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#1
Anybody else notice a quality drop in JJ EL84's?

We have over at the Doc's site...

They were our favorite tubes for the Maz Jr. 1 year ago.
Now we are all sick about their tubes for the last 1/2 a year or so...


****************************************

A lot of us really like JJ's for EL84 tubes. http://www.eurotubes.com/
http://www.tubedepot.com/jj-el84.html

rickc007 wrote: I ordered some JJs and some TAD's. First put the JJs in, and got a bit more power.
Tried the TADs, and first thought was "more balanced". JJs were a bit more in the bass and mids.
Then I got to missing the extra low end oomph. Put the JJs back in, and I likes them.
Liked TADs in another amp I had, but JJs do it for me in the Maz.


shouldb (Pete) wrote: Me too - on my third set of JJs and love them.

beanbag wrote: JJs are my "goto" El84. In my experience, they are the most consistent in performance and reliability of any new production.

Andy 67 wrote: +1 on Eurotubes and JJs!! Tons of tone!

"z" Steve wrote: For about 5 years I've used Bob at Eurotubes to by my JJ EL 84's for my amps requiring those tubes. I have also used Mike at KCA for trying the TAD EL84's just for a change. Both brands have worked great and I have not had a failure or issue with either. Both Bob & Mike will set you up with tubes to your liking as far as breakup - early or late.

On ( Aug 26, 2011 ) - DRZ wrote: OK guy's here's the skinny on JJ tubes: Over that last 6 months I have seen a noticeable decrease in quality. I currently have over a 25% rejection rate on JJ 12AX7's, and the same can be said for the JJ EL 84's. It is a shame because JJ's were the most rugged tubes on the market, but they have slipped, boy have they slipped.

I have reported this to my US importer and just received some lip service and a bump in cost of 12AX7's, probably due to my large number of returns.
And speaking of returns were do you think my rejects go...

So what is amp builder to do, well I re-evaluated Sovtek EL-84-EH's and like the results.
Tighter builds with less filament rattles, and much less harsh ( upper Mid Response ) then the available JJ EL-84.

In all the new facelifted MAZ line ( that is ones with the new front panel ), we are using EL 84-EH's with great results. I will be using more EL 84 EH's , so look into them when it's time to re-tube.

As for the JJ 12AX7 I still like them in the first position of most amps but have switched to Chinese 12AX7 HG+ in tone stack driver pos #2.

DR.Z


dobro1 wrote: This is a topic I can relate too for sure. I went through 3 sets of JJ's and they all went bad within a month one set 2 days. I was thinking there must be a problem with the amp. I have used JJ's for a long time and they always sounded great and never had quality issues like that. I bought a set set of EH and they sound great and been using them for 6 months with no problem the only thing I noticed is it seemed like I lost the slightest bit of volume with the EH but the quality of sound is excellent.

abandoned wrote: I asked Brent at Dr. Z and he said that they prefer EH cuz JJ's "have something harsh about them", that you can't really dial out.
He said using JJ's sparingly is ok but using a lot of them in one amp is not a good idea... due to the harshness.


BritInvasion wrote: I gave up on JJ's after red-plating 2 sets in a row. I am using TADs now and really like 'em.
I've heard EH are generally pretty good, and like others say here a little darker than JJ. But I don't have first-hand experience with EH.


mazmaster wrote: I have set of older Groove Tube JJ EL84s, and a brand new set of perfectly matched JJ EL84s from Ruby Tubes via Doug's Tubes, and a brand new set of TADs.
All of which I tested yesterday.

I found the older JJs to be my favorites. They were warmer, fuller and less harsh then the new JJs and the TADs.
The new JJs were surprisingly bright and a little harsh. The TADs sounded a little metallic and tanky in the mids to me with OD pedals.

I got a chance to compare my older JJ-EL84s, to a brand new pair of JJ-EL84s, and a brand new pair of EH-EL84s.
I preferred the older JJs to the EH and new JJs.

