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Thread: Best EL34 amps

  1. #1
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    Best EL34 amps

    Hi, what are your favorite EL34 amps?
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

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    Addicted to Best! awsmone's Avatar
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    i love the sound of el34 s

    but the question Kedar is context

    what are you intending to drive ?

    and is it triode or pentode mode/ultralinear ?
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    Horns, Triode
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

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    Addicted to Best! awsmone's Avatar
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    tricky tricky

    Kedar

    not many are optimised for triode and horns

    honestly the answer is unless you need high output, el34 is not the answer, SET is better

    the only exception in my experience is the rare otl/el34 for use with horn ...very rare
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    Actually I heard a SET, 12w, and another integrated, with two different horns, and some compares with other SETs and tubes over the last few months. Will write about it soon, the upload has been taking a while.
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo75 View Post
    Horns, Triode
    Hi Bonzo,

    Limited experience, and only pentode (EAR 534, Shindo Montrachet). I know you can connect the screens to make it a triode, but I've never heard one. Think Dave C made a EL34 SET...?

    Lots of experience with EL34's in Marshalls and Hiwatts though, which for me, is where they excel.

    Best,

    853guy
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    "In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." Hoffer, Eric. Reflections on the Human Condition. (Aphorism 32). 1973

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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have an EL34 SET... they are great tubes! My current preference is actually Gold Lion KT77. But TBH the output tube is only a small part of an amp's performance and since the EL34 is an affordable tube you'll rarely find commercial EL34 amps that are really good. With triode-strapped EL34s (use Hazen mod) you'll get 6-7 W out of the amp.

    I have compared my SET to a friend's Fi 2A3 monoblocks driven by an Airtight preamp and it wasn't all that close, my amp was better. The reason is careful parts selection and the driver circuit design. There are some key parts in tube amps like the OPTs, any resistors in series with the signal, and power supply filtration, especially the last power supply cap. These are rarely optimized, same with the usually inferior driver circuit design and the fact the driver shares the power supply with the output, I'd much rather have two power supplies for driver and output rather than 2 power supplies for right and left channels. The best coupling caps or trafos are rarely used either. I've spend years optimizing my amp and there's still more to be done, at this point it's better than most commercial amps regardless of what tubes it uses, but I doubt there's anything even close commercially that can compare.

    My best advice is to have someone build you a SET amp custom using high quality parts and no-compromise circuit design. Maybe Thomas Mayer? http://vinylsavor.blogspot.com/
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    Thanks, did you tube roll? I heard one with an 833c tube for power and one El34 for current and one for the tone. I have compared in another integrated where you can roll to 6L6G, KT 90, and that amp was compared to two GM70s amps, a 300b, one much more expensive GU71, etc…Also an EL84 was good. Will write up soon.
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

  9. #9
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo75 View Post
    Thanks, did you tube roll? I heard one with an 833c tube for power and one El34 for current and one for the tone. I have compared in another integrated where you can roll to 6L6G, KT 90, and that amp was compared to two GM70s amps, a 300b, one much more expensive GU71, etc…Also an EL84 was good. Will write up soon.
    I have quite a few EL34s including Mullard, RFT, Winged=C, Japanese seam-top, Old Tesla and more... The new GL KT77 are probably the best but other new Russian-made "reissues" aren't as good as any of the old-stock tubes.

    I've tried other KT types and didn't like them as much. I'd like to build a 3-stage with EL34 driving 211 but that would cost a ton just in parts and I don't necessarily need that much power... my EL34 SET drives my midrange and super tweeter >400 Hz.
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    My current amplifier is the Found-Music Blade amp centered around the EL34. After trying dual getter Telefunken and Mullards, I actually much prefer the reproduction Gold Lion KT77's; which are much cheaper. I have yet to try the big bottle Sylvania EL34s. The amp uses a 6SN7 driver and OD3 voltage regulator tubes. The amp is very quiet if you find closely matched tubes and puts out ~22W.
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