2019 300B tubes that are worth the money?

OK, I'm not a super rich audiophile that has unlimited money to blow.  I have a pair of Cary 300 CAD300-SE monoblocks i bought used that currently have a pair of TJ/Full music tubes in them.  I am, overall, very happy with the sound.  So does anyone have a strong opinion that any of the $1000 a pair current production 300b tubes are really worth the money over my $300 pair?  Would my money be better spend on a needle upgrade for my turntable?  :-)
Your money would be better spent going on eBay, buying a bunch of porcelain insulators, and using them to hold all your cables up off the floor.

No kidding.
I had tried Psavne Acme 300B in my Line Magnetic 508 SET amplifier with good result.

I also have NOS WE 300B which is hard to get with cost of 5K$ or more.

Compared with NOS WE 300B, Acme 300B has clean treble with beautiful tones while NOS WE 300B has slightly tighter bass.

If you like your Cary amplifier, you may try Acme 300B.


I bought my Acme from the linked one.

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I'm skeptical about rebirth of Western Electric tubes. There are Chinese knock-offs that may show up relabeled as Made in U.S.A.

Relabeling tubes is a time-honored practice.
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Don’t forget that 300b tubes have a long life span, therefore, if you do find a pair that you like, the cost of ownership can be amortized over a greater period of time. 
Some tubes like a lower bias. Some tubes like a hotter bias. You owe it to yourself to experiment lowering and raising the bias from nominal by 10-20ma to see if it gets you the sound you like vs flushing money down the toilet. Those Psvane Sophia whatever princess and the pauper are nothing but TJ tunes relabeled with a funny name. All hail the mighty WE and the so called reissues. But you can buy a few amplifiers for the price of 2 tubes.
Some tubes like a lower bias. Some tubes like a hotter bias. You owe it to yourself to experiment lowering and raising the bias from nominal by 10-20ma to see if it gets you the sound you like vs flushing money down the toilet.
Increasing the bias as much as 40% over their rated value will shorten the tube life significantly.  Always check with the tube and amp manufacture for the recommended bias value.
Hi @shkong78,

Did you compare Psavne Acme 300B and NOS WE to other 300B tubes?

I had WE reissue from 2000x. There are very average overrated tubes. 
(I know that old WE is a different story.)
I have TJ "mesh plate" 300b. They where really not expansive but for my test sounded better compared to WE reissue.
I also have EML  "mesh plate" 300b. They sound significantly more refined and warmer compared TJ  "mesh plate". But now EML increased prices.

The number of 300b tubes available today is remarkable (I have not seen a complete list); it is a daunting proposition to try them all. When I got my 300b SET nine years ago, almost to the day, I started with Psvane, then Shuguang BT, then Sophia RP, then EAT, then Takatsuki. Each had a different sound although the Psvane and Shuguang were more similar than different; similarly for the EAT and Sophia. Either the Sophia RP/EAT was better than the Psvane/Shuguang, and Takatsuki was better than the Sophia RP/EAT. I have used the Takatsuki exclusively since 2012 so I have not tried any of the newer Chinese WE clones, Elrog, or re-released WE. The Takatsuki were ridiculously expensive, but when amortized over 7 years (so far and counting), not too bad. My amplifier does not drive them too 
thanks for all the input, folks.  though in truth I'm feeling as confused as ever.  These things are so expensive, I'm just afraid of shelling out 500-1500 dollars and not being able to tell the difference.  maybe I'm happy and should just leave well enough alone.  :-)  wish there was some way to audition tubes in my amps...  need a local LA audiophile club...
I once proposed to the US Takatsuki distributor that there should be a way to audition his 300b tubes - perhaps one pair that circulated for a week at a time to prospective customers. He did not appreciate the suggestion. He also lost the sale since I bought a pair on my next visit to Japan. 
If you’re really happy with your current 300b tubes you may just want to leave things as they are. I can tell from actual ownership experience the premium level 300bs are worth their cost.

Takatsuki a superb sounding Japanese 300b. However I’ve had two of them fail in my amplifier over a 6 year period. Other owners I’m aware of haven’t had this problem.

