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Thread: Will EL84 fans please respond

  1. #1
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: limerick

    Posts: 149
    I'm charles.

    Default Will EL84 fans please respond

    Hi all, I have been contacted by a good friend asking me to source 8 X EL84 for his Manley Stingray which is a parallel P-P integrated amp.

    He has had the original valves for about 10 years, which I think are rebranded Sovteks or Electro Harmonix 6Pi14Pi-EB. 2 sets of matched quads will do. He is looking to improve on the originals. The amp has individual bias pots for each valve so perfect matching is not paramount.

    He also needs a pair of 12AT7's. Best quality needed for this position.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: Suffolk

    Posts: 1,713
    I'm guy.

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    Watford valves are said to be a reliable supplier, they offer a range of EL84's (I just had a look), match quads, and do a little "review'/summary of each of the valves that they offer which may help with making a choice.
    LP12, Ittok (black), DV10X5, NVA Phono 2 (twin supply), NVAP50, Art Audio Quintet 15w power amp, NVA LS5 cable, Rega Ela mk1's.
    Sony CDP XB930.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: limerick

    Posts: 149
    I'm charles.

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    Hi guy, just had a quick visit to their site, thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 26,735
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Charles,

    If you are still having difficulty sourcing matched pairs of EL84s, I can recommend the Chelmer Valve Company (now known as CVC): https://www.cvc-components.com/parts/electron-tubes/

    I have used them on a number of times (they are not far from me) to source matched valves for friends' Quad and Audio Innovations amplifiers.
    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: limerick

    Posts: 149
    I'm charles.

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    Hi Barry, thanks. I have bought from CVC before but forgotten about them. I have found a source for the Russian valves which certainly have lasted well in my friends amp. When I told him about this his reply was: "are there any that sound better?"

    My most recent experience was with JJ EL84 which I thought were OK. Not bad, not great. It's difficult doing this to help a friend but back home in SA there is a limited choice and are also very expensive, though he is not quibbling about price.

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 799
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    I'd get a matched pair of Gold Lion EL84's. All their other valves (most of which I've tried) are spot on especially for new production tubes. Ebay for supply, shouldn't have an issue getting them to SA. Hotrox are also a Gold Lion dealer:

    https://www.hotroxuk.com/genalex-gol...IaAr6pEALw_wcB

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/142324412...EAAOSw2gxY1U30

    In regards to 12AT7's I had these in a phono stage and they were excellent. Philips/Mullard.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/310219485...kAAOSwGeFdeqCj

    Or you could also try the Gold Lion 12AT7's. I've never heard a Gold Lion I didn't like.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143140741...UAAOSwWnhcbXOr


    You can find all of the above cheaper at some outlets but it depends on where you are in the world, these are just examples of availability.

    Of course if you search other tube variants for example ECC81 instead of 12AT7 and N709 6BQ5 instead of EL84 (I believe they are just alternate codes for the same tube indicating USA made or specialist application etc but double check they are electrically identical just to be sure).
    System 1: - Amp - Musical Paradise MP-701 mk2 - Neurochrome 686
    - Source: Audio Technica LP-5 - Custom 6V6 stage - Novafidelity X30 - Soekris 1421 (LPSU) - Custom TDA1541 C3G DAC -
    - Speakers: Martin Logan Prodigy's - Subs: - REL T3's -

    System 2 - Amp: Musical Paradise MP 303/Custom 300B SET - Custom 6SL7 Pre -
    - Source: Pioneer N-30K - SONCOZ SGD1 -
    - Speakers: Loth X BS1's - Sub: REL T3 -

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 26,735
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor View Post
    Hi Barry, thanks. I have bought from CVC before but forgotten about them. I have found a source for the Russian valves which certainly have lasted well in my friends amp. When I told him about this his reply was: "are there any that sound better?"

    My most recent experience was with JJ EL84 which I thought were OK. Not bad, not great. It's difficult doing this to help a friend but back home in SA there is a limited choice and are also very expensive, though he is not quibbling about price.
    Last time I visited CVC I spoke to one of the owners, who told me that they get enquiries from many European customers, with the potential customers being quite specific over the manufacturer and date of manufacturer of the valves they are looking for. CVC are quite willing to track down and source any valve type you care to mention - but I might take some time and might be expensive.
    Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: limerick

    Posts: 149
    I'm charles.

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    Chris and Barry, good links and suggestions, thanks.

    Can one trust ebay? Have read about fakes, especially Telefunken. Apparently the markings on the genuine bottles rub of quite easily whereas the fakes don't.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 26,735
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor View Post
    Chris and Barry, good links and suggestions, thanks.

    Can one trust ebay? Have read about fakes, especially Telefunken. Apparently the markings on the genuine bottles rub of quite easily whereas the fakes don't.
    The markings on genuine Telefunken valves used a rather 'chalky' paint, which as you say could rub off easily with handling. But fakes could also use the same printing; it wouldn't be difficult for forgers to do this. AFAIK, the only way to check if a Telefunken valve is genuine is to look on the underside, where there should be a 'diamond' shape (<>) in bas-relief between the pins.
    Barry

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 799
    I'm Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sailor View Post
    Chris and Barry, good links and suggestions, thanks.

    Can one trust ebay? Have read about fakes, especially Telefunken. Apparently the markings on the genuine bottles rub of quite easily whereas the fakes don't.
    Depends on the seller, if they have 95+% positive feedback (read some too) and their numbers are high (over 500+ sales) then chances are they are genuine. A few sellers from the USA are very decent, UK and Europe, not so many.

    I only referenced ebay for the new Gold Lion tubes for shipping to SA (which would not be fake obviously as they are not particularly expensive and all a uniform price from seller to seller). However I would buy from a main dealer whom can properly match and test them (Hot Rox in this case).

    NOS tubes are always a risk through ebay. A good seller will have proper testing equipment and be able to give you gm/emissions readings and be able to test for leaks/shorts etc.

    The above is just my experience but having said that I have moved on NOS tubes (genuine ones) but without the documentation (as I can't test them) and the buyers are always more than happy, so there are those out there with the good stock so to speak. They are getting fewer and further between though, hence why I would go new production in this case given all the potential issues which have been outlined here.


    Oh and just to confirm, the 12AT7's I linked to are 100% genuine, I've used them many times from this seller. Cannot account for other sources however.
    Last edited by Opti-cal; 12-01-2022 at 11:00. Reason: more info
    System 1: - Amp - Musical Paradise MP-701 mk2 - Neurochrome 686
    - Source: Audio Technica LP-5 - Custom 6V6 stage - Novafidelity X30 - Soekris 1421 (LPSU) - Custom TDA1541 C3G DAC -
    - Speakers: Martin Logan Prodigy's - Subs: - REL T3's -

    System 2 - Amp: Musical Paradise MP 303/Custom 300B SET - Custom 6SL7 Pre -
    - Source: Pioneer N-30K - SONCOZ SGD1 -
    - Speakers: Loth X BS1's - Sub: REL T3 -

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