EL84 Output Tube Comparison: JJ vs TAD vs Tung Sol (Reissue)

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EL84 Output Tube Comparison: JJ vs TAD vs Tung Sol (Reissue)

Postby JMPGuitars » Sun 09/29/13 8:07 pm

I had a lot of issues with tube reliability using JJ EL84 tubes. They sound good, but a large percentage of them came to me with a defect: the light-bulb effect shown here: http://youtu.be/21G6TkukwY8. Some people say it's okay, others say it's very dangerous and can eventually/potentially destroy transformers. I'm not interested in taking the risk either way.

To compare, I took a good pair (no flash defect) of JJ tubes, and put them up against the TAD EL84-STR and the Tung Sol (reissue) EL84-TS. The test amp is a JMP Guitars 18 Watt EF86 "TNB" (not to be confused with TMB).

Note: I ordered the three sets of tubes for this at the same time, the JJ set came with 1 defective tube that was replaced with a good matched tube. Out of the last 10 pairs of JJ EL84 tubes ordered this year, I've had 7 or 8 defective individual tubes (1 per pair). All defective tubes were sent back, and then the defective replacements were sent back, until finally that last tube was replaced and my frustration level eventually led to this video. :)

I realized that I needed to remove the inconsistency of the "human" component in the test after comparing capacitors in one of my other videos. So I played through a loop pedal and recorded some chords to compare the tubes at different output levels, with different playing styles. The loop pedal output is all that is heard on the demo, to keep everything consistent and get a true comparison. Essentially, nothing was changed from sample to sample besides the power tubes.

Let me know what you think. I have some opinions, but I'll share them later after I get some outside opinions. ;)

You can see the comparison video hero: http://youtu.be/BLwITE6nhhA
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Re: EL84 Output Tube Comparison: JJ vs TAD vs Tung Sol (Reis

Postby Wayne_Alexander » Tue 10/01/13 7:31 pm

Over my cheap little plastic computer speakers, I'm not hearing drastic tonal differences. Were there bigger differences in the room?
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Re: EL84 Output Tube Comparison: JJ vs TAD vs Tung Sol (Reis

Postby JMPGuitars » Tue 10/01/13 8:32 pm

Wayne_Alexander wrote:Over my cheap little plastic computer speakers, I'm not hearing drastic tonal differences. Were there bigger differences in the room?
Definitely differences, but not extreme. They all sound good, but they have different characteristics that may be more appealing depending on a player's taste.

Try using some headphones, you should get a much better idea from those than computer speakers...
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