EML XLS, Czech Republic, is a very rugged design and is exceptionally reliable and has a reputation for an ultra long lifespan. Just a terrific fit for my amplifier and the sound quality is superb.

Elrog 300b, German, another superb sound quality 300b. Unfortunately I had the early production versions and had three tube failures. It’s been reported that the current production has solved those issues.

I tried the W.E. Reissue 300b (1990s production) and they were disappointing and completely outperformed by the 3 tubes above. Perhaps the latest version Will be better this time around.

Keep in mind that certain 300bs will sound/match better in some amplifiers than others.
@ alexberger

I also have Sophia carbon plate and Shuguang Treasure 300B.

NOS WE 300B is best with overall sound quality and reliability.

I had run more than 10K hours during last 15 years.

But it still sounds fine.

The problem is it is hard to get good one with reasonable cost.

Acme 300B gives much more refined and transparent sound than either Sophia carbon plate or Shuguang Treasure 300B.

Thus it is worth the money.

1998 production WE 300B turned out to have etched details.

Thus I sold it back after using it for 3 months.

I hope 2019 production WE 300B will turn out better.

I had not have tried other 300B.

The Genalex Gold Lion PX300B ($218/pair on vivatubes.com) made a nice upgrade from the Shuguang tubes (basic version) that came with my Elekit TU-8600, and they are generally highly rated for their price/performance.
I have use all listed here. 

Consider the various 300b offered by Kron.  They hit the sweet spot regarding price and value.  Most last to the 200 hr mark and then last years.  Those that fail, and 20% do, are replaced under warranty.   

Sometimes manufacturers will welcome a bulk buy.  No fancy box and paperwork, just a supply of tubes.

Regarding the new WE tubes.  My sense is there is opportunity to find them for less than retail.  Support your local or regional dealer.  WE are warrantied for 5 years!

My Emission labs lasted 10 before I sold the amps and they are still going strong!
Some owners of very early EML XLS are reporting their tubes are approaching 40,000 hours and still  test/measure  very well.  that's  a remarkable  accomplishment by any standard. Further more they have truly excellent sound quality.  Expensive yet they are a very high value product.
So I ended up buying a used pair of KR 300B's.  The price was right ($500) and I'm very happy with the sound.  Hopefully they will last, but so far, so good.  I was a little surprised at first as overall I would describe them as more laid back, quieter, and mellower than the TJ's I had, but there is also more and tighter low end.  SET amps plus Klipsch speakers can be overly bright and the Czech glass brought balance to my system.  (also, my great grandfather was a Czech glass blower, and though I never new him, I think that heritage weighed on my decision!) 
IMO you can not go wrong with either the EML or KR 300bs. I used a loaned pair of the KR 300b XLS in my amplifier and they were exceptionally good sounding. Both brands  are upper tier quality Czech tubes. If  the KR has similar longevity as the EML then they'll serve beautifully for many years. 
Some 300b have a pin sticking out the side of the base. Does it have a purpose? Or could I clip it?


Gary, I believe the purpose of the pin that was on the side of the base of the original WE 300B was to facilitate proper orientation when inserting it into sockets such as this one. (Note the notch at the lower left of the cylinder). And also to secure it in place in applications involving horizontal mounting.

Best regards,

-- Al
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Understood. Do you think that it is safe to clip it? None of the 300b that I have used - including my current Takatsuki - have this pin. 

Hi Gary,

Your guess is as good as mine on that question. But FWIW, if there is a compelling reason to clip the pin, such as to make it possible to insert the tube into a socket that is recessed beneath a panel, I suppose it would probably work out ok if done with sufficient care. Including surrounding the tube with lots of cushioning materials to prevent or at least minimize any mechanical jarring, that for example might occur if the pin breaks off abruptly.

Also, my guess (and it’s just a guess) is that the pin does not go through the glass internally, so I suspect that the integrity of the tube’s vacuum would not be jeopardized by slight mechanical displacement of the stub of the pin that might occur if you were to do this.

