The list of possibilities is daunting and includes Audion, Audio Note, Border Patrol, Coincident, Deja Vu, etc. Best? Not sure that there is ever a best. However, I very much enjoy my Ancient Audio custom 300b SET amplifier with Takatsuki 300b tubes paired with my Zu Def 4s.
Not sure what your speakers are but you might look at Sophia Electra, they have a couple of versions of a stereo version as well as mono blocks, and a company called Japanese Triode has a nice set of mono blocks, the TRX-M300 .
Have to agree with Gsm18439(Gary). There are no shortage of worthy canidates in this realm. System matching and individual listening preference make it impossible to declare any of them the best. You can certainly say there are a variety of superb choices available.Those SETs listed above would qualify. Charles,
Charles1: I agree, the AirTight is hard to move away from. It's very dynamic - for a low-powered SET, and that's a hard-to-get-quality in such an amp - but I've always thought that it lacked a certain low-level nuance in the mids, some subtle harmonic complexity...[and which, I assume, is explained by the richness of the Mullard ECC83s, f91, goal post getters, that I have in my line and phono stages...]. I'm quite sure that it's not the Tamura transformers, so I assume its a designer bias...then again, maybe I'm just remembering what it sounded like years ago before I started working on it, because the GL B749s really made it come to life...then again, why should someone have to "work" on something if it possesses a given quality innately?
I've looked for an end-point speaker for five years now and am captivated by the LMs (formerly Quad US63s and ESP Concert Grands)....
OK, just realized that I'm WAY OFF thread - but, ya know, its hard to find anyone who knows the LMs...
OK, Edoit, if you must know. Cut to the quick: so, if you just can't quite choke down a pair of Shindo 300B Limiteds (with a loaded in pair of engraved base WE300Bs off of ebay at $7K), then you should maybe get a hold of Aldo via Deja Vu Audio and scrape up some WE171 output transformers and WE618B input transformers and beg him to do some magic with them...and if that doesn't work, maybe you should get a hold of Jeffrey Jackson at Experience Audio and see what he could cook up for you...
I own the LM755i's for over two years now and can wholeheartedly recommend them. I have a Shindo Masseto and Cortese that work wonderfully with them, but I also run my trusty old pair of Canary Audio CA-339's though them and they are fantastic, as well. Don't hesitate to hunt down a Canary amp. Build quality and sound are fantastic. Tremendously underrrated amp. They are push/pull 300B's, but I would dare anyone to tell me the difference. One caveat: the Canary's don't work perfectly with a Shindo pre since they have a lot of gain and no way to adjust for gain on the amps. The Shindo pre's (of which I used to own the Aurieges-L and now own the Masseto) don't get to get their volume knobs out of first gear with the Canaries. The LM 755i's need to be heard to be fully appreciated. Music just makes sense through them.
Edoit, Given the talent and track record of Ken Shindo I'd expect that amplifier to be wonderful sounding. With the other excellent choices mentioned here I find it very difficult to deem anyone of them "the top choice". How did/would you reach such a determination? Edoit how did the Shindo WE 300b sound to you in relation to other 300b SETs? Charles,
Seldom do you come across a gear which is actually "the best" in the world almost undisputed and when that happens it is a ethreal feeling. At least when it comes to 300B SET I know there is no better amp than the Wavac EC-300B. It is not among the best but the absolute top among 300B SET amps. I know I am sticking my neck out by proclaiming something so ridiculous but I can say this because I have heard all the top 300B SETs recently and that includes the top Audio Note, Shindo, Mastersound, Border Patrol, Audion, Line Magnetic (though it doesnt stand in this league exactly), Allnic, Trafomatic Audio, Yamamoto A09S and few more that I need to recollect. The Wavac not only beats them all but actually makes them all sound relatively ordinary. Steve Hoffman uses it as his all time reference 300B amp too. It is the most neutral, full range and accurate sounding 300B amp I have ever come across. Really if you can pull it off, go and listen to it, else don't.
