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Old 27th October 2008, 07:52 AM   #1
kmaier is online now kmaier  United States
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Default Western Electric plant

Recently I looked at the WE website... all 300B prices now showing as TBD. Nothing on their site shows any recent news, etc. The TubeDepot site states the plant is moving to a dedicated location and tubes will be back in supply end of September... seems they missed the date. Anyone have more info on this?

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Old 27th October 2008, 01:53 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Tube Depot shows the 300B in stock and on sale at $849.00 a pair as of 2008.10.27.. (Too rich for me... )

http://www.tubedepot.com/weel.html

I used to be a WE distributor and it was their general policy not to put retail pricing on their site, (appearances otherwise aside) allowing the market and local vendors to set the price.

As far as I know the Huntsville plant is up and running.. Supplies of WE products have tended to be a bit erratic in the past as have promised delivery dates.. The product however is very good, and had I the required funds I would be running them in my own amplifier...
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Old 27th October 2008, 02:08 PM   #3
kmaier is online now kmaier  United States
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Hi Kevin,

For several years the WE site did have prices listed for all of the 300B sets, from singles, to pairs, to quartets, etc. As a result, this going to TBD for all of the 300B sets made we wonder a bit. The Tubedepot link here shows the statement (at the very bottom) about the plant moving and the temporary lack of available tubes:

http://www.tubedepot.com/we-300b.html

Anybody have any idea where they moved to and/or why?

I did manage to buy a pair a few months back. I've only done some preliminary testing with them. DC filaments are a must to get them quiet and they present quite a load on the driver stage as they get close to zero volts on the grid. I had them running in a SET design with a 400-volt supply (and cathode bias) so was limited to about 6-watts output.

Regards, KM
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Old 27th October 2008, 03:29 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I used WE 300B in my commercial 300B SE amplifier and found it to be a good sounding, reliable tube. The design utilized fixed bias and 400V on the plates.. Output power at 5% thd (LOL) was nearly 10W rms.

This must be about the 3rd time they have moved since they started operations in the late 1990s.. Not something that inspires confidence in the consistency of the product.

No idea as to why they have relocated again.

Based on prior experience I would wait until they are in stock prior to ordering.. My final batch in 2000 were ordered 12 weeks in advance of when they were required and still managed to be at least 6 weeks late.
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Old 27th October 2008, 04:15 PM   #5
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Hi KM,
I haven't followed WE very closely in recent years hence my misapprehension about pricing disclosure policy on their site. (Ouch, that sounds really pedantic.. )

I found back then that I could not compete with the "tail gate" sellers in NYC despite being located in the greater Boston area, presumably far enough away not be affected. (Not quite apparently) There were instances where they were selling supposedly new matched pairs in the fancy box for less than I was paying wholesale for matched pairs in cardboard boxes. It was impossible to compete with these guys and I never sold a single replacement pair even to my own customers as it was not economic to do so. Even with a tiny mark up of just 5% I could not match their prices.

I have found the JJ 300B to be comparable at a fraction of the cost in extensive listening tests, and am unwilling to pay large sums of money for what I perceive as incremental differences. The caveat is that my JJ are now about 6yrs old and may not be reflective of current production quality at JJ. Interestingly the JJ if good seem to last a lot longer, all of my former clients have had to replace their WE 300B at least once.
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Old 27th October 2008, 04:48 PM   #6
Gluca is offline Gluca  Italy
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I do agree with Kevin (I used 2A3s which are very close to 300Bs if not identical): I found JJ's to be sturdy and reliable and with a very high level of perceived quality.

ciao
Gianluca
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Old 27th October 2008, 06:29 PM   #7
kmaier is online now kmaier  United States
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Kevin, Gianluca,

Thanks for sharing your experiences here... I have a good collection of 2A3 triodes, and a couple matched pairs of 2A3 single-plate tubes... I can achieve an acceptable hum level with the later dual-triode versions of the 2A3. Sonically I think they are a bit behind the 45, as you have two filaments (cathodes), two grids and two plates strapped in parallel. It's far too unlikely that any realistic matching could take place with the dual sections before the tube is finished and tested, so the cards fall where they may here. This is probably the largest variable for the 2A3 when compared to the 45.

The single-plate 2A3 has 8 pairs of filament wires and is a center-tapped arrangement. This makes it impossible to achieve an acceptable hum balance with an AC filament supply. I have also found the single-plate versions to be very sensitive to mechanical excitation of any kind, literally tapping on the chassis with your fingernail will set them off... even a hand-clap nearby does it. Play a trumpet within 10 feet and certain notes will send them off the deep end. As a result, I'm not completely certain why so many people consider the single-plate version to be the end-all for the 2A3. Perhaps the additional modulation from external mechanical interference coming from the sound of the loudspeakers is perceived as additional warmness or whatever.

The WE300B is a single triode assembly but has a center-tapped filament. It too is impossible to get an acceptable hum balance with an AC supply. Being 5V makes it worse actually. However, you can get a symmetrical DC supply on the center-tapped filament (both 2A3 SP and WE300B) where it's not possible on the 45 or later dual-triode 2A3 topology. I've found the WE300B to be much more immune to mechanical excitation than the single-plate 2A3.

In any case, being a single triode topology, I think it should (or at least has the edge to) sound more accurate than the 2A3. Once I get back stateside next year I'll finish the prototype for the 300B amp and will have something more concrete to back up my observations and beliefs.

I do hope that Western Electric survives. I purchased my matched-pair from Galen Carol audio for $819 plus shipping. A small discount, but I also had to wait for a while as Western Electric had received some contaminated materials and junked a large number of tubes that would not meet their rigid specs (or so I was told).

Regards, KM
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Old 27th October 2008, 08:26 PM   #8
Gluca is offline Gluca  Italy
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Quote:
Originally posted by kmaier

I do hope that Western Electric survives. I purchased my matched-pair from Galen Carol audio for $819 plus shipping. A small discount,
Heya KM, well ... for such a price I'd look somewhere else. It's far away out of my budget. I recently purchased 4 EIMAC 75TLs, and it is quite a rare tube, for something like 100USD/piece and I considered them a bit expensive.

Me too, I hope WE survives (delivering outstanding products).
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Old 28th October 2008, 08:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gluca
I do agree with Kevin (I used 2A3s which are very close to 300Bs if not identical): I found JJ's to be sturdy and reliable and with a very high level of perceived quality.

ciao
Gianluca
The JJ 2A3 is basically a JJ 300B with 2.5V heater.
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Old 24th July 2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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One of the TekScopes guys posted this link:

Western Electric plugs into Rossville, makes vacuum tubes for audiophiles | timesfreepress.com
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