Tesla E83CC Gold Pin NOS - 1:1 to Telefunken ECC803S
 The one and only reference.
Special designation by Telefunken or TESLA for the FRAME GRID Version.
This is where the "S" comes from:
Sorry, for the English crowd, but it means not "selected" or "special",
it comes from the German word SPANNGITTER.
Invented by Telefunken. In English called "Frame Grid".
How little understanding there is about this, can be seen under tube manufacturers
who today sell you a ECC803S with normal grids.
By itself a ridiculous situation, but who cares, people need lower cost ECC803S,
so they just stamp it on the glass for you. They don't even bother to balance the tubes
within 15% as is a "must" for ECC803S. SO it is part number faking.
Also some frame grid ECC803S are made, but unbalanced,
and so they're inferior specified compared to the real TFK.
Well who cares... most of you don't even know.
If you can afford it, only TFK ECC803S TFK and TESLA E83CC are what you need.
All others are imitations.
Basically for HiFi purposes, a REAL ECC803S must show these things:
1. It is a FRAME GRID tube.
2. It has less than 15% plate current difference, clearly written in the datasheet. So they are "balanced" per definition.
3. 10k hours lifetime, clearly written in the datasheet.
You must be interested reading this, otherwise you would have clicked this boring text page away.
Let me explain here what a frame grid is, and what's so nice about it. Perhaps you have opened up an old radio tube, and removed the grids one by one. When you touched them with your thick fingers they were damaged. Specially the very fine ones. Well not so with a frame grid! With a normal (none-frame) grid, the grid wires are used to keep the grid bars in position, right? This may seem kind of natural, but there are other ways to do it. A non-frame grid needs a minimum diameter (=strength) of the grid wires. If they get too thin, the grid would get too sloppy. However for miniature high gain tubes, you need thinner than thin wires, and for high transconductance you need them closest to the cathode. Here is where frame grids come in. So they make first a FRAME from hard metal, mostly Molybdenum. The frame stays inside the mica. Around this frame the grid wires are wound. This method allows extremely thin grid wires. You will think: "So what?" Well.. for HIFI something very very nice comes in, and THIS is why people like frame grid tubes so much. Frame grid tubes have a very interesting kind of microphonics. Look at a guitar... the thin strings give the higher tones. And of course more tension makes the tone higher... and shorter strings have higher tones too. Now in a subminiature frame grid tube, like TFK or TESLA, all these things come together. The wires are so thin, and tension is so high, and they are so short, that they have a resonance frequency above 20.000 Hz. This makes when you knock on the Audio frame grid tubes like TFK ECC803S, you hear not "dingggggggg" as only any regular ECC83, but you hear only a dumb noise like "zmb" and that's it. The tube will never environmental noises, no matter of the gain is 100x. Once you experienced the difference, you will ask with any tube: "Is it a frame grid tube". Well unfortunately the answer is "No" with most of the tubes. And now you understand why I say, some manufacturers feed this hype with non-frame grid tubes.
So, to reduce the confusion, here is a nice overview of what is available. Always keep apart the CONSTRUCTION and the BRAND and the part number, as these are different things, and you CAN get confused easily. .
We are only interested in the construction here, not so much under which brand it was available, and not what great parr numbers they stamp on regular tubes. The brand is only on the outside, but the thing to find out what's inside is by looking into it.
First there is the Philips Long plate. As we say, the baby called "success" is claimed by many fathers. You see this tube on position 5 and 7. Because it's so successful, it is found in the family of Valvo, and SEL, and Siemens, and many more. Telefunken had a similar baby, but from their own production. These are on position 1 and 2. It's a good tube, but no frame grid.
The Telefunken ECC803S is a special tube. It is a FRAME GRID tube, in German called "Spanngitter". This is where the "S" comes from. The FRAME GRID allows extremely thin grid wire, and extremely small distance between grid and cathode. Besides the grid dimensions are very precise. Ideal to make a high gain miniature audio tube. Only making frame grids is not everybody's business, and so far I have seen this technology only at TFK and TESLA.
You can recognize the frame grid tubes by the typical shape of the plates, and of course by the frame grid. The plates of frame grid tubes reach go extremely close to the grid, and this is done by the "pit" you see stamped in the middle of the plates. So the plates are kind of boxed always, and there is a put in the middle. Look at position 3, this is the TESLA frame grid version. So it has those short, cubicle shaped plates. You think you see a large plate distance, which is not true. The real plate distance from parts of the plates in the middle which actually come every close to the grid.
Frame grid tubes are more precise, and more expensive. Normal grid can be made with thinnest wire of 100µ. Would you use thinner wire, you get unstable constructions. For manufacturing a frame grid tube, first a frame is made, and around the frame a 10µ wire can be wound. Note, that this is thinner than the human eye can see. First tine you open up an old frame grid tube, you need some adaptance, you only see a gray "foil" kind of layer. These are the wires actually which are too thin for you to see.
TFK ECC803S is the queen of high gain miniature triodes. Absolutely impossible to ever re-build it. Top class NOS Prices of those were 100€ in 1999, then soared to 200€ in 2004. Now, in 2009 they cost 500€ (or more). Just wait until someone pays 1000€ for one.
The TESLA (NOT JJ) E83CC frame grid tubes are the BEST you can buy, when you do not want to spend so much on Telefunken tubes.
These are fully identical construction, and on same level with the TELEFUNKEN ECC803S tubes that they are cloned from. Same kind of price race here, but on lower level.
JJ are low budged tubes, with all that belongs to that.
1. TFK ECC83 (Long Plate) NO FRAME GRID TUBE
2. TFK ECC83 (Long Plate) NO FRAME GRID TUBE
4. TESLA ECC803S (Long Plate) (32 = PRAGUE) NO FRAME GRID TUBE
5. VALVO E83CC RED SERIES (Long Plate) NO FRAME GRID TUBE
6. TFK ECC803S (Frame Grid)
7. VALVO E83CC NO FRAME GRID TUBE (Long Plate)
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Edited by dvb-projekt - 5/26/14 at 3:22am