Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Moderator: VelvetGeorge

Post Reply
Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 pm

Hello fellow Marshall Heads,

I just recently bought a set of real single halo Mullard XF2 EL34s from a reputable dealer for my Germino Headroom 100 (1968 Plexi Replica). I was so blown away by how they sound! The breakup character is so authentic and pure, the harmonics are great, and most of all the clarity is insane! With the amp at 10 I can hit a full 6-note dissonant chord hard and still hear every note perfectly clear. However, I refrain from using them as often as I'd like because I know they won't last forever. I promised myself I'd only use them for recording and important shows.

I used to scoff and thought it was hype, but now I know what I'm missing and I'm RUINED! Are there any of you Plexi Lovers out there who have used real XF2s and can tell me which current production EL34 sounds the closest (however far that may be) to the real thing? I've heard mixed reviews on Current Mullard RIs and the same for Groove Tube EL34Ms. I tried Electro Harmonix and they sounded sterile and robotic...My JJ E34Ls sound way closer than those. Any user experience?

User avatar
axeman
Senior Member
Posts: 2408
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:21 pm
Just the numbers in order: 7
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by axeman » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:59 am

No modern production tube will ever sound like a Mullard Xf2 especially the Brown Base Xf2. The Brown Base Xf2 will also last longer than the Black Base. Check out this video, it's not the best example but it's a 50 watt clone of a 1986 bass amp with Xf2 Brown Base real Mustard capacitors and 1960 12AX7 Mullards in all 3 spots. Power brake and a FuzzFace clone.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH2PoFSUObI[/youtube]

Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:48 pm

Thanks for that response and the video...I have the same wah pedal too btw.

My question is more "Which current EL34 is CLOSEST to original XF2s" even if closest is not very close. For instance my JJE34Ls lack a little in clarity and detail and the breakup character isn't quite as nice as the Mullard XF2s but they come WAY closer than the Electro Harmonix. I've not tried any other current production 34s and wondered if any other Plexi guys like us have tried Mullard RIs or Groove Tube EL34Ms (maybe even regular JJ EL34s) to know if they come closer than my JJE34Ls.

Thanks

whopperplate
Senior Member
Posts: 471
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Santa Cruz

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by whopperplate » Thu May 03, 2018 2:47 pm

I have absolutely no experience with nos Mullard powertubes , but having played all the modern tubes I greatly prefer regular JJ EL34s. A burnt in set is reliable IME and have great harmonic content vs the E34L. IMO the E34L is boxy and lacks harmonic content; I struggled to squeeze out a pinch harmonic with them. EHX el34 and Ruby tubes el34 are good alternatives. Hope anything helps.
Musicians are like a bowl of cereal
If they aren't Fruits or Nuts they're Flakes

RockinRocket
Senior Member
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:44 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by RockinRocket » Sat May 05, 2018 12:25 pm

Grove tubes has a EL34 that's marketed after the xf2 Mullard.
They are very nice tubes with lots of note seperation and clearity.
The marketing is just that though

User avatar
axeman
Senior Member
Posts: 2408
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:21 pm
Just the numbers in order: 7
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by axeman » Sat May 05, 2018 1:51 pm

Groove tubes are rebranded. The only tube that even come close are the Svetlana’s from Petersburg Russia Wong “C” now

Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Sat May 05, 2018 7:55 pm

Thanks for the response Whopperplate! Even though you've not used NOS Mullards that's still a useful comparison between the E34L and EL34...what style amp was this in though? Plexi style? Thanks

Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Sat May 05, 2018 8:21 pm

Thanks RockinRocket, very helpful response! Instead of burning up my NOS tubes for practicing for hours on end, I use the JJ E34Ls for that non-important playing. The JJ E34Ls sound almost close enough that I don't miss the real thing that much for stupid practicing for hours. If the EL34Ms have better note separation and good harmonics compared to my e34ls that's exactly the info I was wanting to know. I'll get a set of these for my "wasteful" playing lol

What type of amp was your experience with? How did the RI Mullards stack up if you've tried them?

(Yes the current manufacturers are very good at marketing and their adds are very convincing when I read them, but user experience is the only thing I've found useful...thank you)

Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Sat May 05, 2018 8:35 pm

Thanks axeman. I'm sure the =C='s are good sounding 34s but they are not current production and they are getting almost as hard to find as NOS Mullards anymore. I'll prob try a set if I find any from a reputable dealer, but still wouldn't want to use them for my non-important playing and burn them up in 5 or 6 years because they are non-replaceable.

I'm interested in current EL34s that come any closer to Mullard XF2s than my JJ E34Ls for all of my regular daily playing with no important audience...just senseless but fun tube burning :)

whopperplate
Senior Member
Posts: 471
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Santa Cruz

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by whopperplate » Wed May 09, 2018 11:43 am

Analogman88, my experience is based on 50 and 100 watt Plexi clones/replicas and similar amps. The first time I made the observation about The El34L was in a Laney GH100L, years ago before I began building my own amps, and the stiffness and lack of harmonic content in that circuit was ridiculous. I have since compared them in my own builds only to confirm the opinion for myself.
Musicians are like a bowl of cereal
If they aren't Fruits or Nuts they're Flakes

RockinRocket
Senior Member
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:44 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by RockinRocket » Fri May 11, 2018 4:52 pm

I used the GrovetubesM in plexi 50 watt and Trainwreck amps.
Mullard are a bit more aggressive. JJ are more relaxed. JJL are weaker in the bass.
Of course that's they way my mind remembers the ones Ive used lol

Axman- whos rebranded tube is it? I haven't kepeed up with tubes in years and I forget. I also forget how many Grovetubes el34s the make.

Analogman88
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by Analogman88 » Sat May 12, 2018 7:42 pm

Thanks Rockinrocket!

The reissue Mullards are more aggressive than the Groove Tubes EL34Ms or more aggressive than the original Mullard? By JJL do you mean JJ E34L? You think the Groove Tubes EL34M had close to the same note separation/note clarity in big chords as the Original XF2s right? Or at least closEST in terms of modern production tubes.

dan_tramble
New Member
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:34 am
Just the numbers in order: 13492

Re: Closest XF2 EL34 Current Production

Post by dan_tramble » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:05 pm

Analogman

I have (1) brown base dual halo XF2
(1) wing c el34
(1) GT el34M

several other tubes

I have tried them all or as much as I can, I look for them when I can afford them

The GT are good.... for CP I quite like the JJ EL34ii try them you will be surprised
as well I am in Canada, I have used the PS EL34 as well (I use them in my amps I build for clients) haven't had a single complaint yet

I Believe the PS EL34 is the best CP tube then I will use the JJ EL34ii

The EL34L is good however it seems "boomy" to me

Good Luck

Dan
MetroAmp addict!
JTM 50/45,1987's & 1986
1959 and 2203/2204 Amps
1974 amp

Can't stop building, very addictive!

Post Reply