We have broadened our range of EL34’s in our store. But which one is best for my amp? This is a handy quick guide to EL34’s
We now have :-
- JJ EL34
- JJ EL4 II
- JJ EL34L
- EH EL34
- Tung Sol EL34B
We offer all the above in matched pairs and quads.
The EL34 was one of the last additions to the audio valve market and it was introduced by Mullard in the early 1950’s. It is a 25 watt valve so less than the 6L6’s 30 watts. American amps tended to use the 6L6 and the British amps tended to use the EL34. The American 25 watt valve is the 5881 and these are found in Soldano, Supro and even a few Marshall combos. The EL34 neatly used a pair for a 50 watt amp and four for a 100 watt amp. Loads of British amps used them.
Good examples are Marshall ( but of course !) , Laney, Hi-Watt and a pile more.
So what can you expect from the four variants?
The standard JJ EL34 is that it is a bit thin and brittle sounding. In certain amplifiers this produced an overtly bright sound with no body. They are good value for money.
JJ EL34 II ( Mark 2). Since its introduction this valve has been very popular with Mesa owners and an instant upgrade over the thinner sounding Mesa Str 447 valve. It is not as “hot’ a vale as the JJ EL34L so it is a good choice for fixed ( cathode biased) amps. The lows and mids are much better and the top end is still bright. Now thought the whole sound is fatter, richer and if it was a red wine would be full bodied. This is definitely one for the Marshalls, Laneys and Hi-Watts. These also work well in Mesa Boogies fixed bias amps.
JJ EL34L This valve has the most headroom and a rich bottom end. These valves are right at home in Marshall. Lany and Hi Watt amps. These are much “hotter valves” so better for amps with adjustable bias. Set them up right and you will be rewarded with rich creamy tones
EH EL34 is a great all round balanced tone valve. It is used as the original valve in many of the big manufacturers. In our experience has fairly early break up. A very durable EL34
Tung Sol EL34B is tested to US Dept of Defense Mil Standard 133. Tung sol says,”The Tung Sol EL34B is a higher impedance EL34 tube design with increased touch responsiveness and a unique clipping characteristic with a hint of the 6L6 sound.” . A great sounding durable, reliable valve