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Author Topic: Do Tesla tubes always suck?  (Read 12969 times)

J.J. Blair

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Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« on: February 08, 2007, 01:13:49 am »

This wonderful friend bought me a mint condition Selmer Zodiac 50 Mk II as a gift.  It's loaded with brand new Tesla EL34s, and they are microphonic.  I was trying to record some clean solo rhythm guitar, and anytime low strings were played and the right frequency hit, the tubes started singing.  They ring when touched, too.  (They shouldn't do that, right?)

Oliver, I have two questions:

Is there a new brand of EL34 that you recommend more?  I have JJ tubes in my Zodiac Twin 30, and I've been happy with them.  Are they made in the same plant as the Teslas or is it a different manufacturer?

Secondly, the preamp section calls for ECC83s.  I'm finding one of the channels a bit too clean for my liking.  Is there a different tube I could substitute that might give me more gain and make it a bit nastier on that channel?

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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

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PookyNMR

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 11:08:09 am »

Ruby Tubes.  I've had great success with those.  Check them out.
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Nathan Rousu

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 01:57:35 pm »

Hello J.J.

the old real Tesla tubes were O.K. but was is sold now under Teslovak or JJ formaly Tesla is in my opinion sub standard.

The old RFT or relabled EL34 are pretty good for the price and what they can do, or how long they will last.

Everything in production is from my point of view sub-standard, the ones that you might want to try are the Reflector made EL34 that are sold via Sovtek and EH trademarks.

Best regards,

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Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

J.J. Blair

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 05:51:47 pm »

Thanks, Oli.  Any idea about a sub for the preamp tube that I asked about in my first post to get more break up?
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

maxdimario

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2007, 06:56:18 am »

you won't find anything with more gain than the ecc83.. especially since in THAT circuit the gain is almost to the max with 220K resistors and cathode bypass.

the only way to have more gain is to mod it or put an external vacuum tube stage in front of it... or a distortion pedal etc. etc.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2007, 12:43:11 pm »

Thanks, Max.  
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Michael Brebes

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2007, 02:06:28 pm »

To me, the best newly made EL34's are the Winged C brand, which was the original Svetlana before they got screwed out of access to the name here in the US.  I've been using them in my amps for atleast 10 years.

You can get them at Antique Electronics.  Add another $2 per tube for matching.
www.tubesandmore.com

Please get your facts straight regarding the Svetlana issue and do not spread propaganda of the Antique Electronics supply.
Svetlana and/or winged C tubes that I tested over the years were O.K. but did not meet the Philips nor the Telefunken specs.
Regards,

Oliver
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Tomas Danko

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2007, 08:27:53 pm »

Another interesting tidbit is what the name of Mike Matthew's wife is... Smile

It seems most stuff is made in the same place, anyway.
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Ryan Leigh Patterson

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2007, 04:54:40 pm »

I've been using Winged Cs lately, but even they've started to suffer as of late.  When they were Svetlana's they seemed to be more reliable.  I've tried almost every modern EL-34 and the Winged Cs seem to be the best for me as of late.
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Ryan Patterson
Toronto, Ontario
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Oliver Archut

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2007, 11:31:53 pm »

I tried several times the Svetlana, later Winged C, but I never could find any kind of good sounding or any above standard reliability with those tubes. Russia never made an EL34 before the iron curtain came down and all the later western inspired tubes that Svetlana made were in my view sub standard.
The first Setlana 6550 that hit the US market were blushing all over... Even the first EL34 did that too and after the russian factory solved that issue they still did not sounded anything like an western type EL34 or 6550.
I did not checked them lately but the last sample I got two years ago (than winged C) could not even hold up with the Reflector made EL34.

Last year I checked out some EL34 made in China and they did some major improvements to those tubes, they still won't run proper in a Music Man but in a Marshall they sounded O.K.

In my mind the NOS Philips (Mullard/Valvo) as well as the Telefunken are still the best deal in lifetime and overall sound. Sure they cost an arm and a leg theses days but if you take the long time cost of replacing the eastern type tubes you do save money.
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Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

J.J. Blair

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2007, 01:25:33 am »

Oli, I took your advice and got some RFTs, which arrived yesterday.  I'll let you know how they sound in a couple days.  Thanks.  
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

PookyNMR

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2007, 01:00:14 pm »

Oliver -

What's your opinion on the Ruby tubes?  I've found them quite reliable and durable quality wise and I have appreciated their tone in my amps.

Thanks.

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Nathan Rousu

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2007, 05:04:18 pm »

Ruby Tubes is not a tube manufacture, they as well as other tube screening sales agents, best known is Groove Tubes, do nothing more than buy at bulk at the manufacture, test them, sometimes grade them and than sell them for a premium, that's all. Ruby tubes do a service same as good or as bad than any of the other tube suppliers.
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Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

PookyNMR

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2007, 01:21:54 am »

Thanks for the response!  

Do you know who their source is?

Maybe I am hearing what I want to, but I do believe that I hear a positive / pleasant difference with the Ruby Tubes over all the other mfgs that I've tried.  

If they are from a common source, what might account for those differences over the other brands from possibly the same source?  Just different specs / grades?  Or are they actually using different materials?

Sorry for the elementary questions.  Just trying to learn the basics of how this all works.



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Nathan Rousu

Oliver Archut

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Re: Do Tesla tubes always suck?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2007, 10:21:39 am »

Currently there are not to many vacuum tube manufactures left that make audio tubes. All brands/trademarks today originate in a few factories that still make those devices of a golden area gone by.

In russia there are only a hand full of companies left from the 28 companies that are still producing, the most productive is the "Reflector Vacuum works" in Saratov, here 80% of the world audio tubes are made and sold under their trade names, Sovtek, Svetlana, EH, Tungsol and Mullard, the company is owned by the New Sensor Co. of New York.

The 2nd largest russian factory and also russias oldest vacuum works is the Svetlana Electron Devices. The company sells outside of russia under the "Winged C" logo due to a trademark dispute with the New Sensor/Mike Mathews company.
http://www.svetlana-tubes.com/

The Chinese Hunan Shuuguang Electron Group Co. LTD in Changsha is the biggest manufacture of vacuum devises left in china and 95% of all in production tubes that are labeled Made in China originate from this factory regardless of label/brandname.
http://www.tube.com.cn/en/profile/about.asp

EI in former Yugoslavia made tubes on and off for the last couple of years, lately a part of the factory has been sold to the Westrex Co. The nippled (on top) EL34 as well as the KT90 were the best tubes they made and great for Marshall amps, the KT90 in a Major realy kicks ass....
http://www.eierc.com/rc/who_we_are.htm

JJ formally Tesla
A company that makes tubes with the old Tesla equipment, but the quality is far, far away from the old Tesla standard (and that was still very low)
http://www.jj-electronic.sk/

Aside form a few exotic and once in a while production run of specialty tubes at various small manufactures around the world, those are the manufactures that supply the world audio tubes.

Regardless what Tubes seller and everybody else claims about exclusive and specialty tubes that are made for only that company, none of the above makes tubes that can hold up or come even close to the historic Western manufactures like Philips, Telefunken, RCA, GE, etc.
Ruby tubes as well as Groove Tubes test and pre-select tubes and offer a good warranty, but in the end they are still sub-standard tubes compared to the Historic Icons...
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Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.
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