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300B toobs ?


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I was just @ http://www.sophiaelectric.com/ and noticed they had a new 300B meshplate. I have read many favorable reviews of their other 300b tubes and was curious if any forum members here had heard these tubes and if so how do they feel they stack up against other 300b tubes. I've only heard some sovteks and the JJ's which I currently own. The western electrics always get good reviews but the $800 a pair price tag seems abit high. I tend to trust the end user rather than the reviewer but thats just me and so far I have been steered in the right direction.

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I wish I knew, but since I'm new to 300Bs myself, all I've ever heard thus far are my new Chinese made Shuguang 300BC graphite anode output tubes (they sound pretty good to me).

An extensive amount of threads have been written on all types of 300Bs on AudioKarma.org audio forums (under "Tubes")...I'm sure you'd find the answers to your Sophia question (and much more) there. Great bunch of audiophiles who love tubes and horns!

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By far, the 1st watt (0.005 to 1.000 watt) is the most important with super- sensitive big ole horns. Look for the simplest, naturally distortion free (no negative feedback) amplifier. A direct heated amplifier typically uses 45, 2A3 and 300B tubes.

Many audiophiles prefer the SE amplifier, even though it has relatively high levels of even-order distortion. Most 300B high-end amplifiers are SE. Negative feedback, which can be used to decrease the distortion of an amplifier, is felt by some people to sound inferior. Most SE amps have no feedback.

A single ended (SE) amp though, is very limited. SE amplifiers with simple three-elements (triode) are SETs (SE triode amplifiers). They are low powered; most below 10 watts. A few are 40-100 watts, but are generally expensive. Normal tube amplifiers are usually used with the 805, 2A3, or the 300B output tube. One tube is used in the output stage. For many people there is no going back to push-pull designed amps after hearing a SET. You do limit the choice of speakers if you choose to go the SET route. The best speakers for SET amps are generally very sensitive speakers with flat impedance over 8 ohms. That is why big ole horns are good candidates for use with SET amplifiers. HORNS love tubes.

Each type of tube has its own unique construction (triode, pentode, etc.), power output and sound. 45s are typically about 1.5 watts, 2A3s about 3.5, EL34s about 10 to 30 watts, 300B are among the most powerful tubes.

Compared to the flea power of the 2A3 tube, the more powerful 300B tubes will give you some of the "oomph" needed to drive the upper bass area. They are popular with cone loudspeakers. If you have an SS powered sub-woofer, that will really help with the mid and low bass.

With a very few exceptions, most of the tube types in use today were developed in the 1950s or 1960s. One exception is the 300B triode, which was first introduced by Western Electric in 1935. Svetlana's SV300B version, plus many other brands, continues to be very popular with tweaking audiophile around the world.

Low-mu triodes like the SV300B have very low distortion and are used in high-end audio amplifiers, while high-mu triodes are used mostly in radio transmitters and big high-power audio amplifiers.

The 300B is NOT only powerful, but it lasts a long time too. A typical oxide-cathode glass power tube, such as an EL34, will last about 1500-2000 hours; and a tube with an oxide-coated filament, such as an SV300B, will last about 4000-10,000 hours.

Yet some say 300Bs sound sterile and bloated, not smooth and snappy, compared to the delicate 45s and 2A3s. The graph on the 300B almost seems horrible: quick rise angle, yes, but NOT very high peak, flat top to the wave and very quick decay.

Mobile homeless said: a good 2A3 amp, to my ears, actually delivers better quality bass and a clear midrange than the 300B brethren. Yes, the 300b is a more powerful tube, but the 2A3 seems to be less sluggish really (sluggish being a bit of an overstatement).

Thorsten Loeasch: Compared Reflektor (?) 300B (recent production, these where imported directly from Russia for $ 40 per Valve and where fresh out of the Box) to Svetlana 300B (recent production, same valves as from my ETM Review of the Svetlana, well broken in, probably past the 5,000 Hour mark)

Whenthe brand-new Reflektor 300B's where tried. These immediately showed that the additional power does help, offering a great feeling of ease on Crescendos. the Tonal Balance was rather good, better than I remember the (older series) Sovteks from a while ago. There was Bass with great impact and strength, the Midrange was nice and open and the treble while not having the greatest delicacy was nevertheless quite good.

Last up where my stalwart Svetlana 300B's. These showed there was more on the recording than the Reflektor units could reveal. The Midrange had more bloom, more immediacy and directness. The Bass was slightly less, but much better defined and detailed. The treble had more air, basically the Svetlana soundly outperformed the Reflektor 300B AND the Sovtek 2A3 operated as such as well as the KR 2A3 on all counts.

Given what I paid for the Reflektor 300B it is an absolute Bargain, highly reommended. It offers good poweroutput and the sonics while worst in the whole testgroup are still very good. To wit, the Legacy Amp with the Reflekto 300B still significantly outperformed the Paraglow on all counts, regardless if the Paraglow used KR or Golden Dragon 2A3's....

Lastly the Svetlana 300B. I still think that the 300B is the best "all round" Directly Heated Triode. The Svetlana is the best I have heard so far, edging out Golden Dragon, JJ/Tesla and Sovtek/Reflektor units. I have not tried either the WE 300B or the AVVT/KR 300B lookalike but different performance Valves, so don't ask me about them, nor have tested any of the Valve Art units.


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Wow thanks for all the info Collin!

I have been checking several online forums and the opinions are all over the place and of course opinions vary from review to review. I found mostly favorable reviews of the sophia meshplates and a couple of the toobs you mentioned as well. I just need a pair of each for my own review so send me your spare 300b's lol.... I guess in the end trust your own ears.



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