Does it make sense to use 6k$ Nos tube with 5K$ tube amplifier?

Yesterday I inserted original Western Electric 300B made in 1930’s to Line Magnetic 508 amplifier.

After I got LM 508 on Aug 2018 and I had done lot of tube rolling.

Now I have Psavne Acme 805, 1944 Sylvania vt231(6SN7), Mullard ECC85(6SL7) and Synergistic Blue power cable and fuse with it.

Isoacoustics Orea Bordeaux foot is also under LM 508.

I had been hesitant to try my original Western Electric 300B with LM 508 amplifier.

After paying 3k$ for pair 17 years ago, I had run 10K hours on the tube with Silbatone 300B 8W SET amplifier.

It still sound fine with 5K - 10K hours more remaining.

But it is hard to get good NOS Western Electric 300B tube anymore and it get more expensive ( more than 6K for pair now).

I had tried Sophia Carbon Plate 300B and Shuguang Treasure 300B on LM 508.

With Sophia Carbon Plate, I got slightly deeper bass with more refined treble.

With Shuguang Treasure, I got more details and tight and deeper bass with wider soundstage.

Now with original Western Electric 300B, I got much more and cleaner details and tighter bass with transparent and wider and deeper soundstage.

The most notable difference is more details and transparent soundstage.

I had not expected that much improvement with original Western Electric 300B.

After going back to Sophia Carbon Plate, it sound warm but boring with less details and less transparent sound.

Thus I had to go back to original Western Electric 300B.
When I play " Songbird" of Eva Cassidy with original Western Electric 300B, she appears to sing in front of me with spooky presence.

Now I got into trouble.

I do not want to put valuable original Western Electric 300B into LM 508.

20 years ago, replica of Western Electric had been made and I compared it with original Western Electric 300B.

It turned out that replica was no match to original Western Electric 300B.

Replica had crude and less details and narrower soundstage.

Although they claim to make another replica of Western Electric 300B, I do not have much expectation from my previous experience.

I placed order of Psavne Acme 300B tube yesterday which cost me 900$.

Psavne Acme 805 is the best new production tube with natural details and transparent soundstage.

I do not expect Acme 300B to be better than original Western Electric 300B.

But if Acme 300B is 90% as good as original Western Electric 300B, then I will use it with LM 508.

Replica of Western Electric 300B made 20 years ago was only 70% as good as original Western Electric 300B
Some wear out $10k and more cartidges in two years, so why not $6k tubes if they are best of the best for particular application for particular or everyone's taste ?
True, $10k cartridges are usually in $15k tonearms and played thru $30k phono stages, but not always.


I have only one pair of NOS original WE 300B.

I need to use it with Silbatone 300B SET amplifier which is a premium amplifier (20k$) with silver foil output transformer.

Thus I ordered Psavne Acme 300B tube to use with LM 508.

I hope that Acme 300B be 90% as good as original WE 300B
shkong78, I see, I didn't get this part. I thought your question was more general - is it worth spending $6k on those tubes ?
I have no experience but I read that there was no real substitute for those original tubes. You confirm it.
It is hard to assess the difference in percentage. 90% is like " not too far " or " quite close but.." ? 
Better this approach: best tube - 100 %, less than that - 0%. Very expensive approach.
0-100% is subjective.

Original Nos WE 300B tube is hard to get in good condition.

Replica of WE 300B made 20 years ago is not Nos but some people misclaim it to be nos WE 300b.

Original Nos WE 300A tube cost more than 300B (around 15K$ for pair).

It is crazy.

But their sound quality is special.

One of my rich friend is using original 300A but I can not afford it.
Yeah, $15k is off the scale, $6k is 10, bordering on crazy. But they last very long.
Yet it is true.

Good Nos 300B can last up to 20K hours.

No new production tube can last as long as that.

I had already run 10K hours on my NOS 300B tube but it sounds fine.

Not a tube guy, but curious.

How much (and under what circumstances) do you listen to each of the amps?
The original WE300B's last a VERY long time in amps designed to run that particular tube.  I would check to make sure the LM amp is not running the tube hot like many current amps do to extract that little bit of extra power.  I agree that original, engraved base 300B's are very good tubes.  I think they run a bit more than $6,000 a pair for used tubes that still test strong.  The 300A's are now more than $15,000 a pair.  A local dealer uses engraved base 300B's in several amps that he builds and sells (in mostly pushpull amps, so this means quads of these tubes), and is currently looking for a couple of 300A's to complete a quad for a very special customer.  

