The small pin issue is an old issue.
I measured my pins today and this was not my Problem.
My not so old KT77 gave up for no apparent reason that I know of.
Visually it looks the same as the one that is still good.
The EL34 EHs I had on hand are doing fine.
The EHs have about as many hours on them as the KT77s.
I will contact The Tube Supplier I got them from tomorrow, and see if they know of any Known Issues.
Back to my JJ KT77 Failure, would JJ 34L sound similar to the 77s?
I can get the JJ34Ls cheap from Mojo.
They don't sell the regular JJ34s.
Big_teee, I know the small pin thing is an old issue, but some vendors are still selling some of the tubes with those small pins because they got stuck with them in their stock and are trying to get them out of their stock. It is something to watch out for.
The KT77's are a beam tetrode instead of a true pentode, so they kind of bridge the sound between a 6L6 and an EL34. I like them a lot. That said, I think the EL34's or E34L's should work just fine for you. I haven't had reliability issues with JJ's KT77's, but then I haven't used a ton of them either. Like all tube production, the KT77's are made in batches so a tube will get a great reputation and then the batch will change and there could be problems with the new batch and people think they are bad tubes.
Has anyone tried the TAD EL34B-STR Tubes.
If half as good as the TAD Tall bottle 6L6, they should be good.
Supposed to be a Modern day Mullard Clone?
I have the Ruby branded version in a Traynor custom reverb. Haven't really used to amp since it was rebuilt so I can't comment. I think I have them in my Traynor YBA3 that I use for bass too. Haven't logged alot of hours on it since changing from EH EL34s, but they've been fine for the couple of gigs done on them.
Just for reference, the TAD you speak of is the same as the Ruby EL34b-str and the come from the Shuguang factory in China. You can tell the Shugs a mile away from the larger bottle.
The farmer takes a wife, the barber takes a pole....
The Tall bottle 6L6s are really big also.
I have them in my Traynor ycs50.
Larger than other tall bottle 6L6s I have.
I can get the TADs from Mojo, they don't carry the Ruby version.
I try to buy from Mojo, when I order Pickup parts.
I have the EH34s, don't care for them much in my 2204 clone.
The JJ34Ls sound better.
The EH always were a solid performer in my YBA3. I had to rob them for a Friday "gotta be done by gig time" repair. It does run pretty high plate supply....coulda had something to do with getting decent tone from them....
The farmer takes a wife, the barber takes a pole....
It is amusing to read the statements about the sonic and parameter differences between tubes that all come from the exact production line using the same people and testing, the only difference is box and printing on the glass. If you buy 2000 lots you can get free labeling on your Shaguang tubes also. I did.
I think the only two differences between any of them is the testing after shipment to the distributor and the advertising. I know about how Ruby tests and a few others and had good luck with their's being pretty consistent for my large volume shop when I still lived in the US. But they are the same tubes as dozens of other brands. The worst, for testing, in my personal experience was GT. That was based on reliability, the concern for a shop, more than sound since the only criteria for sound was if the customer liked it when a repair was finished.
The differences in perceived sonic qualities is sort of baffling to me, tubes are but a part of a complex interaction between many variables that are never controlled tightly tests, in what is termed a guitar amplifier. Saying one is sweeter sounding or having more bottom is sort of useless unless all the variables that impact that are controlled to identify what if anything can be attributed to the tubes. Maybe giving a full set of measured test parameters for an amp, speakers, acoustic environment and guitar/guitarist could be more revealing when describing the combination of all those things which impact the sound as much or more than any tube could. Moving a foot off axis of the speaker will change the sound more than functioning tubes will. As will strings. As will playing style and technique. As will acoustic space. Etc etc. In highly controlled listening tests, perceived differences tend to evaporate.
If you find a tube brand you like with a warranty, price and longevity you like, get them. But recommending it to someone else might not be such a plus for their setup and operating conditions.
It may be Placebo and Sugar pill, who knows.
You have your opinions on tubes, and we have ours.
That is what this thread is for, to state which reissue tube you like best!
So why don't we leave it at that.
If a guy wants to like one product better than another, that is human nature.
So preaching to us, is not going to change anything.
I still want to try the TAD EL34Bs.
Last edited by big_teee; 08-14-2012 at 12:49 AM.
Stan has a point though, why would you waste time agonizing over differences between two tubes that are actually the same?
