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Might Try Some EL34s In The Lone Star.

László

Too Many Notes
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
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Location
Michigan
I tried EL34s in my old Tremoverb many years ago, and there was a difference in detail, but not a big change. The tone was a little leaner, which wasn't a bad thing, just not a very big deal.

Nonetheless, I have 4 NOS Siemens EL34s I bought from Mesa a few years back as backups for the Siemens EL34s my HXDA, and have been thinking I might as well install them in the Lone Star and get some use of of them before I get too old to play and/or drop dead.

So I may give this idea a shot just to see what happens. If they don't sound all that different, I can always re-install the Telefunkens that are currently in the Lone Star.

Of course, if anyone else has done this and thinks it's a waste of time, please reply! :)
 
I clicked on this because, "Boy, I wonder what EL34's he's gonna use. I honestly don't know of any excellent ones that are still being made--or at least, any that are universally liked by most." But yeah, those NOS Siemens are sort of the "last of the good ones" as far as I know.
 
I had EL 34's in my Blue Sierra , and they were creamy I did go to ..Gold Lion KT77's and love em . Let us know how you like em
 
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I tried EL34s in my old Tremoverb many years ago, and there was a difference in detail, but not a big change. The tone was a little leaner, which wasn't a bad thing, just not a very big deal.

Nonetheless, I have 4 NOS Siemens EL34s I bought from Mesa a few years back as backups for the Siemens EL34s my HXDA, and have been thinking I might as well install them in the Lone Star and get some use of of them before I get too old to play and/or drop dead.

So I may give this idea a shot just to see what happens. If they don't sound all that different, I can always re-install the Telefunkens that are currently in the Lone Star.

Of course, if anyone else has done this and thinks it's a waste of time, please reply! :)
I swapped several of my amps over to E34L tubes years ago. They are a version of the EL34 that has a little higher plate voltage. I did this in two Peavey amps, a JSX and a Triple XXX. I put Groove Tubes EL34 tubes in my Mesa Roadster. I loved the results in the Peavey amps. I liked the Roadster for a while but as I started going through some changes in tones I liked I grew to not really like the way the gain sounded in the amp. For me, both 34 tube types tightened the amps up and added some detail to them. The JSX came stock with EL34 tubes and the E34L tubes took it up a notch for me. The gain in the Mesa was grainier to my ear. The amp has a ton of options on it so I can find tones that I like but others have a graininess to them that I didn't like. The only real way to know is to throw them in and find out how they sound in your amp. I also adjusted the bias in the Peavey amps to get a nice smooth sound out of them. The Mesa is hard wired so there is no way to adjust that.
 
I decided to try the EL34s in the Lone Star. WTF, ain't gettin' any younger, might as well live a little. This is a brand new (but NOS) set of Siemens tubes.

Turns out, it's a pretty significant change from the 6L6 set.

The good:

This is the first time I've actually liked Channel 2, the lead channel. Previously it was 100% unused. So that's a big plus. It's like getting another amp.

The six of one, half dozen of the other:

The clean channel is tighter and less flubby, but it's also a little less sweet and round,

Conclusion:

The EL34s make the lead channel usable, so they're staying.

I also changed out the V2 preamp tube. I installed an NOS Brimar from the late 60s. Previously I had a GE installed. There was no particular need to try this, but it's the second gain stage and I figured it might also change the character of the amp a little (I have a NOS RCA in V1).

The Brimar has less gain. Why that should be, I have no idea; it's a box plate CV4004 (British military). Maybe this one's just a lower output tube, since the identical Brimars in my DG30 aren't lower output. Or maybe they mis-labeled a 12AT7 - who knows?

On the other hand, it sounds pretty good! So I'll leave it there for awhile and see how I feel about it over time.
 
Interesting! It Is Great That You Can Now Use The Lead Channel. I Wonder What Would Happen If You Started Messing With Pre Amp Tubes In All Positions? Sounds Like A Party!
 
