Tube Amps / Music Electronics
For current discussions, please visit Music Electronics Forum. New: view Recent Searches.
New: visit Schematic Hell!
The sunn still shines online!

Listen to great tunes streaming live right now!

ampage archive

Vintage threads from the first ten years

Search for:  Mode:  

EL84 Taste Tests - Slight Return

5/26/1999 9:02 AM
EL84 Taste Tests - Slight Return
EL84 Taste Tests – Slight Return  
Well, since I’ve done my EL84 taste tests, I’ve acquired a few more duets. So, I thought I’d provide some comments on these as well. What follows is a “mini” review.  
I used the same equipment and settings as the first EL84 Taste Test; please refer to that document for previous set-up and history.  
I tested RCA, Tungsram, EI, and Philips EL84s. As a reference before testing these four sets, I went back and re-tested (re-listened) to the Russians and Sylvanias. Instead of providing a “Conclusion”, I shall mix my editorial comments with each tube:  
RCA: These tubes sounded somewhat like the Philips when played clean, however, they were a bit more brittle. When distorted, these tubes still reminded me of the Philips. Quite frankly, I expected a little more out of these tubes. I’d purchase the Philips over these.  
Tungsram: WOW! These are the best I’ve heard. Very “juicy”. Full harmonic content and great string detail. The clean sound was great for strumming with a Strat. Distorted sounds were heavenly with both Strat and LP. These tubes reminded me of a “better” and more professional sounding Philips. These tubes are expensive, so they might best be suited for Studio work.  
EI: These tubes crunched up the most out of all the EL84 tube-types (including those in the “original” review). Very “ballsy” with thick distortion. When played clean, they were very respectable. Fairly nice and even with good detail. I would say these tubes provide the best price/performance ratio.  
Philips: Very nice and chimey when played clean. Very musical and full harmonic content. These tubes didn’t distort as much as other tubes – it was more of a “clean” distortion. Great for Strat blues. I would not hesitate to buy these tubes again.  
5/26/1999 1:00 PM
Benjamin Fargen

You might want to get some side work as a freelance writer doing gear review! You give great detail in your observations!  
As always..........  
Thank you and great work!!
Book Of The Day The Ultimate Tone, Volume III by Kevin O'Connor
Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to build a Bassman, Champ, Plexi, an 800, AC-30, Bulldog or Portaflex? Or you wanted to build an SVT with off-the-shelf parts? How about a master-volume amp that doesn’t change tone with the master setting? Everything you need to know is right here, including: proper grounding techniques, wiring methods, and mechanical considerations. Eighteen chapters cover the “iconic” amps everyone knows and loves, with schematics and layouts for each, along with the technical history of the product. Eyelet-board and chassis-mounted tube socket construction is used throughout, for easy servicing and modding. TUT3 is very accessible even if you cannot fully read a schematic and is a "must have" if you are going to build an amp for your self.

Note: The Ampage Archive is an Amazon Associate site. A small commission is paid to the site owner on any qualified purchase made after clicking an associate link such as the one above.
5/26/1999 4:03 PM
Tom Lennon

Thanks for the reviews.  
I have an AC30 with groove tubes in it. I'm happy with the sound but I haven't compared them with anything else.  
When you say "expensive" on the Tungsram tubes how much are they and where are they available if you know?  
Thanks for the good work.  
Tom Lennon
5/26/1999 4:56 PM

If memory serves, the Tungs cost $60 for the duet. But they might have been a tad more.  
More than likely, the Groove Tubes are Teslas, which are pretty good. If possible, try the EIs or Philips next time.  
5/26/1999 6:26 PM

Another great taste test Mook, but I maybe a bit partial......  
I agree with your assesments and thought I would add 2 more.  
Mullards- You can only appreciate the Mullards if you drive them hard. Under lower drive or clean settings, they sound very nice, but not  
that much better than say a good Ei, or Tesla.  
But under full drive they have the creamest distrotion, no Zizz or splater, pure butter.  
Amperex Bugle Boy ( labeled 7189 ), Oh my these are my currant Fav's, increadable note seperation,definition and balance. Great power  
and very little compression, with endless sustain. Very rare and expensive, I purchased a quad for a Mazerati ( a 4 output tube Ghia )  
I built for Joe Walsh, who is now in the studio with it recording a new Eagles LP. They cost me 120.00, and I must say were worth it, once installed in the Mazerati, I literaly fell off my chair, from there punch and dynamics.  
5/26/1999 6:51 PM
Lee MacMillan

Great to "see" you here, Dr. Z. My son goes to U of Illinois so I see Mike Burns occasionally when I visit. He let me play his Carmen Ghia and I was blown away! What a sound! If I wasn't sending so damn much money to the school, maybe I could afford one!
5/27/1999 11:15 PM
Steve A.

If I wasn't sending so damn much money to the school, maybe I could afford one!  
    Scrap the kid; get the amp! < g >  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. Well they do have low interest student loan programs, but nothing similar to that for buying amps... ("but I plan to use the Carmen Ghia for strictly educational purposes!") Jeez, remember the good old days when the state used to subsidize education so that it didn't cost an arm and a leg... and then another arm! Here in sunny California we didn't take too kindly when Ronald Reagan raised tuition at UC about 300% in 2 years! Of course most/many of the students were leftist radicals so RR figured he wasn't going to lose many votes because of it. (Hey, my dorm had its "token" Republican!) Seriously, IMHO money spent today for education sure beats money spent tommorrow on police and prisons!
   Page 1 of 2 Next> Last Page>>