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Old 20th May 2009, 07:46 AM   #11
rhone is offline rhone  Australia
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Try EH 6CA7's. Better than the JJ E34L and Valve Art EL34 I've also tried. SED EL34 also have a very good reputation.
AFAIK Groove Tubes don't make tubes, they just re-label "selected" Russian or Chinese tubes that are made at the same plant as Shuguang or Sovtek or whatever.
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Old 20th May 2009, 10:08 AM   #12
WE91 is offline WE91  Norway
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Many, many good replies ...
Thank heaven for ... DIYAudio ...

Finally it is possible to make a really good list of the better EL34's to buy - and now we think we know where to place Groove Tubes too.

Here's my try at a list (not ranked):

SED "winged C" EL34
NOS Siemens
Gold Lion Genalex KT77 (best of the reissues)
EH EL34/6CA7
Valve Art EL34

How would you grade these tubes mentioned in my un-ranked list above? Please suggest!
The reissue Genalex KT77 have been mentioned in the same sentence as NOS Mullards several times. Are these the best today? The NOS Siemens are on this list because they're available at decent prices. How do they compare to NOS Mullards and the reissue Gold Lion KT77?
Maybe it is impossible to rank these tubes? It may be that it will differ what tube one select as the better depending on synergy with amplifier, biasing and other tubes used in the amp? Maybe this listing (without ranking) is the closest one gets ...
The reference tubes (at astronomical prices): NOS Mullard XF2 and NOS Gold Lion KT77 ??

In my Lectron JH50 I have used older Svetlana and now the Mullard (New Sensor) reissue ... The Svetlana ones had beautiful imaging and highs, with tight bass, but sadly a somewhat forward almost agressive upper midrange. The reissue Mullards has tons of midrange prescence and are dense, but lack the sparkling treble of the old Svetlanas and they are really fat in the bass (good with small treble-forward loudspeakers).

It is very nice to finally have a list of recommended EL34's to use in Hi Fi gear, I have really been missing that!!!

Best Regards Aril
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” (Gandhi)
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Old 20th May 2009, 10:59 AM   #13
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From the ones you have in your list I have tried the SED and Siemens.Starting with the SED I would say they are very detailed,dynamic and controlled and I would dare to say "neutral" in tonal balance with a slight reservation on their mid/upper mid agression as you said and slight lack of air throughout the range.In all a bit lacking in harmonics.In these areas is where the Siemens wins.It is clear and detailed,but its midrange is better balanced,plus very good harmonics air and sense of depth.Dynamically it is also more effortless than the SED in my set up.Very good tonal balance and not as heavy and fat as Mullards.More German than British
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Old 20th May 2009, 12:43 PM   #14
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Genalex KT77!!!

I personally use their KT88s, also from Jim McShane. Wonderful tubes. I have heard the various EL34/KT77, even 6550 type tubes (NOS Mullards, JJ's and others, including the Genalex KT77s) in the same amplifier in the finest system I have ever had the pleasure of hearing (and I have heard it many times). I can heartily agree with audio845. They are the tubes to buy! Buy them from Jim McShane, he doesn't sell junk, he can hear, his prices are fair and he stands behind what he sells.
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Old 20th May 2009, 01:15 PM   #15
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Originally posted by rknize
I can't help the feeling that they are just "binning" tubes as they come off the test line.
That's a good thing, I think. I'd rather pay more for a tube knowing the manufacturer has already sorted his inventory, and what he is selling is product from the upper percentile of the assembly line.

The American vacuum tube manufacturers did the same thing back in the 50's. RCA had their "Command Series", GE offered the five star line, etc...
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Old 20th May 2009, 01:54 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Ty_Bower

That's a good thing, I think. I'd rather pay more for a tube knowing the manufacturer has already sorted his inventory, and what he is selling is product from the upper percentile of the assembly line.

The American vacuum tube manufacturers did the same thing back in the 50's. RCA had their "Command Series", GE offered the five star line, etc...

Those were the years when every manufacturer was making their own tubes and had to care about checking only their tubes.Now,one factory making so many "brands",I wonder if quality control will ever be so strict as it was back then.If quality has to do with price/brand,then we can assume that production quality today is not consistent and that the "famous brands"get the better tubes and higher prices and vice versa.Do you think that this is the case?In the old days,some famous tube manufacturers,were sourcing tubes from other makers and some were calling them "foreign made".I have heard some Brimar EL84 made in East Germany by RFT.You know what?They sound just like RFT's and no where near like Brimars.Why Brimar and Mullard among others were doing this?I don't know.But they cost as NOS,much less than genuine Brimars and Mullards.Each is free to make his own choice
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Old 20th May 2009, 02:54 PM   #17
rknize is offline rknize  United States
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We will never get back to the standards that were held in those days, at least not at these prices. Reflektor (or whatever they call themselves) knows how to make tubes a certain way and of course they are going keep doing it. If they are indeed making minor tweaks to the design to emulate some of the NOS stuff, then that is great.

As far as why Brimar would stamp their name on a German tube? Because it was convenient at the time for whatever reason in the region that the tubes were being sold in. I guess I am carrying some of the skepticism I attained when I disassembled several dozen oil filters years ago. Under the dozens of different paint and stickers were 3 or 4 filters. There are no brands, only branding. Some brands can be one of several manufacturers depending what country you are in when you buy it. Some brands had those manufacturers build filters to different specs, but the price difference could not possibly justify some of those changes. It is all about leveraging perceived reputation against the consumer as much as possible.

I hope New Sensor is doing the right thing here...but I have to wonder in this day and age.
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Old 20th May 2009, 03:41 PM   #18
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I think that what New Sensor it doing now is good in the sense(!!!) that what they are doing is good enough for tube equipment manufacturers and the majority of consumers or end-users if you like.This way all are happy.As for the small number of consumers who wish to experiment with NOS,nobody really cares.They will keep on their lonely road till nothing is left for them to find Let us just hope that till then,current production or future production tube quality will further improve.But just in case,keep a spare set of NOS aside
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Old 20th May 2009, 03:52 PM   #19
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One further comment to your post:I don't know if Reflector or other tube manufacturers know how to make better tubes.I believe they do.Problem is that if those involved in the tube busines chain(tube equipment manufacturers,consumers etc...)don't find a way to "demand"better tubes,nobody will make better tubes for them.

Oh.....just seen some NOS tubes at only $2000/pair.....
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Old 20th May 2009, 05:08 PM   #20
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A dutch repair guy rebrands softek 5881wxt as el34 and speaks highly of them.

A company as borderpatrol recommends 5881 as replacements for el34.

Does anybody have the sovtek 5881wxt spec-sheet? I can't find it on their website.
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