The new JJs were VERY bright, and the EH mids didn't blend well with the mids of my main OD pedals.
I'm sticking with the older JJs till they die or get dull. They have a fantastic blend of smooth mids and highs and no harshness.

I don't know what's going on with JJ, but they really do seem to be going downhill and with no good alternative that I've found yet.


Myles wrote: JJ used to be the tube to use, the good old tube that lasted a long time and sounded very vintage. Over at the shop the JJ 803S and all of their output tubes have shown a decline in specs, wider spread in tolerances and have been more physically microphonic in the past three to six months. The best tubes today seem to come from Tom McNeil at Magic Parts ( Ruby Tubes ), He has some very nice 12AX7s, and EL84s.

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Last edited by BurstBucker Pro at Dec 18, 2011,
#3
Quote by bogg808
Sorry, I don't use shitty low watt amps that require crappy EL84's


Thanks for the input. (reported as thread trashing, and not on topic.)

I'm sure it will hold great value for all who read it.
Last edited by BurstBucker Pro at Dec 17, 2011,
#4
Quote by bogg808
Sorry, I don't use shitty low watt amps that require crappy EL84's

your contribution to this thread has just wasted half a minute of my life.

why don't you go d*ck your bugera and leave us all alone.
Belief is a beautiful armour but makes for the heaviest sword.
#5
They were our favorite tubes for the Maz Jr. 1 year ago.
Now we are all sick about their tubes for the last 1/2 a year or so...

that's exactly the problem i've had - JJs are my favourite sounding EL84s in their price range by a long way, but i've never had them last longer than 10 months.

the stock sovteks that came with my VC30 (used, but the previous owner never changed them) still work fine, i dunno how long the previous owner had the amp for, but i was using it for about 3 years with the stock tubes before i decided to change them for JJs for a tonal improvement, not because there was anything wrong with the sovteks apart from having a harsh top end and muddy bass response at higher volumes.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
Last edited by Blompcube at Dec 17, 2011,
#7
Quote by Blompcube
my experiences exactly - JJs are the best sounding EL84s in their price range by a long way, but i've never had them last longer than 10 months.

the stock sovteks that came with my VC30 (used, but the previous owner never changed them) still work fine, i dunno how long the previous owner had the amp for, but i was using it for about 3 years with the stock tubes before i decided to change them for JJs for a tonal improvement, not because there was anything wrong with the sovteks apart from having a harsh top end and muddy bass response at higher volumes.


We did love the JJ's too, and also thought they were the best sounding (current production) EL84s.

However, if you haven't bought a new set in the last 6 months or so... you may be shocked.
#8
Quote by Dempsey68
your contribution to this thread has just wasted half a minute of my life.

why don't you go d*ck your bugera and leave us all alone.


Its getting sold for a Fryette power amp with real power tubes, not these crummy little bluzak toobs
#9
Quote by BurstBucker Pro
We did love the JJ's too, and also thought they were the best sounding EL84s.

However, if you haven't bought a new set in the last 6 months or so... you may be shocked.

i just bought a whole new set of them about a week ago, but haven't really been able to test them very much because my amp has a weird problem that i suspect has been responsible for blowing up so many JJs - it's obviously the amp, but the sovteks seem to be able to withstand something the JJs can't, which is kind of odd. the amp sounds better than before although that may be down to me changing my selection of preamp tubes as well.

i'm no expert on tubes but the EL84s i received somehow looked a bit shoddy compared to the last lot. i don't really know how to explain it but i did notice something unusual.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#11
Quote by BurstBucker Pro
When you get your amp fixed, and the JJ's tested, I would be curious to hear what you think.

well i've switched the amp on once, and decided not to do it again until i could find someone who knows about this sort of stuff who could have a look at it, the amp worked ok, it just made one of the power tubes glow very brightly as soon as the amp was switched on, it slowly faded away, i was worried about the inital glow coming from one of the power tubes (an old tube that died started doing that, in the same socket) - i did manage to play a few different guitars through it quickly and didn't notice anything wrong with the sound, though.

but i've never had JJs last very long, and they seem to rattle a lot more than other tubes too.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#12
I find that interesting on your rather short JJ tube life...

