Hi Ron. Consider the Shuguang Treasures. Neutral like the KR; but with a lower sound floor. They take forever to break in though; but reward you time after time along the way, and definitely sound insanely good right out of the box.
I never heard the Genelex 300B's; but heard the KT-88 reissues, so would guess you can't go too wrong with any their products, based on those gems.
Shuguang Treasures Black bottles and never look back
Best 300b I have heard in my system (KR 300b's,Electro Harmonix and TJ carbon meshplates).The KR300b are also very good but reliabilty was the issue I had with them.
I've been very happy with Black Treasure 300B's (and the 6CA7's), but I purchased a pair of Synergy/Create 300B's....these are very, very good also in my setup and just a bit different from the BT's. I think they are more linear, a bit more extended both at the top and bottom. Maybe not quite as warm in the mids but certainly not lean. I'm happy with both brands and can swap as the mood hits me!
Western Electric is my favorite.
Well here`s another vote for the Shuguang Black Treasure 300b. I`ts a wonderful sounding tube and reliable, I`ve used mine nearly every day for over a year and have had no problems at all. The TJ 300b SE is said to be an excellent tube also but I`ve no personal experience with it. These treasure tubes absolutely make my SET Frankenstein amp sing.
Do you actually think that Svetlana sounds a lot like the Western Electric 300B???
Take the EAT 300B on your shortlist. Dead quiet background (I use them in a system playing at very low levels with virtually no ambient noise around) and, referring to your problem with bias shifting, extremely stable over any period of time. Soundwise more "sober" than WE, I would say (but that is based on a comparison in different amps!)
The best way to explain the difference between the TJ's and the black bottles it that once you put the black bottles in the veil is lifted. Everything becomes more immediate. The bass carries more weight and the highs become both extended with the whole presentation becoming more resolved.They altered the sound of the Franks in such a way that my TJ's are collecting dust since I put them in (did take a while to break in).Eventually I may roll them in but only to hear the differences.
Shuguang Treasures Black bottles. They compare very favorably with EAT 300b and that says a lot. However, as has been mentioned they have a long burn-in time.
Anyone have experience with any of the Chinese E-Bay sellers of the Shuguang 300B-Z tubes?
I did`nt know you had compared the TJ 300bSE version I thought you have the carbon plate(non SE). The 6 moons review was a rave for the SE tube and they`re usally spot on with their reviewing. But I same as you just love the treasure tubes and hope others get a chance to hear them also. The eastern european(EML/EAT) have great reviews but are even more expensive than these premiun tubes from china.
Those ebay prices were tempting and I`ve read where others have purchase without any apparent problems. I remained conservative and bought the top tier versions from Grant Audio, more money but piece of mind ruled the day.
Tvad, be very careful! The tubes made for the local market are said to show unacceptable quality fluctuations (can't find the press coverage anymore but the measurements were flabbergasting). I was offered a "matched pair" for a nice price in Europe once, turned out the guy had actually bought a random lot ("matched", you bet) in Hongkong and was making a big profit on the sale, concealing their origin.
You are correct. My mistake as I do have the carbon plates and not the SE's.
Having heard quite a few 300b's in the Franks (both mine and others)I strongly prefer the black bottles.
Well here's yet another 'nother vote for the Shuguang Black Treasure 300B's.
These black powder marvels transformed a modest Grant Fidelity 3400 SET integ into a giant killer. The thing produces all of 8 watts Class A yet it drove a pair of Martin Logan Vista's, a challenging load, with ease.
Shuguang Black Treasures, I 3rd that emotion. Hands down the sexiest tube I've ever laid eyes on as well!
Still would like to hear from someone who has tried the newly availible Genelex PX300B...
I also have the Coincident Frank's 300b and I have tried around a dozen 300b's and my favorite is the KR 300b xls.
They are the test tube shape and they were made in the late 90's. The Frank's are amazing with these tubes ! I have a pair of Black Treasures, they sound good but they don't match the 300bxls frequency extremes, and the bass with the KR's is rock solid.
I am using Coincident Total Victory's IV speakers with a Supratek Cortese preamp and there is definately a synergy with these components.
The KR 300b tubes were always considered a good sounding tube, the problem was premature tube failure with poor company support. Perhaps your 1990s vintage tubes are of better quaility than current production. Where would one find these older tubes?
I bought these on Audiogon,about 6 months back,the seller bought them new and never used them.
I'm sure they were new because it took 200 hrs before they started to sound good.At 300 hours I stopped counting the hours and just enjoy them.
Keep your eyes open eventually everything shows up on Audiogon.
