Your Fav EL34 and why?



I am looking for some info on the EL34 tube and it's various makers, mostly current ones, but input on previous itterations of these tubes which fall into the NOS cat are quite welcome and would add some contrast.

I'm assuming like all tubes that the EL 34 tubes sonic sigs vary dependant upon manufacturer and era, as do so many other tube types.

What is your experience with this EL34 TYPE, and why did you select the one (s) you use now?

As always - Thanks so very much.
blindjim
Siemens; for SQ, and price. See your local Ramms Lab dealer.
The best ever EL34's in my opinion is a toss up between Genelex KT77 and Mullard EL34 (XF1 or XF2).

Lots of other NOS varieties were made and many of those are better than current production.

Of current production my favorite is Tesla E34L, and then probably the Wing C. All EL34's sound different, so depending on your amp, bias point, associated (input) tubes and other factors, there is an unending debate as to what might be your favorite.

I will say that beyond all other factors, the Mullard is probably the best EL34 that was ever made, if judged only by it's durability and longevity. There are thousands of Dynaco amps that are still in service with their ORIGINAL Mullard EL34's, factory installed 42 years ago (still test perfect and still running strong).

Thousands of other Dynaco's have been stripped of their original Mullard EL34's and then resold with brand new Russian tubes :^).

Wonder what they do with all those old original Mullard tubes? They wouldn't be selling them at Ebay or using them in their OWN high end gear :^?
Uh, Thanks, Avguygeorge. I'm not sure what all that means however.

Albertporter
I do appreciate it much. The EL34's application is bias dependant? Huh.

They aren't all the same, that I get. Now ya gotta add in what the bias point is?

OK then, how about at 70mv for instance. Just out of the clear blue.
I do appreciate it much. The EL34's application is bias dependant? Huh.

Yes indeed.

For instance, the bias point of EL34 tubes run in triode compared to Tetrode can be different. The bias point of Mullard EL34 tubes in the Tube Research GT400 (yes, it works-been there-done that) is different than a Dynaco Stereo 70 and different than the Wolcott Presence 220.

And as I said, input tubes for all three of these amps (and input design circuit) are all very different too.

The bias for the Dynaco Stereo 70 is quite low (about 1.56 VDC) compared to more modern amps and perhaps the reason so many EL34 Mullards have survived for 40 years. That and the fact Dynaco produced about 250,000 of these before they were discontinued, means we had a rather large supply to begin with.

Here is a link to different voltages and bias points the EL34 can be set up for. This was for popular guitar amps but the principal is the same.

http://www.diyguitarist.com/Images/BiasChart-EL34.jpg
Albertporter

Thanks for the link but I can’t see it well enough to make anything of it. Sorry.

So given the bias point I mentioned and aside from the “subjective or supposed” voice of the particular tube, I should get those that are intrinsically best run at that bias point?

My own particular application is for the Gary Dodd 120 mono blocks this time ‘round. Thinking this tube is wired in several configurations, triode, tettrode and is a pentode tube anyways, the thought of better selection of the tube by it’s bias setting in the application, over it’s inherent ‘sound’ had truly not been a consideration to this point. In fact I’m plain ignorant of making a tube choice based solely that way. I’ve nothing against it either. Just never came to mind thinking all the EL 34s had at least some tolerance to the voltages applied to them, regardless the configuration; Triode, tet, or pent.

Practically speaking, I doubt Mullard NOS' are in my future given what I've seen of just one outlets pricing for them. I'll not discount your info however and as this thread is about ANY EL 34s, past or present, I'm grateful for the insights and your choice (s).
Well Jim, it turns out the same new production tube (and available for cheap price) is the same one I recommended earlier in this thread. The Tesla E34L.

Gary Dodd lives about 15 minutes from me and has told me face to face on more than one occasion that the Tesla was his favorite too.

This is in line with my own experiences. I had four Dodd mono blocks on my Dali Megalines and listened with both Mullard and Tesla. The Tesla is a great match for the Dodd amps. I still prefer Mullard EL34 but you can follow whatever makes you happy and fits your need. Just making suggestions as you requested.

