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. 





Being an owner of Don's Vahalla tube integrated, might your "handle" more appropriately be "@jeff_tubes"?   ;-)  

 I have the Triode Masters and heard the Sapphires and was not compelled to upgrade.  However, the X-series is a different kettle of fish so I am enthused to hear them with Don and Lynn's newest electronics, presented in their best possible light.  Oh, and the excellent Lampizator DAC which will clearly complement the rest of the gear.  

I reiterate and amplify my love for these new mono's, which sounds cliche, but they sound like no amps at all, just masterful reproduction of the music in such an effortless and ethereal way... the sound is suspended in the air in the room with a completely realistic manner.  The amps just completely get out of the way with a sonic signature that I would not describe with adjectives like "warm" or "cool", just completely realistic to the source of the music.  This uncanny sound reproduction you will hear when you visit the room, of that I am confident.   I hope I run into you and others on this thread in the room to get acquainted and share our impressions of what we hear.

I wish Charles would be there so I could meet him and applaud him on his excellent contributions on this forum, a paragon of audio knowledge and the utmost of civility.  He clearly knows the sonic splendor of 300b gear.  For me, hearing these mono's, it is a bell that can not be unrung.  I think other attendees to the room might come to the same conclusion.  



He clearly knows the sonic splendor of 300b gear.  

Sonic splendor is true. 300b SET mono blocks owned since 2009 and as happy with them as I’ve ever been. Listening to the great jazz guitarist Barney Kessel as I write. Reading the comments from Lynn and Don on the how and why of their PP 300b amplifier convinces me your description of its sound is dead on the mark. I have no doubt that it is sublime.


I rather think that there is inherent magic in the employment of 300b tubes, which I discovered with my Willsenton 300b amp with all of 8 wpc.  It drove my Spatial just fine... until it didn't.  With these monos, there is no such limitation on db levels vs distortion which stands to reason.  Easily end-game amplification which will be added to with Don's new preamp, designed from the get-go to pair optimally with the monos via XLR connections. 

You have great 300b amps, and you like Barney Kessel (I am almost solely a jazz listener for 50 years) so you and I are on the same sheet of music.  Your posts are always informative and upbeat, which I value.   

Whitestix I can tell you are astute and have a sense of humor.  When I came up with that name in 2002 I was thinking of my family name and probably at that point didn't realize ss is an abbreviation for solid state amps.  Funny :^)

I too have been almost exclusively a jazz listener since junior HS in 1964.  Listening to Joe Pass, the Compete Pacific Jazz Years right now.

I hope to meet you at PAF

What’s odd is that I have trouble describing the sound of my own gear ... this applies to Shadow Vector, my loudspeakers, and my electronics. I aim for natural, open sound that is free of electronic artifacts. If there is a residue of coloration, I’d like it to be pleasing, but as low as possible.

That’s the goal. What I hear is a very spacious sound, no surprise there, but also an unexpected "trippy" kind of feeling that slowly deepens over the first ten to twenty minutes of relaxed, non-critical listening. I have no idea what causes it, to be honest. Many don’t experience this, but some do, and it’s fun to watch them process the experience. My only guess is the disjunction between the auditory experience and the visual experience is so strong that secondary emotions are invoked.

My degree is in Psychology with a focus on Perceptual Psychology. I grew up in Japan and Hong Kong, which gave me a cultural experience different than most Americans, and am a bit familiar with Buddhist, Taoist, and Vedanta Hindu world-views. Partly as a result of that, I take Western audiophile pronouncements about what can, or can’t, be perceived with a lot of skepticism. Different cultures experience the world in profoundly different ways, and there’s a lot of individual variation, too.

The task of the audio system is to get out of the way of what can be a profound emotional experience for the listener. "Accuracy" in this context is absurd, since the goal is to facilitate a trance experience, a dreamlike state of consciousness. Artificiality (colorations that do not occur in nature) is distracting and can prevent the experience from happening.

By minimizing coloration at the level where it originates, the device itself, there’s less need for post-facto processing, which can induce dynamic colorations that are unnatural and a signature of "electronic" sound.

This discussion is kind of "meta", but it is my experience audio designers need to have a goal they are aiming for, otherwise you will never get there. And not a mechanistic goal, but a perceptually subjective goal.