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Best EL34 Tube Review

See our EL34, 6CA7 KT77 catalog page to shop

There are many great EL34 tubes available today, making it difficult to to pick one. There are three basic types so if you know the character of each, it simplifies things.

The three variations are EL34, KT77 and 6CA7. These types are drop-in compatible with each other. Each offer subtle but distinct differences.

We describe each below along with our go-to tube recommendations.


EL34

EL34 in Guitar Amp

EL34 produces smooth highs and pronounced but pleasant mids in guitar amps. When pushed, EL34 starts to produce that wonderful quintessential classic Marshall tone. EL34 sound is that classic rock tone that's instantly recognizable.

EL34 in Audio Application

EL34 tube in audio amps produce that signature velvet-smooth mids. EL34 excels at reproducing horns and female vocals, with silky smooth texture.

Upgrading EL34

Amp manufacturers often ship EL34 tubes that are lower grade to keep the cost down. If you want to get the most out of your amp, consider upgrading the power tubes.

EL34 Mullard

Go To EL34 Tubes

Our go-to tubes for audio amp upgrade is Mullard EL34. It has good tight bass to balance out the beautiful mids.

For guitar amps, one of the top choice is Tung-Sol EL34B. It provides good body and nice high end definition. Mullard EL34 does very well in our vintage Marshalls also.

Other popular choices are Svetlana EL34-SV and JJ E34L. These tubes do signature EL34 sound very well. And they work well in audiophile as well as guitar applications.

See EL34, 6CA7 KT77 catalog page for listings.


KT77

KT77 was all but lost in vacuum tube history as an esoteric but supreme audio tube. Tube manufacturers revived KT77 along with design and sonics of the classic KT77.

KT77 in Audio Amp

Gold Lion KT77 is the hands down top choice for those who wants to get that something extra out of their EL34 amps.

Gold Lion KT77 maintains the mids of EL34 while filling out the lows and highs nicely. Gold Lion KT77 also adds the dynamics reminiscent of more powerful tubes like 6550. These are the characters that make Gold Lion KT77 unique and special.

Gold Lion KT77 manages both classic and contemporary materials very well. Gold Lion KT77 effortlessly handles modern dense recordings.

As with all Genalex Gold Lion tubes, Gold Lion KT77 is built to the highest standards. The meticulous build quality of Gold Lion KT77 stands above all other tubes covered here.

If you are using EL34 amps with OEM EL34 tubes, Gold Lion KT77 is a big step up that can transform your amp.


Gold Lion KT77 from Tubes For Amps

KT77 in Guitar Amp

In a guitar amp, JJ KT77 is a good choice for those wanting to venture away from regular EL34. In contrast to EL34, JJ KT77 has good amount of bottom end. If you are yearning for more hammering heft, JJ KT77 is a good choice.

The added bottom end also makes KT77 noticeably clearer sounding at low volume . This makes it a good choice for gigs in small space or using in practice amps.

Compared to Gold Lion KT77, JJ KT77 can vary in quality. We do test and inspect 100% of our tubes. We also include burn-in at no charge, and this includes JJ KT77.


See EL34, 6CA7 KT77 catalog product listings.


6CA7

6CA7 is often overlooked, but is the favorite of many well versed guitar players. 6CA7 tends to be heavier and darker sounding than EL34, and also offers fair amount of sizzle.

6CA7 has more headroom. Once you go into overdrive, 6CA7 takes on aggressiveness that makes it suitable for hard rock.

Electro-Harmonix 6CA7 - Tubes For Amps

There are two 6CA7 tubes produced today, and we like both quite a bit.

Electro-Harmonix 6CA7EH is a reproduction of American fat bottle 6CA7. It is a mature design that has proven rugged and quite reliable over time.

JJ 6CA7 is a newer design, which has also proven to work quite well in guitar amp applications.

See EL34, 6CA7 KT77 catalog product listings.


Related links: EL34, 6CA7, KT77 Difference?