300B Amps - Are they really the best?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by zeitlos, Sep 3, 2022.

  1. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you for clarifying. Well, that‘s definitely not correct. :)

    But then again, I assume 8 and 10 probably isn‘t that much of a difference in the end.
     
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  2. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    You need to try them with high power amps - both tubes and solid state. You may like the result.
     
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  3. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Yes, maybe I will do this out of curiosity. You never know, even though I think the Simply Italy and the Max 2 are more or less a perfect match. But then again, it all breaks down to personal preferences and sometimes the unexpected is the one that works best :)

    You know, officially the Simply Italy has 12 Watt. So as they „calculate“ it‘s all good ;)
     
  4. Jim Hodgson

    Jim Hodgson Galvanically Isolated in Greenpoint

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    No doubt the 300B’s strengths are also its struggles. (No shame—this probably applies to many of us.) So, while I wouldn’t call my 300B amplifier my favorite, it’s the amp I listen to the most. There’s something so joyful and emotionally comforting about it that its flaws are easy to overlook. (Maybe too easy.)

    That said, I probably violate the 300B concept by preferring the vintage TJ mesh-plate (more like perforated-plate) 300B/n. That tube sounds more like a 7-watt 45 than a typical 300B, so we’re likely full circle back to the posts I quoted.

    I’d personally start with the premise that, so far as taking steps is concerned, a step away from a directly-heated triode would almost certainly be a step in the wrong direction. I know that’s arguable, maybe controversial, but you’ve got to start drawing lines somewhere.

    If you accept that premise, you’re actually left with very few options—maybe a dozen (that I can think of) outside the high-voltage transmitting realm. Here they are—with A1 output power in parens:

    2A3 (3.5)
    10 (1.6)
    12A (0.3)
    20 (0.1)
    31 (0.4)
    45 (2.0)
    46 (1.3)
    49 (0.2)
    50 (4.6)
    71A (0.8)
    300B (7.o)
    8o1 (3.8)

    (46 and 49 in italics because, while they’re not true triodes, they’re not really anything else either … and it would be a sin to leave them off a list like this.)


    When you surround the 300B with royalty, it’s hard (for me, anyway) to see it as a sonic standout. But practically speaking, I also don’t see more than a couple acceptable matches with a 96dB speaker. (And where are you going to find a good 50 amp?)

    Which leaves any potential step up a step into the high-voltage transmitting realm. There, output tubes like the 211, 805, 845, 849, and lots of others meet the DHT criterion—and commonly have thoriated tungsten filaments, which have special sonic merit IMO. But, higher power goes hand in hand with the fact that these tubes were never meant for home audio use. So, they have different prerequisites (mostly bravery and good air conditioning) when operated in the living room. It can be done, and I personally do it, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d get into because an Internet stranger thinks it’s a good idea. Not when you have a perfectly fine 300B amp already. Wouldn’t “do nothing, stay ahead” likely be the best course, here?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
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  5. P3ESRXD

    P3ESRXD Arnaud, still enjoying...with what I have

    Location:
    Montpellier France
    This Feliks Arioso 300B does interest me,
    found that it works with LS3/5a (Falcon) with 8Wpc not the same but 20th Anniversary model
    Feliks-Audio Arioso 300B SET – HiFi Knights

    [...
    Many loudspeakers of medium (in some cases even low) efficiency and with a flat impedance curve have a much better chance of performing really well driven by a SET than even those with higher efficiency, but with significant impedance drops. One of such fantastic combinations I experienced first hand, were the iconic LS 3/5A by Falcon Acoustics (the most faithful copies of the legendary BBC monitors currently manufactured), i.e. loudspeakers with an efficiency as low as 83 dB, but with an impedance of 15Ω (quite flat). These cute little „shoe boxes” driven with my 8W 300B SET presented absolutely amazing musical spectacles, although it is not to say that such setup was perfect for all kinds of music.
    ...
    ]

    interesting quote, as the Arioso was first to use 2A3 tubes

    "...
    I couldn’t help but wonder if this had something to do with the fact that the Arioso was originally a 2A3 design, later converted into a 300B one (obviously it was a much more complex process than just replacing output tubes)?
    ...
    "
     
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  6. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Best? Depends on the speaker and the kind of music you listen to.

    I've enjoyed the two 300B amps I've owned but - at least with most modern commercial speakers - I ended up with a PP pentode amplifier since I listen to a lot of rock 'n' roll. A single-ended pentode amplifier also has a certain quality that I like - super fast and able to image much like a SET. There is just something very natural about Class A amplifiers like SETs and SEPs and even SEULs.

    Now if I had the space for horns or other high efficiency speaker, I might change my mind!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
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  7. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    One of the reasons I went with a 300b is the variety of tubes available new, although in the end I went with the Western Electric. Also I didn’t want the heat or electric bill associated with large tubes like 211 or 845 .
     
  8. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    Can I ask you what wood that is on top? Should look amazing when finished.

    jeff
     
  9. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    The sides are figured or “curly” cherry and the front and rear are Pau Ferro or also called Bolivian Rosewood. It is what the chassis of my 300b in the above pics is made of. Will match amp exactly, it is from the same lot of lumber.
     
