New Western Electric 91E 300B Tube Integrated Amp REVIEW !


John Atkinson nails it! 1.8 wpc/8ohms@1% THD. 10wpc/8ohms@10% THD. Output impedance averaging 3ohms. For $15K you get a broken amp that will require a new pair of WE 300B tubes ($2400) sometime in the future. A waste of money!

Ken Micallef gives a positive review in his Stereophile article. I’m not a fan of the design aesthetics Western Electric used, but those 300B tubes look fantastic.

The Upscale Audio Youtube channel also has a review. 

SET 300B amps all measure dreadfully. But I must say that I was hoping for more from the WE amplifier.

However, I applaud the company's plan to expand the range of valves (as we say over here) that they plan to produce.

Besides the high distortion and low power and lousy frequency response into reactive loads(speakers) SET amps are inherently non-linear due to single ended topology. They compress the negative portion of a wave form relative to the positive side. And this can't be cured. It's due to single ended topology. Then again it's what produces the high second harmonics in an SET that many people love.

Always wanted to hear a Western Electric 300B amp.  They are supposed to be incredible with their 300B tubes. Having said that, I’d bet the 91E integrated is no slouch! I’m kind of surprised there’s a phono section in it.


Kevin Deal runs out of words when looking inside the amp. It's standard green circuit boards and ribbons. No big deal. All casework and meh. 

It is not a review from Uncle Kevin. It is a sales pitch just like any prima Luna video that he does. 

Yes, if it sounds anything like Prima Luna, it would be a major disappointment.  But, until I hear one, I will withhold judgment.  There is a lot of things being said by Western Electric that is suspicious.  They talk about the single ended 300b “sound” of the amp, but do not declare that it “is” a SET.  The circuit, which someone posted looks more like a shunt regulated pushpull variant than single ended.  There is a cap blocking dc current from flowing through the primary.  This accounts for why it can make do with puny transformers.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter what is the topology if does sound good.  On that front, I expect it to sound good because Western Electric, whose primary investment is in tube making, is staking a share of their reputation on this amp.

Wasn’t it JA that dismissed the first Cary 300b SE amp as “… a tone control. An unreliable one at that.” He did hook up his speakers (some sort of anniversary B&W monitor, silver something) eventually and was very impressed. He was quite confused about what he was hearing. 

For those who think specifications tell you all you need to know to determine whether an amp will sound good, amps like these willbe instantly rejected.  Who needs to trust their own lyin’ ears when there are stats to prove one amp is better than another?

Buy a nicely restored Dynaco ST70 for less than $1K and save yourself $14K! The ST70 will measure and sound better than the WE91. I have one!

Wow!  It would be a truly horrible amp if it sounds worse than a Dynaco ST70.  For the record I use to own one.

These are going to need an insanely efficient speaker--I don't run any 300b amps but the Lamm ML2 which can make more than enough power for my needs and sounds great at around 18 watts per chassis. I'm running a horn/hybrid that is nominally 104db efficient. Based on Atkinson's measurements this produces very little power at 8 ohms. What do other implementations of the 300b tube normally produce in terms of power?

@invalid ​​​​that @jasonbourne52 just like to crap on anything he cannot afford or is over $1500.00 he has never even listened to it. 

@jasonbourne52 :

Buy a nicely restored Dynaco ST70 for less than $1K and save yourself $14K! The ST70 will measure and sound better than the WE91. I have one!

How can you possibly know without having the WE91? Have you listened to it?


If you base your proclamation based on measurements, please provide a link to those measurements for both units.


The specifications for the WE 91 are in the linked stereophile review.  To me, the biggest concern is the 3 ohm source impedance of the amp which would mean frequency response effects based on the impedance of the speaker at each frequency (i.e. the response will vary because the speaker impedance changes with frequency).  The somewhat high harmonic distortion, even at low output is not that big a deal because it is common to a lot of tube amps and is primarily second order, which is harmless (maybe even part of the “rich” sound of tubes).

Those four words say it all to me. I saw the interview with the current owner of Western electric and I was very impressed with his detailed explanation of everything that happened from the day he took over.



snaptube vidmate

The classic Dennis Had-designed Cary 300B SETs, from back in the day, were capable of 9, 10, 11 watts; the one I owned drove my ProAc Response 2.5s to volumes I would never listen at.  So the JA measurements of output of the WE did give me some pause.  OTOH, I don't remember the reviewer reporting any problems.

i learned more about the reviewer than i did about the eq unde review.  no mention whatsoever ofthe phono stage sound or anything!

It would be great if the only ones able to comment in this thread were those that have actually HEARD the WE91 amp...  I did- in fact auditioned it- for an hour- and yes, it was well warmed up beforehand.  The looks are controversial, but ease of use was very good, and I thought the amp to be reasonably attractive in a 'modern' sort of way. 

As for the sonics, positives first- I was quite surprised by how tight the bass was for a 300B amp- very impressive; detail retrieval also quite good.  *However, it just didn't bring the magic I was hoping for.  I can't 'fault' it per se, but it just didn't bowl me over in any way.  I have heard much larger billowing staging from other top notch 300B amps, along with better depth and note decay. 

In summary, I walked away thinking it was a nice 'lifestyle' piece.  Someone might have this amp in their living room for dinner parties and guests would compliment the looks of it.  But as a serious take no prisoners performance piece?  No- just not enough there for me- maybe a solid '7', but at the asking price, there are many others I would choose instead.  


It is refreshing and very useful to get input from an actual listening experience of the Western Electric 300b amplifier. What speakers were paired with this amplifier? You are familiar with the Coincident Frankenstein 300b SET. With it as a reference point, how is the relative sound quality comparison between these two SETs? Comparison with a familiar component is useful to me for meaningful context.


@rick2000      There can only be one holy grail and on multiple occasions you have anointed the Grandinote Mach 36 as that speaker in no uncertain terms and quite recently to boot.

I'm sure they will be great , but they will be $100k plus a pair most likely 


I’m sure the new Western Electric speakers sound wonderful with their 300b amp, but there is no way my wife would let them in the house. I showed her the link you posted and the first thing she said was Dr. Who and then Exterminate.😆

The Western Electric 91E 300B will drive hard-to-drive speakers TOO and some do say this amp is ONE of the BEST...AT ANY PRICE 😃

Another review here.. 4 page review Really AMAZING REVIEW !😍