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Unread 05-20-2012, 05:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I'm gonna have to order some new power tubes for my TSL 100 watt head.It has Groove tube GTEL34-m in it now and one of them is bad.I can't afford a matched quad set of NOS:-(.I've been looking at another matched set of GTEL34-m,JJs and mullards.Does the same factory make all of these now and just relabel them?Also I've read that there are some fakes on e-bay is there any dealer I should avoid?Thanks in advance for any info and opinions
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Unread 05-20-2012, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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I'm gonna have to order some new power tubes for my TSL 100 watt head.It has Groove tube GTEL34-m in it now and one of them is bad.I can't afford a matched quad set of NOS:-(.I've been looking at another matched set of GTEL34-m,JJs and mullards.Does the same factory make all of these now and just relabel them?Also I've read that there are some fakes on e-bay is there any dealer I should avoid?Thanks in advance for any info and opinions
One of the best tubes out there right now, especially for the money is the JJ E34Ls.. (not EL34)..I love the way they sound..and their pretty durable too...once their broken in and stable. The SED winged C tubes have the best reputation for build quality and dependability..but their pricey..like $80.00 for a matched pair. JJ and SED are the only mfgs. making their own tubes.
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Unread 05-20-2012, 08:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

Thanks Adrian R. I have looked at the JJ E34Ls.Correct me if I wrong cause I may be,I've been doing alot of reading up on tubes and may get my #s crossed up.But don't you have to run the E34Ls harder to get them to break up?I tend to play at low to medium volumes not usually over 5 sometimes as low as 2.5 to 3 on the mater volume.So will I still get some good distortion from that tube at those volumes?I know JJs bought Tesla's old machines but are they built in Russia or china now?
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Unread 05-20-2012, 08:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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Thanks Adrian R. I have looked at the JJ E34Ls.Correct me if I wrong cause I may be,I've been doing alot of reading up on tubes and may get my #s crossed up.But don't you have to run the E34Ls harder to get them to break up?I tend to play at low to medium volumes not usually over 5 sometimes as low as 2.5 to 3 on the mater volume.So will I still get some good distortion from that tube at those volumes?I know JJs bought Tesla's old machines but are they built in Russia or china now?
The E34Ls have do have more headroom..and are slightly heavier in the bass frequencies...so yea *maybe*...but this depends on hot or not you bias them. I forgot to mention the JJ KT-77..that is another really good sounding tube. (EL-34 variant) JJs are made in Russia..
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Unread 05-20-2012, 09:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

SED/Winged =C= are my favorite

For the record, JJ tubes are built in Slovakia
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Unread 05-20-2012, 09:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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...I tend to play at low to medium volumes not usually over 5 sometimes as low as 2.5 to 3 on the mater volume...

When you run the master low, you don't get power tube distortion, regardless of the tube you choose or the bias setting
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Unread 05-20-2012, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

Welcome. Interesting user
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Unread 05-20-2012, 10:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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One of the best tubes out there right now, especially for the money is the JJ E34Ls.. (not EL34)..I love the way they sound..and their pretty durable too...once their broken in and stable. The SED winged C tubes have the best reputation for build quality and dependability..but their pricey..like $80.00 for a matched pair. JJ and SED are the only mfgs. making their own tubes.
I second this! The E34L's made my amp a monster!
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Unread 05-20-2012, 10:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

Power tubes are not designed for distortion!

My fav's are also the Winged C's and Svetlana; however according to the way you play you'd probably love Ruby EL34. Similar to the Groove Tubes, smooth, creamy, punchy - super nice and not too pricey.

Check out Musician Friend, Tube Depot, Tube Store - great selections.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 12:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I bought a quad set of Ruby's from Doug's Tubes, for my 1978 MKII master Model 2203 and compared to Groove Tubes E34L's which I had prior, the Ruby's sound huge and full and really pump the balls to the walls while the GT's which I though sounded awesome before really lacked the "boom" I am getting from the Ruby's.