I would look at the new Western Electric 300B's coming on the market that are being built using the old machinery and tooling from Western Electric.  These are probably going to be like the 1990's Western Electric tubes--decent, if not quite as good as the originals.  I have not listened to Taketsuke 300B's from Japan, but, they are reported to be good replicas of original 300B's.  I heard, and liked, the Kron version of 300B's, but, they are different in sound from typical 300B's so some may not like them (leaner, more dynamic sounding than typical 300B's).  

If these seems really crazy, it is, but not as crazy as a tube that is similar to the 300A or 300B, which is the Western Electric 252.  This same dealer has a 59B amp that runs those tubes in pushpull.  The tubes really don't have a price on them because there is no market for them, but, he turned down an offer of $30,000 for the pair.
If you need to finance the WE300B NOS purchase, then no.  If the cost is a drop in the bucket, go for it.  One man's $600 purchase is another man's $6,000. 
Our collective perspective of value is wide ranging depending on personal interests, budgets and beliefs.  There is no right answer...act in accordance with your own value paradigm.  I'm not buying any $6K tubes any time soon but that doesn't mean it isn't the "right" move for you.  We all prioritize our lives based on what we value. Very personal decision - not a committee or consensus decision for sure.
Post removed 

of all the current production 300b tubes I feel the Genalex gold lion to be the best overall sound. better then the Shuguaug Western Electric knock offs and they are more money. I've heard or run the Suguaug Treasures, WE's, Psavne (not sure which now) and the Gold lions in my amps and the gold lions are by far the best over all tube with much better detail and extension. If you have not tried a set of the Gold Lions I recommend you give them a try. As for your Western electrics the tube store has a set listed for $20k so they are going up to crazy prices now. Use them if you want as you have them now. save them if you want and try some new production tubes.

I'm on my second set of gold lions and very happy with the sound, reliability and longevity they give.

@ glennewdick

Thanks for your recommendation of Golden Lion tubes.

I have had a good experience of Psavne Acme 805.

Thus I have a high expectation of Acme 300B tubes which I will get by this Friday.

I will update the situation after auditioning it.

I like Elizabeth's idea. Problem is that unless you are just playing background music at low volume, you will not settle for less after hearing better tubes. Still good idea, if you can get away with excellent $1k replicas and keep $10k originals for special occasions and mood, this might be an acceptable compromise.
As for value, yes, very subjective and depends on personal finances.
Frankly, it would be easier for me to pay $10k for a pair of tubes if I thought that there were no real substitute than for a cartridge or cable. In other words, it is not all that much after all !
In my humble opinion, taking tubes in and out fairly often is not a great idea, kind of asking for the unexpected to happen, especially after a couple of glasses of your favorite.
Thomas, it seems to me it might be appropriate for you to try a few different sets of tubes that are being made currently. Takatsuki, EML XLS 300B (which I use and love in my Audio Assemblage SET 300B, purchased on auction here on Audiogon for $750, and had caps and resistors upgraded).

Some might say I'm out of my mind using such expensive tubes in this amp, but I say they were absolutely worth it. A beautiful sounding amp. So, I would consider in lieu of spending tens of thousands, spend just hundreds (or in the case of the Takatsuki's, around $3000), and see if any of those would float your boat. I know of other SET 300B owners that are very happy with either the EML tubes or Takatsuki's.

Anyway, that's my suggestion. I don't know if you have tried any of these tubes, but if you don't try, you'll never know.

I hope you will be able to find what you are wanting, without spending such a large amount of cash.

Best regards,

HI Dan

Thanks a lot for your kind recommendation.

I am going to see what happen to Acme 300B tube.

By the way please make sure to join the party at my home on March 16th.

best wishes

Summary of improvement on LM 508

1. Acme 805 (740$ well worth it)
2. 1944 Sylvania vt231 (125$ fantastic value)
I bought one pair at 100$ and so much I like it, I ordered one more pair from the same dealer at 125$ as backup.
He does not have them any more.
Two pairs sound almost alike with 125$ pair very slight more details.
3. NOS WE 300B ( tight bass, wider soundstage, fantastic details but expensive and hard to get)
4. NOS Mullard ECC35(125$ from Ebay well worth it)
5. Synergistic Blue power cable( make sound faster and transparent)
6. Synergistci Blue fuse( make sound more refined , subtle effect)
7. Isoacoustics Orea Bordeaux ( subtle effect, more focused sound)

No1. has the most effect and No7 has only subtle effect.
I don't know if it is that good an idea to go swapping tubes in and out for special occasions vs. regular listening.  Tube sockets have a somewhat limited life, as far as insertions and removals, so frequent swapping means shortening the useful life of the socket.  An old timer said that beyond thirty cycles, most tube sockets become dicey.

