what are your thoughts on using a balanced input stage to drive a single ended 300B? My front end hardware is all balanced and I like using balanced connections. I’m thinking an LTP with a CCS on the cathodes and a push/pull interstage on the anodes. Output of the IT driving a single 300B with fixed bias connected to the other side of the IT secondary. I haven’t decided which tubes to use for the input stage, but was thinking about triode strapped D3As.
@jaytor You’ll want as much gain out of the voltage amplifier as you can get, since the more gain also yields better Common Mode Rejection Ratio. But you’ll need a good Constant Current Source to optimize the gain stage. The D3A, triode strapped, will give you a good mu value to work with, although you could get that with a single 12AT7 and be in the same ballpark. A 12AT7 will allow for plenty of bandwidth.
If you use a driver transformer as a plate load, the issue you’ll be up against is imbalance of plate current between the tube sections. The better your CCS the less you’ll have this problem, and matching is a very good idea. The more current that isn’t cancelled in the magnetic core you can also expect greater distortion. So you can see getting the plates to have equal plate voltage is important. To this end, using a balance pot in the cathode circuit to balance the plate currents, while effective, has the effect of also reducing the differential effect, increasing distortion and reducing gain and bandwidth. So matched tube sections and a really effective CCS are paramount.
One thing to consider is its really impossible to get a perfect center tap in a transformer. Its always going to be a little off.
Since its often difficult to get really well matched tube sections (they should be matched on a curve tracer for best results), I prefer to use RC coupling to a cathode follower, which is in turn direct coupled to the grid of the power tube. The power tube would thus obtain bias from the driver tube. If the driver tube gets weak, the power tube will conduct less also, preventing damage. I explained this topology earlier in this thread.
If you are considering using a differential amplifier as the input voltage amplifier, you really should consider a bi-polar power supply of equal B+ and B-. This will improve the differential effect and the effectiveness of the CCS. If you have such a power supply then you have a good way of setting up that cathode follower I mentioned. If you go this route, care must be taken to make sure the plate of the driver tube is well bypassed so even at full output there is no noise, no artifact caused by the signal on that plate. This will really help the amp assume greater authority.