Gramophone Dreams #48: The Venus Tube, Western Electric's 300B Page 2

Inspired by the Bugle Boy rectifier, I replaced the LM-518's Russian 6P3P driver tubes with some NOS, new-in-box (NIB), 1959-issued metal-bodied RCA 6L6GCs. The change in sonics was noticeable but less dramatic than when I changed out the rectifier. Best of all, those black-metal tubes look super-cool and are built to outlast diamonds. I kept them in. Later I experimented with some hip, vintage 12AX7s. They made the sound a bit more vivid and intricate, but none were as quiet as the stock tubes. I stuck with stock and they are still working quietly six years later.

I tube roll partly because I enjoy researching how vacuum tubes are constructed. When, where, and by whom they were created? What practical purposes did they originally serve? It's an endlessly fascinating subject.

When I began buying tubes, they were almost free. I found wood barrels full of loose tubes at army surplus stores ($1 each), NIB TV and radio tubes at garage sales ($2 if you take the whole lot), and NOS transmitter tubes at ham fests. One upstate military surplus depot sold used tubes, mil-spec wire-wound resistors, and the highest quality potted transformers—by the pound!

My most enduring love affair has been with 1940s-vintage 2A3s. In the '80s, I would buy them only if they were in undamaged, original boxes. Used, unboxed 2A3 "pulls"—tubes pulled from junk radios or test equipment—never cost more than $5, but the price rose quickly to at least $10 for NIB. Unlike military-spec, "Joint Army Navy" (JAN) tubes, which came in plain boxes with essential tube data printed boldly on the side, consumer-packaged radio and television tubes, like those sold at every American drugstore during my childhood, came in eye-catching, distinctly branded boxes printed with pigment-rich, pre-OSHA inks. I've bought many tubes just because I liked the boxes.

The danger
Tube rolling can be a fun, colorful adventure, but it is also dangerous—to amplifiers, not people. Tube rolling is one of the main reasons amplifiers end up in repair shops.

When scouting for tube amplifiers to review, my first consideration is always Is it a simple design and built to last? Generally speaking, if an amp is hard-wired (ie, point-to-point with wires as opposed to circuit boards), it can be handed down to your grandchildren like a fine watch or a Rembrandt etching. If a simply designed tube amp stops working, it is most likely a user-replaceable tube. (That's why tubes were sold in every drugstore.) If the problem is not a tube, the fault will likely be an easily replaceable diode, resistor, or capacitor. My mother fixed tube radios on her kitchen table.

That being said, if you are a complete novice, tube rolling is best navigated with the approval and guidance of your amplifier's dealer, distributor, or manufacturer.

Sound tastings
If the 300B is tube audio's Venus of Willendorf, miniature, nine-pin twin-triodes like the ubiquitous 6DJ8/12AX7/12AU7 are tube audio's tasty bonbons.

Because these bonbons amplify low-level voltages, they are the tubes most likely to change the flavor of the sound when exchanging one brand or provenance for another.

While I was writing my Decware 25th Anniversary Zen Triode report, I stumbled on a most tasty radiance-filled bonbon in the form of a made-in-Japan, Electric Industry Co. Ltd. 7DJ8/PCC88 voltage amplifier/driver tube.

You see, Decware's Steve Deckert so loves tube rollers that he offers Zen Triode owners an optional Pelican-cased tube-roller kit that includes alternative/replacement tubes at each circuit position. The Japanese 7DJ8 was the first driver tube I selected from the easy-to-store case.

Driving the Zu Audio Soul Supreme loudspeakers, the Zen Triode amp made recordings sound as pure, nuanced, and radiant as I've ever heard recordings sound. At the start of my auditions, I thought the purity and brilliance I was experiencing were caused by the Zen amp's unique OA3-tube voltage regulators. I was wrong.

When I replaced the Japanese tube with a Russian-made 6H5n, the bass became more powerful and succinct. Drumbeats felt more punctual. Horns sounded brassier. But luminance was dramatically reduced. Both tubes were a pleasure to use, but the Russian tube punched harder and was more plain-truth than the Japanese tube, which generated a more dazzling presence.

12AX7
The 12AX7 was developed by RCA in 1946 as a high-gain, low-noise, audio-frequency amplifier. Current versions are made in China (Shuguang and Psvane), Russia (New Sensor), and Slovakia (JJ Electronic). The ubiquitous 12AX7 is the prince of tubes and, as such, has delivered more music pleasure to more people than any other tube, ever.

Just as the Decware Zen was the perfect amp to test 6DJ8s, the Elekit TU-8600S amp is perfect for swapping 12AX7s. For each channel, the TU-8600S employs one section of a 12AX7 twin-triode to drive the paralleled sections of a 12AU7, which, in turn, drives a single, fixed-bias 300B output tube.

During my time with these amplifiers, I have tried as many different 12AX7s as I could rustle up. While I was writing this report, I switched from a hauntingly quiet Gold Aero Platinum Series tube (remember Gold Aero from the 1980s?) to a smooth-plate Telefunken "pull" that was a gift from my buddy Blackie Pagano: musician, cofounder of New York Noise, and legendary tube-amp repair wizard.

