Gramophone Dreams #48: The Venus Tube, Western Electric's 300B

I would now be a prosperous gentleman had I been a clever fellow during the 1980s and held on to some of those Western Electric 300B vacuum tubes I used to buy for nothing and toss around casually (footnote 1). Unfortunately, I have no talent for acquisition or hoarding.

I remember once driving down to North Carolina with my Eddie Electric business partner, Ryoichi Kimura. We were going to an old farm hidden at the end of a long gravel road. The guy who owned the place employed teams of teenage boys in white vans to travel the country gathering Altec and Western Electric gear from abandoned small-town movie theatres.

As we navigated the farm's rutted lane, I heard gunshots. I spotted a group of shirtless boys with trucker hats and pistols. One was aiming what appeared to be a .45 caliber Colt Buntline. They were sitting and standing and laughing, drinking 40-ouncers while lounging around casually in some red-upholstered theatre seats stuck at odd angles in the weedy dirt near a sagging barbed-wire fence. I couldn't tell what they were shooting at, but as I walked up and said "Howdy" I noticed at least 20 Western Electric 300B tubes tied to the fence with wire. All but three were shattered.

A few hours later, we were driving home with that frontier Colt laying between us on the seat. Next to it was an RCA 77A ribbon microphone and a cool-looking Nikon M rangefinder camera. In the trunk was a cardboard box with about 50 loose 300B "discards," three WE 555 receivers, and, the prize of our journey, one unopened case of new old-stock (NOS) Western Electric 300Bs.

As I was paying for that long-barreled Colt revolver, I asked the boy why they were shooting 300Bs. "Don't you have any tin cans?" I asked. He looked at me like I was stupid. "What do you care?" he said. "They're used!"

Two of those loose "300B" discards, which we got free, were in fact engraved-base 300As made around 1933. Sadly, both tubes tested unusably low on my WE tube tester. I had never seen a 300A before, so for fun, I put the pair in an amp. Despite the bad measurements, they sounded richer of tone and denser of texture than the 1954 300Bs they replaced. I enjoyed what those 300As were doing so much that I left them in—for two years. Then I gave them to a friend. Thirty years later, they're looking supercool and playing fine music in my friend's system—or were the last time I checked.

What fascinates me most about old gear is how quickly an industrial object metamorphizes from its original, universally recognized usefulness to something alien and mysterious. As I study our material past, I am impressed not at all by the Darwinian cleverness of humans' so-called progress. I feel no need to know what an object like the 25,000-year-old "Venus of Willendorf " was used for (though I imagine it was a child's "Barbie" toy carved as a gift by grandpa and not the mystical fertility symbol it's usually claimed to be). What captivates my mind is an object's raw physicality, the nature of its form, its shapes, colors, textures, density. How it reflects light and meets the eye. How it feels in the hands. If it is a gun, I want to touch its blued-steel barrel and hear and feel its shocking power when I fire it.

421gram.WE300B

If the object is a hot, shapely glass-and-metal vacuum tube, I need to hold it in my hands and inspect its construction, then experience how it plays music through my speakers. To me, ancient, directly heated power triodes like the 300B are the Venus figures of audio history.

The Elekit TU-8600S
If you have an interest in Venus figures and audio archeology but don't know where to start, just scout about for the simplest, sturdiest single-ended 300B amplifier with the lowest feedback and highest-quality parts. The Japanese-manufactured Elekit TU-8600R kit amplifier I reviewed in Gramophone Dreams #27 fits that bill nicely, which is why I chose to review it. I enjoyed the "R" version for two years until last summer, when Mr. Fujita, design chief at Elekit in Japan, collaborated with Elekit's North American distributor Victor Kung (VK Music) in Vancouver, Canada, and renowned transformer-maker Per Lundahl in Norrtälje, Sweden, to create the new TU-8600S, an upgraded version of the TU-8600R featuring Lundahl's new, super-premium LL2785B output transformers and a TKD 2CP601S volume pot.

421gram.lundahl

The basic "S-version" kit costs $1880 without tubes (footnote 2).