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  10. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    [​IMG]

    It will look like this when lacquered
     
  11. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Have you tried other models in the unison range

    .
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. JonathanKasper

    JonathanKasper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    What a stunning finish and design concept. Very unique and one of a kind. Love the craftsmanship!

     
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  13. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Thanks ! It really is special. The inside is built to the same standard. All point to point , no plastic at all inside. It is entirely hand made , the workmanship is first class throughout

    I can’t say enough good things about this amp , it sounds great , and more importantly it is dead silent . No hum or any mechanical noise at all.
     
  14. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    no, I haven’t. I know that they have more beautiful amps. The Preludio would be within my financial price range. Preludio
    But in comparison to my Simply Italy it lacks a biting punch. At least that’s what my dealer says (and normally he’s right). Don’t know whether the tubes used (KT88) share qualities with the 300b or whether they are completely different.
     
  15. NapaBob

    NapaBob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Napa Valley CA USA
    All true. But, they can sound magical. I have a 211-based amp that produces 27 watts/channel and sounds amazing. Says another Internet stranger.
     
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  16. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Location:
    Auckland, NZ.
    Hey, have you tried the Elrog 300B thoriated tungsten tubes, by any chance?
     
  17. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Probably the Feliks Arioso would be my first choice now. However, I would not buy such an expensive device without testing it in advance. That’s where the trouble begins, I suppose. Feliks only sell directly from their factory in Poland, no retailers involved. So basically no dealer one could ask for an amp go test at home. :(
     
  18. theflattire

    theflattire Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    Why don't you take on a kit?
    AudioNote kit, Elekit, and Bottlehead all make 300b kits for less than $3k us. As long as you got some soldering skills you should do fine. Even if you don't, maybe $300 to have someone put it together for you?
    The thing about tubes is there are so many variables for sound: tubes, iron, capacitors. They all sound different.
    I just rolled all the tubes in my 2A3 set from Electro Harmonix to NOS RCAs and the sound improved by let's call it 50%. Almost totally different.
    Nothing like having an amp you built yourself!
     
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  19. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    In this regard my skills are virtually not there ;) So I would have to find someone, you are right.
    The problem here again is that you again just hear what you get after you have bought it. But then again the price is substantially lower and one can still try to sell it if it doesn‘t work out. Maybe I should collect some information on those three brands and theirs kits first. How to decide which one to take? Just by the looks? Maybe I can find some reports on them.
    Thanks for raising it again!
     
  20. theflattire

    theflattire Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    Watch some youtube videos on how to solder!
    Seriously, SETs are the simplest circuits, that's why folks like them: least amount of stuff in the audio path. You can start off with a smaller kit, like a phono stage or head amp, just for fun and to get experience. It's not rocket science!
    AudioNotekit and Elekit have some PCB boards in there which make it easier, Bottlehead is point to point which I prefer.
    Of the three, I think AudioNotekit and Bottlehead are most complete; not really needing any upgrades. Elekit may need some upgrades (that's half the fun!) but they were reviewed I think in Stereophile or Absolute Sound and the reviews were great (I researched all of these before deciding to stay with 2A3s).
    Transcendent Sound also makes a 300b OTL (output transformer less) amp kit that is less than $2k US without tubes.
    There may have been a couple more I missed, but again I decided not to go 300b.
    Again, there's a sense of pride in having an amp you built yourself. Good luck!
     
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  21. zeitlos

    zeitlos Music was my first love Thread Starter

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you for your elaborated answer. Helps me a lot!

    Edit: Which amps would you recommend for 2A3? Maybe I should also take the chance to look at them as well.
     
  22. Old Shatterhand

    Old Shatterhand Teckel fool

    Location:
    Germany
    @zeitlos Have you received my two PMs @betreutes hören?
     
  23. theflattire

    theflattire Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    With your budget, 2A3 is wide open.
    My kit, Analog Ethos, is $1800 assembled, to something like Triode Labs which is around $4500. Upper end would be like Whammerdyne at $6k.
    Then you got everything in-between.
    Personally, my budget, I was looking at Bottlehead Stereomour kit (integrated), Monamours (mono blocks). I like the point to point stuff. Was also considering Elekit.
    Your budget, I would look hard at Triode Labs. I was also interested in Aricaudio, but that's at your limit.
    Do a search, there are other boutique type 2A3 SET builders out there, one in particular I was looking at but I forget his name.
    One of the reasons I went 2A3 is I already have one, and the tubes (maybe 7 different brands?) are a bit cheaper if you want to roll. 300b can be expensive; just look at the new Western Electrics or other NOS!
    The bad thing to consider is flea watt power.
    3.5 watts is all I need.
     
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  24. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    If you need more biting and punch - look at Line Magnetics 805. It has both in abundance.
     
  25. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Fortunately in the US Upscale Audio is a Feliks dealer with a good return policy. Would love to hear the Arioso. Twittering Machines described the amp pairing with DeVore O/96's as magical so it has me extremely curious. Although I'd also love to hear Decware's new 300b.

    Review: Feliks Audio Arioso 300B Integrated Amplifier - Twittering Machines
     

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