These are great Tubes, and after contacting Doug @ dougs tubes, telling him about my amp, my setup and the type of music I play he recommended these to me. I have not been happier in a tube purchase in 20 years.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 12:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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I bought a quad set of Ruby's from Doug's Tubes, for my 1978 MKII master Model 2203 and compared to Groove Tubes E34L's which I had prior, the Ruby's sound huge and full and really pump the balls to the walls while the GT's which I though sounded awesome before really lacked the "boom" I am getting from the Ruby's.

These are great Tubes, and after contacting Doug @ dougs tubes, telling him about my amp, my setup and the type of music I play he recommended these to me. I have not been happier in a tube purchase in 20 years.
I got my Ruby(JJ) E34L's from Doug too!
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Unread 05-21-2012, 01:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

Awesome getting alot of different opinions here that's interesting.RussBert I have a set of winged Cs in my DSL 50 watt head and they sound great!Untill tonight I wasn't even aware of SED I knew about Svetlanta, and after some research I see they are now SED.So thanks Adrian R , RussBert on the heads up.RussBert I know that running your master at low volumes doesn't get to the sweet spot and that's why I was concerned about getting the JJ E34Ls cause you do need to run them harder to get them to break up.I usually use my DSL 50 watt head and it sounds great at low volumes.When I had my other TSL 100 watt head I used the VPR button to switch it to a 25 watt amp and it sounded great at low volumes too.I just got this TSL a week ago and one of the NEW groove tubes GTEL34-m tubes is bad:-( SmokeyDopey Thanks for the welcome!Bolt22,Dmann I use a 12ax7 ruby in my DSL in 3 and 4 and in 1 and 2 i use sovtek 12ax7wr but I have never tryed a ruby power tube though would love to hear one.I'm new here and haven't figured out how to quote someone in a message or underline anything so everybody bear with me give me a min. and I'll catch up.I've been reading post from this site for a long time and finally decided to join.Glad i have wish I would have sooner.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 01:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

what do you think guys are these worth the differance in price or should i just go with a new set or JJs
Svetlana EL34 Winged C Matched Quad dynanic match on Hagerman Vacu-Trace! NOS | eBay
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Unread 05-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I still think the Groove Tubes EL34M's are your best choice as posted earlier. They are inexpensive, sound great, and I know for a fact that they have excellent warranty service for their tubes. The EL34M is made in China by Shuguang but is built to Groove Tubes' specs, which are pretty damn close to a Mullard xF2.

Don't be afraid of any tubes just because someone says they had one that went bad. A lot of those claims are due to user error. You HAVE to bias your amp when you install new tubes. If you bias them up correctly, and they like to be biased cold, you shouldn't have a problem with them. If you throw them in and crank the amp wide open without biasing, you'll be lucky if a tube is all you fry. I've used them a lot and the only problem I had was with the flimsy box they come packaged in. The last pair I got, one tube was broken from bumping into the other one.

I like the =C='s too, but they've gotten expensive lately. I've tried the E34L two different times and wasn't that impressed. If you're going to put a MetalZone pedal or something in front of it, the E34L's would probably be fine. They are pretty tight, but for classic rock Marshall-style I think there are much better options. I've heard better reviews of the JJ KT77's which are drop-in replacements for EL34's. A lot of guys like the Electro Harmonix 6CA7's which are interchangeable with an EL34 too.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 11:14 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

QUOTE=RussBert;635920]SED/Winged =C= are my favorite

++1
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Unread 05-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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Power tubes are not designed for distortion!

My fav's are also the Winged C's and Svetlana; however according to the way you play you'd probably love Ruby EL34. Similar to the Groove Tubes, smooth, creamy, punchy - super nice and not too pricey.

Check out Musician Friend, Tube Depot, Tube Store - great selections.
I beg to differ on power tube distortion! Lots of classic amps get their drive from the power section. That is what defines a Plexi or a JTM45 and a reason some guitarist prefer smaller amps driven hard. Now on the TSL, a modern amp, the power section is probably designed to stay cleaner and you get your drive from the preamp.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 12:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I could hear the power tubes really kick in on my DSL50 when the master volume was at least up to four. I used to play it on the green channel clean with the master up around 4 or 5 (when nobody else was home) and it had a great early AC/DC and early Def Leppard tone.
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That's what I like about you Alan...you got it bad. You're a tube-aholic.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 01:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