Those Kr's of yours are from another era when Kr was reliable. How do you know that they were from the late 90's?
I am not doubting they sound great.
I have the paperwork that has the serial numbers and the date of manufacture.
I'm at work now but if you want to know the exact date I can look tonight when I get home.
Don't take a risk with the KR 300B XLS and go out and purchase a pair of Emission Labs 300b XLS and don't look back!!
I was more interested in how I can confirm when the KR tubes were made should I come across a nos pair available.They really are magic with the Franks but I have, like you, been victim of newer production reliabilty.
I checked the date of manufacture, I was off a little.
The date is 5-3-2001 and 2-3-2001 , the test results on each tube are 99% the same.
YMMV but in my system they sound very good .
I'm sure your 300b tubes played a large part when Coincident developed the Frankensteins and their current speaker lineup.
I have a good idea how suberb your system must sound.
..the new sophia 'royal princess' 300B tubes are superb
Much praise has been wriiten about the Royal Princess. It seems it has serious competition in price and performance from the Takatsuki TA300b made in Japan.
I would love the opprotunuty to compare these two.
Are the Shuguang Black Treasure 300B tubes the same as the Psvane 300B-TII tubes out now?
Also all these different Shuguang tubes drive me nuts. I saw this one too.
Shuguang 300BS-B (replacing 300BA 300B-98B)
I'm hoping since some time has passed since this thread was updated people can share more of their thoughts on the 300B tubes out there.
Jedinite, I recently purchased a pair of Coincident Frankensteins and had an opportunity to audition the Psvane TIIs, Ts, and HiFi 300B tubes. The Ts and TIIs were substantially better than the HiFis, but the difference between the Ts and TIIs was not significant. I was offered the Ts at a discount relative to the TIIs, which was a no brainer. They were subtly different, but I didn't have a clear preference for either, so I went with the Ts based on price.
I was told both the Ts and TIIs were substantially better than the Shuguang Black Treasures.
How the Ts compare to the Sophia RP and Takatsuki 300Bs, I can't say. I asked a fellow whose opinion I respect and he advised sticking with the Ts, which surprised me, in view of the glowing praise you hear regarding the RPs and Takatsukis. Once one gets up to 1K and above for a pair, it gets to be a pretty expensive experiment.
Thanks for going into detail and explaining your experiences with the PSVane 300B T tubes. I was actually looking into the HiFi 300B tubes and the Shuguang Black Treasure tubes. I'll probably skip the HiFi 300B tubes now. The cheaper Sophia 300Bs interest me but am trying to figure things out what the differences sonically would be between the mesh plates and solid plates. I'm going to keep things under $500 per pair for 300B tubes.
These choices are difficult to make without actually hearing them in your own amplifier/system. It sounds like a cop out but there are ever present variables that determine final preference. In my SET I clearly preferred the Shuguang Black Treasure (BT) to the Sophia mesh princess 300b. Yet when Dick Olsher reviewed my amplifier in TAS he had the opposite impression (different system and of course, ears). I've been told that the Psvane Treasure is superior to the Shuguang BT. If so then the Psvane is very good and would rrepresent very good value. Makes me wonder how good the Psvane W.E. Replica 300b must be.
Jedinite, no problem. An opportunity to audition a few good burned in 300Bs in a pair of amps you are about to buy is an opportunity to "treasure."
Charles, I envy you. You are only wondering about the Psvane WE replicas. I'm wondering about those, plus the Sophia RPs and your Takatsukis. Not to mention some telefunken 6922s I'm salivating over for my ModWright sony.
I now live just minutes away from the old WE plant. Oh, if only one could go back in time. Just think what one could have done in 1960 with 5K to invest in tubes.
As a boy back in OHIO, I had the pleasure of accompanying my Dad to a local electronics store, and remember well all the cool looking McIntosh and Marantz stuff, with tubes aglow every way one turned. Dad loved to buy tubes. Wish he had held on to a few of his rejects. Well, he did hold on to me, so I guess there is that!
Keep in mind your Psvane Treasure 300b is no slouch by any standard. Three current production tubes I've heard in the Frankenstein that I'd consider premium level are,
Takatsuki TA, Sophia Royal Princess and the EML XLS.
The AVVT SL 32B is premium level but isn't current production (and rare to find used). Where does the W.E.Replica 300b fit in? Could be very good given other Replicas I've heard (101D and the 845).
