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Tube choice question


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Some people like myself... they are 50/50 about JJ tubes. Some people say they are great, some people say they are crap.

 

I just had to do a retubing in my Laney GH100TI. I got a quad set of Mesa STR-447 EL34's installed. When you're dealing with a high dollar amp like a Mesa, Bogner, Marshall, Laney or anything really. My question is is if you spend 1000-1500+ dollars on an amp, why go with a sub-par made/style of tubes?

 

I'm not saying to go out and buy a NOS quad set of Mullard or Telefunken EL34's for 2-3-400 bucks, unless you can find them in a box of tube that you found at say an Estate sale or somewhere for 10 dollars. But to spend 75-120 bucks on a matched set of quad tubes, for a 1500+ dollar amp, isn't exactly a big deal. They will last you for 4-5 years, depending on if you gig a lot or if you are just jamming once in a while with friends at home or by yourself. 

 

EH, Mullard, Svetlana and ect ect all good choices for tubes. Some people like JJ, but I say, why go for the cheapest thing you can buy? Go for a medium priced set of tubes for 75-120 bucks and get em installed and you will be rocking for a good long while.

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The Bogner's plate voltage is around 530VDC. I don't have a schematic handy, but we'll assume the screen voltage is around the same (unless someone wants to correct me).

 

This eliminates two tubes right off...1.) the Mullard "reissue" EL34 (reissue is in quotes for a reason, it is not a clone or copy of the real '60's tube), which has been popular in the tube hi-fi world but had a very problematic history in the guitar amp world, it does NOT like plate voltages above 500VDC. 2.) It also eliminates the excellent and still rather affordable NOS RFT/Siemens EL34 which hates high screen voltages.

 

I think one of the most popular and most durable EL34 made today is the Ruby EL34B-STR made in China by Shuguang. Not sure if this is identical to the Groove Tubes EL34M or not, but that one is also a Shuguang. THese may also the be the same tube sold as the Sino EL34B (TubeDepot) and Shugunag EL34B (TUbeStore), idk, but if that's true then they are available for a noticeably lower price and with beter customer service than Ruby.

 

The JJ is still a great tube, for years the JJ EL34L was the top-of-the-line tube offered by both Ruby and GT, but there has been a lot of competition released since then.

 

Either the Ruby or the JJ should handle the 530VDC just fine.

 

I'm not a big fan of the New Sensor/Reflektor made power tubes. I mentioned the Mullard's limitations above, but I've had consistantly bad luck with all sorts of them. If you wat to try them skip the older Sovtek and EH designs and go stright to the newer Tung Sol "reissue" (note the quotes again). Unfortunately, there isn't any accurate the data on these because New Senor just reprints the 60-year old tube chart despite it being a completely different design from a completely different factory.

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I used JJ's in my Music Man 60 head that has a much higer voltage of 650 or more volts and the JJ's could do the job fine. The only reason I switched, is because Electro Harmonix came out with a reissue of a 6CA7 which was the original tube for that amp. 

I'd likely try the JJ's or a set of 6CA7's if you want a really loud sound. (if your head can handle them)

 

Heres a pretty accurate review on tube types available now.  

http://www.thetubestore.com/Resources/Product-Reviews/EL34-Tube-Review

 

 

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