My review sample included optional V-Cap CuTF capacitors ($95) and Takman 2% resistors ($65). To keep the Elekit's price as low as possible, VK Music offers a starter tube set for $285. It includes two Linlai-made, Cossor-branded "Black Plate" 300Bs, one Gold Lion 12AX7/ECC83/B759 voltage amplifier tube, and two RCA "clear top" 12AU7 driver tubes. For only $2325 (and a few nights of screwing, bolting, and soldering), you can enter the upper realms of Venus-tube excitements. If you don't want to build it yourself, assembly adds $275.

421gram.kit

Compared to the R-version, the TU-8600S produces a more clarified, finely focused sound with more separation between instruments and choral voices. (These improvements show how putting a better output transformer on a tube amp is like putting a better lens on a camera.)

421gram.kit2

As some of you know, I've owned or used much more expensive 300B amps made by Shindo, Kondo, Komuro, Wavelength, Woo Audio, and Audio Note (UK). To my ears and tastes, this TU-8600S kit dances in the same ballroom as those luxury brands.

Tube rolling is modern living
It all starts with buying, or building, your first tube amplifier. Then the worrying sets in: How long will the tubes last? Will they get noisy? Will their sound change over time? How will I know when it's time to replace them?

The vacuum tubes in your current-production amp may die tomorrow, sputter along pitifully for years, or work spectacularly forever. More likely though, those stock tubes will stay quiet and sound good-to-excellent for at least a few years of normal use. I recommend changing them only when you get bored with their sound or they fail completely.

The next logical question is, would more expensive, alternative tubes, new or old, make my amp sound more exciting?

Maybe. But if you are not pleased with the sound of your tube amplifier, buying theoretically better old or new tubes is not likely to fix it, because circuit design, power supply design, and transformer quality account for at least 80% of a tube amplifier's sonic fingerprint. If your amplifier is a push-pull, class-AB, tetrode design with degeneration and nested feedback, that figure could rise to 95%, making tube upgrades almost impossible to detect.

On the other hand, if your amplifier is a single-ended, low- to no-feedback design like the above-mentioned Elekit TU-8600S, the Line Magnetic LM-518 IA, the Steve Deckert–designed Decware 25th Anniversary Zen Triode reviewed in GD46, or the Justin Weber–designed Ampsandsound Bigger Ben described in GD47, better-quality tubes, new or old, will likely yield improvements in sound quality and extended tube life.

How it started
Tube rolling—swapping one brand or provenance of tube for another, just to hear if or how the sound changes—is a relatively new pastime. It emerged when most European and American tube manufacturers began shutting down production during the 1980s. Before that, life was simple: We stuck with the stock Mullard EL34s in our Dynaco Stereo 70s, the stock Gold Lion MO-Valve KT88s in our H/K Citation IIs, and those Krispy-Kreme smooth-plate 12AX7 Telefunkens in our Fisher 500cs. Back then, amp manufacturers supplied the best tubes they could because they knew good sound and long tube life were essential to their success.

421gram.tele

The Telefunken smooth-plate ECC83, aka 12AX7.

At Stereophile, I have never once questioned the sound quality of the stock tubes in the amplifiers I've reviewed. Even when I keep reviewed amplifiers for long-term loans, only rarely have I replaced a stock tube.

When I do, it is because the supplied tube went noisy or died. The first tube I replaced was the original, four-year-old (Line Magnetic–branded) GZ34/5AR4 rectifier tube in my LM-518IA amp. I replaced the dead original with an ancient, well-used Amperex "Bugle Boy" from a box in my back room. I expected some subtle but positive change in sound; I was startled by how much richer in tone the sound became.


Footnote 1: In 1999 Stereophile published a lengthy feature by Peter van Willenswaard that compared different 300B tubes.—John Atkinson

Footnote 2: The Elekit TU-8600S and the two kinds of Cossor-branded 300B tubes—the "Black Plate" and the WE replicas—are available from Victor Kung's VKMusic. Orders can be placed by email or via the Elekit forum at diyaudio.com. Email: info@vkmusic.ca. Web: vkmusic.ca

ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
thatguy's picture

I often find it interesting that many old tube amplifiers didn't feature the tubes up front where they could be seen. They were just another part of the amplifier that had to be there for it to function.

Since tubes where everywhere they had no mystic for the users. Now we put them prominently up front and take into consideration which way to face them to show off the glow the best.