Hi Pani, In another thread you were considering other amplifiers for your Tannoys. If it came to a choice, would you, 1.keep the Wavac and find another speaker that's more compatible, or 2. Keep the Tannoy and replace the Wavac? Or has this issue been resolved? Charles,
Hi Charles, If you read my previous post on this thread I have mentioned that the Wavac is the best ever "300B" SET that I know of and that too by a significant margin. I am still evaluating the Tannoys with the 10 watt Wavac. There are many wow moments which makes me wonder if I really should compromise quality for more watts.
All said one thing thats sunny clear to me is that 300B inherently has its own way of presenting music. Its midrange focus quite apparent. That is the reason why 300B is not a very suitable tube for Rock, pop, electronica music listeners. If I ever change from the Wavac I will probably move to a different tube altogether. Staying within the 300B realm I do not know if I can live with a different amp.
Hi Pani, I find the good 300b SET amps allow me to enjoy any genre of music. I'm primarily into jazz, big band and some classical music. However when I do play electronic Chicago blues or rock at home it is very satisfying and gets me very involved. I've concluded that it's really all about the amplifier and speaker match. My amp and speakers are made by the same builder so that's certainly an advantage(and short cut) for me. I share your thoughts on the fabulous midrange they provide. Personally the most nuanced, realistic tone and timbre I've ever experienced so far. Charles,
Pani, I happen to very much enjoy Rock and pop and heavy rock music on my 300b amp and speakers. The guitars drums vocals, etc simply jump out and grab me and take me on a wild room filling textured ride.
Rock with 300b's in the right system is deff a go!
Discussions like this sometimes ignore the individuality of products. Which 845 or 300b amp? There's is a hierarchy and some will be better than others no doubt. What speaker is being driven? Another huge variable to factor in. It's difficult to group all together and genaralize.
I don't know if this is how other tube types react since I have only heard 300b in my home, but with my 300b implementation the more complex and layered the rock music the more the layers of sound texture float into my listening space. Reverb and harmonics are intoxicating and rock guitars are loaded with harmonics so they are particularly beguiling. The louder I turn it up the better this music sounds. Before I decided to go with 300b tubes I was concerned if they could play all types of music. With my listening tastes and priorities 300b works well.
Jet, Our experiences are similar regarding 300b amps.My prior amplifier was a very good 100 watt(60 watt triode mode which I preferred) push pull class AB 6550/KT88.I wondered if the 8 watt SET 300b might let me down in some areas while excelling in others.It exceeded expectations(stunningly so) and the bigger push pull amp was retired long ago. Charles,
Edoit, I have thrown you off topic. Your original inquiry is to pair a Shindo pre with a cost no object 300b amp. Please hear the Shindo 300b amp with the Massetto. System synergy - at least that is a place to begin.
Edoit, I would first look at Shindo speakers and also Devore speakers. I have heard Devore speakers with Shindo electronics and it has always been a very musical experience. Some folks have paired Shindo electronics with Audio Note speakers. Do you have speakers already? If not, I might suggest you begin your system search by finding the speakers you love and building a system around them.
Charles 1 has had great success with an all Coincident system. Other have had success with all Audio Note system. Both of these companies make excellent speakers and 300b tube amps. Charles or others might comment on how they arrived at the speakers they fell in love with. For me I could have more than happily loved either Devore speakers or Audio Note. There are many speakers I have not heard as well that would work well with 8 to 10 watts.
There are many excellent choices and combinations available regarding SET amplifiers and appropriate efficient speakers. I love my Coincident system but I could replace it(although I won't) and start over and feel confident that other systems would be very pleasing as well. If you take your time and search there are great choices of brands is this very special genre. A brief list of speaker candidates, Trenner-Friedl Pharoah (and their RA Box model), Ocellia, Tonian Lab, Horning, Audiokinesis, Zu, Vaughn Audio, Audio Note UK, Coincident, Line Magnetic 755, there are a bunch more! High efficiency is definitely the way to go IMO. Charles,
I do not have speakers nor power amp at the moment, am building my system from shindo masseto pre amp.
