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Old 09-25-2011, 01:53 AM
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Default Manley Snappers get new "real" EL34 tubes !

Hello folks,

Yesterday evening I had a terrific listening session.
I received this week a replacement set of tubes for my Manley Snappers amps, that I initially ordered for a back up.
They asked me if I wanted the EH 6CA7 ( "american equivalent of the EL34") which are the tubes my amps were fitted with, or the Tung Sol EL 34 for the power tubes, telling me that the EL34 are considered by some people more "musical".
I have listened to 5 complete vinyls yesterday, with the P9 and burning in the EL34's and honestly, if the sound could be sweeter than this, it will flood on the ground like a Dali painting !
I never heard the voice of Ben Harper as sweet and sensual as this.
The 2301's are very sweet amps on the sens that they sound as sweet as natural sounds. But the Snappers fitted with those EL34 tubes sound extremely sweet. Certainly not like in the "real life" but extremely beautiful and enjoyable. And yet, they have punch and drive oh boy !
I'm a laughing at the "american equivalent of EL34" for the description of the 6CA7 and I understand now why so many people adore this tube.

If you use an amp with 6CA7 tubes and think that you're listening to the EL34 sound, well you're not.
The 6CA7 is probably more neutral than the EL34 so depending on your system, you may prefer the american tube actually but it could be worth to buy a set of EL34 and compare them.
For my ears, the "real" EL34 is more enjoyable and sounds much more "delicious".

PS / Ivan, I realize that this thread could be in the Tubes forum. Move it there if you wish to. Thanks !
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:21 AM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Hi Jérôme,

The EL34's are very nice sweet tubes. I think my Neo 250's are fitted with the 6CA7's. I'll have to play around with them. I've always loved the EL34 and I am glad you found out why. Those Snappers a amazing little amps. If you really want sweet, have a triode switch installed and watch the vocals and music ooze from the speakers. Just beautiful.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
Hi Jérôme,

The EL34's are very nice sweet tubes. I think my Neo 250's are fitted with the 6CA7's. I'll have to play around with them. I've always loved the EL34 and I am glad you found out why. Those Snappers a amazing little amps. If you really want sweet, have a triode switch installed and watch the vocals and music ooze from the speakers. Just beautiful.
Thanks Joe !
I can have a triode switch installed in the Snappers ? I thought it was only on the Neo 250.....
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:31 AM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Originally Posted by C220MC275 View Post
Thanks Joe !
I can have a triode switch installed in the Snappers ? I thought it was only on the Neo 250.....
I think it was $250 per amp. I could not find it on their website but it dropped the power to about 50 watts/ch. I am very sure it's still possible.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
I think it was $250 per amp. I could not find it on their website but it dropped the power to about 50 watts/ch. I am very sure it's still possible.
I'm going to check that ! Thanks a lot !
If it is a switch, I will still be able to listen to it in the regular pentode mode I suppose ?
Anyway, 50 W are enough for my evening listenings....
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:50 AM
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Yes. I do not think you should/could switch it on the fly. But you have a choice of Ultra Linear and Triode for 100 watts/ch or 50 watts/ch. I hope they still offer it.

Manley Snapper®

Look at the picture of the rear of the Snapper on their website.

Do you have the switches on the back?
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:01 AM
joeinid joeinid is offline
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Jérôme,

In March I was thinking of buying a used pair of Snappers and inquired of the service dept. for a check up and triode switch install. The check-up was $250 and the triode switch install was $250. I've included the answer from the service dept. below.


Adding the triode/ultralinear switching is $250. When switched to ultralinear, there is no difference as opposed to not having the switch.

Hope that helps. Adding the switch will not have any detrimental effects.
Joe

Last edited by joeinid; 09-25-2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:47 AM
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Hi Jérôme,

It's good to hear you are enjoying the Snappers. That's great that you can add a switch to the Manley's. I wish a lot more companies offered that option.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C220MC275 View Post
Hello folks,

Yesterday evening I had a terrific listening session.
I received this week a replacement set of tubes for my Manley Snappers amps, that I initially ordered for a back up.
They asked me if I wanted the EH 6CA7 ( "american equivalent of the EL34") which are the tubes my amps were fitted with, or the Tung Sol EL 34 for the power tubes, telling me that the EL34 are considered by some people more "musical".
I have listened to 5 complete vinyls yesterday, with the P9 and burning in the EL34's and honestly, if the sound could be sweeter than this, it will flood on the ground like a Dali painting !
I never heard the voice of Ben Harper as sweet and sensual as this.
The 2301's are very sweet amps on the sens that they sound as sweet as natural sounds. But the Snappers fitted with those EL34 tubes sound extremely sweet. Certainly not like in the "real life" but extremely beautiful and enjoyable. And yet, they have punch and drive oh boy !
I'm a laughing at the "american equivalent of EL34" for the description of the 6CA7 and I understand now why so many people adore this tube.