Now they are functioning art as well as a link to the past.

thatguy's picture

I keep pondering building monoblock single ended tube amps with two channels each for bi-amping but without an active crossover.
I would just use different brands of tubes and capacitors for the high and low frequencies. Picking the tubes that add the air for the highs and the tubes with the tighter bass for the lows.
I would probably end up looney from trying so many different combinations in each position but what a way to go.

vince's picture

I feel the same way. I purchased a Bottlehead Kaiju ( https://bottlehead.com/product/kaiju-300b-amplifier-kit/ ) with several goals in mind. One was tube rolling. It replaced my KT88 push-pull and in my opinion, the SET sounds better. So far, I have tried the stock Electro-Harmonix tubes and a pair of Emission Labs 300B-mesh. A nice thing about the kit is that it came with schematics, some explanation and I know where the parts are so I can modify if needed. For example, the 300B-mesh required a higher filament current than the standard 300B (1.4A vs 1.2A), this required a resistor change to keep the filament voltage in spec. I think the mesh sounds a little better and certainly looks much better.

I haven't felt the need to add another to bi-amp, yet. The existing setup is plenty loud.

Good luck with your tube rolling!

Vince

Manimaldoug's picture

I hope you live longer than me Herb:)
Life would be a dull place without you.

Long-time listener's picture

It may be because I grew up with a tube-driven Magnavox--a 15-inch bass driver, 8-inch oval midrange, and three-inch tweeter in each of its two separate cabinets--that I read this article, since I will probably never own a tube amp again myself. But I found one part of this article distinctly unpleasant: "If it is a gun, I want to touch its blued-steel barrel and hear and feel its shocking power when I fire it." I've always believed that that is why people buy guns--to give them a sense of power that for some reason they themselves lack. With all the gun violence in the US lately, I'd prefer you keep all mention of these killing machines out of a magazine devoted to our peaceful hobby.

funambulistic's picture

Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

Jack L's picture

Hi

What a humour !

A "warm" or hot gun is still a gun which can be lethal if used by a maniac who feels "happy" in his fantasy for power & self recogntion.

Don't play with a gun, warm or hot !

Jack L

davip's picture

This is supposed to be a magazine dedicated to audio fidelity, and one tires of all the off-topic, frustrated-writer associations that keep cropping up (I lost total interest in one reviewer's output when he wrote that the sound of a particular cartridge sounded like a "...sturdy, not-so-pretty former girlfriend" or some such nonsense). Keep to the remit -- and keep the weaponary onanism out, as the man says.

michaelavorgna's picture

I was out driving the other day and came to a stop sign. There was a car in front of me so I waited, and waited, and after a few minutes of not a single car crossing our path, I pulled around the car in front of me and drove through the intersection.

As I passed that car, I looked in and saw the remains of a decomposing corpse behind the wheel.

Michael Lavorgna
Editor,
Twittering Machines

Jack L's picture

HI

To me, it was some horrifying nightmare !!

Question: so far then, nobody cared to report such traffic 'accident' ???!!

Jack L

michaelavorgna's picture

The driver read the "Stop" sign and didn't know what to do next.

It's like a fable.
Or a joke ;-)

Cheers,
Michael Lavorgna
Editor
Twittering Machines

Jack L's picture

.

Brasco327's picture

I quite enjoyed the reference to the blued barrel of a fine Colt and the image of the physicality of the vacuum tube and the need to experience both. I pictured the scene and understood exactly what Herb was feeling. Perhaps you could consider upholding the First Amendment in light of your disdain for the Second.

Long-time listener's picture

Maybe Guns & Ammo, the appropriate magazine for discussing the beauty of guns, could use a new writer, which is where Herb should go for that. I exercised my 1st Amendment rights; you may do the same. As for the 2nd Amendment, are you, or Herb, members of a "well-regulated militia" whose purpose is to ensure "the security of a free State" (that is, to keep England from recapturing the colonies through armed force)? No you're not. So don't lecture me about the 2nd Amendment until you understand what's in it.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Amen !

A militia is a militia, who may talk to whoever with his pistol in its pocket like those in the wild wild West. Who knows when that gunman pulls his gun ???

Let's be civil here. No politics nor guns.

Jack L

PS: I know this was raised only as a sarcastic JOKE with no intention of breaching the 1st Amendment. But still... Let's be more self-regulated as this is a public forum.

