EL 34

I have recently had the urge to stock on NOS tubes to tide me over in the future given the growing scarcity of NOS.
I favor the sounds of the EL34 but do not have the funds to purchase Mullard NOS.
So, my question is what is the next best midrange sound in NOS EL34?
Siemens ( and if so what era ) vs Tesla vs Amperex?  Any others to consider?
Pairs? Quads?

Push pull or Single ended?

What are you running for gear.

KT77 are an option? 

NOS save your money, there are a lot of great EL34 or KT77.

No need to be a goober when you can spend peanuts and get the same results. :-) GL, Rubys, Tung Sol, EH, Wing C, Russian military (W) and quit a few more are really good new valves..

Expensive NOS.. Unless you already own them, don't spend a bunch of money.. 150-250. for a quad is about right..

I just picked up 2 sets of (6) Golden Lyon KT66s. Wonderful valves..

As noted, If you have not tried them already, listen to the new production Genelex Gold Lyon KT77s.  Some of the vintage EL34s are getting to be long in the tooth or end up saving them away anyhow.  

The former EL34-BSTR made by Shuguang for the Ruby brand was actually a very nice valve in my former Cary amps.  Would still recommend either of these when mothballing the vintage supply.  

Just heard a well burned in quad of PSVANE KT88s on my buddies upgraded integrated amp, paired with good small signal vintage tubes, sounded really nice.  Quite surprising actually, as good as any EL34 I had heard to date new or vintage.  .      
I have a set of the Genelex gold lion kt77's I've tried them in two amps, both push pull, and find they are inferior to the similar gold lion 300b by a significant factor. 

I find the top end to be rather harsh and not very extended. I'm using a three way horn system so its rather reveling in the top end. The basic Messa branded el34 is better in many ways, IMO, not perfect but for cheep tubes they work rather good over all. 

Now maybe the kt77 are not broken in but I don't think they take that long and I've tried them in two amps now with the same result. I really wished they were better as I have a set of the Gold Lion 300b variants and they are stellar. 

I'm now on the fence if I try the Gold Lion 2A3's in my new amps.
I have a Leben CS600.
I believe the KT 77s would be an option.
I would favor a smooth top end
@mpomerantz a jeffsplace review replacing the stock electro harmonix EL34s with Sophia Electric EL34 and KT88s, on the Leben 600X. Gives an idea of what room for improvement might exist over the stock EH for your type amp.  Other member feedback comments below the article too, fwiw. https://jeffsplace.positive-feedback.com/leben-cs600-cs600x-tube-rolling-with-sophia-electric-vs-ele...
RAM tubes :-) Roger Modjeski but still going strong w super matching and testing, $45 gets you a killer valve
in my experience

ranked by overall sq (including midrange beauty) - we are talking old stock tubes here, not the new/modern day russian/czech/chinese tubes

gold lion gec genalex kt77 (uk made)

close/next best
mullard/amperex el34 (uk or dutch made)
matsushita el34 (seam top) - (japan made using mullard tooling)

close/next best
svetlana sed winged c - russian old stock st petersburg plant
tesla yugo el34 brown base yellow print

not as close, next best
philips/national east german thin bottle dimple top el34
yugo ei fat bottle 6ca7

amps i have/have had in which i developed this ranking - vac pa90c, air tight atm-3, primaluna hp prem dialogue, linear tube audio zotl40 reference, marantz 8b, cj prem 11a xs
When anyone tells me the TOP is a little harsh, I always ask if they can BIAS a little lower. The valve is breaking up to soon.. 50% of the time it increases the mids and highs and usually increases the  peak to peak by a bit. What I do notice is low volume playing (VERY low) is not near a clear or pleasant.

Swapping a signal valve or two always smooths out the rest. Telefunken or Mullard Blackburns will do it..


 Electric EL34 and KT88s, on the Leben 600X. Gives an idea of what room for improvement might exist over the stock EH for your type amp.


I'm just assuming you can use a 6550 too. There are GREAT 6550 (W) Russian surplus and new that are wonderful valves.. That W means they are MiG tough.. That's pretty tough.. They are a thick black plated valve.
Super stout banded/base.. Just make sure YOUR vendor checks the factory match.. Their QC for boxing valves sucked.. CHECK for matching.. Mids and highs.. 6550s..:-)