One not-insignificant benefit of tube rolling is the possibility of finding extra-extra-quiet tubes. When I get extra silence without losing excitement, I get extra happy. The smooth-plate Telefunken was almost as quiet as the Gold Aero Platinum but much more vivacious, detailed, and creamy sounding. Similarly, the smooth-plate was less quiet than a new Psvane, but the Psvane could not match the Telefunken's exciting textural presence on voices and stringed instruments.

Who makes the best bonbon?
I could bore you with endless miniature-tube comparisons, but their relevance would be limited by the fact that my audio system is different than yours. More importantly, tubes are not made by recipe—they are made in huge batches, using whatever materials were available at the time, aimed at measurable but constantly shifting design parameters. Plus, every tube's cathode emission changes over time. In other words, my Psvane is not likely to sound like your Psvane.

And again, if you never loved your amp's sound, tube rolling isn't going to make you love it. However, if you once loved your amp and now it sounds dull or boring, it will probably perk up with fresh tubes. Here are a few "Herb rules" to guide you in your replacement strategy:

• If your amp is a classic '50s or '60s design, save your money and buy good-testing or NOS tubes of the same type it rolled out of the factory with.?

• If your amp is of recent manufacture, start by consulting the dealer or distributor who sold it. If it is simple and sturdy like the amps I've discussed, consider using vintage tubes, as they will likely sound stronger, richer, and more exciting while offering greatly extended tube life. The higher cost of NOS tubes will be amortized over their longer useful life.

• If you choose to use currently manufactured tubes, I advise you to proceed with caution, spend as little as possible, and assume the tube will last only as long as its warranty. This caution includes new-production 300B tubes.

That being said, the most exciting sector of new-tube manufacturing is the 300B sector. An incredible range of these tubes are currently offered for sale.

300Bs
I have no original Western Electric 300Bs to use for comparison; if I did, they'd be worth at least $3000 each. What I experience every day with my current-production, $120 ElectroHarmonix EH Gold 300Bs seems no less lucid, dimensional, or beautiful of tone than those WE tubes. The Russian-manufactured EH Golds do sound a bit rougher, warmer, thicker, and less starkly clear than old Western Electrics, but I don't care. They have proven their durability and deliver an authentic, satisfying 300B experience. That is why I stick with them.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the made-in-Japan Takatsuki Electric Industry TA-300Bs I used in my review of the Woo Audio WA5 300B amplifier. Back then, I thought the $2500/ pair Japanese 300Bs sounded more like a Western Electric 300B than an actual Western Electric 300B sounds like a Western Electric 300B.

421gram.taka

The TA-300B, Takatsuki Electric's version of the Western Electric 300B.

The Takatsuki Electric TA-300B is Japan's first domestically produced vacuum tube in more than 35 years. Takatsuki's stated engineering goal was to improve on the manufacturing precision of the original Western Electric tube. The scope of this ambition is mind-boggling and shows just how much love and reverence the Venus tube continues to inspire. My perception was that the engineers behind this Japanese tube aimed for a pure, authentic WE sound, but, with great respect but also some pride, to add something special of their own, something I would describe as increased corporality or there-ness. Which is why, today, the Takatsuki would be my first choice of new-manufacture 300B tube.

The Linlai 300B
Lately, at Victor Kung's suggestion, I've been using the $495/pair "Cossor"-branded WE300Bs made by Linlai, a company formed by former engineers of Psvane in China (footnote 3). They look and sound an awful lot like those Western Electric tubes we brought back from North Carolina.

421gram.cossor300b

"Cossor" Western Electric replica 300B from Chinese company Linlai, a relatively new player on the tube scene.

Linlai developed these tubes to be "100% 1:1 replicas" of Western Electric's original design. I think they've hit on something: The Linlai replicas deliver all of that unique, audio-on-acid WE transparency, which previously only the Takatsuki replica has achieved. It is too soon to speculate on the tube's real value or verify its durability, but the Cossor WE-replica 300Bs present an exciting, authentic-sounding option at a crazy good price.

You've probably noticed
Many of today's most reasonably priced, highest-value tube amplifiers are sold without tubes. This makes choosing tubes and tube rolling a necessary part of the purchase-and-ownership process. I approve of this trend; obviously, so do many tube aficionados. In 1989, when those shirtless boys were popping WE300Bs with their pistols, no factories were making them. Today, more than a dozen factories, located in China, Europe, Russia, and Japan, are all manufacturing new versions of Western Electric's most famous tube. Competition is fierce to sell the highest-quality tube at the lowest-possible price. Now is a perfect time to start digging those Venus tubes.


Footnote 3: "Cossor" refers to a British company that ceased operations under that name in the middle of the last century. The trademark is owned by tube-reseller Wi Wi, which commissions tubes under the "Cossor" name.—Jim Austin
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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