JRT's picture

You are perpetuating misinformation. You would do well to read two 21st century SCOTUS decisions which are authoritative interpretations of US Constitutional Law on some of the related subject matter, DC v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). For your convenience, two links below to the SCOTUS website.

SCOTUS 2008: D.C. v. Heller
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

SCOTUS 2010: McDonald v. Chicago
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1521.pdf

Excerpted from page 1 of the syllabus of the SCOTUS decision in Heller, "Held: 1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms."

Excerpted from page 4 of the syllabus of the SCOTUS decision in McDonald, "Heller points unmistakably to the answer. Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present, and the Heller Court held that individual self-defense is 'the central component' of the Second Amendment right. Explaining that 'the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute' in the home, the Court found that this right applies to handguns because they are 'the most preferred firearm in the nation to keep and use for protection of one’s home and family.' It thus concluded that citizens must be permitted 'to use [handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.' Heller also clarifies that this right is 'deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and traditions.'"

Long-time listener's picture

I'm aware of what the Supreme Court has held. But it has held radically different views on the same issues in different eras, and as our present court is showing, it's perfectly capable of overturning long-standing precedents. Its decisions reflect its political makeup and societal trends as much, or more than, any accurate or strict interpretation of legal doctrine. It's important that in one of your quotes above, their argument is derived NOT from our Constitution but from some notion about "what many legal systems" have recognized. If they're going to talk about the legal systems of other countries, they should also mention that in those same countries, they don't let the entire populace walk around with guns, because they think it's f-----g insane to do so, and what's happening in the US pretty much makes their point. So in those other countries with those other legal systems, guns aren't considered necessary for any right of self defense, a point the Supreme Court somehow failed to mention. I'm an American living in Taiwan, where there are no guns and no one wants them. There's also no Covid to speak of--fewer than 10 deaths--because they have a government and a populace capable of making rational decisions. All this 2nd Amendment stuff just comes down to a bunch of guys who can't feel like real men without their precious guns in their pockets.

Jim Austin's picture

... let's end it here. This is an audio magazine--not the place for discussion of Constitutional rights.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

shawnwes's picture

Let Herb be Herb. That's why we enjoy his writing.

JHL's picture

Trembling virtue-signalling is as virtueless as blaming inanimate objects and projecting decay back on a writer.

Let the man write.

Jack L's picture

HI

Really ??? What's your sense of value?

So your "let the man write" something so inappropriate in a public forum is your "virtual signalling" to praising a living dead !?

I believe you know the simple meaning of self-regulation in the public, right ???

Jack L

JHL's picture

Your enthusiasm for fine audio is infectious. Hopefully your talent at staking out all sides of arguments you don't understand isn't.

Do hifi. The world has far too much projection already.

Jack L's picture

Hi

NO, no, I don't comprehend where your sense of value stands.

Yes, YOU "let it go" & I will surely copy.

Jack L

Jack L's picture

Hi

Yes, smooth-plated Telefunken ECC83 sounds creamy vs ribbed-plate. Yet I personally prefer the vibrant energetic sound of ribbed-plated, which was on sales for USD498/a matched pair just today!!!!!

I don't mind paying more for a Telefunken ECC83 with a DIAMMOMD mark embossed at its bottom which were built very robust (reported used in German supersonic jetfighters)! This 'diamond bottom' mark is the sign of genuine production of Berlin Telefunken back then.

Without this diamond bottom mark means made somewhere else under Telefunken's license, e.g. in East Germany.

A good diamond-bottomed Telefunken ECC83 is very durable, lasting up to 10,000 hours. That's why I would not go for another generic makes, period.

I am now using 2 pairs of them, two for each of my phono-preamps. I just love their vibrant lively sound, making me feel much much younger !

Jack L

JHL's picture

Again Herb captures what matters: This is an art that seeks joy, from the wistful nostalgia of the ancient but wonderfully over-engineered classic components, to the hope of a long future for these devices and their milieu.