ok guys I found a match quad set of NOS Svetlana EL34 winged Cs for $143.50 .That seems like a good deal for some NOS tubes?What do you think compared to a matched quad of JJs EL34 for $61.35, a matched quad of JJ E34L for $57.00, a match quad ofGroove Tube GTEL34-M for 72.95 or a matched quad of the reissue Mullard EL34 XF2 for $82.75?
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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ok guys I found a match quad set of NOS Svetlana EL34 winged Cs for $143.50 .That seems like a good deal for some NOS tubes?What do you think compared to a matched quad of JJs EL34 for $61.35, a matched quad of JJ E34L for $57.00, a match quad ofGroove Tube GTEL34-M for 72.95 or a matched quad of the reissue Mullard EL34 XF2 for $82.75?

You can buy Winged C tubes brand new, don't pay more for "NOS" because they're the same as the one's made yesterday
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I like JJ's. I use the KT-77's when i have the cash but otherwise E34L's all the way. the EL34 they have is quite nice too and i have those in my Framus Dragon right now and have no interest in swapping them.

depending on the amp the preamp tubes may be of more importance anyway but for tone to money ration it's JJ imo. RUBY EL34-M's are nice when they work for super cheap tubes but i only get those through a dealer that will exchange bad tubes. you can get a quad for $45 at times lol.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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I like JJ's. I use the KT-77's when i have the cash but otherwise E34L's all the way. the EL34 they have is quite nice too and i have those in my Framus Dragon right now and have no interest in swapping them.

depending on the amp the preamp tubes may be of more importance anyway but for tone to money ration it's JJ imo. RUBY EL34-M's are nice when they work for super cheap tubes but i only get those through a dealer that will exchange bad tubes. you can get a quad for $45 at times lol.
Yea, I had a bad experience with the GT EL34M. It red plated after about 15 minutes in a DSL 50...but it sure sounded good before it did! I sent GT an email about this asking for a replacement...in which they would honor..only problem was that it was nearly a month before they got back to me.

I've used MANY JJ tubes...and only one KT-77 failed on me..and it was my fault for its failure... I just love the way JJ power tubes sound...to my ears their warm..and they have character that is unique..unlike most of the other CP tubes. Not to thrilled with their preamp tubes though and think EH and Tungsol sound better...and have more gain.

However, I will say this. I compared a set of JJ E34Ls to a 1980s Tesla EL34...The original Tesla was noticeably better sounding...and it was over 20 years old!
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Unread 05-21-2012, 03:10 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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Yea, I had a bad experience with the GT EL34M. It red plated after about 15 minutes in a DSL 50...but it sure sounded good before it did! I sent GT an email about this asking for a replacement...in which they would honor..only problem was that it was nearly a month before they got back to me.

I've used MANY JJ tubes...and only one KT-77 failed on me..and it was my fault for its failure... I just love the way JJ power tubes sound...to my ears their warm..and they have character that is unique..unlike most of the other CP tubes. Not to thrilled with their preamp tubes though and think EH and Tungsol sound better...and have more gain.

However, I will say this. I compared a set of JJ E34Ls to a 1980s Tesla EL34...The original Tesla was noticeably better sounding...and it was over 20 years old!
Yeah i agree. That's why i said IF i get the RUBY's i make sure it's a place that will replace them because they have a shit screening process for defectives BUT they're cheap and do sound decent when they work. I usualy have a spare set of JJ's at that point as well.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 06:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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Yea, I had a bad experience with the GT EL34M. It red plated after about 15 minutes in a DSL 50...but it sure sounded good before it did! I sent GT an email about this asking for a replacement...in which they would honor..only problem was that it was nearly a month before they got back to me.
No offense Adrian, but in your original post about the GT-EL34M's you said that you ran them around 30-45 minutes to warm them up before you biased them. The picture of the tube that was with that post showed an EL34M that had been ran HOT for quite awhile, so much that the glue that holds the base on had melted and bubbled. The photo of the tube showed burn marks on the glass that lined up with the cutouts in the plates, and it got so hot that the writing had turned brown. I looked that thread up and couldn't help but notice that it's been edited, the last time was a little over a week ago. Gone were the pre-bias warmup and the picture of the burned tube.

