In my first system 12yr. ago I ran Carry SLM 70,s with gold aero E34l,s. The high,s opened up and the bass had more texture and weight.
My favorite is the Dutch made Amperex brown base with double d getter for rock and jazz music. Who said EL34s can' have great bass? By far the most dynamic (except for the metal based 34s) with smooth, extended highs. For classical music and vocals, the Mullard fat base has a magical midrange that I find in all pre 70s Mullard tubes.
Longplate has named it. I like the brown and black base Mullards with double getters (hole in locator pin) the best. Second would be the AEG Telefunken, the single getter Mullard and the Old Dutch Amperex. The old Amperex are very good, but do not have the magic midrange and mid bass the Mullards do. My Wolcotts are fitted with Mullard 6922 inputs, Telefunken 6GW8 drivers and Mullard (dual getter) outputs. This is by far the best combination I have had with these amps. Like Longplate says, the bass is unbelievable with this combo. Just did a session this evening, and the LP to test the system is the new direct to disk from Acoustic Sounds of Wild Child Butler. It is stunning.
You all seem to point to older EL34s. I have experimented with Tesla JJs, Sovteks and Valve Art as the Mullards, Teles' and Amperex are too costly, especially NOS MQs. The Valve Arts provide great bass, wonderful soundstage and pure mids/HF. I paid $40.00 for the MQ on Ebay and am super satisfied. Highly recommended!
Has anyone found NOS or used GEs or Sylvanias? If so, would like to hear from you.
I just purchased eight of the old EL34 Mullards on EBAY for $200.00,. My current wholesale price list from New Sensor Company shows the Tesla E34 L @ $8.90 each dealer cost.
This makes a total investment difference of only $128.80 for amps requiring sixteen EL 34 outputs. This small difference in price between ordinary tubes the best ever EL34 is the bargain of the century. Obviously everyone must decide where to invest their limited audio budget, but the old magic tubes are often more gain in performance than the same investment in wire, isolation, and equipment upgrades.
My Anthem Amp 1 came with Electro Harmonix El34's which I believe are made by Sovtek. I changed over to Svetlana and the sound is much smoother. Something else I have discovered is after I changed preamps(Anthem pre2L to ARC Ls7)the low end has improved. Don't know if the new pre is letting the Svetlanas do there thing or the pre2L was just lacking. Any comments?
Eight 34s for $200.00? AP, you stole these, good for you.AP is right about the improvement made by tubes versus those made by cables etc.Those of you who haven't tried a great NOS tube need to. Start with your small tubes, a 60s, or better yet a 50s Amperex or Mullard 12AX7 or 12AU7 longplate.It is so much better then anything made today it'll seem like a component upgrade and not a tube upgrade. These can be had (once found) for around $200.00. $200.00 for an improvement that is usually staggering! No upgrade provides more value for money.
What I find interesting about NOS is how much of a difference they make even in relatively inexpensive gear. Recently, when I was stocking up on NOS for my main amps, I bought a Mullard tube set (Amperex for the 12AT7) for the Jolida 302 in my office. I had tubed it with Svetlana EL-34 and Telsa. It was a very significant upgrade in sound even if the tube cost was more than the cost of the amp. Given how compulsive people seem to be about the rest of their cables and tweaks I'm always suprised by the reluctance to go with NOS tubes.
I'm currently using (1) xf2 Mullard brn base single getter (2) xf2 blk base single getter Mullards (1) xf3 blk base single getter Mullard. Well that was before one of the xf2's died. I got a Siemens double d-getter coming and looking into a ANOS quad of Philips / Holland "Bugle boys" for $295.
The Mullars are clearing more refinded than the Shunguang
EL-34's. Still looking for some of those BRN "fat-base" mullards. MikE
I tried Sylvania. Soft, lush (nicely) sounding. The best experience I had was with military grade telefunken. Mine came in a standard gray box with the tele logo & the (german?) army order No on it. Very good resolution, good transient attack, had to drive them hard for higher listening levels, as I remember.
However, isn't the sonic result dependant to a certain degree on amp topology ? My experience was with a Jadis and later a Klimo Linnet pair. Maybe not applicable to other brands.
After just getting a unbelievable quad of Mullard fat base EL34s I now deem them number 1. The set I had was clearly on their last legs, but still far better then anything current. This new quad look and test like new...and I am blown away. The Amperex double d getter 34 has lost the title. Anybody who's looking for premium 34s contact me, the Amperex's are on the block.
My favourite it a humble modern tube by EI, the fat bottle 6CA7 - back in production thankfully.
I find them a big step towards neutrality, most 34's are too "sweet" for my taste, ultimately cloying. I find KT88's etc too much the other way, though I could live with them.
To me the EI fat bottles are a nice compromise. Very musical, but still with baggs of detail and a FAR more "kick-but" bottom end, where I find most 34's a bit soft.
They are also very long lived and almost impossible to kill. I had a coupling capacator go short while I was out of the room, when I came in the whole plate was bright red! The glass has discouloured, but blow me, it still worked and almost biased up as well!
After replacing the capacator it kept going for some months untill I could afford a new octet of them.
That does not imply that I have a cheap system, just that I frequently max out my credit card to improve it, pay the card off, then do it again.
I now carry spares and yes, I have used various nos 34's including Mullard, Amperex and Telles.
Just personal taste - I will swear by telle flat plate AX7's and bugle boy AT7's (and have just melted my card cornering a lifetime supply) - but try the EI's - I don't rate them as "guitarist's tubes" - I love em!