Photo by Tom Moberly.

EL84

  • NOS electrical specs (Philips Data Handbook)
  • Classification by construction: “A.F. Output Pentode”
  • Filament volts: 6.3 V
  • Filament current: 0.76 A
  • Max plate volts and watts: 300 V, 12 W
  • Max screen volts and watts: 300 V, 2 W

Another early 1950s creation from the Netherlands, the EL84 was probably designed for affordability, and it helped make hi-fi stereo systems more accessible to the masses. The EL84 is commonly associated with the British sound of Vox amps. Its almost beam-like focus is bright and clear, with lots of top-end sparkle transitioning easily into tight overdrive distortion. The Beatles cut a deal with Vox in 1962, forever identifying the AC30 and its four EL84 power tubes with the early British Invasion sound.


A 1960s gray panel Vox AC30 Top Boost—the EL84 is commonly associated with the British sound of Vox amps. Its almost beam-like focus is bright and clear, with lots of top-end sparkle transitioning easily into tight overdrive distortion. Photo courtesy of Tim Mullally and Dave's Guitar Shop.

The American designation for the EL84 is 6BQ5. Some 6BQ5 versions use a beam power construction instead of a true pentode one. There is no significant tonal difference between the 6BQ5 and the EL84. Many brands are labeled with both American and European designations (i.e., 6BQ5/EL84).