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 have a purifi amp and it couldn’t hold a candle to the original 300b statement prototype. I love new class D as when you get the synergy right I find it to top any SS class AB I’ve heard. But the 300b just makes everything right

That is quite a tribute and observation.


Maybe.  Except that there are things we cannot measure.

@donsachs That was true back in the 1980s. It really isn't now. Measurement technology has really advanced in the last 40 years!

Its the distortion of any amplifier that is its 'sonic signature'.

There are many class D amps I've heard over the years that I had to struggle to take seriously. But I've heard some now that sound every bit like a very good tube amp; just like in a tube amp where arcane subtleties can make or break a design, the same is true in class D (or any design for that matter). I pointed to what is needed to make a successful amplifier (if you're going to use feedback) in my prior post. Most amps using feedback fall short of the GBP needed so distortion is much higher at higher frequencies than the THD measurement suggests!

THD by itself, if that is the only harmonic distortion metric used, allows a lot of problems to be swept under the carpet. When it is the sole metric, it leads to the myth that 'there are things we cannot measure.' The reality is if the harmonic spectra is measured at several frequencies (including above 1KHz) and if distortion is graphed vs frequency, then we start to be able to predict the 'sound' of the amplifier.

Both the 'measurement only' guys and the subjectivist guys hate this! But Daniel von Recklinghausen was right- if it measures well but sounds bad, you measured the wrong thing.

I’m convinced that no feedback plays a role as every amp I’ve heard with feedback doesn’t have that super inky back blackground or perfectly rendered transients.

@cloudsessions1 That is because in most amps employing feedback, its poorly applied- so my surmise is you've yet to hear one where the feedback was really right. Norman Crowhurst pointed this problem out 65 years ago, describing how the feedback node (the point in the amplifier where the feedback signal is mixed with the incoming signal) isn't linear; therefore the feedback signal gets distorted before it can do its job, thus creating higher ordered harmonics that have given feedback a bad rap. Its not the fault of feedback so much as poor application. Amazingly, little has been done in the last 6 decades to fix this; IMO mostly out of ignorance and a lack of will to do so.

I've heard amps with very high feedback that sound utterly relaxed in the mids and highs and portray depth with ease.

These amps are still prototypes and being tuned as we speak.  So what Cloud wrote was in reference to the first prototype a year ago.  Spatial Audio Lab had that amp for maybe 6 months.   The mono amps are probably 25-30% better at least.  @whitestix  has a pair, and Lynn and I are still tuning them and have improved them since that pair went out.  What will be shown at the Pacific Audio Fest in Seattle will be very close to the final circuit, but there will probably still be a bit of tweaking after that.  I would expect production and sales to be Q4 of this year and maybe Q1 of next.  We have to see how it goes.   Again, I hope lots of people can hear them in Seattle and give an honest opinion.  They will come to market, I promise, but we want them to sound as good as they can first.

When I was having a Bespoke Valve Input/Output Phonostage Built for me.

The designer builder was running two builds parallel, with the only differences being one had more RCA Inputs and my one had a Single RCA Input.

The Designer Builder invited me to listen once more to the design, but I could not get my head around it, there was still too much perception of weight, which was a a assessment put forward during the demo's done prior to what was supposed to be the final demo' prior to completing. 

I told the designer/builder, it was time to introduce Foil Resistors and Alternative Cap's. After some toing and froing, we got there in principle. Z Foils and a selection of Copper Foil Cap's was bought in.

The impact these had on the Sonic was from my assessment something very very special, even the designer /builder was on board and had their eye on this as a Upgrade Package on the Phon's if they were to be produced in increased numbers My later investigations which resulted in the addition of Vintage Tubes selected as a outcome of Tube Rolling experiences, was the addition that is the Cherry Garnish on Top.

The Tuning/Tweaking has the capacity to produce a sonic that is very different in the attraction/likeability generated to a earlier version. 

@pindac   Exactly my friend, exactly.   Once the power supply is right,  all the operating points are right and there is some serious listening, then the tuning begins.   We are almost there...