EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

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bill bokey
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EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by bill bokey » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:08 pm

Here is a clip of the same riff played with the same guitar through the same amp & cab with the same settings, speakers, mics etc...

http://soundcloud.com/castle-made-of-so ... 4-shootout


Here are the valves :

Image
Clockwise from top left corner :
JJ EL34
TAD EL34B-STR
EHX 6CA7
JJ E34L
Mesa STR-442
EHX EL34
RFT 'short base' EL34
JJ KT77
Mullard Reissue EL34
Valve Art EL34B

Here's the setup :

Image

The amp is my 'Mystery Amp', cathode biased EL34 PP. Cab is a Mojo 4x12 loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 and Scumback H75-LDC. Mics are Sennheiser e906 straight into an RME Fireface800. Guitar is a Custom77 'London's Burning' DL2 w/ Bare Knuckle Mules

I played the same riff (not always at the same tempo, sorry) with all 10 pairs of tubes, the amp settings remained the same throughout (gain, treble, mids, bass on 5)

The differences are not as subtle when standing in front of the amp, I'll have to use a better recording method next time around.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by Carbia » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:01 pm

you could reamp to record, of if you don't have the gear to that, grab a Looper pedal.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by bill bokey » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:45 am

Yep, I used to own a looper type thingy but no longer have it. I'll buy a re-amp box asap, just need to find a decent cheap one ;)

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by GilmourD » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:47 am

I tried to listen but the track is gone.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by JimiJames » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:54 am

bill bokey wrote:Here is a clip of the same riff played with the same guitar through the same amp & cab with the same settings, speakers, mics etc...

http://soundcloud.com/castle-made-of-so ... 4-shootout


Here are the valves :

Clockwise from top left corner :
JJ EL34
TAD EL34B-STR
EHX 6CA7
JJ E34L
Mesa STR-442
EHX EL34
RFT 'short base' EL34
JJ KT77
Mullard Reissue EL34
Valve Art EL34B

Here's the setup :

The amp is my 'Mystery Amp', cathode biased EL34 PP. Cab is a Mojo 4x12 loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 and Scumback H75-LDC. Mics are Sennheiser e906 straight into an RME Fireface800. Guitar is a Custom77 'London's Burning' DL2 w/ Bare Knuckle Mules

I played the same riff (not always at the same tempo, sorry) with all 10 pairs of tubes, the amp settings remained the same throughout (gain, treble, mids, bass on 5)

The differences are not as subtle when standing in front of the amp, I'll have to use a better recording method next time around.
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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by GilmourD » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:42 am

JimiJames wrote: Fractal Audio forum
"... fact is that power tubes do NOT sound different. They do not have any intrinsic tone..."
I'll be honest, I don't buy that. Sure, it works in theory, mostly, but not in real life.

That's like saying all sink faucets flow the same, regardless of type, but we know that's not true. My bathroom sink flows very differently than my kitchen sink.

A beam tetrode is going to respond differently than a pentode which also responds differently than a triode.

And just think of how a tube actually works. A simple triode is a cathode charged with electrons which flow to the plate (anode) when there's a voltage across the screen. Variations in screen design can change how things flow at different voltages.

Then you get into pentodes, beam pentodes (pentodes with additional beam forming plates to direct electrons), and tetrodes, which have additional grids between the cathode and plate.

And didn't the same guy say that the reason power tubes sound different is because they interact differently with speakers? So, how does he explain that different 12AX7 designs sound different?

And also, everything is a system. Tubes don't make any sound at all without all the other parts, let alone different sounds.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by Tazin » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:37 pm

The Mesa EL34 STR-442's are actually Svetlana winged "C" tubes in disguise.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by bill bokey » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:34 am

GilmourD wrote:I tried to listen but the track is gone.
No it's still there. You can even download the original WAV file (48kHz/24bits)
JimiJames wrote: Fractal Audio forum
"... fact is that power tubes do NOT sound different. They do not have any intrinsic tone..."
Maybe so but when standing on front of the amp, all the tubes in this test sound different ! Even when they're supposed to be the same tube ! (TAD & Valve Art EL34B)
Tazin wrote:The Mesa EL34 STR-442's are actually Svetlana winged "C" tubes in disguise.
They are indeed. But they must be the early ones, they don't look like the "usual" Svet =C=, the getters are not horizontal.
I once compared them to newer Svet =C= and they sound much better ! (to my ears, of course)
Last edited by bill bokey on Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by Brad737 » Fri May 29, 2015 2:32 pm

Thanks for doing this. May I ask which is which? I'm trying to decide between Winged C, 6CA7EH, the EL-34BSTR, and the JJ KT77.
Thanks,
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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by bill bokey » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:31 am

A = JJ EL34
B = TAD EL34B
C = RFT 'short base'
D = EHX 6CA7
E = Mullard RI
F = JJ KT77
G = EHX EL34
H = 'Mesa' STR-442 = 'Svetlana =C=' vintage
I = JJ E34L
J = Valve Art EL34B


:D

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Re: EL34 Shootout/Blind Test

Post by Roe » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:04 am

thanks - most sounded good. Tubes always vary, some sound harder than others, some break up earlier. I prefer the RFTs, though the svetlana C can sound good as can the mullard RI (if they last more than a few minutes). the TAD is a nice budget option.
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