Matsushita EL34/6CA7 Japan Posted on December 1, 2020 by tubemaze (20 votes, average: 3.75 out of 5)Loading...“The sound was rich and full, with great balance across the whole range – wonderful!”Share this post:
This one is a bit of a secret, but I will let it out.
Matsushita EL34 is not a well-known tube even 50 years after it was produced. Very few people know about it, but they should. Matsushita used Mullard equipment to produce its tube and the result is the same sound as Mullard Xf2 EL34 – one of the most desirable EL34 variants. The tubes were produced in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and were branded by a huge number of companies – from the usual suspects that just rebrand tubes, to such companies as Amperex and RCA – that wells you a lot about the tube’s quality.
It was hard for me to believe these rumors, so I plugged a quad into my amp. Lo and behold, the tube sound was exact XF2 Mullard. BTW, for those who don’t know what XF2 is, it’s the type number of a tube (right above teh date code). There were XF1, XF2, and XF3 that Mullard produced – XF1 being the earliest and rarer (there was XF1 version of Matsushita EL34 with a metal base, but I haven’t seen it). The sound was rich and full, with great balance across the whole range – wonderful!
Identifying Matsushita tubes is a bit complicated due to the rebranding and absence of any date codes. The easiest example is the tube in the post’s picture – a clear stamp of Japan. Further things to look for are:
1) the two ridges between the two holes on the plate
2) a single halo getter
3) a seam on the top of the tube (see picture below)
So why is it a secret? Because with Matsushita, you will get the same awesome Mullard sound for much less.