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Discussion in 'audio' started by MikeMA, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Now that proper Svetlana SED Winged =C= tubes (not the New Sensor rip offs) are no longer in production and decent examples are becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of, what current production EL34s (or near equivalent 6CA7s and KT77s) do pfmers consider worthy of consideration?
  2. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    20 + years ago, my Papworths were supplied with Edicron EL-34s.. which, AIUI, are UK re-badged eastern european tubes. After a couple of years I switched to Svetlanas, but don't ask me which specific marque. They were different. but whether that amounted to 'better' is debateable. Failure rate was the same for both the Edicrons and Svetlanas.

    Make of this snippet what you will..... :)
    MikeMA likes this.
  3. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Distributor and Manufacturer

    One of the problems is very few makers of the EL34 get near to the spec of the original EL34 made by companies like Mullard back in the day. Not only this but some valve amp manufacturers push the tube to the limit (anode dissipation) and beyond, so high power levels can be quoted. As well as this, a lot of today's valves that are listed as EL84, EL34, KT88, 6550s etc are simply not made to the same standard or use the same quality of materials in production as the originals...
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  4. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Thanks, this is pretty much why I asked the question.

    These days NOS power tubes like Mullards are rare, extremely expensive and often of doubtful provenance and quality. Of current production tubes the general consensus until recently was that SED were some of, if not the, best around. With the apparent demise of SED I was curious to know if anyone had any views on decent current production alternatives. In my experience Chinese tubes are of poor quality.

    My amp is a Jadis Orchestra which is manual/fixed bias and I don't run the tubes up to the limit.
  5. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Distributor and Manufacturer

    Have you tried Electro Harmonix? Another option is to speak to Derek at Watford Valves as he often has good valves in stock. These are often for Guitar amps so he should be able to advise on reliability. I only use Triodes in my designs as I know the problems trying to get high power with today's pentodes and beam tetrodes etc...
  6. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    I use original American GE 6CA7s. Some people say that the Electro Harmonix equivalents are nowhere as good and durable.
    But they are cheap.
  7. Ali T

    Ali T pfm Member

    Hotrox are a good supplier and they have Svets in stock.
  8. Neiro

    Neiro pfm Member

    I have had two sets of EL34 monoblocks over the years. In my Manleys I used EH 6CA7 & Winged C EL34. The Winged C used to fry quite often. The EH 6CA7 were very reliable but did not sound as good. I now use some ANK Kit EL34 amps which are rated at 70W per channel (4 EL34 per side). I have had 3 pairs of JJ EL34 through these, lasting a couple of years at a time (quite heavy use). I was a fan and thought they were bullet proof but the last set, only purchased 5 months ago, has had one fail. As I fancied a change I changed the whole lot to a new set of TAD EL34 and I have to say I have been impressed. They sound better than the JJ and have been silent so far, early days I know but they sound good. They do look like Shugangs but I think they get QC via TAD. ALways buy my EL34s from Hotrox. never had a problem
  9. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Sovtek (Electro Harmonix) about the best available these days.
  10. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    Sadly then. I have perfectly operational General Electric ones that are 25 years old. New ones still in their box!
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    One reason I stick with EL84s is very nice NOS USSR-era Russian military equivalents are still plentiful and affordable and are of an equivalent quality to the better UK/EU valves. Good NOS UK or EU EL34s are sadly LOLprice these days, and to my ears the Russian or Chinese stuff just isn’t in the same ballpark with this valve type.
  12. pure sound

    pure sound Trade: manufacturer/distributor

    I generally like the EH ones but the JJ version (Czech made) aren't bad either.
  13. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I have a very nice quad of Mullard EL34s, but sadly lacking an amp to use them in. I did have one for a while (Eastern Electric M520), and the Mullards were significantly better than either Winged Cs or the modern ones I tried (JJ's, I think). I keep thinking I'd like to try another 4 x EL34 amp, but the fear of the any of the Mullards blowing is a major factor, because the price to replace them is so ridiculous. It's a silly predicament, I realise.
  14. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    As an aside, haven't tube prices shot up over the last year or so? I suppose it's down to the depreciating GBP.
  15. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Have you thought of selling them?:)
  16. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    No, I can't sell them, in case my dream EL34 amp comes along, but then if it does, I won't buy it, because I'm afraid of being locked into a life time of expensive Mullard replacements. Paradox, or absurdity?
  17. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I certainly would not be particularly concerned about using modern EL34's (Russian not Chinese!) so long as the amp is not one that really drives the output valves hard.

    The superiority of NOS valves over modern ones is vastly exaggerated in many cases. I also find it amusing the way it's always "Mullard uber alles" when there were loads of equally good NOS brands like Brimar, Mazda, Marconi, Tungsram etc etc.

    It is a bit of a lottery as to the quality and reliability of individual valves... but it always has been! Even Mullard only offered a 3 month guarantee!
    MikeMA likes this.
  18. richards13

    richards13 pfm Member

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