If you want an explanation of why and how bias can effect the sound of tubes give Gary a call. He understands this very well. He is a very bright designer.

You ask for suggestions and I made a few.

Sorry the link to JPEG of tube bias data is not clear enough for you to view. It's OK on my screen.
Albert
your incredible. the info you supply is super. I am indeed glad to get it. Whatever you may infuse is fine by me completely.

The part about the biasing points being significant is as well. I had thought only so far as plate voltages for selecting tubes in the past... being dependant upon the design topologies application. Ex. don't want a 6sn7 with 275 plate V in a config requiring 450 v to be applied... and there are different 6sn7 itterations designed with various volt. specs... albeit, diferent eras of construction, ie., 231, CBS, GT, GTTA, GTB, etc.

I'll indeed follow up on the EL 34 querry to Gary right soon, with any luck at all mine will be here unscathed by the shipper this week. ...and yep... I'm excited. Definitely I'm also reassured to hear from yourself as well about the abilities of Gary, and the amps performance too. Especially the latter. Never having heard them before.

Moving on... any other EL 34 itterations capable of making the roll call?

How about the preformance diffs between the KT77s and EL 34s?

Anyone?
Hey Jim, for my Dodds, my preferences fall like this: Best are the SED Winged "C"s, then the JJ KT-77s, and finally the JJ E34Ls. I haven't tried other EL34s on my monos. The SEDs have a better, more organic midrange compared to the KT-77s, while the KT-77s have better extension than either. I also thought the KT-77s had a better midrange than the JJ E34Ls. Just my 2 cents...

You gonna have fun with 'dem amps!
Not surprised by 1markr comments.

Although Gary recommended the JJ Tesla E34L, the SED is the second tube I mentioned in my post, almost identical ideas about what's good.

I have not heard the new JJ KT77's, they are probably excellent, perhaps Gary has tested them by now and can offer an opinion.

The original KT77 Genelex is the best sounding and best built. I have them in my Aesthetix Io but they are not a practical choice for the Dodd amps, due to the quantity required and cost.
I also forgot to add that the soundstage really bloomed and filled the room much better with the SEDs vs. the original JJ E34Ls.

I have not heard the orig. Genelex KT-77s.
Albertporter & 1markr

Thanks guys. Good.

I'm likely mistaken here, but I thought there were like five or six EL 34 makers these days. Not so, huh?

In any case, would you mind recommending a good vendor or two, for these tube types, EL 34; KT 77; SED...?

Anyone else want to chime in as to their experience (s)?
I'm far from qualifying a favorite here, but I can say that I have lived with 50 watt P/P zero feedback EL34 monoblock amps for about three years now. Mine are AES Sixpacs that came standard with Ruby brand EL34 output tubes. I understand Ruby to be a re-brander, so I'm not sure who the actual stock tubes were made by. I also tried a matched set of EH EL34's. I can't say that these were any better than my stock tubes, perhaps different is the better word. I believe the EH brand have a little more extension on the top, they sounded OK to me, but no real improvement. I then tried a matched set of SED Winged C EL34's from Upscale Audio. I can say that these definitely have more sweetness in the mids with as much extension at top and bottom that I have heard in my amps.

I'm not deeply familiar with your amps, but with mine, the input tube is a 12BZ7 that I was advised to consider rolling to a NOS type. I did this years ago and was amazed at the improvement in sound with this little tube, more clarity and detail was the result. Perhaps you have a similar situation with your Dodds, I don't know. Perhaps other owners or Gary could direct you with this one.

I too would like to try out a set of JJ KT77's as some report they have the detail and increased extension that I'd like to try. I read an awful lot on quality issues with these (poor solder joints, crooked bottles, thin pins) I'm not sure I'm ready to go there yet, more reading to do.

Regarding sources, while I'm sure there are many, I can recommend Upscale Audio for your matched set of SED's. They are cometitively priced and they are well known for their tube experience. One last thing, both my stock Rubys and EH EL34's held the bias fine, but the SED's are rock steady out to the third decimal on my meter, I'm not sure how relevant that is, but I thought it worth mentioning. Enjoy the new amps.

Mijknarf
thanks so much for the input.

