The Ideal Tubes For This 45 Amplifier

Emission Labs 45 Solid Plate or Mesh Tube Pair

If you’re into a more hallucinogenic tone color with heightened contrast (image pop) the mesh EML45 plate tube will be tube you might like the best. However, its a bit looser all around, fluffier and a tad more voluptuous than the solid plate version. This makes the bass registers less damped.

The solid plate is the more even and linear tube and is excellent, especially for rhythmically convoluted and hard-hitting large scale music If you are a musician and appreciate timbre and the correctness of your sound quality, then the solid plate are the way to go (without a doubt). They are my preference even though I appreciate the mesh plate tubes. I own both.

The mesh plates highlight unexpected elements of your sonic mix and are the “trippier” valve of the two. Both are good and either could satisfy anyone who owns them. Which one should you purchase? My advice is to own both so you can change tube style depending upon your mood. If you can only own one, then chose the solid plate version.

Grant Fidelity Treasure Globe 6SN7SE Tube Pair

This 6SN7 type tube is the most linear I’ve heard and beats any of the NOS 6SN7 tubes that I have used. However, your 45 tube amp needs to be really good to use them. When I used these in the Alan Eaton 45 (a really excellent sounding amplifier particularly at its low cost) this tube did not work at all. It sounded terrible. One of the best tubes for Alan’s amp was the regular RCA 6SN7GT tubes that Alan also likes in his amps (not the “narrow gap” tube that I like instead below).

When I put these Treasure Globe tubes in my upgraded amplifier (the same circuit that Alan uses in his low cost alternative) they ended up being one of the best of all tubes I tried. That tells me that this tube is excellent but requires superb quality parts and a really great circuit. The circuit design for this amplifier is excellent and now the parts quality is top notch and its the combination of both that makes this amp superb. You simply cannot do better. However, you can shift and change the tone depending upon your listening room, your speakers, and your personal preferences by changing your pair of 6SN7 tubes.

My recommendation is not to use these “tennis ball” tubes but rather to purchase a pair of NOS RCA “narrow gap” 6SN7GTB tubes and use those instead. The “narrow gap” was only made for a couple of years and those tubes sound extremely similar to the $400 Grant Fidelity tennis ball style tube listed above. The big difference is that the treble is much easier to listen to and doesn’t initially appear to be much different, just “less in your face”. The NOS RCA “narrow gaps” cost around $140 a matched pair and the tennis ball new production tubes that are similar cost around $400 a matched pair. Just based on cost and ease of listening, I’d chose the NOS RCA “narrow gap” tubes over the much more expensive “tennis ball” style tubes. The “narrow gap” are the ones I use in my amp even though I also own the Treasure Globe tubes. Whenever I compare the two, I put the globe tennis ball tubes in and marvel at how good they sound. Then when I move around and play different music material, I find that they are “too revealing” and too “in your face” and I always retreat back to my NOS RCA “narrow gap” tubes. When this amp has over 100 hours of play time, I’ll try this comparison again. However, for now, I highly recommend that you try to find a pair of NOS RCA “narrow gap” tube for your amp. You will not be disappointed.


NOS RCA "Narrow Gap" 6SN7 Tubes
NOS Mullard (Miniwatt) GZ34 Metal Base Rectifier Tube

This rectifier is now my favorite in this amp. I’ve tried many other rectifier tubes including the Sophia Aqua 274B and this one is the absolute best by a long shot. Yes, its rare and yes, its expensive but worth it at the level my 45 tube amp is at.

With the EML solid plate pair, the NOS RCA “narrow gap” pair, and this NOS Mullard GZ34 metal base tube, you’ll love the sound quality that I can get out of this amp. Its the absolute best I’ve ever heard.