We have this as our guide:

Myles wrote: Here is a bit of a wrap up on reliability testing of a few EL84 types:

Genalex - Gold Lion N709 / EL84 - Tube Depot has some real ones.
They comment: Originally made by Genalex in England, the famed N709 is once again available. Made in Russia to exacting standards, the new Genalex – Gold Lion is a true echo of the past. These Russian re-issue tubes do a great job of reproducing some of the magic of the original. Due to excessive current demands found in cathode biased amps (such as Vox AC30 and others), we do not recommend these tubes for use in these types of amps.

The above paragraph sort of says it in a nutshell. Not very long lived.

Short Life:
Electro-Harmonix EL84 EH
EI EL84

Medium life:
TAD EL84
Mullard EL84 / 6BQ5 New Production (a few internal changes possibly)

Long Life:
JJ EL84 / 6BQ5
Sovtek EL84
Sovtek EL84M (very dark tone, darkest of the EL84 types)
#13
I use nothing but JJ's in my 18W'ers and I haven't noticed any change.
I've bought 4 pairs of EL84's and quite a few ECC83S and ECC803's this year. No problems yet and they sound great.


Quote by bogg808
Its getting sold for a Fryette power amp with real power tubes, not these crummy little bluzak toobs

I see. So your problem is with blues? If so then sod off.
The AC30 uses EL84's - are they crap then? Seriously, sod off you Bugera using wanka.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Dec 17, 2011,
#15
I have 5W, 18W, 60W and 100W valve amps.

Seriously, stop being a wanka.

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#16
Quote by BurstBucker Pro
I find that interesting on your rather short JJ tube life...

yeah i think it's something to do with the problem in one of the sockets - i think it's had that problem for a long time but i only noticed it a couple of days ago

@bogg808: not sure if trolling or just stupid.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#17
Out of the 6 jj 12ax7s in my peavey, 4 have blown in the less than a year that iver owned it

My friend with the 3120 had a jj tube go microphonic on his amp a month within when he bought it too
#18
It is possible that the tubes I've been getting from my supplier are not brand new production and are a couple of years old. If JJ's quality is slipping then that is a worrying situation because no other production tubes sound as good in 18W Marshalls. Very worrying indeed.
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#19
It is somewhat concerning as I use JJs and recommend them all the time. Things fluctuate so much in the tube market you really have to stay on top of it. There was a bit of time there this past Fall when Doug at dougstubes.com didn't even have JJ's listed (I think). He does now. I just got a christmas email from him so I'm going to ask his opinion on this and report back.
#20
Quote by Cathbard
I use nothing but JJ's in my 18W'ers and I haven't noticed any change.
I've bought 4 pairs of EL84's and quite a few ECC83S and ECC803's this year. No problems yet and they sound great.
.


i put fresh JJ's in my 18W and they have worked great.

i am around two years or maybe a little less on my orange's JJ EL84

haven't had any fresh ECC803's for a long time though.
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#21
I'm quite impressed by the JJ ECC803's. I'm considering making them standard in V1 on my 18W'ers. I really do hope their quality isn't dropping because the ones I have are great; EL84, ECC83S and ECC803 alike. It would be a tragedy of epic proportions.
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#22
Wow, that was fast. He replied back with basically this: He is buying JJ's from Ruby now because he is tired of dealing with all of the defectives. Doesn't sound like he is really recommending them either.

Looks like I'm on the path to the next best thing.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Dec 17, 2011,
#23
Which Rubies are the JJ's?
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#24
He just said he is having Ruby do all the testing and then sending him only good JJs - I don't think they were rebranded or anything. I still feel comfortable in recommending JJs to people as long as they get them from Doug The guy I feel sorry for is Bob at eurotubes

And to your point - your guy may just have lots of older stock
#25
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Wow, that was fast. He replied back with basically this: He is buying JJ's from Ruby now because he is tired of dealing with all of the defectives. Doesn't sound like he is really recommending them either.

