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EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3

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Posted on July 12, 2012 at 12:55:44
greg7
Audiophile

Posts: 914
Location: Ohio
Joined: January 12, 2003
I've been searching the archives and haven't found much consensus on this.

Between these two, could someone describe the sonic differences and whether one is obviously superior from a sonic standpoint?

I'm leaning towards the EML but the Sophia's are quite a bit cheaper...

 

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RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 12, 2012 at 18:25:40
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1363
Location: USA
Joined: January 29, 2007


Those are not Mesh-Plate tubes. Mesh is interwoven. Those are" Tin-Can" plates with holes punched into them.

W.E. made some tubes this way, so did Mullard, etc. All of these did the same thing-- distort.

TRUE MESH (interwoven strands) catches electrons very well-- ON THE FIRST TRY-- electrons don't bounce back from the interweaves. This is expensive-- and necessary-- to build..

Solid-Plate tubes reflect SOME of the energy, creating time-delayed signals that are ADDED ONTO the signal.

Solid-plates, with holes drilled or punched thru them are sales gimmicks-- and nothing else of value.

These cool better because of the ventilation thru the holes, allowing puffed-up specs. . They also cause some electrons to try to go thru the holes. This happens in what may best be called random-mess-making. Kind of like letting a Child-Care Center go for 5 hours with no adults present. Random Train Wrecks.

In a Push-Pull amp, or in a S.E. that is built according to old-time Push-Pull rules, you may not hear all the train wrecks occurring. Push-Pull amps will also cancel-out quite a bit of these distortions, S.E. amps will not.

People always look for CHEAP-- but the truth is-- tubes like this are very expensive compared to what they actually are-- almost worthless sonically if used in musically transparent equipment..

On the other hand, EML tubes are actually worth all that they cost-- maybe more.

---Dennis---



 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 18, 2012 at 11:04:45
Frihed89
Audiophile

Posts: 13949
Location: Copenhagen
Joined: March 21, 2005
Is the EML solid plate 45 as good?
Observe, before you think. Think before you open your yap. Act on the basis of experience.

 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 18, 2012 at 19:39:10
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1363
Location: USA
Joined: January 29, 2007


Nope-- not to my way of thinking. I have both. All the solid plates except the JJ 2A3-40 sit there-- waiting for something....

There's always something to like about a solid plate tube, depending on which brand it is, and how it's run.

Then, there's music. Real music. I've never found a solid plate tube that could do it as well as EML's Mesh. Here, I'm referring-- as I usually do-- to ALL kinds of music, and all the things that are in it be presented well-- a total balance.

Solid-Plate tubes do handle power better, and you'll hear that on Hard Rock played at high levels.

The EML Mesh is GOOD at this-- SOME solid-plates are better at it.

But, that's not the whole musical picture. EML wins. Get out your wallet and touch-up your amps. You could be in for a good surprise.

FIRST-- see what your amps are running for plate current on the output tubes. Don't want to charcoal that expensive steak!

---Dennis---






 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 19, 2012 at 08:46:45
Paul Joppa
Industry Professional

Posts: 6108
Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: April 23, 2001
Also look into the startup transient voltages. Some amps - especially, some direct-coupled amps - drive the output tube grid positive during that transient, which is never good and the EMLs are especially sensitive to this. There are extensive comments on the EML web page - read them!

Since Dennis uses them and is a stickler for longevity, it's safe to assume his amps do not have this problem.

 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 19, 2012 at 14:56:38
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1363
Location: USA
Joined: January 29, 2007

Hello Paul! Funny thing today-- coincidence? I've been working on irrigation systems today.

I have a guest here who has my whole system in his home State-- Wash.

He's developing a small stand-up coax. speaker-- an 8", and wished to use my shops and in general, get some development work done. He's got a great lady with him who is a master carpenter!

Well, I just came in-- soaked and muddy. They were on the Emissions Lab website! Looking at using the 5U4G they make-- maybe. It's a Mesh.

I took another look at it-- I've looked before. Today, I re-read the cautions about transformer DCR-- and other items on their website.

As you no doubt know-- I have the greatest respect for these guys who make these great Mesh-Plate tubes for us. I almost consider it a privilege to be able to buy them!

However, running a High-DCR primary transformer is a good way to get that soggy, syrupy, sweet old-fashioned sound-- NOT High Fidelity. Even worse, running high-henry, low-DCR chokes kind of deletes most of the fun that is in music.

And Cap-Input? Guys, please! I love your tubes- "smack"-- and I love you for making them-- but Cap-Input? NEVER!