Interesting! It Is Great That You Can Now Use The Lead Channel. I Wonder What Would Happen If You Started Messing With Pre Amp Tubes In All Positions? Sounds Like A Party!

Sounds like hell to me. I used to love doing all this stuff... modding, experimentation, umpteen tube swaps... these days, I just want stuff to work. I just want it to sound great without effort- that's why I purchased it!! This goes for guitars as well as amps... maybe it's just been too many years, but I'm tired of tinkering, I'd rather just PLAY!
 
I decided to try the EL34s in the Lone Star. WTF, ain't gettin' any younger, might as well live a little. This is a brand new (but NOS) set of Siemens tubes.

Turns out, it's a pretty significant change from the 6L6 set.

The good:

This is the first time I've actually liked Channel 2, the lead channel. Previously it was 100% unused. So that's a big plus. It's like getting another amp.

The six of one, half dozen of the other:

The clean channel is tighter and less flubby, but it's also a little less sweet and round,

Conclusion:

The EL34s make the lead channel usable, so they're staying.

I also changed out the V2 preamp tube. I installed an NOS Brimar from the late 60s. Previously I had a GE installed. There was no particular need to try this, but it's the second gain stage and I figured it might also change the character of the amp a little (I have a NOS RCA in V1).

The Brimar has less gain. Why that should be, I have no idea; it's a box plate CV4004 (British military). Maybe this one's just a lower output tube, since the identical Brimars in my DG30 aren't lower output. Or maybe they mis-labeled a 12AT7 - who knows?

On the other hand, it sounds pretty good! So I'll leave it there for awhile and see how I feel about it over time.
I also find that going from 6L6 tubes to EL34 tubes is a drastic change. I have heard so many people say it is a subtle change. I really wonder if they have ever done it after I hear that.

The only thing I would caution you on is that Mesas are known to be real hard on the V1 tube. They had a lot of issues with some models of their amps blowing the tubes in this slot, the Lone Star is one of those models. I don't know how active the Mesa forum is these days but there was a lot of discussion around this over there.
 
I also find that going from 6L6 tubes to EL34 tubes is a drastic change. I have heard so many people say it is a subtle change. I really wonder if they have ever done it after I hear that.

The only thing I would caution you on is that Mesas are known to be real hard on the V1 tube. They had a lot of issues with some models of their amps blowing the tubes in this slot, the Lone Star is one of those models. I don't know how active the Mesa forum is these days but there was a lot of discussion around this over there.
I wonder what might cause such an issue… did anyone solve it or find a source? I ask because I’ve played Boogies since the 80s, had many models (currently a Road King 2, Nomad 55, California Tweed 4-40, and an old 76 Mk I ) and never blew a preamp tube in any position. You’ve got me curious!

@László I was thinking about trying the same thing on my Nomad 4x10 just for fun, but never did. I might have to follow your lead. The Road King has switchable power selection, and I can definitely tell a difference in the sound that required some tinkering to get the best from it. It never sounded particularly great with setting for the 6L6s used on the EL34s, I mean. And then you’ve breached the preamp tube door… danger, Will Robinson!
 
I wonder what might cause such an issue… did anyone solve it or find a source? I ask because I’ve played Boogies since the 80s, had many models (currently a Road King 2, Nomad 55, California Tweed 4-40, and an old 76 Mk I ) and never blew a preamp tube in any position. You’ve got me curious!

@László I was thinking about trying the same thing on my Nomad 4x10 just for fun, but never did. I might have to follow your lead. The Road King has switchable power selection, and I can definitely tell a difference in the sound that required some tinkering to get the best from it. It never sounded particularly great with setting for the 6L6s used on the EL34s, I mean. And then you’ve breached the preamp tube door… danger, Will Robinson!
They were recommending specific tubes from specific manufacturers for that slot.