If you use an amp with 6CA7 tubes and think that you're listening to the EL34 sound, well you're not.
The 6CA7 is probably more neutral than the EL34 so depending on your system, you may prefer the american tube actually but it could be worth to buy a set of EL34 and compare them.
For my ears, the "real" EL34 is more enjoyable and sounds much more "delicious".

PS / Ivan, I realize that this thread could be in the Tubes forum. Move it there if you wish to. Thanks !
Jérôme.......I found this graph interesting. It appears the EL34 is slightly flatter at the 20kHz line than the 6CA7.


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Old 09-25-2011, 11:20 AM
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Here is some good info that may be of interest to you on EL34/6CA7 tubes....

The EL34 and it's "Americanized" version, the 6CA7, are among the most popular and sought out vintage tubes today. This tube is a pentode of the power amplifier type. It probably gained most of it's popularity as the output tube of choice in the famous Dynakit ST70 amps, but it has been around since the 1950s. It was found in musicial instrument amps, public address systems, and other types of home and professional audio systems. It packs quite a whallop in a rather small glass package, and yet, in well crafted amps like the ST70, it can image well, with a delicate airy touch and a solid bottom end. I have never heard a "bad" vintage EL34. Even those made in the late 1970s in Great Britain are wonderful tubes, easily outperforming the current made tubes of this type. The EL34 and 6CA7 are identical, and most versions have both type numbers on the label. Another British-made tube, the KT77, is also a drop-in replacement for the EL34/6CA7 family. This is an excellent, but rare tube not often found in the USA>

This tube is capable of MAXIMUM plate voltage of 800 volts and peak power at 25 watts! Of course, these are absolute maximum readings, at which stage nuclear meltdown occurs! In typical class A operation, I have seen suggested specs of 250 volts on the plate and screen, giving a conservative power output of 11 watts. The vintage versions of this tube have no problem running at 440 volts on plate and screen at about -38 to -42 bias volts, and this is what is often found in vintage amps. Unfortunately, Russian and Chinese tubes begin to spit and spark at these voltages, which is why the British and Dutch vintage EL34 tubes are so much in demand. These tubes are getting pricey and hard to come by. These tubes last so long, that used ones testing sufficiently above minimum Gm are usually priced nearly as high as NOS versions, and it is often difficult to tell NOS from used on the open market as most of the boxes have rotted away!

NOTE ON GROOVE TUBES: The E34LS, 6CA7GE, and Mullard Reissue types of pairs and quads made by Groove Tubes may be ordered with factory matching with respect to both Gm/plate current AND "hardness" ratings. The hardness rating is the degree to which the tube breaks up or distorts, when driven to it's limits. The standard "normal" breakup hardness is numbered 4-6. You may request early breakup ratings of 2-3 where the tube will distort nicely in a guitar amp when moderately overdriven. For very clean playing, or for use in hi-fi or stereo tube amps, you may request a late break up number of 7-9. These are very low distortion at high output tubes, and will not break up until heavily overdriven.

Here is what is most often found on the EL34 vintage market:

EL34 / 6CA7 Amperex:

The made in Holland version of this tube is most often found with the Bugle Boy logo, but even earlier versions with the treble clef logo are still around. Later versions used the orange world logo, but not all of these were made in Holland (some are British Mullard) but are still great tubes. The rarest are the 1955-1957 "nickel base" versions. These have a solid disc top getter and the word "Amperex" in a circle on the front. The base has a heavy nickel collar stamped with the date code. These are not often available, almost never NOS, but even used are superb and long lived. The more commonly available older Amperex have a brown base, the skinny bottle (not much wider than the base), a flat top, two D shaped getters and welded plates. They may or may not say 6CA7 on the label, but these tube types are identical. The white painted labels and logos on these tubes are often partially wiped off, this is normal for even unused NOS tubes of this vintage.

EL34 / 6CA7 Mullard:

The early versions of this tube had a metal collar around the base, and a mica spacer below the getter. These tubes are RARE and command high prices. Later versions had a brown micanol base, and a production series indicated by "XF" codes which are printed in black ink near the bottom of the glass. All of the Mullard tubes I have seen have a small hole in the very bottom of the octal centering pin. All genuine Mullard UK made tubes, beginning with the XF1 series, will have the Blackburn, England factory code on the glass. This will be down low on the side, on the second line of code below the XF type designation, beginning with a capital letter "B". Another trait is the often very dark top getter flashing, sometimes with a rainbow-hued "oil slick" appearance. This is normal, as the gettering was done at high temperature at the factory. Some use will sometimes make the getter thin, brown, or patchy. This is also nothing to be concerned about, as these tubes will usually still test very good with no gas, and operate normally for years with faded getter patches. These are, overall, just awesome tubes."XF1" tubes have a very dark brown, sometimes streaked with metallic gold (mica flakes) somewhat wider base, with two getter rings. These usually have the old "shield" logo, sometimes with the "BVA" in a circle below that. These are rare, and their scarcity has pushed up the price. They are worth seeking out!"XF2" tubes have a slimmer base, may not be as dark brown, with two smaller getter rings, but I have seen some with a single getter ring. Again, these may be the "shield" logo, with or without the "BVA" logo. RCA, GE, Sylvania, and other USA brands of EL34 from the early to mid 1960s were usually Mullard made XF2 type."XF3 and XF4" tubes have a single center getter ring (some XF4 tubes have two "D" shaped getters), and the plates are stamped together and not welded. These tubes are more often found with other brands on the label (Amperex, RCA, GE, etc.) and sometimes have black bases. Later Mullard tubes may be "IEC Mullard". These are still great tubes. BEWARE: late 1970s production Mullard and RCA (labeled Great Britain) that have crossed seams in the top glass were made in Japan! These are not Mullard UK made tubes, although they were made in a Japanese factory that Mullard helped set up and are decent tubes. To date, the only current-production tube that comes close to the legendary Mullard quality and sound is the new Groove Tubes Mullard XF2 reissue, the EL34M. They are at an attractive price, and you may wish to try these fine tubes as a very cost effective way to get the Mullard sound without having to worry about finding pairs of vintage Mullard tubes that match, and being able to find spare tubes.