Gotta have a choke on that rectifier-- even a little R.F. one-- something-- please! (I love the sound...other things too-- don't get me started!).

So how does one get those fabulous Mesh-Plate EMLs to live with me?

It isn't so bad-- I just soft-startup the power trans primary.

I want that device closed after warmup so the amp can get dynamic swings from the A.C. line. You can hear that, so a soft-startup device must be pretty well shorted after amp warmup.

---Dennis---



 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 19, 2012 at 16:39:26
wolfbane


 
The EML solid plate is a great sounding tube. Quite a step up from NOS 45's.

Wb

 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 19, 2012 at 17:45:55
Paul Joppa
Industry Professional

Posts: 6108
Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: April 23, 2001
Well, Jac wants his tubes to live a long time. We want our amps to sound great. Fortunately those are not entirely conflicting desires ... :^)

But he does say, right at the beginning, it's the peak current through the rectifier that should be limited. A choke at the input is one way to do that, if it's big enough.

 

RE: EML vs. Sophia Meshplate 2A3, posted on July 19, 2012 at 19:07:05
tube wrangler
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Posts: 1363
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So true! Necessity, however, never sleeps!

---Dennis---

 

So, the EML solid plates are inferior to JJ?, posted on July 21, 2012 at 02:33:32
RC Daniel
Audiophile

Posts: 1799
Location: Brisbane
Joined: November 3, 2002
You said: "All the solid plates except the JJ 2A3-40 sit there-- waiting for something...."

Huh, so the EML solid plates are not so great. Interesting.

So, the superior cathode construction of the EML does not exert its advnatages with their solid plates? Or are EML's solid plates just unsuitable for the job? Or is the JJ cathode construction superior to the EML? JJ's dynamic prowess makes the most of the solid paltes' strengths; EML does not?

Of course, some folks prefer EML's solid plates over the mesh: 2A3-S vs M versions; 45 globe vs mesh...

Surprise! No one's opinion is absolute in these matters of subjectivity. Ah, the joy of concepts. Dogs, tails and tales.

Cheers.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryo Suzuki

 

RE: So, the EML solid plates are inferior to JJ?, posted on July 21, 2012 at 13:02:53
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1363
Location: USA
Joined: January 29, 2007


EML's Mesh is a very excellent tube. It combines most Solid-Plate strengths with some of the introspection, timing accuracy and depth of image that is found in the old AVVT Mesh.

EML's superior filament setup shines through the Solid-Plates as well as the Mesh. The Mesh is now a Solid-Plate frame with a welded-in frame which houses the woven Mesh section.

Is this tube the ULTIMATE in perfect music? TODAY it is- but the old AVVT Mesh beats it musically overall. ONLY certain LATER AVVT batches could do that-- some batches didn't.

Next, you might consider musical POWER and DRIVE. Here, the Solid-Plate EML is better, and it is surprisingly good at the details staying intact also-- as in the old AVVT Mesh.

The JJ 2A3-40 is not superior to the EML Solid-Plate, but it's a great bargain, and is powerful and rugged, with extended highs, and very potent lows. Midrange clarity is good, but some of the midrange-- full-midrange linearity-- cannot compete with either EML type, or the old AVVT Mesh..

Get out your wallet and buy EML-- either type, if you've got good enough amps, speakers, sources and wiring to tell the difference. Otherwise, bask in the delights of the JJ's super cheap price, and its terrific ruggedness, longevity, potent drive and build quality.

You'll never notice the lesser midrange potency unless you insert an EML. Then, it's no contest! I said "get out your Wallet".

---Dennis---





 

Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 21, 2012 at 14:27:55
RC Daniel
Audiophile

Posts: 1799
Location: Brisbane
Joined: November 3, 2002
I will certainly be looking into the EML tubes. I'd actually like to try running an AVVT AV8 as an output, but not unless EML is going to take on production of this tube.

My first amp will be a pancake for the dog, but for subsequent builds I will be taking your advice and running my outputs at low dissipation and using a more 'modern' PSU design. I am also having a pair of ~10ft^3 MLTLs built for running the GPA 604 driver. Hell, I might even use a simple, well-made stainless steel chassis, directly couple a wimpy driver (a pentode in my case) and tune my cathode caps...

Seems like some of your suggestions are not lost on folks. I will at least give myself an opportunity to challenge and learn. I might even end up with a system that I enjoy.