Incidentally, the arguably best bonbon serves all of the above, with a healthy dollop of state of the art raw engineering and manufacturing prowess. The frame grid - the 6DJ8 type - may have found its zenith - no pun - in the Siemens D3a or the rare Telefunken types.

https://vinylsavor.blogspot.com/2012/12/tube-of-month-d3a.html

Here again, they'll not pass this way again. Sad because electronically supported well, these things are state of the art.

https://www.bartola.co.uk/valves/

dkhirons's picture

I built the Elekit Tu-8800 (KT-88 SE design) last year and went with most of the same specs outlined here (Lundahls, Takmans) and added Rilke caps later on. This amp sounds wonderful with current production Gold Lions, which the power level sticker (in bold) clearly suggests is THE tube for this amp. I got curious about NOS sound though and bought a set of 1970s GE 6550s. These aren't black plate Tung Sols or earlier production Sylvanias so I wasn't sure what to expect. They were true to form, and by that, I mean not as good as the current production Gold Lions in this amp. I know 6550s have a reputation for being a bit loose in the bottom end and warmer in the mid-range than the analytical KT-88 and for whatever reason, that did not work for me. Here's a vote for "stick with what the manufacturer suggests," Victor even told me to try rolling, but you'll be happiest with the KT-88...........if only a pair of NOS Genelecs weren't $600.

Jack L's picture

Hi

I just read a sonic review of rolling ECC83s made by Gold Lions & Telefunken by an engineer of another audio jouurnal. His reveiew was so technically extensive that I have to give him both-handed Hi-Five !

Knowing human memory can hold for only 30 seconds, he recorded same music played by rolling both tubes in a 24bit192KHz hard disc & then auditioned using same playback equipment. Subjective review.

Then followed by a ABX blind test. Objective review.

The verdict: the Telefunken ECC83 won bigtime - all round well balanced vs the Gold Lioins tube - somewhat suppressed in the mid & high frequencies.

For KT88, no comment as I've not compared them.

Jack L

Wavelength's picture

Herb,
Great story and of course I have a few but the worst was I got a call from a kid who was working on a remodel job in Indian Hill. Just north of were my office is now. He asked if 91A amplifiers would be of interest. Address please... I get there and there are 18 of them in a dumpster full of water that must have been there for days. Two of which were on top of the pile almost new looking. I snagged those and the kid had a box of tubes. Gave him the $200 I got out of the money machine and was 1/2 happy. Happy for what I got, but man what a waste. A contractor probably in the 1940's or so did a room to room stereo setup in this huge mansion with the amplifiers. I asked about speakers hoping some 755A's might be and the kid said they ripped those out a couple months back. Oh well...

It's interesting both PSvane and LaiLai have a Cossor brand 300B.

As the story goes back in the 80's when WE stopped making the 300B several of the circular workstations that were used for decades to make tubes were shipped all over the world. Some of them were wrapped up for storage and brought out when the new 300B's were going into production. But were really of no use since the vacuum equipment had gone south.

All these companies claim WE equivalent but really many of the companies that made the filament, plate, glass and even the pins are out of business. As we all know... in Audio everything makes a difference. Heck even the new WE300B's have better vacuum than they did back in the hey day. This brings down the Rp or internal resistance and the damping factor is bettered as well. Really I have old 1957 300B's that test really strong. Do they sound better than ones built in the 90's or now. Not really... they are more mid pushed, lack top and bottom end even biased the same as new ones.

It's all fun, so roll them tubes!
Gordon

Jack L's picture

Hi

Yes, the last batch of WE300B were made in WE's old Kansas works in 1988. WE re-started new production at its new Georgia works in 1997 for international markets.

Many years back, I heard the demonstration of the USD125,000 Audio Note Japan 'Kegon' stereo power amp (17W+17W) using a new production batch of 4xWE300Bs in Audio Note's reginal rep's 4,000sqft apartment together with ALL other Audio Note gears, including TT, MC/SUT, phono-preamp, & AN-UK made 2-way loudspeakers.

The sound was gorgeous there. I would describe the WE300B sound there vs other makes: "A Cinderella spinning ballet in her dancing shoes vs an old bag dragging feet."

Jack L

Herb Reichert's picture

for the great story and your thoughts about the new vs old WE 300B tubes. I am auditioning a 2021 pair now.