Unfortunately where I am in Hong Kong, I do not have chance to audition many high efficiency speakers. I like Trenner & Friedl RA, but I'm not sure if shindo 300B SET can drive them well. Shindo seems to be optimized for high impedance, single driver or vintage speakers.
I could go either of 2 directions 1) go with shindo 300B and a single driver speaker I have not heard, like auditorium23 LM755 or solovox. 2) get trenner & friedl RA with 300B amp of another brand, am interested in Yamamoto and JC Verdier at the moment.
Edoit, The Trenner-Friedl was designed based on a 8 watt amplifier (300b SET?) they had in their possession at the time. I'd email them for more insight and their thoughts. You have many wonderful choices given that you're starting from scratch. This should be quite exciting and fun for you. The Shindo WE 300b has been used successfully driving the Devore Silver back, so theT- Friedl RA Box should be okay it would seem. Charles,
I've heard this up in Troy NY and thought it was fantastic. From the designs of Dr. Arthur Loesch and made by Tempo Electric. They are not a well known company but Joe, who builds the amps, is a fantastic builder. It's too bad they get very little attention in the press but it's a niche market I guess anyway.
Does anyone out there have any experience with these amps?
I recall reading about this amplifier several years ago. Knowing the esteemed reputation of the designer and builder I'd imagine that it is a superb SET amplifier. It's likely difficult to find these days unfortunately. There's so much high quality equipment in this special genre of High End Audio. Low power amplifiers of this caliber provide beautiful realism. Charles,
Here's another that I've heard driving a friend's Tannoy Edinburgh speakers with Cary SLP 98 preamp, Garrad 301 and BAT CDP. Really very transparent, to die for imaging, etc. Don Garber's Fi and Tempo Electric's products are hand made to order and built with the customer in mind. No advertisements!
If you are set on the Shindo pair-up (which would certainly be a route I would highly consider if I was loving the Shindo pre-amp "sound")...then I would audition the higher-end Auditorium 23 speaker lines that have the same US importer (I know you're in HK). Both US dealers that I have worked with (one is my "assigned" semi-local dealer and the other is in a location I travel to for vacation a lot) have strongly suggested the Hommage Cinemas with the Shindo gear--especially the "up-line" Shindo gear like the WE300bs. I haven't gotten to hear the Cinemas (or the best Shindo amps) but heard the less-expensive Hommage Ken's (named after Ken Shindo due to their arrangement to use his design). The German Auditorium 23 owner/designer was apparently tight with Ken and is/was also his German distributor, so from what I remember he voices all his speakers to pair up well with the Shindo lines.
Just offering that, as Auditorium 23 hadn't been mentioned here and the Shindo sound fans seem to advocate for the "system" as much or more than others I have heard/seen/read about. I'm a huge believer in system synergy so when it comes so highly and consistently recommended for a brand, I would consider hearing the combo before trying to match other high-end/high-efficiency speakers to Shindo.
All those speakers mentioned are excellent choices, but another wonderful choice would be Classic Audio T1.5 reference with field coil drivers. They are end game speakers with SET and OTL low watt amps, IMHO.
Ha, my bad...thought I had sorted by recent in my search for 300b threads! Hopefully someone else searching recently will get some value anyway. And Joe, agree on your Classic Audio recommendations...phenomenal speakers...while we're extending old threads...
oh BTW if any of you think that a 300b can touch a great 6c33c pair of monoblocks your just kidding yourself nothing can touch a LAMM or the quicksilver triode 6c33c at an price on any speaker period my personal fav is the QS Triode 6c 33c with horns or with anything else 50 watts of PERFECTION there are no weaknesses in these monoblocks THEY ARE THE WORLDS MOST PERFECT AMPS