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. 




@pindac that will be up to Spatial Audio Lab.  I am going there in late Nov to teach them the builds of amps and matching preamp.  There will be a review pair made that will spend some time in the USA next year.  After that we shall see.   It is not hard at all to spec power transformers with dual windings and make a 220-240 VAC input version and source a proper IEC connector.  While I expect both these pieces to be very reliable, the problem with supporting European and Asian markets is shipping cost, and if the customer has a problem of any sort, the shipping costs are enormous to help them out with any warranty issues.  If you make 100 units of anything, no matter how reliable, one will either be damaged by a reckless carrier, or some weird problem may arise.  The important thing in that case is to immediately take care of the customer, and that is expensive outside of N America.  So that will be Spatial's call.   It is much more expensive to support markets outside the USA and Canada.

Hi Don, I have heard a VAC Amp' within the UK, one of the earlier models is owned by a HiFi Group Member who owns a 300B.

Another newer Model VAC is also owned by a Group Member, I am yet to be demo's this one.

I have heard Modwright as well other Brands that are not with a dealer distribution, it is not too strange for products to end up in the UK without the supporting networks behind them.

There is a fair amount of UK Audio Enthusiasts who are willing to look far and wide for their entertainment to be satisfied. 


@pindac Would it require a 240 VAC version or have most of the ones you have heard been US market 120VAC ones that someone was using a step up transformer with on your side of the pond?   I will say that I have the pair of prototype amps that will go into production other than some cosmetic changes to the cases and panels.  The circuit and power supply will not change as they are done.  I abuse the amps regularly, putting them on the bench and tweaking something and turning them on and off 10 times in 30 minutes.  Nothing has fazed them in 3 or 4 months since their birth.  So I am pretty darn confident if they arrive undamaged they will simply just work and be very reliable.  I/we wouldn't sell them if they were not very reliable.  But shipping overseas is always dicey, even with good packing.

I have not inquired to the VAC Owners if they are using their Amp's with a Step Up Mains Tranx, or with any other US Imported Audio Ancillaries I have been demo'd.

I am a listener first and foremost.

The offer of the Prototype Amp's will be a great temptation to somebody, the Pedigree of the EE's and made known design intent behind this design alone, should be enough to convince a special experience is to be had. The reports of listening experiences to be found within this thread can only but reinforce, the idea of the purchase being very worthy of a consideration.

In the UK there are excellent Third Party support services for Electronics Support in both Valve and SS, these services are able to be found across the Country. The Services are not unreasonable in their costings, I have only ever seen the waiting time from certain services being the cause to search further afield. I do believe that the the notable trust that has been placed in these very services, along with the idea that receiving EE support is not being too much of a difficulty to achieve, is an instrumental factor in the making way for rarely seen items of Audio Equipment arriving in the UK from a variety of Countries where products have not got a UK support network.

As for overseas shipping, there are lots of Chinese Origin Audio Equipment arriving in the UK, especially Valve Amp's, of which some are requesting multiple £0000's to acquire. I am yet to have seen any horror stories about the Quality of the goods , resulting from their Transportation.

I myself have imported many items of Audio Equipment from Japan and over approx' 10 years, have experienced two incidents where goods arrived with a damage that was not as advertised.

Either a undeclared damage or transit damage was received ? 

I will keep looking in on this valuable thread.  

Hi there, Pindac!

The decision to export out of North America is largely up to Spatial Audio. Don and I are the technical advisors and consultants, but exporting is a business decision. We can suggest and advise, but we do not make the final decision.

As Don has mentioned, exports to Europe would have to meet rigorous EU safety standards, and an EU servicing center would be wise. The EU is a big place with many technical and legal requirements that are quite different from the North American market, which has one dominant language, safety standards, and electrical power. If you can sell it in Los Angeles, you can sell it in Toronto, and everywhere in between.

Sure, there are small audiophile manufacturers who import on a "grey market" basis into the EU and the UK. That’s fine until you get caught. Don, myself, and the team at Spatial intend to be on the straight and narrow when it comes to regulations ... we are not Tesla, Apple, or Microsoft, with armies of lawyers to smooth the path into new markets.

Back when I was at Audionics in the Seventies, we eventually surmounted the many EU technical regulations and sold our products into the European market. But it took several years, and we didn’t attempt it until we had significant sales volume in the domestic market. Sure, it’s easy to order a Monolith power transformer with multiple input voltages. That doesn’t make the finished product legal to sell in the UK or the EU.

The unusual thing about the US market is that it is really easy to sell into ... tariff rates are some of the lowest in the world, technical safety requirements are not too severe, and the market is huge and easy to serve. Markets everywhere else are different ... more fragmented, higher tariff barriers, multiple languages, many different technical standards, and other obstacles.