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I'm in the USA looking to buy new current production 300B amps at a low cost. I've been searching and I found Bottlehead and DIY Hifi. It looks like Welborne doesn't sell anymore. Anyone know of a good maker?
I currently have 5 AES 300B amps which aren't made any more. I tri amp my system and two amps are down for repairs now. What I don't like is that all of my 300B amps are a bit different and I want them the same. I'm thinking of selling them and changing to a new model where I can get them all the same.
I know that many people like to put different type of amps on different drivers but I like to have all the same even for the subwoofers.
If you were to check the AA classified ads, you would find amps made by Wayne Rathan of Waamamps, including a 300B, which sells for $1,500. I have not heard that model, but I have owned the 807 SE, which sounds great. These are hand made and good quality amps. I believe that Wayne has been making amps and selling them here, Audiogon and ebay for a number of years.
I recently switched to a pair of BH Paramounts and my system has never sounded better. I know of at least one guy who is using four Paramounts in a bi-amp system. This same person said it best:
"Some people think BH is great because you can get cheap amps. That may be truth but to me the greatness of BH is that they are the best sounding commercial amps I've heard..."
I am on the fence on these myself. Can I ask-
What did you have before?
Did you build them yourself?
Are you using them w/ 300b tubes?
Good questions. I was using a very high-quality James Burgess 45/46 stereo amp and only bought the Paramounts because I got a great, local pick-up deal on them (I had no intentions of replacing the Burgess amp). However, the more I listened to the Paramounts, the more I was impressed.
This was a surprise because I was prejudiced against the Paramounts for several reasons. First, I have not liked most of the 300B amps that I have heard. Also, it's been drummed into me that you had to have AC heating of the filaments and tube rectification for best sound - neither of which the Paramounts use.
The pair I acquired was a very early pair that was built by an Electrical Engineer. I liked their sound enough to start investing more money in them. They already came upgraded with a large Mundorf and two small V-Cap capacitors each, so I purchased the V1.1 soft-start upgrade kit and had it professionally installed.
Then came upgraded power cords, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Ericsson 2C51 input tubes and bi-wire speaker cables. They were really sounding good at this point, but the final piece to the puzzle was upgrading to EML solid-plate 300Bs.
With the EML 300Bs, I now have superior response at the frequency extremes, nothing like the classic 300B sound with weak/bloated bass and poor high frequency response. Also, the reproduction of certain sounds like saxophone and vocals are exceptional. I know it’s a cliché, but I really can make out the words to songs much better with the EMLs.
Even though I got a great deal on the Paramounts, I ended up spending quite a bit of money to put this altogether (this also includes the purchase of an Eva 2 LDR passive preamp). However, it's been well worth it. I feel the Paramounts, as configured with the upgraded tubes and caps, provides the best combination of attributes from the Burgess amp, my previous Fi 2A3 monos and several other amps I have owned.
Gerry E. knows this, but I feel I should post it for anyone else reading this thread.
The EML 300Bs are fine in the Paramount, configured for 300B operation. In fact, I've never heard anything but positive remarks from anyone who has used them. Just don't increase the capacitance of the coupling capacitor above the stock design value.
But the Paramount can also be configured for 2A3s with direct coupling. At this point, if you want to use EML tubes the "soft-start" board is necessary to manage the turn-on transient without damaging the tube, and it requires that you wait 20 minutes after turning the amp off before you turn it back on. EML does not consider this an adequate protection, and I have to agree with Jac on this. Some have done this anyhow, and they all love the tube, but it is risky. Again, this applies only to the 2A3 direct coupled version when used with the EML tube.
Look at the EML website if you are technically inclined, Jac has a ton of extremely good technical information. And absolutely no BS.
You still have to try Nickel or M3 trafos...JA
Try Min at Tube Audio Lab, he is in CA.
You say USA... if that is important be advised DIY HiFi is in Hong Kong
bill: for slightly more than the "budget" stock models, you can have a custom builder (some of who post on AA) build you exactly what you need.
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