In a market that has a lot of options for an EL34, this tube could be a stand out. The tube design is classic EL34, with the tall grey plate you would expect. The bottle is a bit wider than some EL34 tubes and is big enough for a 6L6. The glass is nice and thick. The mica’s in the Preferred Series EL34 are nice and thick and look to have a very snug fit. This should help eliminate microphonics and the tube I tested had none, so it must be working. The plate assembly is topped with a single, small, halo getter and two oversize cooling fins mounted to the support rods. Of course the base of the tube is the signature blue of the Preferred Series octal tubes.
The sound in my single ended test amp was great. I usually run a KT66 or 6550 in this amp but this little EL34 will be there for a while. The bottom end is amazing and the tube has tons of gain before it gets dirty. The real strength of this tube is the bass and midrange. Bass notes are rock solid and the mids are very rich and complex. The high end is very good but not bright. This tube really wants to be in your JCM 800 or other amp that can generate piercing top end. Marshall users could combine these output tubes with their beloved high-gain Chinese pre-amp tubes for some real punch. Palm muting chords with p-90’s or humbucking pickups produces some seriously percussive sound. The Preferred Series EL34 can keep up with anything on the market. The extended warranty of the Preferred Series combined with the tone and build quality make this an outstanding tube for home audio and musical instrument amplifiers.