My experience has been the bigger the tube the bigger the sound......
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Hi Johnk, Thanks. I'm thinking about Cornwall II speakers; I thought i might need the power, including the headroom, of a 300B for the Cornwalls (but if I don't need the power, I could move to a 2A# or a 45 - depending on what is needed to drive the speakers. In general, I'm hearing/reading that the 45 is the ticket if you don't need more power; if you do then the 2A3 is up to bat; if that doesn't do it, then the 300B is the next choice. If this is the wrong approach, I'm open to a better approach. Also, to answer your question, the Sophia Mesh Plates get pretty good reviews; in fact, some people who like the Jeff Korneff amp (almost everyone seems to agree it's a good amp) think the Sophia 45 Mesh Plates are superior to the well regarded EML 45 tubes; so I figured if I need a 300B (which is still TBD) and Sophia makes good tubes, why not a Sophia 300B amp? But if you have amps you like better for the same or less price, either among the 45s, or the 300Bs, (or even the 2A3s), I'm open to suggestions. Right now, the Cornwalls are more likely to be the constant and the amp and tubes are open to discussion. I'm still trying to figure out what sonic differences one could expect to hear between the Sophia 300B amp (or another comparably priced 300B amp) and the Jeff Korneff 45 amp - assuming the 45 power is sufficient (which it might or might not be). Thanks for any advice.
By now I suspect that you've made your decision to go w/the 300b or the 45's.
In general, what I have read in many forums and by talking to very knowledgeable people, 45s are the holy grail of the SET's.
I spent most of my audio life in SSland, until I heard tubes. My first tube amp was KT88 based, then I went to 845's because I wanted SET but my speakers were only 90 db efficient.
Yet, I still craved midrange magic and was introduced to BLHs made by johnk in this forum. Ahhh, that single driver and horn combo @ 98db efficiency is hard to beat. Yet, I wanted more and figured that the BLH speakers could deliver. johnk shared w/me that a number of his BLH users were employing Jeff Korneff's 45 SET amp with great success.
Whithout hesitation I plunged in and replaced my 845 amp with a Korneff 45 SEi integrated amp. Best audio decision I ever made. I'll put it in my will to be buried w/this amp.
Very liquid and detailed. In a word, refined. If you are looking for power, with the right speakers 2 watts can make the walls rattle. I am using mine in a room that is 20 x 30 and have more than plenty sound. Aside from the magical sound, dealing with Jeff Korneff is a distinctive pleasure. I dealt with the folks at Sofia and their practices are worlds apart.
I can't tell you how the Korneff 45 compares to the 300b since I never did that one on one comparison. All I can tell you is that you can't go wrong with the Korneff, and if you need service, your manufacturer is in Pittsburgh which is a lot closer than China.
This all depends on what you want sonically. I am a convert to the 45 tube (EML mesh in flavor). After trying a hand full of well received 300b amps, and if you can use a small 2watt amp, I think ultimately the 45 is the finest I have heard.
There is the hybrid Tom Evans Linear A or B which is a powerful SET that I feel is very close to a well done 45 amp in its transparency and naturalness but has lots of power.
After having a 45 then going back to a 300b, I found the 300b to be course, slightly unresolved and less natural in comparison. There is something about the bloated nature of the 300b which is fun for a while, but I found the 45 removed thoughts of hifi. Bare in mind my speakers are 109db/watt sensitive, but I think if you have 100db or so speakers you will be fine with the 45.
I was under the impression the Tome Evans Linear was a single ended amp. In fact I would go as far as saying he said it himself to me himself on the phone. But I will not argue the point and I bow to your knowledge of such things. I have no axe to grind.
The Tom Evans is still one of the finer amps I have had. I doubt many would dislike it apart from its bread bin appearance. It has the noise floor and speed of an ICE power amp, but with harmonic textures left in tact. I believe there is a special edition finish which is better looking if that matters to you.
I can say my 45 amp is an SET ;)
The 45 is one of the best sounding SET tubes. It is partially because the tube is very linear and possibly because it is much easier to build wide-bandwidth output transformers for low-power SET.
A 300B - almost any - with some somewhat thicker, slower, and less extended than a good 45. And the Korneff amp is one of the very best. I have not heard better. I prefer it ultimately to the Yamamoto.
This may not be quite true for extremely expensive 300B SET amps. Certainly you will need to spend much more money to get the transparency, speed, and extension the 45 will give you.
However, while a 45 will play your speakers quite well, at loud volumes it will suffer dynamically in comparison.
Still, I'd go with the 45. I've had K-horns and Fortes.
thanks for clearing it up. It is quite possible I misunderstood what Tom was saying. But what I did take from the conversation with him was the way the tubes are implemented was quite novel. A nice chap and fabulous amp.
To get back on message I would agree with Paulfolbrecht. I have tried and heard some very expensive 300B amps and I would still go as far to say that a good 45 prevails in terms of naturalness and extension. I have a modded Yamamoto A08s with EML tubes, and I spent time with Welbourne Labs star chief.
With a 300B (and I have had the 300B XLS in KR amps along with the usual 300B Audio note amps etc) my Trios demonstrated amazing and impressive dynamic contrast and weight, but somehow it always brought attention to itself. I found that 300B thickness masked important information.
The 45 amps I have tried just seemed to get out of the way and still had enough contrast and weight with superior PRAT. Maybe not quite as pumped up. This will always be system dependent and down to your personal taste. Again ultimately either path you choose will be fine and hopefully you will be listening to music not your hifi. Just make sure you get some good modern tubes whichever way you go.
Bill, a minor point, but it is not true that a SET "by definition uses one output tube per channel". Single-ended-triode: single-ended topology and triode output devices. No assumption is implied on the number of output devices. A parallel output triode amp using single-ended topology is SET. In other words a parallel SET is SET.
A lot will depend on your personal tastes. I currently own 45,2A3,300B and GM70 SET amps and enjoy each with different types of music. There are times I really want the warm, liquid tone of a 300B. Likewise, for large orchestral recordings the GM70 is hard to beat. The 45 is an excellent tube but the others have their magic as well. It would be tough for me to live with one SET across all musical genres.
>>A single-ended triode (SET) vacuum tube electronic amplifier uses a single triode to produce an output...............<<
The same or similiar definition can be found in a number of other reference documents.
A parallel output triode amp using single-ended topology is abbreviated as PSET; it is not a true SET
I hope that helps.
Others do disagree, and if one looks at the name literally, there is nothing at all that speaks about number of output devices.
Single-ended, and triode. Period.
The thing is many people do not seem to understand what single-ended means - they assume it means "one output device" when, of course, it means nothing of the sort, and has nothing to do with the number of output devices.
I am sure you are aware of that.
Well, Hi_hifi, it has been almost two and a half years since I posted on this thread, and I for one, would be curious to know which way did you go? 300b or 45's. If you read this please send a response.
By the way, I still have my Jeff Korneff 45SEi, which gets a lot of play time and I have not had a good reason to replace the National Unions 45 I got it with. Some day, $$ permitting, I'd love to try the EML mesh 45's.
A year and a half ago I replaced the Fostex drivers on my BLH's with Audio Nirvana's Super 8 Cast Frames. The dynamics, instrument separation and soundstage, especially for their meager price are unreal.
Here is my thoughts I had a Sophia Electric 300B dual mono amp for about 4 years loved it, very lush and relaxing sound did most everything good. Now comparing it to my Korneff 45/EML solid plate tubes just can't be done!!!
There is a huge difference in sound between the two, the 45 is a much more linerer tube and just cleaner sounding in every aspect. Kinda night and day difference...