Matched Pairs of tubes are special order from Emission Labs. Typical delivery is within 2-4 weeks.
You must select the 20B or 20B V4. The 20B will have a UX4 type base while the 20B V4 will have and Octal Base and is used with balanced heaters.
For these tubes we use a very fine gold grid wire, with a gain of 21x for the 20A and 20B, and 32x for the 30B. It is recommended to use these tubes transformer or choke loaded. This is because you can use them at normal supply voltage then. Of course you can also use them resistor loaded, but then you need a supply voltage of 700V or more.
The 20A, 20B and 30A tubes are based on a very old principle, where high gain tubes have much wider Anode distance. This is still the ultimate way to make a very linear DHT high gain tube. Miniaturization has always been the enemy of tube linearity, specially with DHT. The 20A/20B/30A will outdo any small size tube. We encourage you to check the tube curves of any miniature tube, like 6SN7, ECC88 or ECC82, and you will see this series presented here is much superior. However this results of larger dimension tubes is a higher working voltage. For this reason, tubes like this were not made any more after 1935, when miniaturization of tubes started to become more important. With the new production tubes we make today, miniaturization is no requirement. So for high gain tubes, we can now focus on lowest possible distortion. We build these tubes again the original way, with wide Anodes.
This tube is one of the lowest distortion tubes ever build. Total distortion for small signal has been measured below 0,08% at 10 Volt Eff output signal, 400V Anode. The distortion will almost not increase at higher signal. Interestingly, when one DHT triode is driving another, a part of the distortion of the second tube will be eliminated by the first tube. This even harmonics cancellation appears only with triodes, and they must be similar tubes, like drive a 300B with one of the tubes of this series. Since Triodes produce very low uneven harmonics, canceling the overall distortion this way, is an amazing application of the 20B or 30B tube.
For lowest possible mechanical noise with (any) high gain DHT pre-amp tube, use high quality tube sockets that do not pass the chassis vibrations to the tube. Chassis vibrations can come directly from the mains transformer, or by air from the loudspeaker. The best sockets for this are probably the Yamamoto Teflon, because Teflon is a flexible material. Use tight fitting Teflon tube dampers such as the Duende Criatura. They make the best damper for the EML tubes. They can be fit very nicely on the tube top, or one on the top and one on the bottom
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