I agree with the mention above about EML XLS 300B tubes.  Those are nice tubes, albeit not that cheap.
Good point, Larry. I changed my opinion, just put in the best tubes you can afford.
Post removed 
I am sure fancy sockets are available, but, I know builders who are particular about the sockets they like and the ones they like are vintage sockets.  The sockets can be tightened up, but they supposedly don't stand up to frequent re-tensioning.  Also, not everyone is up to doing socket replacement.  I know I would be less than thrilled to do that with my Audio Note Kageki because the sockets are on the circuit board.

I also don't like the fact that triodes like the 300B and 2a3 have four pins and no center key, so it actually is possible to jam them in the wrong way; the pins vary in size, but, that is really not enough to prevent an accident.  With all the great minds at Western Electric, why didn't they think of putting the pins in a different pattern, like a trapezoid, where incorrect insertion is impossible.
larryi, I just pulled one of my EML XLS 300B tubes a few minutes ago, and when I went to reinsert it, I had it turned 180 degrees out. It would NOT go in that way. These are ceramic sockets, so I'll have to disagree with that assertion, at least on my amp.

I suspect you were not as determined to screw up as some of us are.  At a local shop that employs part-time high school students, one such employee managed to insert one of a "matched pair" of Western Electric 300B's the wrong way, the result being a no longer matched pair and almost ceaseless teasing of that employee (amusing because he is otherwise super bright and has gone on to designing and building quite a number of decent amps, linestages, headphone amps and DACs).   
The new reissue of the Western Electric tube has not been on the market long enough to establish its quality and reliability.  The good news is that the company not only bought the trademark for Western Electric, they also bought the tube making gear and already built parts, so if we are lucky, their tubes will be like the 1990's reissued tubes.  I thought those reissued tubes were quite good-decent sounding and very reliable (only quality control issue I knew of was that some glass envelops became unglued from the tube base (relatively easy to fix if wires remained intact). 

It would also be nice if they got around to reissuing other WE tube types. How about new 310, 348, 349 and 350 tubes?
Wine in the cellar
wine in the glass
to the grave I go
that wine on the rack
never touched my
now dead nose...

burn em if ya got em....


i just discovered a whole case of SeaSmoke Ten
the better 7/8 hid it from me....

@larryi Agree that they are not proven, but they are going to great lengths to ensure "an authentic" 300b. And, they are giving a 5 year warranty - which is kinda unheard of. They must have great confidence in the product.

Dare I ask are you trying to achieve the highest fidelity of the original recordings? Or is it because you have the means to do so then it must mean that you will achieve that" Holy Grail"?
Happy Listening
I am a cheap guy: Never buy an entertainment center that cost more than the TV.

The same applies here: Never buy $$$$$$$ tubes that cost more than your amp.  Your tubes deserve better.
Mr.Spock: "The capacity of humans for self-delusion is unlimited" - a good psychotherapist will be less costly!
Does it make sense to use a $150 fuse?

Depends. How much better does it sound?

What's that you say? You were asking about tubes?

What's the diff?
I don't quite know what point is being made, but, quoting a fictional character as evidence that some people are delusional is quite amusing. 

Also, what is wrong with being deluded into being happy about a purchase choice?  To also utilize a pop fiction reference: I don't see anything wrong with taking the blue pill.
I spent almost as much on Herbies Tube Dampers as I did for my WWII Tung Sol rectifier tube and two Sylvania Bad Boy output tubes when I had a pure tube headphone amp. Two (count em) dampers per tube, one on the glass near the getter, the other on the tube base. Was that wrong?
It is true that original WE 300B made before 1950's are special.

I also found that Western Vintage Big horn with field coil magnet sound also marvelous.

It is my dream to own  Western Vintage Big horn in good working state before I die.
Well, I certainly wouldn’t promote them if they did. Wood eye? 👁

Any particular WE horn system?  A local dealer has assembled systems with 12, 13, 15, 22 horns and various compression drivers, like the WE-555 (field coil and permanent magnet versions), and he has a gigantic 16A horn (not for sale) which utilizes two 555 drivers per speaker (one version of this horn utilizes four 555's per speaker, but, I've never seen or heard this version).  He also utilizes G.I.P. replica field coil compression drivers and their replica field coil woofers and 597 tweeter.  All of this is great sounding stuff.