JMHO. Good luck,

Best regards,

-- Al
If your gonna to spend thousands on recent repros may as well buy nos vintage which are far superior and more musical. Cant beat vintage tubes ever. They are the best
My previous tube mono blocks used the 6SN7 as drivers and I used vintage Syvania and RCA. They were early to mid 1950s. The 6EM7 driver (1950s) and Mullard rectifier (early 1960s) tubes in my current 300b SET are both vintage and very good. I personally would not paint with a broad brush in regard to vintage tubes. There’s a wide spectrum of performance among them and all are not superior to current production tubes. Multiple factors to consider.
Many current production 300b are available and some are simply superb. Gary (gsm18439) made this observation in a post above and he’s absolutely right. Takatsuki, Elrog,KR,EML etc. can certainly hold their own in terms of sound quality and conveying musical beauty and truth..
Aren't Sophia tubes just rebranded TJ Full Music tubes in which Sophia claims to cherry pick the best for the US market?
I believe Sophia Tubes are made by TJ Fullmusic and years ago it may have been the case that the cherry picked. Now, Sophia has a bunch of products that are exclusive to Sophia that I can’t buy directly from TJ and no one else will have.  Sophia tubes are exceptional.  

I have reached out to TJ to make a purchase - the issue is you need to make a large purchase and I am waiting for my traffic for tubes to build before I commit to that much inventory.
Yes Sophia are just rebranded TJ tubes and have a bad rap for reliability. I have only had a few tubes fail in my audio life and they have all been Sophia/TJ. I also have numerous friends that have had problems with Sophia 300B.  Buyer beware. 
If you're listening to output transformers and resistor-based gain controls,, whatever toobs you use, top KR or WE, you're listening to more or less.. distortion, X 2!  Autoformer (Intact Audio), or TVC Django  or LED (Tortuga), for non-resistor gain and... no output transformers, (Transcendent Sound etc),  is the way to go.
I had the Cary 300SEI for a while, in fact two incarnations of it. In the period of ownership, I puchased WE 300Bs, labelled 9738 so I think 1997 vintage.  I also had the Sophia Princess, at almost 1000USD a pair with boxes. To my ears, neither were night and day better than the stock Cary tubes (Shuguang?). I sold the Sophias for 1/4 new price, still have the WEs if anyone is interested. I have moved on to other amps.
+1 on Takayuki 300B
Second only to NOS WE that are now $3k each!!Takasukis best price is from Parts Connexion in Canada $1499/pair.
Best purchase I ever made. They transformed my amp.
I used WE 300B ~2006 reissue and TJ 300B Mesh Plate.
I use 300B EML Mesh Plate now. They are great much better than previous two.
For my taste, TJ 300B Mesh Plate is better then WE reissue. 
I have heard the WE 300b reissue are not that great, and that even the Psvane WE300B is actually better, too.

I definitely recommend the Psvane ACME Supreme 300b, though!
Just received my matched pair of WE300B reissue.  They sound fantastic out if the box.  Expect changes as they ‘burn in’. These are in an Audionote P3 and replaced the original audionote tubes which sounded great as well but my wife prefers the WE’s which sound more expanse at this point and of course there is the fact these are a legend.  
Tonmy, FWIW, the 300B is not suited to operate well in an OTL amplifier like the Transcendent or Futterman or Atmasphere.

pls update as they settle in. I am somewhat surprised at your finding since the Audionote tubes are actually rather good.
A word of warning if I may:

the SQ of different 300b tubes is dependent on the rectifier tube used: on my Wavac EC-300b when I switch from the EAT300b to the Takatsuki, I equally switch from Svetlana Winged-C 6L6 GC to Tungsol KT66. It gives the Takatsukis a rounded, more bass sound whereas the Svetlanas lead to an over-emphsized treble. Conversely on the EATs the Tungsols sound slightly sluggish and thick.
Tube rolling is a complex subject but well worthwhile.
Let's keep this thread active, but increase it's usability. Please specify what equipment you are using your 300b in. And any details (if available) about bias, driver tubes, etc. Not trying to get too complicated, but I think these details might be relevant to our discussion.

I am using the Psvane Acme Supreme 300B tubes in my Cary Audio Founders Edition 211 FE amps and they are biased to 100ma. They are the best sounding 300B tubes I have used to date. Prior to those, I was using a couple different pairs of the more expensive  Shuguang tubes with good results.