You omitted the speaker's you're using which is a huge part of the synergy.
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sorry to disappoint you with truth and reality
my experience with these output tubes only spans the following amps over 30 years:
music reference rm9ii
vac pa 90c
primaluna dialog prem hp
cary 300b sei
vac ren 30/30
vac ren 70/70
audion silver night se
wavelength cardinal xs
but i have no idea what the hell i am talking about... and you don’t even mention what speakers you are driving... seriously???
oh yes, 300b’s are always much better -- always
I’[m using a Willsenton 35i. Same outfit that makes the R8 which was well reviewed. I believe that both are made by Zhuhai also DBA Spark. Seems to be very well made.
They also have a couple of 300B models which I thought I might like better than the EL34.
My hobby is to get the best sound I can for the money invested. I have also built amps but I'm not in a situation where I can do that right now.
i don’t know those chinese willsenton amps but i think many of those new chinese brands sold direct are knock offs of primaluna designs... so they will perform pretty well, so long as they didn’t cheap out on the output transformers... i think you know with a tube amp you are hearing the output trannies as much as the power tubes driving - transformer quality is very very important
does the willsenton amp have a triode/ultra linear switch (like the primaluna’s do)? if so you will get a glimpse of what 300b’s will sound like -- more spatial cues, but less drive, a bit sweeter midrange, softer bass, more rolled off high treble if your amp can run in triode mode
your tektons are 4 ohm stated impedance even though they are quite high efficiency... that raises a red flag for me... can a 300b amp control the bass? they are less powerful for sure - so depends on your room and listening volume
other thing i would say is that chinese amps come with chinese el34’s (obviously)... they are the brightest (treble-centric) el34’s currently made imo (shuguangs)... so to alter the sound profile you might try a set of russian el34’s which will give you more body and less sizzle - the tektons are tuned to be very alive, so using the amp you have to ’round off’ the sound a bit through tube rolling the input and output tubes could well be more cost effective than going with a 300b amp...
I’ve never understood the Tekton formula of 4ohm speakers with higher than average sensitivity. I suppose it allows you to be reasonably compatible with a large number of amps but not gorgeously compatible with anything in the lower power SET/300B realm. Perhaps Tekton has some models that are 10ohm+ which would be a far better fit for an 8W 300B amp for example.
The amp can run in triode mode. I will spend more time listening to it in that mode.
I have put in a set of reissue Mallard EL34s and that made an "across the board" improvement. I also put in a set of Tung-Sol black glass 12AU7s with similar improvements. So far I have not replaced the 12AX7s but I will receive a pair of Genelex Gold Lion gold pin ECC83 tomorrow.
I also have ordered some RCA clear top 12AU7s and a set of GE 5751 black plates. I got all of these quite inexpensively so it should be interesting to try them.
i think you are headed in a good direction chinook
i think a 300b amp will have a hard time with controlling the bass drivers of your tektons, unless you have a small room and or listen at low volumes
black plate rca’s will be smooth... clear top side getter rca au7 or ax7’s are known to be hot in the treble (5751’s are just a lower gain variant of the 12ax7, no big deal)... note which tubes in your amp are the input stage tubes... those are ones that will dominate the sound character... much moreso than the driver stage tubes feeding into the power tubes
good luck have fun
@chinnook9 Sensitivity is 2.83 volts/1 meter. Since your Tekton is 4 ohms, that means that 2.83Volts is 2 watts. In turn this means that the efficiency is actually 92dB. That is a medium efficiency and far too low to hear what a 300b amp is all about unless you have 4 power tubes (in push-pull) per channel. A lot depends on the room of course; I'm assuming an average size room maybe 17'x21' or so.
Put another way, you need about 60-100 watts in most rooms. I'm a big fan of triodes but most 300b amps are SETs and simply won't make the power. Another issue is that any SET that does make the power stands a very real risk of having less bandwidth than your speakers.
Atmasphere is spot on regarding sensitivity. Check out the SPL rating of every Tekton speaker conducted by Stereophile. They always show a noticeable reduction in the actual SPL rating vs. reported.
This doesn't make the speakers bad in any way, it just means you need a bit more oomph to drive them. I am not sure you need 60-100 watts for music listening. In most rooms 50w will deliver 105dB of output and 25dB will give you 102 dB at 10' from the listening position.
I don't think a 300B SET will deliver what you are looking for. A 300B parallel SET delivering 16 to 18w might be enough but that is cutting it close with 100dB of output. I think some higher powere SETs using 520Bs, 845s or ever 1605s will get you the output you need. THe 520B and 1605 will be closer to a 300B while an 845 is just more linear and is not going to be your liking most likely.
The thing about SETs is that if you really want to hear what they are all about, you will want to use a speaker that is efficient enough that the amp is never run past about 20% of full power. Otherwise the amp will take on a 'dynamic' character caused by higher ordered harmonic distortion masquerading as 'dynamics'.