300b lovers

I have been an owner of Don Sachs gear since he began, and he modified all my HK Citation gear before he came out with his own creations.  I bought a Willsenton 300b integrated amp and was smitten with the sound of it, inexpensive as it is.  Don told me that he was designing a 300b amp with the legendary Lynn Olson and lo and behold, I got one of his early pair of pre-production mono-blocks recently, driving Spatial Audio M5 Triode Masters.  

Now with a week on the amp, I am eager to say that these 300b amps are simply sensational, creating a sound that brings the musicians right into my listening room with a palpable presence.  They create the most open vidid presentation to the music -- they are neither warm nor cool, just uncannily true to the source of the music.  They replace his excellent Kootai KT88 which I was dubious about being bettered by anything, but these amps are just outstanding.  Don is nearing production of a successor to his highly regard DS2 preamp, which also will have a  unique circuitry to mate with his 300b monos via XLR connections.  Don explained the sonic benefits of this design and it went over my head, but clearly these designs are well though out.. my ears confirm it. 

I have been an audiophile for nearly 50 years having had a boatload of electronics during that time, but I personally have never heard such a realistic presentation to my music as I am hearing with these 300b monos in my system.  300b tubes lend themselves to realistic music reproduction as my Willsenton 300b integrated amps informed me, but Don's 300b amps are in a entirely different realm.  Of course, 300b amps favor efficient speakers so carefully component matching is paramount.

Don is working out a business arrangement to have his electronics built by an American audio firm so they will soon be more widely available to the public.  Don will be attending the Seattle Audio Show in June in the Spatial Audio room where the speakers will be driven by his 300b monos and his preamp, with digital conversion with the outstanding Lampizator Pacific tube DAC.  I will be there to hear what I expect to be an outstanding sonic presentation.  

To allay any questions about the cost of Don's 300b mono, I do not have an answer. 




I’m sure this will sound wonderful - but I can’t stop and think about why not simply run 845 SE, what are the sonic factors driving the adoption and development of 300b push-pull?

I do understand the desire to avoid working with high voltages however.

The 845 is not happy at 500 volts. It is a (low-power) transmitter tube, and is designed to work from 800 volts (minimum) to well over 1000 volts.

Once you go over 500 volts, construction, and the parts required, are a whole different world. It requires ham-radio transmitter technique. Parts are air-spaced, wires DO NOT lay on each other, circuit boards are out of the question, and special-order high-voltage power and output transformers are required. Electrolytic caps have a hard upper limit of 550 volts, and 1 kV film caps are industrial parts, not audiophile specials. In short everything is different. Consult a 1950’s American Radio Relay League (ARRL) handbook to see what safe construction technique looks like. It is nothing like audiophile practice.

Sure, the builder can ignore safe construction technique and build it the regular way, but that’s a very serious safety and fire hazard. You do NOT want an amplifier exploding and then catching on fire. Transmitter technique takes us out of consumer electronics and into the realm of professional high-voltage equipment ... interlocked chassis doors, special start-up techniques, status lights, etc.

Yes, I see audio equipment at shows with hard-core Eimac transmitter tubes that light up the room. I would never allow anything like that in my house, unless it was in an outbuilding. The companies that build these high-voltage amplifiers have no track record of building ham or pro radio gear ... they’re just winging it, despite the curved glasswork and the pretty CNC chassis.

By contrast, the 300B lives in KT88 territory, with similar voltages and operating currents. Standard hifi building technique, but still not a plaything. The voltages in the B+ caps are quite lethal, so no poking fingers where they don’t belong.

Best thread on Audiogon in a long, long, long time.  Great information, and has me wishing I could attend the Seattle show.


The usage of 845,211,805,GM 70 and other high voltage transmission tubes have been manufactured and sold by very reputable and established brands for quite awhile now. They’ve been enjoyed by owners for years without reliability or hazard issues. So it appears they’ve addressed the real world problems you logically cautioned about.

I will say however that this new approach/design of utilizing 300b tubes in push-pull is highly interesting and frankly exciting. Certainly in terms of acquiring higher tube power (Thus expanding speaker choice flexibility). I’m really looking forward to reading listener feedback from those attending the Pacific Audio show.


The output transformer for 845 SET should be at least 10K Ohm. And it can't be as wide a bandwidth as a 3K output transformer for 300B. Another issue is that driving 845 tubes is much more difficult.

A well designed 845 SET will always be inferior to a well designed 300B SET in sound quality.