EL34 / 6CA7 Telefunken:

These are highly sought after, and unfortunately, very rare tubes in the USA. The earliest versions of this tube have a metal collar around the base, sometimes with a number stamped in it. The later versions have black bases, usually with a code number painted on the base. They usually have two small getter rings, the skinny bottle, and crimped together plates. They all have the Telefunken diamond shaped logo, "Made in Western Germany" or "Made in Germany", and a code number all printed on the label in chalky ink that is often nearly wiped off. BEWARE: The Telefunken name lived on, although the factory at Ulm, Germany stopped making tubes in the early 1970s. A Telefunken EL34 with a "dimple" mark in the top glass (the glass top may be smooth but the dimple still appears) indicates East Germany or Russian manufacture. These tubes are not genuine Telefunken tubes!

KT77:

This is a very rare tube that is a direct replacement for the EL34 or 6CA7. I have only seen versions made by Genalex (Marconi-Osram Valve Co.) in their "Gold Lion" series of tubes, which, by the way, spawned a whole family of excellent hi-fi tubes that are rare and highly prized today. The early Genalex KT77 had a skinny bottle with a flat top similar to the Mullards, but the brown base is also thin, being no more than 1/4 inch thick, with the red Genalex decal on it, and two halo getters on top in a "stacked" configuration. The Gold Lion logo holding the KT77 sign, and the words "Gold Lion" in script on the glass, all done in gold paint, make this tube easy to spot. Later versions went to a black octal base similar to the XF4 Mullards. These are probably the rarest, and most expensive, of all EL34 types today. Usually, the early thin brownbase versions will cost the most due to their rarity, and the blackbase types will be a little less. These are all excellent tubes, even used are on par with the best Mullard XF1 tubes, but are so rare worldwide they are not often found. BEWARE: This tube was made into the 1980s and still sold as "Gold Lion". The late 1970s and early 1980s versions have blackbases, with the lion label in bright yellow ink on the glass of the tube, and it was much smaller than the earlier lion label in gold. These "yellow lion" label tubes are RUSSIAN manufacture and not worth more than $15 or $20 each. I have seen eBay dealers selling these tubes as genuine Genalex UK made Gold Lion tubes at MUCH higher prices. Be careful if buying these on auction sites!

EL34 / 6CA7 RCA, GE, Sylvania, etc. "Fat Boy" or European made:

These American versions of this tube come in two basic flavors: The European made skinny bottle (usually Mullard made XF2, XF3 or XF4 codes) or the USA made wider glass bottle, known as the "Fat Boy" types. Mullard made these for many other manufacturers, and you almost need a handbook to spot the different types out there. The Mullard made tubes will look like the Mullards described above, and even have the series codes near the bottom of the glass. The RCA versions with dark brown bases and XF2 date codes are as valuable as the original Mullards. The XF3 and XF4 versions can be found in many different USA brands, and will often have black shiny bases, with the hole in the middle of the centering pin. Beware! Later versions were made in Japan and labelled "Gt. Britain". These tubes may be spotted by seams on the top glass forming a cross. They are still good tubes, but not worth nearly as much as real British Mullard made tubes. I have also seen later RCA versions of this tube labelled "Made in East Germany", and these are also not worth as much. These Eastern Europe tubes often have what looks like a dimple in the top glass. The "Fat Boy" USA made tubes were produced primarily by Sylvania and GE. These have a much wider glass bottle, a black base, several round holes in the plates, and two large top getter rings set at an inverted "V" angle. The GE has the numbers etched into the glass, while the Sylvania used a dark grey paint with the words "USA" below. These "Fat Boy" tubes are very nice, and are still attractively priced. You will find them in RCA, Zenith, GE, Sylvania, Philips, Philco, and others, but they are all made by either Sylvania or GE.

Last edited by Removed; 09-25-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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