Cheers.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryo Suzuki

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 21, 2012 at 21:09:47
drlowmu
Manufacturer

Posts: 8051
Location: East of Kansas City
Joined: January 10, 2005
Can you make it to the October 2012 Denver RMAF show, and listen with us to all of this stuff, including MLTL GPA 15s??? Its fun to do. Plane fares have dropped.

Jeff Medwin

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 21, 2012 at 21:10:10
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1363
Location: USA
Joined: January 29, 2007
You're on the right track, assuming you stay on it and spend the bucks necessary until you get it.

In the long run it's less costly because you'll not be needing something better later on.

The GPA 604-- even with their included passive crossover, is still the best thing out there if you really enjoy all kinds of music presented right. That crossover can be used-- and you can get good results-- if you'll unsolder the input and output wires and install something good like Siltech LS-38 or its modern equivalents.

Also, take a good look at the traces on any circuit board, and bypass them or short-cut them with better pieces of wire where runs get more than an inch or so away from a use-point. Make the whole thing more efficient.
The extra wires can be soldered directly onto the existing traces (parallelling them), and the original trace wiring can be left intact. Be sure to consider what you're doing-- for instance, a tweeter should "see" its capacitor first-- not find it further up the trace-line behind something else..... If this mistake is made on the board, bypass it with a wire, leaving the trace hooked up also-- use an equal-length high-quality, 12ga., multistrand audio-quality wire. Of course, Multistrand silver.

On a budget? Use Tinned Copper just like what came with it, but double-run each input and woofer wire with an equal length of the same-- simply ask GPA to send you some extra wire when you buy the drivers.. NOT untinned, and NOT solid strand-- use Multistrand of high quality.

For the tweeter? I'd splurge here even if broke and install single run of 12 ga. Siltech multistrand to the driver.. When you hear Cymbals, Triangles and Harpsichords, you'll thank Siltech.

Capacitors need not be replaced, just bypass then with small Dynamicaps. That bathtub resistor you're looking at isn't going to bite you-- you can keep it in, or you can slip-in a MILLS (12 watt sizes, please) to upgrade a bit. You can double the value and parallel two of them to get back to the original value, but match those to about 1/4% if you do that.

Why? Parallel resistors allow two paths for electrons to take-- so acceptance of a pulsed transient is faster, cleaner and is much more complete as the pulse passes thru the system.

Downside? Parallel resistors must have absolutely equal lead-lengths, and must measure within 1/4% of each other.

What about the stock inductors? Leave them alone!

---Dennis---

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 21, 2012 at 23:13:47
RC Daniel
Audiophile

Posts: 1799
Location: Brisbane
Joined: November 3, 2002
Hi Jeff,

I'd really, really like to hear Dennis' stuff and more importantly meet you guys! Living in Australia makes it a challenge. I am helping someone based in New Jersey with a project... so perhaps I could make an excuse to visit then kick on from there? Unlikely, but let's see if I can get comfortable with the idea.

If not this year, then next.

Cheers.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryo Suzuki

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 21, 2012 at 23:28:43
RC Daniel
Audiophile

Posts: 1799
Location: Brisbane
Joined: November 3, 2002
Dennis, thank you for sharing those details. I have saved them and might just experiment with this in the future.

At this point I'd also like to thank you and Jeff for suggesting this driver. Your posts are in part what got me looking seriously into the GPA 604. After much investigation and procrastination I finally thought it the most suitable option for me. We will see.

The drivers and Rick Craig crossover have been received; the custom cabinet has been designed and the build is under way. I posted some details at the link below. There is not much expense being spared (within reason), though capacitors and wire are two areas I look forward to experimenting with. I will certainly try your suggestions.

Cheers.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryo Suzuki

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 24, 2012 at 02:34:23
Cleantimestream
Audiophile

Posts: 5995
Location: Kentucky
Joined: June 30, 2005
How did the 2A3 amp with the modified 91A circuit sound to you?

{2.8 microfarad oil cap in the input stage)
The Mind has No Firewall~ U.S. Army War College.

 

RE: Dennis, thanks for the clarification., posted on July 24, 2012 at 13:29:16
RC Daniel
Audiophile

Posts: 1799
Location: Brisbane
Joined: November 3, 2002
Thanks for asking!

Unfortunately I could not get the supplied layout to work to my liking, so I ended up pulling it down before completion. Since then work and domestic stuff have taken the majority of my time so have not rebuilt it yet. Hopefully I will have it done in the next month or so.

Will keep you updated!

Keep well.

Cheers.




"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryo Suzuki

 

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