I like 'em both. But I love my 45s even better!
Much depends on the amp design that the tubes are in, but the 300B tends to be known to have plenty of bottom end and higher power at 8 watts, and the 2A3 is more famous for transparent detail with less power at about 4 watts. Triode freaks, like myself, find themselves going for lower and lower power, and more detail, delicacy, and transparency.
I find that the 45 is a great combination of "just enough power" to drive an efficient speaker, and give an awesome display of "thermionic coolosity" as Harvey(Dr. Gizmo) used to say. My 45 SE ZOTL is enough to make alot of people's jaws drop all the way to the floor.
TWL, you're such a showoff :-)
I echo his sentiments, my personal taste leaned to the 2A3's if you have the speaker for it. I had the Wright 2A3 mono's at one point, and they didn't give up much in "slam" capability to the 300B's I've heard ! But throughout the mids, 2A3's seemed more pure, clear. Smoother highs, maybe a little rolled off compared to 300B's, but I loved them still.
Still haven't got to hear a 45-based amp, though !
2A3 is a bit trickier to use but if your speakers are high efficient then the 2A3 will sound a lot better than the 300b.
When using triode tube, smaller(I mean power output) is better(better sounding).
Personally I'm using 245 triode for the mid/high of my bi-amp system. The 245 just blown the 2A3 and 300B(original WE 300B) away.
If you really go for the SE Triode thing, you should get yourself a pair of highest efficient speakers that you can get or build and then you can play with any triode tubes you like.
Twl above:"Much depends on the amp design that the tubes are in"
I agree with that.
Below is a comment by Lynn Olson that has cauesd me to experiment with the driver stage a bit. I think it is harder to put a finger on what exactly is causing a particular sound than is sometimes thought.
quote "My limited experience so far is that drivers actually contribute a stronger sonic signature than the output tubes, which are pretty transparent if driven by a low enough source impedance and low distortion.
Arthur Loesch tracked me down at the CES a few years ago, and as we chatted and toured the rooms at the Alexis Park, he mentioned that most DHT's sound alike - if driven by a low enough source impedance and a powerful driver with *lots* of current. It's when they are driven by feeble 5-8mA driver tubes that the characteristic 45, 2A3, 300B, or 845 signature appears. In other words, you'll get loads of that 300B sound if all you're using is an RC-coupled 6SN7."
end quote Lynn Olson
The guy is no fool. Something to consider anyway.
How about a choke-coupling from 6SN7 to 45?
With battery power, and ZOTL output from the 45s?
And DHT with 250kHz AC on the filaments?
Craig, I'm just teasing. I love this amp!
You guys are the only ones that I can share it with, because nobody else I know can even comprehend what I'm talking about with this amp. I hope you don't mind that I mention it from time to time, because I just need to share the joy that I am getting from it.
I'm a dealer, so beware! But I had to put my 2 cents worth in. My Sophia Princess 300 B uses a 6SL7,El-34,and 300B.Best I've heard yet, But I've not heard them all. So take it for what it's worth.
I prefer the 2A3 overall for classical such as string quartets, small scale orchestral and jazz; music that rarely utilize instruments where low frequency extension is required. While the 300B gives a better lower frequency extension and twice the power, the 2A3 is, to me, a more musical tube. All things being equal (which they never are), a 2A3 amp with my high gain preamp takes away the 300B's edge in power. That's why I use it over a 300B (though Twl has given me an interest in the 45).
Since my budget doesn't provide for a Berning custom designed and built amp (though I did buy twl's microZOTL for headphones when he parted with it for his new unit -thanks twl), I use an AES SE-1 which can use either 2a3 or 300b tubes. I much prefer the Sovtek 2a3 tubes over the Cetron 300b tubes that came with the unit. However, when I tried Sophia 300b tubes I had found the right tube for my system/taste. - The Cetrons seemed veiled, the Sovteks were magical (what mids), and the Sophias were clear, open, and well balanced. Each time I put the 2a3's in, I was immediately hooked on an emotional level with the music and I found it hard to remove them. I like them a lot. But for overall musical balance I prefer the Sophias.
I should add that my preamp is an AES AE-3. This means I have two 6SN7s in the preamp and three in the SE-1. What one chooses for these tubes has an enormous effect on the overall sound as well as the choice of power tubes.
Hi Bill, I suppose that you like those NOS Sylvania 6SN7 tubes in the Microzotl. You might try the same thing in your preamp and amp. I always thought that the Sylvanias were the best of the 6SN7 tube family. They will definitely make a difference.
A real nice inexpensive 300B is the JJ Tesla. They do real well for only about $100.