I have a Roadster. I really wanted a Road King II but wasn't able to find one at a price I could swing and the Roadster got me most of what I wanted. I really wanted to have a 2x12 that was open back on one side and closed on the other. That would let me switch with the Road King to get that open back sound on some channels and closed on others. I thought that would be the perfect amp.
 
Sounds like hell to me. I used to love doing all this stuff... modding, experimentation, umpteen tube swaps... these days, I just want stuff to work. I just want it to sound great without effort- that's why I purchased it!! This goes for guitars as well as amps... maybe it's just been too many years, but I'm tired of tinkering, I'd rather just PLAY!
I Always Wish For That As Well But Sometimes You Have To Do Some Tweaking To Get There. The Tweaking In This Case Got Laz To Be Able To Use A Channel On His Amp That Was Unusable To Him Before. Always The Chance Of Some Heaven With That Hell You Mention. :)
 
I also find that going from 6L6 tubes to EL34 tubes is a drastic change. I have heard so many people say it is a subtle change. I really wonder if they have ever done it after I hear that.

With some amps it's very subtle. My Tremoverb could take 6L6 or EL34, and there wasn't much of a change. However, at that time (mid-90s) NOS tubes weren't much of a thing, and I was still using Mesa-branded tubes.

I really didn't get going with NOS until 2003 when I bought my first Two-Rock (it shipped to me with NOS).

The only thing I would caution you on is that Mesas are known to be real hard on the V1 tube. They had a lot of issues with some models of their amps blowing the tubes in this slot, the Lone Star is one of those models. I don't know how active the Mesa forum is these days but there was a lot of discussion around this over there.

I've had an NOS RCA in v1 for four years without issues. With Chinese or Russian tubes? I'll believe anything.
 
I Always Wish For That As Well But Sometimes You Have To Do Some Tweaking To Get There. The Tweaking In This Case Got Laz To Be Able To Use A Channel On His Amp That Was Unusable To Him Before. Always The Chance Of Some Heaven With That Hell You Mention. :)
Exactly this.

I probably wouldn't want to go back now that I know that I have a useful second channel.
 
Went from the original stock Mesa quad 6L6s(sold) to quad EH EL34s(sold) to quad EH 6V6s(sold) back to quad EH 6L6s. Why? Because those are the best loud, clean Fender style power tubes that I could afford at the time. No money for any boutique tubes and my hearing isn't that good.
 
Went from the original stock Mesa quad 6L6s(sold) to quad EH EL34s(sold) to quad EH 6V6s(sold) back to quad EH 6L6s. Why? Because those are the best loud, clean Fender style power tubes that I could afford at the time. No money for any boutique tubes and my hearing isn't that good.
Mesa currently offers 4 different 6L6 power tube choices, which, honestly, is a bit confusing.

I believe that one is made for them by JJ, but I don't know the origin of the others. I'm guessing that one or two are Russian.

Like you, I had good luck with Mesa power tubes over the years when I wasn't into NOS stuff. I think the key has been that they do a nice job testing and tossing the bad tubes - or at least that's how it's gone pre-Gibson.

For non-NOS, currently made 6L6s, I really like the Telefunkens. They're JJs that are tested and then cryogenically treated. I thought the cryo treatment was kind of a BS thing, but having done a little research, it apparently is an industrial process that stiffens and strengthens the metal parts inside the tube. The Telefunkens are the first non-NOS 6L6s I've been able to use in a combo without major tube rattle at higher volumes.

My guess is the added stiffness reduces the parts jiggling and rattling inside the glass envelope.

Perhaps cryogenic treatment is a little bit like torrifying wood, which started out as an industrial process.

The Siemens EL34s are great sounding tubes. I have a pair in my HXDA.
 
I love that the Lonestar has a preset bias switch for the EL34 option on the back. I love El34 cleans, I really like the sparkle and grind you get when you lean into it. They definitely purr hotter when driven, too, so it's great to hear you noticed a lead channel difference. Whether it was an improvement, only you could say. Got any clips?
 
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