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EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

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  • EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

    Some have really been hit or miss in reliability so thought I would drop his out.
    For me favorite tones right now are the Mullard reissues. Little bigger bottle so may not fit some amps. When you really crank these they come to life compress very nicely and really sing. A close second would be the TAD STR big bottles sound more like a 6V6 but just don't compress and sing like the Mullards when you really push them but IMO they last a little longer.
    Reliability is where i will rank the TAD's as my #1 ran them for a few years in a couple amps and never had a failure. The JJ and Shunghangs on the other hand are just crap shoots.
    Had my first failure of a Mullard last night when one redplated in the middle of a set. Was in my little Boogie Subway rocket. I flipped the amp off let it cool reset the tube with a tap and refired it. much to my amazement it ran the rest of the night was a little off tone wise but made it through. Dropped the other pair I had on hand in today and really beat on the amp for an hour or so through my 2/12 cab. Ran like a champ and sounds great.
    i keep hearing rumors about reliability issues with many of the new production EL84's and wanted to get some feedback from other on experiences. i need to order at least another Quad to have back ups on hand. I'm thinking of just grabbing the Mullards because I like the way they sound but wanted to see if there was anything else out there folk were recomending .
    Last edited by Ascension; 05-04-2019, 10:31 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

    I have a Mesa that eats EL-84s like peanuts.

    The only ones I have found that can hold up to the stresses of the amp are those '80s Russian ones from Doug's Tubes: http://www.dougstubes.com/power-tube...-6n14n-eb.html.

    FWIW, the manager of the bona-fide Mesa shop told me that the problem is that good EL-84s just aren't made today. He said as soon as you are out of warranty on the Mesa, just get some old stock ones that are built like tanks. I had been making repeated trips for warranty claims due to frequently shorted power tubes. They'd checked out the amp point to point two times already, and found it to be perfect inside. He finally just went ahead and leveled with me by stating the above.

    Must be something about Mesas, or at least certain Mesas, that is very tough on EL-84s.
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 05-05-2019, 12:25 AM.
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    • #3
      Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

      There is the obvious weak point of all power tubes (besides constructual weaknesses): What is the actual plate voltage on these amps? The lower the plate voltage the longer the tubes last.
      With an extra zener diode you can drop the voltage by 12volts.
      Last edited by hamerfan; 05-05-2019, 01:11 AM.
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      • #4
        Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

        I've used Mesas and JJs. My favorite are the EHs. I use it in a Mesa Blue Angel, which is closer to a Deluxe than an AC30, though.
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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        • #5
          Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

          Generally speaking, Amp companies are pushing EL84 tubes like never before -maybe that's some it

          the market currently is demanding smaller amps with a big punch -demanding a ton of work from EL84s in general

          -When I started nobody bought an EL84 amp for gigging -you skipped to a 6L6 or EL34 arrangement
          For me, when everything goes wrong thats when adventure starts. Yvonne Chouinard

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          • #6
            Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

            A lot of amps that use El84s are pushing them well beyond their design limits and causing shorter life. Probably any more than 9 or 10 watts each is too much and wears them right out. A lot of amps are using higher voltages than the tubes are capable of handling to get 12.5 watts out. They sound great like this, for a very short time.

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            • #7
              Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

              Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
              I have a Mesa that eats EL-84s like peanuts....
              QFT

              I had a Mesa Lonestar special around 2006-2009. Loved the amp but it chewed through 84's like me and a bowl of Captain Crunch.

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              • #8
                Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                I like the JJ's that came stock in my 30W Laboga head's. They compress really nicely & have killer punch/sing like hell..

                My 15W Goldea has had a pair of NOS RFT's in it for a year or so and those are just fantastic..well worth the extra $$$ (not that they broke the bank..still way cheaper than most NOS).

                I also like the Russian 6P14P's.. (..regular cheap ones not the military 6P14P-EV's...those are a bit harder feeling..not harsher, just harder with a lot of headroom)

                Shug's are hit and miss as mentioned above..overall, they tend to be a bit too bright/trebly for my tastes. Never tried the Mullard's, maybe I should

                I've never really had a problem with them dying ..all mine have lasted really well, no complaints

                EDIT: I do think it's pretty important to keep the (EL84) amp's on standby for a while before flipping them on/off. I did have a few Shuggy's die on me before I became very particular about doing that. Since then I've never had a problem...
                Last edited by Phantasmagoria; 05-05-2019, 08:58 PM.
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                If you let your tone speak for itself you'll find alot less people join the conversation.


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                • #9
                  Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                  The more I read about TAD EL84s, the more I want to try them. Mullards are great - Ive had success in eliminating fizz and tightening up the gain on an OR15 with them. I also like Genalex Gold Lions, which helped my Carvin Belair 212. I was about to get rid of it and heard I should try Gold Lions. JJs are too dark, at least with the amps Ive tried them in.
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                  • #10
                    Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                    Originally posted by NegativeEase View Post
                    Generally speaking, Amp companies are pushing EL84 tubes like never before -maybe that's some it

                    the market currently is demanding smaller amps with a big punch -demanding a ton of work from EL84s in general

                    -When I started nobody bought an EL84 amp for gigging -you skipped to a 6L6 or EL34 arrangement
                    Companies started making EL84 amps some years ago when 6V6 tubes bit the dust, no current manufacturer was making them any more. So Fender and other companies began to design EL84 amps, because they were still being made and available in quantities. The tube drought has since gone away with the efforts of Chinese, Russian, and other European tube makers, so these days many players don't even remember when you couldn't buy a current manufacture 6V6, or EL34, or other popular tube after the last of the great American/Euro tube companies closed shop.
                    Al

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                    • #11
                      Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                      I've been using JJ's pretty much as long as I've had tube amps. They're cheap, consistent and sound great. Not too dark with my setup.
                      "So understand/Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years/Face up, make your stand/And realize you're living in the golden years"
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                      • #12
                        Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                        Sovtek EL84M is supposed to be the modern equivalent to the 7189. Back in the early or mid 2000's it was the only current production EL84 type available that would hold up to the voltages in some older vintage hifi gear (like my old Scott integrated amp). Personally I think they sound fine (and not much, if any, different between them and the 6P14P-EV) in those old integrated amps but plenty of players don't seem thrilled with them in guitar amps.

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                        • #13
                          Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                          I have no experience with EL84 amps as I always had EL34 amps but TAD came up here as very reliable that I can completely verify.

                          Also, I read here some reliability issues of JJs had you guys. I never noticed that, JJs always worked rock solid in my amps during the years, regardless of how hard they were abused on the road.

                          Considering JJs I agree on the tone, they have a slightly darker / warmer / smoother nature. They sound pretty much the same to me as ancient Teslas that I loved until they were available around my place. As far as I know it is no coincidence as JJ was directly descending from Tesla but I might be wrong about it.
                          Last edited by NecroPolo; 05-06-2019, 04:21 PM.
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                          • #14
                            Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                            My Dual Terror loves the JJ's and they've held up well. I tried the Ruby's this round and they're kind of meh in it. I used Mullards in the pre's, they are just OK compared to the JJ's as well. It's funny in other amps I've had the JJ's were way too dark, I think some of it is what the amp is designed around.

                            RCA Black Plates are pretty damn tough if you blow stuff up a lot give them a try
                            Last edited by Wattage; 05-06-2019, 11:06 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Re: EL 84 reliabilty and tone revews.

                              I have good luck with JJ's.

                              I do think that some amps are pushing EL84's harder than others. When I was playing them regularly, my Classic 50 (4 EL84's @ 50W) went thru EL84's faster than my Classic 30 (4 EL84's @ 30W).
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