Best Sounding EL84 - 7189

What's the best sounding EL84-7189 in a vintage amp?
Tough choice. Fisher, Scott, Lafayette are all great. Personally, I like Pilot 245B. However, the Pilots are usually hard to find and ugly compared to a nice Fisher. Check out They do restorations on some of these that will make you think very hard...

Best tubes by far Telefunken 7189 followed by Mullard EL84
Depends what YOU like - Listen to them. BTW- restorations do not neccessarily sound better than the originals then again they may sound better...Try the Eico hf-12 & the Scott 222 for starters
I have a Scott 299a 2nd. edition, I had it restored a while back, time to update the output tubes.
I read Jsman's inquiry to mean he's interested in tubes rather than amps.

The 6BQ5/7189 "sound" is my preference. I have done extensive research and have owned monobloc amps from Fisher, Heathkit, Sherwood, Eico, Magnavox, Scott and others. Having tried Amperex, Telefunken, Mullard, RCA, Sylvania, Tungsram, Matsushita, et al, I can say that the KING of the EL84/7189 heap is the GE grey oval plate manufactured in the Kentucky plant, mark 188-5. Mullard a close but certain second.

I reveal this only after stocking up on a lifetime supply at affordable prices compared to the better known brands favored by Elevick and others. Respect to them and their choices.

Anyone who dismisses the GE without trying it is doing himself no favor.
Wrayray you are correct about the inquiry, it is about tubes. Funny you should mention the GE's and that plant.
I was looking closly at my rectifiers and they are marked
188-5 of course they are GE. You seemed to have left one out of your list, I wouldn't question it; but Amperex it seems is pretty significant with respect to the others.
Any opinion on Amperex?
Jsman, I think the Amperex 6BQ5's that I've tried are right there with the Mullards. The reason I mentioned the Mullards by name as a favorite is because I just happened to be listening to to my Heathkit UA-2's with the Mullards installed when I responded above. These particular ones measure at about the minimum threshold for use and they still really sing.

Amperex made some wonderful tubes of all ilks. My favorite family of tubes. I really like their A-frame 6DJ8. It suits my ear better than the more popular Bugle Boy or even the PQ 6922 or 7308.

As a matter of fact, I'm hard pressed to name a "bad" sounding OS 6BQ5. To my ear, they all have their different charms. The GE seems to me to have a more complete presentation of balance, weight, air, extension, control, staging and tonal accuracy.

Every once in awhile, I'll drop in some RCA oval plates for their sheer speed and muscular athleticism. Like a middleweight champion. I even like the (Soviet)Russian 6Pi14Pi - a bargain offset to those who need the tougher 7189 type.

Best of luck to you.
Thanks for your opinion and all your thoughts, I think I just got lucky. I found a quad of nice used Amperex EL84's
that test real strong. At the same time I came across a quad of NOS RCA 7189's, so I think I will get to hear for myself some of what you are saying.
Wrayray, I ended up with a quad of Amperex 7189 Bugle Boys,
the price was right could not go wrong. In comparison to others I find them smoother and with a more dynamic bottom.
Great choice. By the way, who did your restoration work?
Craig At NOS Valves, great job amp is like new, pumped up the bass and a few other goodies. Craig is very dependable and stands behind his work.
Best sounding 7189 in my pilot 232 is by far RCA (1960/1961)
I own perfectly matched quads of Sylvania 7189 and Holland 1959 "D" getter 7189 among others of lesser note. Along with the RCA 7189, I am using Mullard fat base as GZ34, Tungsol 5751 as 12ax7 and suprisingly, a 1954 Holland pinched waist e80cc as splitter...I find the e80cc
extends both top and bottom and sharpens imaging over any other 12au7 variant when used as splitter (big difference)and increases dynamics.

My system is all tube and inserting a few e80cc tubes in stratregic locations provides tube warmth with solid state extension and tightness.
Interested in the very same question regarding these tubes. Any new observations since 2006?
I'm interested in the very same question regarding these tubes as well. Any new observations since 2006 and 2010?

I'd like to add could anyone put budget suggestions and then more expensive tubes too. Thanks
It's Telefunken 7189 NOS if you can find it. They have incredibly long life so there are certainly used good ones can be found.
Thanks Czarivey

Are the Telefunken 7189 NOS you talk about these:

Tungsram EL84's (labeled Ei/Yugoslavia with Ei boxes)

One of my favorite sellers has these Ei labeled Tungsram EL84s for $42 each. Not too bad but I will have to sell some stuff to get them.
No the ones I mean clearly Telefunken 7189. They're great ones for guitar amps as well. Simply undistructable with very solid presentation in any application.