Back around 1986 when I was living upstate and working as a $16.50/hour union carpenter. I was walking one day from my truck to the entrance of this public school being renovated over the summer. The first few dumpsters I passed were full of lockers. The next two were full of asbestos ceiling tiles. The last one was full of Altec/WE 755s. Because of the asbestos, I was not allowed to have any.

but life is still good, and I miss seeing you

herb

michaelavorgna's picture

“Don’t you hate comments?”
“I don’t hate ‘em, I just feel better when they’re not around.”

Wonderful story, informative article. I think the Venus of Willendorf may have been a gag gift at a pagan holiday party.

Michael Lavorgna
Editor
Twittering Machines

Long-time listener's picture

I've generally enjoyed Herb's writing, as others here have. His ability to write glowing reviews of Class B amplifiers that make them sound like the tip-top of Class A is amusing. But he should be aware that guns are a controversial--and for some, tragic--subject. He, and Stereophile's editor Jim Austin, should not assume that everyone will automatically find gun references cute or appealing, especially with mass shootings occurring weekly in the States that outrage the majority of US citizens and make the rest of the world think we're crazy. Guns are for killing, which to my mind is a slightly different topic than listening to music, so this is very different from other writers who mention, wine, cars, or girls in their discussions of stereo equipment. Please, NO GUNS in my stereo magazine.

Jim Austin's picture

Nor will I ever restrict Stereophile's writers from making an eloquent point about audio because a handful of readers may be offended.

I don't mean to be dismissive of your concerns. Just please do understand that guns were not the focus here--rather, Herb was reaching for something in his experience to describe what he was feeling. It is a part of (his) human experience. (Mine, too.) Perhaps it's worth noting that Herb recently wrote, in a different venue, that he is opposed to killing, opposed to hunting, and yet his father was a hunter and a trapper and guns are a part of what he has experienced and so part of what he draws on as a writer. Associations like that are where the good stuff lies. I'm not going to put it off limits--not a chance in hell.

I hope you'll stick with us anyway.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

Long-time listener's picture

Stereophile will never be about guns, not even for a moment? It was about guns for many moments as I read this review. Here's the thing: I read a lot of stereo magazines on a regular basis, some based in the US, or the UK, or wherever. I don't recall EVER seeing this kind of link to guns in ANY of them, "even for a moment." None of those writers, and especially Herb Reichert, ever seem at a loss for adjectives because they don't use gun references. Guns are for killing, and call me silly, but I just don't see any overlap between that activity and listening to music. It's the measurements that make Stereophile unique; subjective descriptions of gear are everywhere, and Stereophile is neither better nor worse at that than the others. Yes, Jim, I was offended, and if you think only a handful of readers might feel that way, you need to look at the polls about how many people favor tighter gun control. Mass killings and gun violence are a serious problem in the US, and a sign to people abroad that Americans are just plain stupid and that the country is in decline. Stereophile seems to be mirroring those trends.

JHL's picture

Given your sheer, unrelenting irrationality, and given how you happily subject everyone to it, you offend me. Harassment like yours has no place among thinking adults.

Glotz's picture

Both on this and everyone else who is so butthurt on anything they don't agree. The reference was next to nothing.

Jack L's picture

Hi.

Yea, well said about your own self, pal!

You may be "adult"-aged, but you've just shown us you are kid-"thinking" as you don't get any sense of value. You acted like an echo box, again.

When some readers here just pointed out Stereophile got a skeleton in the closet, you among others turn a blind eye to it.

You got some monetary interest in the magazine as you claim someone just offended YOU !???

"Let it go", pal!

Jack L

davip's picture

...as you have clearly time, in your capacity as 'editor', to defend deadly-weapon references in audio reviews in your magazine, when are you going to make the time to do something about this:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/aavik-acoustics-u-380-integrated-amplifier ?

Or is manufacturers taking you for fools also acceptable under your new editorial purview..?

Jim Austin's picture

davip, there is little I care more about than what Stereophile readers think about the magazine. Stereophile has many readers who turn to the magazine for entertainment and information.

But I feel no obligation to those like you whose only contributions to this site are attempts to discredit my credibility and the credibility of the magazine. As such, your opinion is of little consequence to me. You are fortunate that I've allowed you to continue posting here, and you should not assume that that privilege will continue.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

davip's picture

Jim, there is little I care about less than whether you "allow" me to continue to post here. Banning dissenters who question your judgment (or lack thereof) will only diminish you further in the eyes of those readers you profess to hold in such esteem and who are already referring to you as Censor rather than Editor.