I still say the EL34M is a good tube, but you have to bias it before playing same as with any tube, and I'm even so paranoid that I'll leave a multimeter hooked up for the first few hours and still check it every day for awhile. I know you had a bad experience with the pair you got, but I think a lot of that damage was self-inflicted. I've never had anything like that happen with a GT EL34M. I had an EH and a RFT (yes, RFT) that drifted a lot and wanted to redplate, and I swapped them out immediately. Only took me 2 or 3 days max to get replacements, too. I don't think the tubes deserve the bad rap you're giving them. Frankie's set lasted a year and he gigged the hell out of them. Joe's are probably still in his DSL.

DEFECTIVE EL34Ms...
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Unread 05-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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No offense Adrian, but in your original post about the GT-EL34M's you said that you ran them around 30-45 minutes to warm them up before you biased them. The picture of the tube that was with that post showed an EL34M that had been ran HOT for quite awhile, so much that the glue that holds the base on had melted and bubbled. The photo of the tube showed burn marks on the glass that lined up with the cutouts in the plates, and it got so hot that the writing had turned brown. I looked that thread up and couldn't help but notice that it's been edited, the last time was a little over a week ago. Gone were the pre-bias warmup and the picture of the burned tube.

I still say the EL34M is a good tube, but you have to bias it before playing same as with any tube, and I'm even so paranoid that I'll leave a multimeter hooked up for the first few hours and still check it every day for awhile. I know you had a bad experience with the pair you got, but I think a lot of that damage was self-inflicted. I've never had anything like that happen with a GT EL34M. I had an EH and a RFT (yes, RFT) that drifted a lot and wanted to redplate, and I swapped them out immediately. Only took me 2 or 3 days max to get replacements, too. I don't think the tubes deserve the bad rap you're giving them. Frankie's set lasted a year and he gigged the hell out of them. Joe's are probably still in his DSL.

DEFECTIVE EL34Ms...
I forgot about that post quite frankly Ratman...and I certainly didn't edit it..within the past week!...I could have been mistaken by the time..but I do remember it burning out in a way that was quite rapid. I am not saying that I had nothing to do with it...but then I never had any problem before like that with any other tube...
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Unread 05-21-2012, 06:51 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

Bought Svetlana's the last time for my 50w head.
Found out that's what Marshall was using at the time.
Put a Mullard in my C5 and the amp came to life.
Will buy Mullards next time one of the girls needs new tubes.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 08:24 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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I forgot about that post quite frankly Ratman...and I certainly didn't edit it..within the past week!...I could have been mistaken by the time..but I do remember it burning out in a way that was quite rapid. I am not saying that I had nothing to do with it...but then I never had any problem before like that with any other tube...
I just don't think you're being fair to the tubes and may be causing some people to pass over some really great sounding glass. I have owned at least two quads of Groove Tubes EL34M's and never had a bad one. Various people have ended up with them as I don't use EL34's in anything right now except the occasional pair in the Egnater Tweaker.

Maybe yours was hosed from the start or maybe it was damaged in shipping (their boxes suck) but I do remember talking with you via PM's about how long that tube redplated and MartyStrat can back me up on the rest. I'm not saying you don't know your schiznit, but everybody has done something like that at one time or another. Be fair to the product. Shuguang can turn out some really, really nice tubes given some incentive.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 09:13 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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However, I will say this. I compared a set of JJ E34Ls to a 1980s Tesla EL34...The original Tesla was noticeably better sounding...and it was over 20 years old!

I have 2 quads of NOS Tesla's. One EL-34's and the other are EL-34L's. Great tubes, and still can be had for reasonable money
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Unread 05-21-2012, 09:25 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

I'm a big fan of the GT el-34M. I also agree the worst thing about them is their packaging.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 10:21 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

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Originally Posted by RussBert View Post
I have 2 quads of NOS Tesla's. One EL-34's and the other are EL-34L's. Great tubes, and still can be had for reasonable money
RussBert Pm me a price on a matched quad set or post it here.
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Unread 05-22-2012, 03:46 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Who makes the best new EL34 tubes as of 2012

If you want a rounder sound you can also try 6CA7 tube by JJ or EH.
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