Looks like I'm on the path to the next best thing.

Thanks for the report...

I fear it's true too. I loved JJ's...

Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
He just said he is having Ruby do all the testing and then sending him only good JJs.

And to your point - your guy may just have lots of older stock

Correct... (His trusted and outstanding testing process, is the value here)

and valid point on how places may still have lots of older stock...

Makes me even more glad that I went a little 'New Tube' buying crazy early 2010 when I bought my Amp.

I did stock up on the apparently 'now collectable' early 2010 production JJ EL84's.
Last edited by BurstBucker Pro at Dec 17, 2011,
#28
Sweet collection BBPro

here is some more info from a follow up email I got from Doug:

"We'll eventually get RUBY/JJ 6V6's, we're just about on the last legs of our JJ factory inventory. We had purchased a large quantity back in 2005 direct from the factory when they were new and the tooling was nice and tight. I've heard the horror stories out there now about rattle"
#30
Quote by AcousticMirror
were new el84s ever good?

You don't play blues so you'll never understand.
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#31
Quote by Cathbard
You don't play blues so you'll never understand.


lies. has nos el84s for bluez.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#32
No modern tube is as good as a good NOS tube but yes, the JJ EL84's I have are very nice. This thread is making me wish I'd bought more of them.
SED don't make EL84's as far as I can tell so if JJ are no longer reliable I don't know what I'll do. It's a quandary. The biggest worry though would be if their 12AX7's also start being unreliable. Those things are the best Marshall modern preamp tube by a country mile.
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Marshall 18W clone
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Marshall 1960A
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Cathbard Amplification
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#35
Do I trust Peavey's testing? Well, no I don't. They are big enough to just deal with the occasional return.

May be time to look into the groovetube JJ's and see what Ruby have on offer in the way of JJ's. It's depressing. I hate seeing a good company go bad.
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Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#36
Well i dont know my local store is super close with some of the guys that are pretty high up at peavey. So thats pretty much why my band runs peavey heads, cuz they have lots of peavey stuff. But in relation to this. Im not sure if peavey is a worthwhile source for JJ 12ax7s. The ones they select for theyre amps dont seem to last too long, but i dont know about theyre aftermarket ones. Like i said, 4/6 JJs in my 6534+ and blown in the 10 months ive owned it. And my friend atleast 1 JJ going bad in his peavey.

On a side note: why does the 6534+ have ruby EL34s stock ehile the 3120 has JJ EL34s stock?
#37
The thing that really scares me is what mazmaster reported about the new 2011 JJ's...

'The new JJs were VERY bright, and the EH mids didn't blend well with the mids of my main OD pedals.

I found the older JJs to be my favorites. They were warmer, fuller and less harsh then the new JJs and the TADs.
'

If you do manage to get a matched set that don't vibrate, or die early...
My worst fear is they will sound too bright, harsh, or just not as good as the JJ's sound we have been used to hearing.

The Good Old Days of having reliable, nice sounding JJ's, may soon be a thing of the past.
Last edited by BurstBucker Pro at Dec 18, 2011,
#38
The Rubies may be JJ's, Sean. If so all they've done is effectively outsourced the testing to Ruby. It could be a sign of the deterioration of JJ's straight from the factory. Read the entire code on the Rubies and let's look up what they actually are.
Gilchrist custom
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Randall RM100 & RM20
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Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
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Atomic Amplifire
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Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
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Last edited by Cathbard at Dec 18, 2011,
#39
This is somewhat disheartening, as I was planning on buying some JJs (not EL84s but 6L6GCs) does anybody know about those?
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#40
I know this would be a lot of work Cath - but if you could create a comprehensive 'Tube Decoding' type of thread it would be awesome. I would add it to my blog and refer people to it all the time. Then this kind of information that came up today could be referenced somehow in a 'reserved' post or something. I personally, would like to hear this news about JJs from a few more people before I write it off.
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