaster, which doesn't have an adjustable bias pot, but Tesla EL-34s do fine when tested (with a bias probe device), drawing 32 mA and sounding fine. So I leave that amp completely stock.
The YBA-1A Mk II bassmaster is the one I'm more concerned with, as it has higher plate and screen voltages, to put out ~ 80 watts from 2 power tubes (originally American 6CA7s back in the 70s). Fortunately, it has a bias 'wiper', and with the Teslas I can adjust for a current draw of 34 mA & it sounds great. I think the wiper is turned all the way to one side for that value, ie, I could adjust it for higher current if needed, but not lower).
I'm just curious if you had to install a bias part in a YBA-1 amp to take the KT77s. Or if anyone has a YBA-1A Mk II, if the adjustable bias wiper didn't allow for a workable current draw.
(Btw, I subscribe to Aiken's view ('the last word on bias') on bias - how it's mostly to avoid obvious over-bias (where it sounds lousy), and obvious under-bias (where the plates are getting that subtle red glow). In between is a wide range where it all sounds good, so I tend to go with the lowest current draw that sounds good - usually high 20s to lower 30s). thanks!
 
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