There are only four actual tube manufacturers: JJ, Sovtek, Shuguang and Winged C. For all we know, they just reuse the same guts and a Sovtek "Tung-Sol" is electrically identical to a Sovtek "Mullard".
The coloured glass tubes are purely for show.
Last edited by Steve Conner; 08-14-2012 at 11:09 AM.
"Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"
Speaking of colored glass, which sometimes costs more, also reduced plate dissipation since these receiving tubes with evacuated glass envelopes rely on radiation through clear glass for cooling to their rated dissipation. We could calculate the change in bulb temperature for various color tints. These tubes have a hard enough life as it is without thermally overloading them.
When talking about reliability of old designs and the tubes used in them, most people ignore that the tubes are being subjected to different signals with now a very high duty cycle. When those classic amps were new, and the old RCAs were used, playing clean dominated playing style so it was common to get years of use out of a set of tubes. If run as their design power and conditions, some of the newer tubes like the SED Wing -C- probably are actually tougher. They sure are more expensive. Here they go by their real name, Svetlana, instead of the Mike Mathews fake Svetlana's. Unfortunately production of receiving tubes at the local plant is spotty at best and an afterthought. They have 19 other divisions making everything from semiconductors to large power tubes. I like the build and longevity of their KT-88s and 6550's, and they make tough EL-34b with a different plate resistance than the original EL34. They are a great match to the Hammond xformers.
If power tubes were considered in total tube production there are probably 30-50 companies making BIG tubes, some with grid drive rating of 20KW.
I like to test various tubes that show up on my bench by doing a characteristic curved plot of them, 10 grid steps or so, with anode sweeping to 600 or more volts on my curve tracer. Without looking at the label you can tell instantly who made what by their curves.
Last edited by big_teee; 08-14-2012 at 04:37 PM.
As a newbie, I have been following this lively and energetic discussion for a little while. Thought I'd let you know I appreciate all the comments.
I have tried only two brands of EL34s. EH came in my Crate V50 (laugh, DIYers, but it is my first tube amp and has brought a bunch of larnin' with it!), and recently I replaced them with a pair of JJ EL34s. The boxes that the JJs came in were stickered with a number that indicated a fairly early breakup. I'm not sure at what point they were tested and marked, but they have changed what was a fairly clinical-sounding power section into a warm, bluesy amp, even on the clean channel. These were the only tubes available locally besides the GT tubes at Guitar Center, which I'd prefer to stay away from.
I've been through about 100 EH EL34s in past eighteen months or so. I buy them in batches of 40-ish from a wholesaler. None of these have come back to me with failures, so it might be that Sovtek/EH have improved their reliability.
I wish I could find a good reliable source for new-manufacture Shuguang EL34s in small wholesale quantities, I'd definitely give them a go, but too many UK wholesalers try to sell you job lots of old chinese tubes, I think because the market won't stand high prices for them.
Tonally? No idea , sorry. Any repairer will soon start prioritising reliability as a quality of tubes. I used to fit JJ EL84s but too many came back to me, no such problem with the 6p14p I now use.
I've been using JJ EL34's for over a year now, with NO comebacks. HOWEVER..... one thing I've learned to do is to "massage" the old formula i.e. biasing ever-so-slightly cold and limiting screen current by upping the usual value to 2.2K/5W. Purists say that it changes the tone and feel. It doesn't. The only effect is that it will allow the tubes to last longer by not developing premature screen grid shorts. This goes DOUBLE for Chinese tubes. Haven't had the customers complain about sound yet with JJ.
John R. Frondelli
dBm Pro Audio Services, New York, NY
"Mediocre is the new 'Good' "
I've been using the JJ tubes for a while now and they have held up for me. I use their E34L's in Music Mans with around 700v bashing around but I tend to bias them a little cool, due to MM's habit of eating tubes before they went to the SS driver. Have had little to no failures but like I say, I bias them a little on the cool side. Like maybe 22-23mA per tube. After seeing the price of real Svets, I can't get anybody to buy them. Honestly, the geese can't hear the difference anyway. Have wanted to try some of the JJ 6CA7's for the MM's since that's what they really had in them when built but haven't had the balls to order any yet. What a wuss! Use nothing but the JJ's 6L6's and they've really been good to me. I swear, reliability MUST have something to do with the bouncing they get from shipping. I remember Jon(vintage jon) LOVED ruby's but I had NOTHING but trouble with them. Go figure. Of course, he WAS a lot smarter than I am! Rest easy jon boy. Mike.
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