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stereo el34 + kt66?

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Having built a few guitar amps, I've gotten hooked on tube electronics and I'd like to try my hand at hifi amp--and hopefully learn more along the way. I need to keep costs low, so I was thinking a simple stereo circuit would be the way to go (like the stereo EL34 circuit on the Angela site or John Atwood's Randall amp).

However, I'd really like to combine the sounds of an EL34 with a KT66. Would there be any problem in building a stereo circuit with EL34s in one channel and Kt66s in the other?

I haven't come across any examples of such a circuit, so perhaps it's just a dumb idea...
I just recently as in the last week or so read somewhere on the www of someone who did this except the tube of each output pair were different, I don't remember the types but it was somthing like EL34 & KT88 per channel, fixed bias or should I say adjustable fixed bias.

IIRC in the R.D.H. there was a PP amp doing the same thing but with a 2A3 & 45.

I figured that having different tubes in each channel might interfere with stereo imaging etc., but I'm still intrigued by the idea of mixing output tubes.

My memory is faulty here, but some time back I came across an article by Claus Byrith, where he mentions--as an aside--that his monoblock setup at home consists of one with EL34s and the other with KT66s. From my experience with guitar amps, I thought that would indeed be a nice combination. I can't find the reference now... perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly.

Of course, in a stereo circuit, you'd have to tweak each channel appropriately for the given tubes etc... but those are details. I'm really just wondering if this is even theoretically worthwhile.

Thanks for the references, in any case. I'll definitely check them out.


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> EL34s in one channel and Kt66s in the other?

If you can find 1950s tubes in like-new condition, there may be a difference. But as patents expired and tube production ramped down, there was a lot of consolidation of details between tube types. On recent production, the two types may be trivially different, minor variation of grid spacing or plate-shape.

In push-pull under feedback below clipping, I suspect that any difference between tubes working below limits and at good bias is as much in the mind as in the signal. I know that just looking at an old-style KT66 sets up certain associations in my mind.

Without feedback or pushed past the limit, there are differences between the big bottles, which is why guitarists have preferences. Not just for type, but brand and vintage.

If there is a difference between left and right, I'd say "fake stereo". Feed a mono signal, and you will hear a "stereo stage" (probably narrow, but not one-point) which isn't in the recording.

As Andrew says, you can mix tubes in a push-pull stage. Works better than you might think. Of course you have to check pinout and bias. Bias is tricky: instead of biasing each tube for its optimum, you should probably bias for equal currents to minimize DC in the transformer iron. E-I cores will stand some unbalance; torroids hate DC and will probably demand equality of tube currents or suffer deep-bass trouble.

Or put in four sockets and a heater-switch to light-up one or the other pair (you may also need to switch bias etc). If you feed the "off" heater through a resistor so it gets about half heater voltage, you can hot-switch without interruption of sound.
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