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Old 9th March 2006, 08:41 AM   #1
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Default do 300b amps really sound any good?

I have had about 4 or 5, audionote, diyhifisupplys, and a few others, whilst not being bad, they just really haven't sounded as they are touted to.

They were quite clear, transparent on acoustic music, but limited power and bass, in fact, I am wondering if the output transformers do limit the capabilities too. They DID sound a bit slow relative to low output impedance amps.

Are they worth the trouble?
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Old 9th March 2006, 09:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Are they worth the trouble?
Very good question indeed. Your assessment of the sound produced by mid priced SET amps is very similar to my own. They seem to sound great to people with sympathetic music tastes but are definitely not for everyone.

In my view this has not much to do with inherent limitations of output transformers or output valves but is mostly the result of cost-cutting.

IME a good sounding SET amp requires high qualty (and heavy) independent power supplies for each stage. Ideally this means at least 4 power transformers with assosiated chokes and caps. If you separate the heater supplies add a few more pieces of iron.

I have also never really liked a driver stage without iron - either choke or transformer loaded.

Do everything properly and you are easily looking at a part cost running into several Ks. Plus you need suitable speakers.

So, how can a kit amp costing $799 sound any good into a pair of LS3/5A
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Old 9th March 2006, 09:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: do 300b amps really sound any good?

They were quite clear, transparent on acoustic music, but limited power and bass, in fact, I am wondering if the output transformers do limit the capabilities too. They DID sound a bit slow relative to low output impedance amps.

Are they worth the trouble?

I do think it is worth the trouble. When you use output transformers that are of better quallity they will have better frequentie range. For example if you wanna play SACD it is a must, becausr SCAD and also DVD - audio play with higher frequentie's, if you're output transformers aren't made to let trough these higher frequentie's it is almost useless to play SACD. Because you will not hear that details that make SACD different then CD. But that's my thoughts about it.

In holland we have output transformers that have amorfe material in the core. I don't know what it is called in englisch. Maybe the same, But that material makes a lot of diffence, but is very expensive. Other way is to have output transforemers with a lamel thikness of less then 0,05 mm. What's difference? More low bas, and higher frequentie sounds, also more dept ans less sharpness. The best to that is bigger transformers with more windings and thinner lamels. then you can have an ouput between 20 hz to 100 kHz In holland we have a transformer builder that makes them winded with silver. Last but even important. A well build ouput transformer can pretty good prevent a hummmm on you're speakers. That's just a must!

Next to that, a power transformer can also make a big diffence. First of al. is net filtering. A well build power transformer can filter all frequenties above 50Hz. Other net garbage will not get trough!

Hope this is will help you. Sorry for the spelling.
Greetz Jan Pieter,
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Old 9th March 2006, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Are they worth the trouble?
In your case clearly not. Because you have listened and found them lacking in some aspects you find important.

It is important to know that SE amplifiers specifically need to have speakers that suit them. I.e. that cater to their weaknesses.

Increasingly I am finding that to get the music reproduced the way you want it you need the right combination. Thus discussing a topology out of a particular contest is pointless.

I'll give you an example. a BrianGT based gainclone I built sounds great on my Prometheus..but simply does not have the current (I find) to drive my CSS FR125 speakers. The Rod Elliot P3A had what it takes to make them come alive.
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Old 9th March 2006, 10:13 PM   #5
arnoldc is offline arnoldc  Philippines
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lt cdr data, you did not mention the speakers you were using. what are they?
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Old 10th March 2006, 02:15 AM   #6
lndm is offline lndm  Australia
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Don't forget to compensate your speakers impedance.

Most speakers present a complex load to the amp and with non-low output impedance amps, this can affect the frequency response and dynamics coming from your speakers in accordance with their impedance variations. There is no logical reason to let this happen.
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Old 10th March 2006, 04:49 AM   #7
kmtang is offline kmtang  Canada
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My 300B Mono's sound pretty good and I enjoy it so much.
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Old 10th March 2006, 04:50 AM   #8
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Every tube has its following. I personally don't like the 300B sound at all. Others swear by them.
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Old 10th March 2006, 07:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Re: do 300b amps really sound any good?

Quote:
Originally posted by janpieterelbaas
In holland we have output transformers that have amorfe material in the core. I don't know what it is called in englisch.
Amorphous material? One commercial form I have come across is called metglas. It is made by cooling the metal from liquid to solid at something like 10,000 degrees per second so the solid metal does not have a grain structure. It is used for tape-wound toroids in SMPS's.
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Old 10th March 2006, 07:34 PM   #10
kjunom is offline kjunom  United States
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Default lots of iron

jeez analog_sa, that sounds like my worlds heaviest 2A3 amp.
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