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CoolJazz 1st January 2013 10:39 PM

Budget 300b tubes recommendations

I'm building PSE 300b monoblocks and I'd like your opinions on 'budget' 300b tubes. As I need 4 of them, I'm searching in the range of max 400 euro/dollar for 4 tubes (with shipping and import taxes, euro and dollar is about the same for me)

On my shortlist:

Psvane Hi-Fi series at $300
EH 300b at 270
EH 300b Gold at 310
Shuguang 300b at $320
JJ 300b at 400

Any comments on the relatively new Psvane Hi-fi series? Everybody seem to like the more expensive psvane tubes but I can't find anything on the budget series?
In old threads I read the Chinese can sound good but often have quality issues, but also that they are getting alot better in the the last few years.

The Electro Harmonix tubes seem to get good reviews. Is the gold series worth the extra cash?

I tend to like the 'warmer' sounding tubes.

Thanks in advance

andyjevans 2nd January 2013 12:07 AM

I didn't like JJ or the older EH tubes. I much preferred any kind of Chinese tubes. I haven't tried the EH Gold, but given past experiences I'd stick with Chinese. Unless you're talking very old ones, I've found Chinese quality to be fine. In fact the only ones I've had problems with were JJ.

Rod Coleman 2nd January 2013 07:23 AM

My amps have had the EH 300B Gold for the past year or so.

Actually, these are the best modern DHTs I have seen in terms of alignment (eg upright internals, correct mounting of the base etc). With a DHT, the alignment is not just a cosmetic concern - bad quality here can cause real sonic problems, and reliability degradation.

The finish is excellent too.

This version has clearly been given a good deal more attention to quality than previous versions.

Best of all they sound superb - far better than the old Sovtek.

I certainly recommend these!


Vinylsavor 2nd January 2013 08:14 AM


My recommendation for a 'budget 300B' would be a triode strapped 6CB5A. If you are building the amp yourself, you can change to another tube. Many people who heard 6CB5A amps from me preferred them to 300Bs unless original WE 300Bs were used. They can be run at similar op points as 300Bs. They cost less than $10 each. Using the money saved in tubes can be invested in better output transformer, PSU and other parts. This will yield a far superior sounding amp than one were the biggest part of the cost went into the output tubes.

Best regards


CoolJazz 2nd January 2013 04:10 PM

Thanks for your replies,

The 6CB5A suggestion is appreciated but I don't feel comfortable with changing the schematic as I don't have a lot of experience that area.

The EH Golds seem like a good deal, especially because they seem to be more expensive at most other places that I can find. I kind of like the look of the psvane's though. Of course that is not my main concern, reliability and sound are most important, but all other things equal, it counts too :)
Any opinions on psvane's other than the treasure series?


andyjevans 2nd January 2013 07:12 PM

Just one thing to add - get new tubes. I've made the mistake of buying "lightly used" 300b tubes on ebay, all of which were well used and one or two complete junk. 300b users are clearly in denial, just like alcoholics. Maybe they actually are alcoholics.....

djn 2nd January 2013 07:21 PM

In my John Hogan 26/300B I tried all that have been mentioned so far plus the KRs. By a very long margin the KRs sounded sooo much better. They are expensive and the day that we tested all the tubes (there were 5 of us) we had one guy swapping tubes behind a curtain so we did not know which tubes we were listening too. When the KRs run, to a person, we all were shocked by how much better they sounded.

CoolJazz 2nd January 2013 07:54 PM

Probably not that much difference between tubeaholics and alcoholics ;)

@djn, do I understand you correctly when I say you didn't hear any 'spectacular' differences between the tubes other than the KR's?

cotdt 2nd January 2013 08:49 PM

I can hear differences between various 300B's, but none of them sounds bad. They all sound very, very good when driven with a high Gm tube (417A, 6C45P, D3a, 7788). Even the Shuguangs, which in reviews get characterised as sweet and euphonic, in my amp are hi-fi sounding (very quick and dynamic, extended frequency extremes). The graphite Shuguangs have stronger low-end than the nickel version. They seem to be reliable at 400V 80mA.

I've also liked the JJ 300B and EML 300B XLS. The EML is my favorite as it does all types of music well, but others may think it sounds too much like a solid state amp (when driven with a high Gm, low distortion triode).

tomchr 2nd January 2013 09:47 PM

I like the JJ 300Bs that I'm using. For $100-ish each, they're pretty tough to beat on price too.


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