Charles, If I read a review of the WE replicas that suggested they were really in the same league as the originals, that would probably provoke a response. For now, I'm going to hold my cards on 300Bs. BTW, closing is scheduled for the house in TN and the one in Indy is on the market. Once the red clay dust is settled, and I've hiked about 10 lbs of lard off of my gut, I'll revisit the 300B question. I'm enjoying a euphoria of a different flavor right now. My feet are twitching for a good long hike!
I know you and your wife are going to enjoy your new home and the beautiful TN. location, getting rid of lard is a good thing LOL. No need to rush concerning the 300b tubes swapping, you have excellent sound as it is.
I have the EML 300bXLS and 300b Sophia Mesh and enjoy them both for different reasons. The mesh do crazy textural audio tricks in my room which makes for just plain fun psychedelic listening, and the EML's sound more powerful more linear and accurate. The EMLs are my go to tubes and if I had to choose one they would be it but glad to have both.
Charles and I have totally different equipment, but similar experiences with 300b tubes. I prefer the Takatsukis over the Royal Princes and think that both totally outclass the Shuguang BTs. I have not heard the Psvane Treasures that by all reports seem to be better than the Shuguangs. And I have not heard the EML mesh plates that Charles says are competitive with the Takatsukis and Royal Princess. I keep looking for a review of the WE replicas, but have not seen one. While I might be curious as to how they would sound, I am totally content with the Takatsukis. So much so that I bought a back-up pair. I know, crazy. My experience with SET amps is that the tube selection affects the sound a lot.
Yes, I have to agree with you, depending on the 300b I can significantly
alter the sound of my SET amplifier. It makes sense when think about it
however. Very simple and direct circuits with a low number of parts used.
Each 300b is exposed virtually bare to reveal its sonic characteristics. I've
been fortunate enough to have heard 10 different models of the 300b and
everyone of them changed the amplier's sound noticeably. This is a
testament to the innate transparency of a good SET circuit, pure and
natural. Gary, you having a back up Takatsuki pair makes perfect sense to
me. I'm listening to my Takatsuki as I'm typing this. I rotate them and my
EML XLS every 3 or 4 weeks.
There are obvious problems associated with execution of the following proposal, but it almost seems as if there could be a huge demand for a vacuum tube lending library, or perhaps a tube co-op. I'd be willing to spend 1-2K on a pair of 300Bs, but I would certainly like to have assurance that I have invested in the tube that I found most satisfactory. I know some of you have a couple of flavors that you retain and use on a regular basis, but not many people are going to pony up for a pair of NOS WEs, an EML, Sophia RP, a WE replica, etc, just to run the experiment.
Brownsfan: What you say makes sense. Especially a lending library. It would be great to be able to try a tube before buying a pair or a quad. Especially at today's prices for top-notch 300b.
Of the 10 different 300bs I've heard in my system, 5 of them were graciously loaned to me from fellow (trusting) audiogon members. There are good folks on this site. Bill, your idea is a good one, it's hard to know if you'll like something without actually hearing it yourself. Other's opinions only go so far even if their taste are similar.
I once asked the US distributor/seller of Takatsuki if I could borrow a pair to try. He laughed at me.
GSM, I'm not surprised. It is hard to think that one could operate a business that way, but a consortium of trusting and trustworthy gentlemen might be feasible, provided the proper safeguards are built in. I suggest we all let this idea simmer on low for a while. There may be a kernel of a good idea here. Charles is right, there are indeed some excellent folks on this site. I could see a number of ways this might work. Tube time-sharing, anyone? The League of Extraordinary Tubes? Triodes R Us? The Brothers Kinklesstriode?
Triodes R Us. That I like !
If the US representative of Takatsuki had offered a demo 300b pair to "try," I would have bought my tubes from the US distributor rather than sourcing them from Japan.
I suspect that each of us has tubes that we do not use. For example, I have a new pair of EAT300b that I would be willing to contribute to a co-op venture. I wonder if manufacturers/distributors would be interested as well.
Charles, I would have pegged you for a Brothers K. kind of guy.
That works for me as well.
Anyone heard anything lately about release of the Elrog 300b tube?
I just want add this extensive tube roll test of a good amount 300B tubes done by the late Ian Grant of Grant Fidelity for everyone to review. http://grantfidelity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=281
He covers a lot of 300B tubes so I hope this helps everyone.
Also I want to say Thanks again to Brownsfan and Charles for their input on the 300B tubes. I'm going to enjoy the stock Electro Harmonix 300B tubes in my Bottlehead BeePre preamp for now and then I'll start the tube rolling madness. 300B tubes can be really pricey and I want to avoid the buy try and re-sell at a loss cycle that I've gone through in the past. I do wish there was a 300B lending library but what can you do.