What 300B tubes are you using in your VAC amps?

Hello.....I know Kevin Hayes voices his amps for the Golden dragon tubes. I am currently using Sophia carbon plate tubes in my 70/70 and like them very much. KH says they should perform fine. But I will have a pair of VAC 140's soon and I was wondering what others are using and why.....also I have Brimar CV1988's for drivers.
I am interested in the KR 300B's vs Sophia carbon plates and also the Full music brand but I think there the same as the Sophia. Any feedback on these?
I also have the VAC Ren. Sig. Mk. III 140's & tried very hard to find 16 Golden Dragon 300B tubes.
After about 5 months of only finding a total of 4 NOS Golden Dragons - I opted for 2 matched octet sets of WE 300B's @ $5,800 ($10K List) & am much more than satisfied.
I think the KR 300B's should work very well & would love to hear the final results from you.
BTW - KH @ VAC now sells his own brand of 300B's @ $370 per pair.
Paladin.....even though I would like to purchase the WE's 6K is a bit much for me...more than I gave for the 140's in fact. I would like to hear thoughts on the KR's and other brands for the VAC's
I had the GD's and Cetrons in my 70/70 and the dragons were much better....I liked the Holographic soundstage and itamcy they projected. I purchased a octet of Sophia carbon plates and they were wonderful with a very lush midrange and very musical bass the plenty of punch. I have yet to hear them with my upgraded Accuphase C200 preamp and I think the transperency should improve greatly. I am sending the 7070 to kevin to upgrade....so I will use the 140's and will be looking to purchase 8 Sophia's or 16 of another brand.
BTW what do you like about the WE's and are they new production. I might be tempted.
What's the matter with using Electroharmonix Gold Grids?
Is it because they cost so much less than all the others or are they audibly inferior?
I have to tell you that I run eight of them in my Canary 339 amp (also a push pull 300B triode amp like the VAC) and I love them. Never felt the urge to upgrade them. I did find that using NOS 6sn7's as the input/driver tues did make a nice diff. over the stock EH tubes, however.
Hi Roger,
I went with the WE 300B's for the following reasons:
1) They (WE) made the original 300B tube & to my ears & system still sound better than any other 300B I've ever heard.
2) Pro-rated 5 year warrantee - Not 30 - 60 or 90 days like most others.
3) Synergy - My entire system is warm & lush.
(VAC Ren. Sig. Mk. II pre & SF Stradavari's) & the WE sounded best to my ears & everyone else's ears in my listening room.
BTW - The KR 300B's advertized here on the gon are $872.70 a pair & the 300BXLS are $976.90 per pair x 8 = $6,980/$7,815 to re-tube the 140's.
Regardless or which 300B you choose - I think the VAC Ren. Sig. One Hundred Forty Mk. III is the best piece of work Kevin has ever done & most people will never know what 130 wpc of 300BLISS can sound like.
Under $6K for the 140's? You got one hell of a deal!
Well I got a smokin deal on a octet of Sophia CB's so I now have 16 for my 140's......will report back.....I just couldn't pull the trigger on WE or KR's.
I have a 70/70 MkII which I run with Sophia Carbon Plates.

To be honest I find them a bit of a disappointment - rather flat and lifeless (6SN7s are all genuine Russian milspecs - the ones with metal bases and 'OTH' on them).

The current consensus here in Australia is the the TJ Full Music Mesh Plates are the best all-round 300Bs at a non-insane price. BTW you can get GDs from Evatco (www.evatco.com.au).

One more thing - the VACs in unmodified form drive 300Bs VERY hard. I've had mine detuned to ~50 wpc. That's why I chose the Sophias in the first place. They are very ruggedly built.


Alan....I was thinking about your detuning to 50wpc...could this effect the performance of the CP's. I ask because KH recommended the CP's over the mesh plates because he thought the carbon plates would be a better match with the Vac's push pull design. Did the factory detune the amp? My 70/70 does not have the tube sentry and I will have Kevin perform the upgrade soon. Kevin says it is a must for these amps. If you have talked to Kevin about this I would be intersted in his thoughts.
Wavetrader, I don't think 'detuning' has affected its performance. It's still delivering 50 wpc, which is very reasonable for two pairs of 300Bs.

The CPs are getting better, but it's a slow process if. like me, you don't listen for three to four hours every night.

I live in Canberra, Australia, so having factory mods done is out of the question freight wise, plus I think VAC's charges are OTT as well. Fortunately we have a valve genius here who's been able to trace the circuit and tidy things up at the same time.


Hi Alan

About 90 or 100 hours and it should be WayWow time.


btw here in America Kevin does a fantastic job and has helped me tremendously....so we are lucky to have him right here.
"I ask because KH recommended the CP's over the mesh plate".

This suggests that Kevin Hayes might recommend meshplates as an option for the Renaissance amps in some circumstances -- he in fact warns people to never use them, as they cannot handle the plate voltage of the Renaissance circuit. Kevin speaks of one owner who has had success running meshplates, but it was against Kevin's recommendation and is to be viewed as an anomaly.

What the above poster states about the Renaissance amps running 300B's hard is true -- 95% of the WeCo spec maximum voltage. I've owned VAC Renaissance amps for eight years and they require carefully vetted output tubes. In fact, Sophia used to market a special set of the Sophia tubes for VAC Renaissance amps, which were the basic Sophia tube, but carefully tested at plate voltages that resemble the voltage that 300B's see in the Renaissance circuit. Generally, as for transconductance, 300B's for the Renaissance amps should test in the 3,000-5,000 range. In addition, the plate-to-cathode voltage for 300B's in the Renaissance amps is approximately 430 volts dc, with idle current approximately 85 to 90 milliamperes in a self-bias (cathode bias) circuit. Again, this is approximately 5% below the maximum rating for the WeCo spec 300B. The milliamp and transconductance testing for purposes of matching must be done at these voltage levels, or you will find out the hard way, when your amp starts imitating a popcorn popper, that your 300B's didn't make the cut.