Are 300B tubes Plug & Play? Or can they be Overstressed and Destroyed by 300B amps if not matched?

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,933
0
36
#1
I got conflicting recommendations for upgrading my tubes for my Audion 300B Silver Night amplifier, which "only" produces 7 or 8 Watts. My goal is to get that intoxicating tone that 300B is able to deliver in the right system.

One expert, who knows the amp very well, told me that the Emission Labs 300B mesh tubes are exactly what I am looking for, as they provide that rich midrange without messing up the bass and the highs.
http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-mesh.htm


Another expert, whose expertise is more on the Emission labs tube side rather than the amplifier side, however, told me I should not use the Emission Labs 300B mesh tube. His rationale was that the tube may be overstressed by the amplifier due to cathode current.??. And his concern was that this nearly $1K tube may burn out prematurely. Hi recommendation was to instead use the Emission Labs 300B-XLS for my amp.

http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-XLS.htm

Reading the specs on the mesh tubes, the recommended power is 22Wat, while my amp is only 7 or 8 watts. Is the second expert right in his concerns? Is it a huge a risk?

Any thoughts? Is the second expert too cautious, or is there something to what he is saying? I don't want to pour money down the toilet, but I would love to get that intoxicating tone.

Thank you
 
Sep 27, 2016
313
1
18
California
#2
I've known a few folks who have complained about the reliability of EML mesh tubes, but those were 2A3. In looking at operating points, there's nothing that stands out in the EML mesh 300B spec sheet that looks unusual. In fact, plate current max rating is 160 mA with test conditions at 100mA. 100mA is also the max plate current rating for a standard NOS Western Electric 300B. So I don't think it's a current rating issue. If it's just a general reliability/manufacturing issue, perhaps ask your "expert" what he expects for tube life and compare that to any warranty that EML might provide.

Another tube that should be fantastic is the Elrog 300B. Ask Thomas Mayer about warranty and general reliability as these also had reliability issues a couple years ago when they were first brought to market. For the more budget conscious, the Gold Lion (new stock) 300B is quite nice also.
 
Last edited:

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,145
1
38
Pleasanton, CA
#3
I love 300b sound, though it is incompatible with my preference of speakers, so nowadays, I get my ya-ya's with the 300b in the line driver Manley Neo 300b preamp driving the midrange ribbon, and a small 300b amp that runs my foil tweeters.

A nice 300b is like listening to the Northern Lights play music, with that gorgeous, curtaining revelation of tone and space. There is nothing quite like it in any other segment of audio.

They are supposed to be pretty sturdy in general, though some the Svetlana's production had melting cathodes. Svetlanas are closest to the traditional 300b WE sound.

I have a pair of Chinese Gold something or other WE replica 300b that I paid 99 bucks for, as they came out of an amp and had over 15,000 hours. They have some carmelization on the inside of the bulbs and the glue came loose on one, but I have had them in three different 300b amps and the Manley, and they still play and sound great years after I bought them.
 

morricab

Active Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,314
12
38
Switzerland
#4
I love 300b sound, though it is incompatible with my preference of speakers, so nowadays, I get my ya-ya's with the 300b in the line driver Manley Neo 300b preamp driving the midrange ribbon, and a small 300b amp that runs my foil tweeters.

A nice 300b is like listening to the Northern Lights play music, with that gorgeous, curtaining revelation of tone and space. There is nothing quite like it in any other segment of audio.

They are supposed to be pretty sturdy in general, though some the Svetlana's production had melting cathodes. Svetlanas are closest to the traditional 300b WE sound.

I have a pair of Chinese Gold something or other WE replica 300b that I paid 99 bucks for, as they came out of an amp and had over 15,000 hours. They have some carmelization on the inside of the bulbs and the glue came loose on one, but I have had them in three different 300b amps and the Manley, and they still play and sound great years after I bought them.
I enjoy a nice 300B amp in my second system (JJ-322 20 watt PSET, Odeon Rigoletto speakers, Aries Cerat Incito pre-amp and Monarchy M-24 DAC). While it has all that inner light and resolution it is not overly warm like many of them can be, due probably to the rather large output transformers (in-house designed and made by JJ double C-cores that I would estimate at around 8-10kg each).
 

morricab

Active Member
Apr 25, 2014
2,314
12
38
Switzerland
#5
I got conflicting recommendations for upgrading my tubes for my Audion 300B Silver Night amplifier, which "only" produces 7 or 8 Watts. My goal is to get that intoxicating tone that 300B is able to deliver in the right system.

One expert, who knows the amp very well, told me that the Emission Labs 300B mesh tubes are exactly what I am looking for, as they provide that rich midrange without messing up the bass and the highs.
http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-mesh.htm


Another expert, whose expertise is more on the Emission labs tube side rather than the amplifier side, however, told me I should not use the Emission Labs 300B mesh tube. His rationale was that the tube may be overstressed by the amplifier due to cathode current.??. And his concern was that this nearly $1K tube may burn out prematurely. Hi recommendation was to instead use the Emission Labs 300B-XLS for my amp.

http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-XLS.htm

Reading the specs on the mesh tubes, the recommended power is 22Wat, while my amp is only 7 or 8 watts. Is the second expert right in his concerns? Is it a huge a risk?

Any thoughts? Is the second expert too cautious, or is there something to what he is saying? I don't want to pour money down the toilet, but I would love to get that intoxicating tone.

Thank you
He could be right if Audion is driving the tubes rather hard. Can you check with Audion? I had a VAC 30/30 that was notorious for going through 300Bs because they squeezed every last drop of power out of them (32 watts for a pair of output tubes Class A push pull is not so easy on the tubes).

The mesh ones are more fragile to being driven hard but if the Audion is working well within 300B norms then I don't think there is much risk going with the mesh tubes.
 

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