Since many of us here use EL34/6CA7 as power tubes in our amps, I thought it would be nice to share our experience with different tubes so we'll know which tube to buy next when we're looking for a different sound.
Here's my list starting from my favorite EL34:
1. Electro Harmonix EL34EH. According to Vaccum Tube Valley, they come closest to the best sounding EL34 by Mullard. After reading several posts about people running the EL34EH in triode and getting results which is as good as Mullard, I bought another quad which arrived today. The sound is KILLER. The EH is a Mullard copy. If you see pics of the old slim bottle Mullard, they look pretty much identical. My old quad of EH was getting weak. I was able to tell by the sound. The reason for this was using them to run my LSi9 a long time ago which I'm sure stressed the crap out of them and shortened their lifespan.
2. Svetlana (SED). In pentode, I'll have to say it's my favorite. So the SED is a tie with EH. The sound is much warmer than EH. However, I also used the SED to power my LSi for quite some time. One tube was pretty stressed out because the plate was slightly glowing. I'm planning to buy another set to play around in triode.
3. Electro Harmonix 6CA7. Direct replacement for EL34 even though it's a tetrode, it will work in pentode or triode. In pentode, this tube had a lot of power with great bass. Soundstage was large with a lot of detail. Not as 'romantic' sounding as EL34. Sounds smoother in triode but with less bass.
4. JJ E34L. I just don't get it. A lot of people love this tube but I didn't like them at all. The mids didn't have any bloom and the highs sounded dry to my ears. Their strength is bass output. Powerful and deep. IMO, this tube have no character unlike the others listed above.
That's it for now.
Please add what you hear in your EL34/6CA7 tubes even if I've already done so. Would be nice to see if we're hearing the same thing from these tubes. Just like speakers, different tubes have their own sound signatures.
I'm still waiting for a report from Madmax about the Shaguang tubes he purchased. He's still breaking them in.