Simply put,

1) You have steadfastly refused for a year to publish measurements for a $30,000 Aavik amp whose distortion figures are more consistent with a $30 one and which your contributing reviewer raved about subjectively.

2) You have done nothing to obtain a further sample from Aavik (or failed to achieve that end) while that same manufacturer has happily submitted their amplifier to non-measuring magazine after magazine, effectively ignoring your review and your journal as a supposed authority.

That your response to these factual charges is to simply threaten censorship shows you for the waste of editorial space and funds that you are. Feel free to block me -- I'm done with you and the joke that You now make Stereophile look...

Herb Reichert's picture

I do not review "class B" amplifiers and I never talk about "girls" but I do understand and respect yours and others feelings about guns and gun violence. Please forgive me. It appears I've thoughtlessly touched some nerves that I did not foresee touching. I promise to be more considerate in the future. My intention here was to make a strong colorful metaphore – not to be cute or glamorize an object that I know serves no other purpose than to kill.

For the record, I am a pacifist and I have never hunted or killed with a gun. But I grew up in a family of hunters and gun collectors, and hence, know how it feels to shoot them.

sincerely,

herb

MatthewT's picture

At all.

JHL's picture

Herb said absolutely nothing offensive.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Wholeheartedly accepted !

Admitting one's own fault is a strength, not weakness. It take guts & humility to do so.

Cheers!

Jack L

Long-time listener's picture

Thanks. You did quite a bit better than Jim Austin.

MatthewT's picture

Not "censor" that you seem to favor.

Jack L's picture

Hi

IMO, Herb is much much much better than J.Austin as he got the gut to admit his unintentional boo-boo here.

Not many Tom, Dicken, Harry, every mother's son get the courage to do so. He has earned my profound respect !

Jack L

butch.bond's picture

Trying really hard not to think of what would happen to me and my friends if we went driving around with a "... Colt laying between us on the seat..."

Briandrumzilla's picture

Aside from my Dad teaching me to how drive a manual stick, the best skill he gave me was how to safely handle firearms and developing shooting skills at ranges. I see nothing wrong with gun references in articles.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Really ?

"No apologize" needed if firearms & the like weapons are discussed in Guns & Ammo website, not in Stereophile as so far there is no forum dedicated for guns & ammos

Likewise, supposing I were a women stalking audiophile, YOU think it would be OK to talk about my one-night-stand partying fun here ????
Or should I go to iPlayboy.com or similar sex sites & apps ??

Come on, "normal" man !

Jack L

Herb Reichert's picture

Those NOS WE300B tubes you see in that top photo, just the ones shown in the photo, not the other twenty in that pink polycarbonate Western Electric military-spec case (that is probably worth $2k by itself), are worth at least $40k. Probably more.

I sorta remember Western selling them for $350/ea in 1987. (I bet Gordon remembers
the "Western" price.)

just sayin'

hr

Jack L's picture

Hi

Whatever untouchable pricing those NOS worth, I would worry more how to ensure those costly valves last as long as possible.

As a tube DIYer guy, I heard about quite a few horse stories about 300B amps catching fire!

300B gets the tendency of veering its idling current off the mark on running a long while.

For those installed in historic old school topology - driver coupled to the 300Bs with capacitors, it is more OK.

But for more 'ambitious' direct coupling topology saving the coupling capacitor for better sound, I would for sure install some 'fireproof' feature to stabilize the bias voltage.

One sure-win way is to add a pentode like EL34 to replace its commonly-used 1250-ohm bias resistor. This active device will be grid grounded to provide the stabilized bias voltage required for long run healthy function of the 300B.

I've not seen any commercial 300B amps even employed such bias stabilization feature !

Jack L

Travis's picture

I've noticed lately in reviews of some pretty expensive tube preamps and integrateds that they use solid state rectifiers. Why is that? I have found that tube rectifiers can be rolled to very good effect whereas one is stuck with whatever in solid state. For example, in my Woo Audio WA6, a NOS USAF 274b made a big difference, even my Chi-Fi Gemtune GS-01 benefited as well. I'd love to hear your take on this. BTW, like many others here, I turn to your writings first when the 'phile arrives. Cheers!

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