I also like much more modestly sized systems utilizing vintage and replica drivers and horns.  My favorite compression driver is the Western Electric 713b which has a phenolic diaphragm.  It is, to me, the most natural sounding, detailed, yet smooth sounding driver.  But, it does not have as extended a frequency range as other Western Electric drivers and it is harder to get the crossover right because it is a 4 ohm driver.  It works well in smaller systems that are not called upon to deliver extremely high volume levels.  Some of the Western Electric field coil woofers sound very good, but, for my personal "dream" system, I might go with the Jensen/ERPI M-10 field coil woofer.  My ideal tweeter is the 597.  My dealer has actually assembled two systems using G.I.P.'s jazzed up version of the 597 tweeter that sells for $58,000 a pair; I would settle for the "cheaper" replica or an original WE 597. 

For the power supply for field coils, I was surprised to hear how much better a Tungar tube power supply sounds as compared to solid state power supplies for the midrange compression drivers.  My dealer says that the difference is smaller for tweeter and woofer power supplies.

Of course, amplification should be Western Electric or something comparable.  I am happy with my sort of replica 133a amp (re-built, mostly vintage parts, including the correct Western Electric input and output transformers).  

Thanks a lot for your kind recommendation.

But I can not pull the trigger right now.

This is the system that I had heard at Seoul, Korea last December.

I was astonished by natural dynamics.

But I can not shell out 300$ now.

I will not settle for less than the above one.

My current system with Lansche 4.1 driven by Line Magnetic 508 or Silbatone 300B SET is musical enough to beat most of system that I had heard at many Audio shows.

Thus I am not in a hurry.

When I am comfortable at spending 300K$, then I will pull the trigger.

Yes, it is the astounding dynamics of horn systems that instantly hooked me.  They sound so alive even when playing at very modest levels.  To me, the other significant advantage of these systems is their high efficiency which allows one to use the very best sounding amplifiers; to me the best amplifiers are low-powered amps, particularly low-powered tube single-ended and pushpull amps.  

You don't have to spend $300k to get great horn system sound.  There are much cheaper alternatives that might still deliver enough of what you are looking for in a system.  

As for your LM amp, I would use whatever tube combination sounds the best, and not worry about whether the tubes are "too good" for the amp.  Why shouldn't you treat yourself to the best sound with what you got?  I've heard many "modest" amps transformed into something else by replacing the manufacturer-supplied tubes with something better.  For example, the Cary 300b SEI amp is something quite special with the reissue Western Electric 300b tube.

I received Psavne Acme 300B tube around noon today(Thursday).

It had been shipped from China on Tuesday using DHL express.

It took only two days to get here in Washington State US.

I bought it from here.

Psvane Acme Serie 300B Hi-end Vacuum Tube Replace

I inserted it into LM508 and played some music.

Without burn in, it sounds refined with clean details and transparent sound.

Acme 300B remind me of Acme 805.

With Acme 805 and 300B in LM508, it sound musical with transparent window.

They seems to have synergy in my LM 508.

After running Acme 300B for 100 hours in LM 508, I will compare Acme 300B and NOS WE 300B in Silbatone 300B SET amplifier.

I may not need to use 6K$ NOS WE 300 in 5K$ Line Magnetic Amplifier.

I will keep it updated


Do you have any idea about how the Acme 300B's differ from the Psvane 300B's that Audio Note (uk) will be selling?  My understanding is that the Audio Note tubes have molybdenum plates.  I don't know if they are Audio Note exclusives.  What I do know is that Peter Qvortrop, the head of Audio Note is a tube expert and a collector of tubes; if he likes something, they are probably very good.  
Thomas, I also ordered  tubes from that website. I ordered a pair of Shuguang WE845 and a quad of Black Treasure CV-131-Z. I had reservations about ordering them directly from China but the website was very responsive with sending an order confirmation and invoice. I ordered them last Friday and they arrived Wednesday from Hong Kong. Well packed and in good shape. I have no affiliation with the company except as a customer. Was pleasantly surprised with the experience and the price was right. Just want to let people know incase they are hesitant to order. Regards, Randy
Psavne is selling more than 5 kinds of 300B tubes.

I have no information about Audio Note ones.

I have Psavne Acme and  Psavne Cossor Valve 805 tubes.

Although latter is one third price of Acme, it is quite good for the price.

But Acme series is special with transparency and natural details.

After running Acme 300B for 100 hours in LM 508, I will compare Acme 300B and NOS WE 300B in Silbatone 300B SET amplifier. which is a premium 20K amplifier with silver foil output transformer.

Then I can tell how good Acme 300B is.

The one thing that Psvane has figured out is how to market to the Western world.  If it's priced high, it must be better.
@ ranjan

Thanks for sharing your experience.

It took much shorter time to get here in Washington State  from China than from East coast or Canada.

Most audiophile hate long period of lead time or shipping time.

Absolutely, I use interconnects that retail more than my CD player and I use speaker cables that cost more than my amp and speakers. So the answer to your question is yes.