I'll have to look into the JJ thing you mentioned, and surely talk to Gary as to the little tubes. I'm getting two types so I'll have a ball right off figuring what goes with waht best and go from there.

All the little ones are just numbered. 7119, 53?? etc. Ain't even sure who made 'em. By Friday night I'll know who's name is on 'em.

K.D. has lived without my money this far and that will likely continue. I'll never deal with anyone who maintains two price lines for previous and new customers for the exact same thing. Just a matter of principle is all.

That statement just says I don't need the business. Fine by me. he ain't the only egg in the crate... and I'll not overpay either, given there are choices.

I do appreciate the info on the sonics of the SED and JJ... and the JJ possible caveat however. Thanks.

Any other EL 34 resources out there? Anyone?

Mijknarf
Thanks so much for the input.

I'll have to look into the JJ thing you mentioned, and surely talk to Gary as to the little tubes. I'm getting two types so I'll have a ball right off figuring what goes with waht best and go from there.

All the little ones are just numbered. 7119, 53?? etc. Ain't even sure who made 'em. By Friday night I'll know who's name is on 'em.

K.D. has lived without my money this far and that will likely continue. I'll never deal with anyone who maintains two price lines for previous and new customers for the exact same thing. Just a matter of principle I suppose.

That statement just says I don't need the business. Fine by me. It's uncouciunable to me to turn away business, or charge an added "admission fee" for the experience. Personally, I do not feel oblidged to pay extra, my ego is satisfied with the likes of others, it has no 'groupie' fascination.

However,I do sincerely appreciate the info on the sonics of the SED and JJ... and the JJ possible caveat. Thanks.

Any other EL 34 resources out there? Anyone?
I'm a current Dodd Owner and have tried various el34's.

So far I prefer the the Winged C by a smidge
I have put an order in for some KT77 - I'm interested in hearing how these fair in comparison.



Musicfile
Thank you.

Looks like the SED wings have the nod. I too am interested in what you come up with on the KT77's. Please do follow up.

BTW where do you source your tubes from? Satisfied with the level of service?
I have used the jj e34l and thought it was a great tube with my mv-52. I bought an mv-55 which came with the new mullard russian reissues and thought they were much more detailed extended top to bottom and had a smooth and neutral midrange. I heard so much about the winged c's I ordered a quad and think they have a bloomier midrange and sound great but the mullards are more coherent and detailed. just my 2 cents.
Soundwatts
Mullard re-issues? Russian?

WEll it's for sure I'm gonna have to get another set of 'em. Now which brand seems more the question. Likely the more balanced and transparent. Which for me is quite a statement all by itself.

Is good bottom end a given with EL 34s???

The SED C EL's do have a good amount of bass production going on in my system. other brands probably possess more though, would be my guess. Obtaining a phat mid usually costs something elsewhere.
http://www.upscaleaudio.com/product.asp?itemid=493&catid=86

Blindjim here is a link to the Mullard reissue on upscale audio's site. I find the bottom end to be more defined than the SED in my system.
Soundwatts
Mullard re-issue, check. Upscale, uncheck.
"Is good bottom end a given with EL 34s???"

I found that the bottom end was effected mostly by using the correct speaker taps on the amp. With my speakers the 2 ohm taps worked best for the bottom end, but the 4 ohm taps sounded better in the mids. Go figure.

Enjoy,
Bob
Now running a new quad of KT77s from JJ in my CJ CAV50 and these are as good if not a little more dynamic and full compared to the Winged Cs.
Stevecham

I'll bear that in mind.

Anyone ever heard of BOI Softworks? San Diego, Ca.

Thanks.
In my amp I've been using JJ KT77's and recently switched over to Winged C EL34's. The KT77's have a larger soundstage, better bass, slightly better highs, and more neutral reponse. To me, the JJ KT77 sounds closer to KT88's than any EL34. In my system prefer the Winged C EL34s.... better midrange, bloomier soundstage, more natural sounding, and more musical. With the KT77's I'd constantly catch myself listening for certain audiophile queues constantly changing songs. With the EL34's I find myself just listening to the music more rather than analyzing to my system. So with my setup and my taste, Winged C EL34's are a better match.
Yo2tup
Thanks much.