IMHO, the 300B tube is more subtle and refined than the 845 tube. Used Wavelength Cardinal monoblocks would be in your stated price range. The Cardinal is an exceptionally good amp in most everyone's estimation.
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You can`t go wrong with either amp type. So very much depends on which particular brand/model. Within the genre of 300b amps there`s quite a bit of variation in terms of performance due to implementation,part quality, power supply,transformers etc. Same principle for the 845 amplifiers.Factor in different brands of the output tube for even more variables.
How sensitve and efficient is the speaker you`re drivung?A 845 tube outputs more power but a 300b may or may not sound better, it all depends. I`d say for 4000 dollars you`re likely to find 'more' choices of a quaility built 300b but if buying used you can find very good examples of both.
I use the Coincident Frankenstein MK II 300b SET 8 watts and it is superb. There`re other amps(like the Wavelength mentioned above) that I`m sure would make you quite satisfied. Jeff Day(Positive Feedback) loves the Sophia Electric 300b SET.It ultimately is amplifier-speaker matching.
Best of Luck,
I had an Art Audio Carissa Sig many yrs ago. I liked it a lot but much preferred their own 300b, the Symphony II which I still own although it sits idle more than it should.
I truly love a good 300b amp and think it offers more than an 845...BUT...so much depends on the speaker you plan on using with it. I don't know the impedance graph of your Dali (or even if you are planning to keep it), it may be that your CS would be the better amp for it.
Another amp you might consider is the Cary 805 AE. They (monoblocks) use 845's (or 211's) and the output tube is driven by a 300b. I like them more than the CS. I bought them to see if I could pull off the SET magic with my Magnepan 3.6's. Works for me. The other night I played Autumn Leaves from Patricia Barbers Nightclub CD and it was one of the most realistic presentations I've heard to date. The AE will probably be above the 4000 mark but past generations should fit your budget. Just look for one that uses a 300b for the driver.
For a 300b rec, you'd probably like their Symphony II. The Wavelengths are right up there and the Coincident Frankenstein would at the top of my list if I were looking. Good luck.
08-14-12: Mattzack2The MkII version of the Helicon 800 is specified as 89.5 db for a 2.83 volt input at 1 meter, with a 4 ohm nominal impedance. A point to keep in mind is that that means its efficiency is 3 db less (86.5 db) for a 1 watt input. That is because although 2.83 volts into 8 ohms corresponds to 1 watt, it corresponds to 2 watts into 4 ohms.
That assumes particular relevance with a tube amp, which will not increase its power capability significantly into low impedances, as a solid state amp would.
Also, if you may be interested in a higher powered push-pull 300B amp, rather than a low power SET amp, you may wish to consider the VAC Renaissance series (the 30/30 or 70/70 models, which are in your price range). Research posts by member "Raquel" for lots of good information about them.
Good luck in your search. Regards,
A P.S. to my previous post. Keep in mind also that many SET amps will not do well into a 4 ohm load, even apart from power capability/speaker efficiency considerations. The Franks, for instance, appear to only provide 8 ohm and 16 ohm output taps (Charles, correct me if I'm wrong).
My push-pull-parallel VAC Renaissance 70/70 MkIII, btw, has taps designated as "4 to 8 ohms," "2 to 4 ohms," and "1 to 2 ohms"!
Almarg makes a very good point.Mattzack2, as much as I admire my SET amplifier it`s not the 'ideal' choice for your Dali speaker. Al is right the Frankenstein does`nt have a 4 ohm transformer tap(8 and 16 ohms).The Frankenstein has an exceptionally stout power supply and premium over speced transformers. It`s asking a lot for this amp to drivr that speaker load and expect the best from the amp(or speaker) under these circumstances.
I agreed that the VAC REN amps are better suited for this Dali speaker and IMO would sound wonderful.As I mention in an earlier post amplifier-speaker matching is the key factor. To be clear I`ve driven 4 ohm speakers with my amp and it was a very good sound.I just believe the 300b push-pull VAC would handle lower loads even better yet(particularly with the lower sensitivity).
Mattzack2 if your speaker were more sensitive and had a higher ohms load I`d strongly recommend the Coincident Frankenstein without hesitation. For example my speaker is 94 db and has a 14 ohm load. the amplifier has complete control of this speaker and it just sings.
Mattzack2: I run a Jadis Defy 7 and also a Jota HC which is based on the 300BXLS tubes. The Jota puts out about 23 watts. It is a single ended design with a lot of the 300b SE magic. I think you should be able to score one for around $4,000. And it should drive your speakers I should think. The Defy 7 is 100 watts and I don't see a big difference in power performance when I switch back and forth.
Happy to hear your comments about the JOR!
Knowing this Jadis amp as I do, I feel it eclipses the vast majority of what's available. Still, let's give credit to Dynaco, as that's what it really is. Amazing how most have traditionally looked down upon the "lowly" MKII, MKIII, ST70, and MKIV products.
All things being equal, I, too, prefer the sound of the 300B to the 845. I will add the 211 does give up some things to the 845, but also generally sounds better to me.
Probably the best high-end audio system I've encountered was the Audio Federation set up at RMAF 2008 featuring the $100K Audio Note 300B units. Though I returned several times through the course of the weekend, it's obviously difficult to truly judge an amplifier in absolute terms at a show. Representative of Audio Note products, the system was as close to music as I've come across in high-end audio.
Still, my overall experience has convinced me the mostly underestimated/overlooked 2A3 is a superior tube to the 300B. Of course, for SET the 2A3 does not provide sufficient power, and in that configuration, the 300B clearly represents the better solution. But in a parallel singled-ended (PSE) or push-pull (PP) amplifier, I'll take the 2A3 pretty much every time. The 2A3 provides more weight and solidity, superior low-end response, and a surprisingly natural midrange that can sometimes come across as a sweet tonality in the best sense of the term.
Though rare, you might want to investigate the Deja Vu push-pull 2A3. It's about as good an amplifier as you can find, and will drive most loudspeakers of at least reasonable efficiency. My one and only sonic (buildwise, it's a bit on the unrefined/unpolished side) criticism is that I wish it provided a bit more sweetness ala tube rectification. But were it to do so, it would surely compromise its impressively stiff and taut low frequency response. Outside of the Deja Vu, and at lower cost, I've heard several other push-pull 2A3 amplifiers that impressed me greatly,
I really do enjoy open forum boards as there`s such a diversity of individual opinions and experiences discussed. I like the 45,2A3 and 300b tubes. Gordon Rankin(Wavelength Audio) has expressed his dislike of the 2A3 tube, he thinks it`s inferior to the 45 or 300b(I don`t agree). It all comes down to designer talent and implementation more so than what output tube is used. I`d like to hear a push-pull 2A3 amplfier(I`ve only have experienced SET versions). By the way, Wavelength does offer a 2A3 SET amplifier now so he`s likely found a 2A3 tube he considers acceptable.
Its been quite awhile since I started this post and I would like to pick it up again.
I'd like to try to find someone with a 300b amp that would like to swap with either an Art Audio Carissa Signature or Jadis Orchestra Reference for a month or two.
I had hoped for a Frankenstein but it may not work with my Dali 800 Helicons. I also own a pair of Gemme Tantos which are a little more sensitive than the Dalis.
I moved to Knoxville which does not have as many fellow audiophiles as Chicago, so I think this may be the best way for me to actually hear before I buy.