Oh Sh#7! Eddie Current Studio B

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    Email Craig. Last I heard he still had enough for like 4 more (as reported on this site.)
     
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  2. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    Some bad luck. A few of the screws came loose and one of the chokes was bouncing around a bit in shipping. It looks like nothing was damaged and i was able to resecure it and a bunch of other screws that were not 100%.

    The real bad news is when i opened it up, chunks of glass and glass dust was all over. The fuse it ok, but i dont know where else there could be glass, or what could have broken or what broke it. I sent an email to Craig so I guess we will see. But not the most confident. I would post pics of the inside but im not sure the rules on that. I compared it to a friend who bought his in 2021 and the few things i see are the caps are different and no glass in his :rolleyes:

    @internethandle i have #55
     
  3. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Real sorry to hear that, @Souldriver. So I take it the PSU itself is only impacted or both the amp and the PSU? When I first got my unit it sounded at first like a screw was floating around in the PSU when I rocked it back and forth, but I wasn’t able to replicate whatever I heard and think it may have just been the transformer clunking/similar. The amp itself was fine in that regard.

    I know Craig has a bit of a reputation, but I wouldn’t worry too much given you bought from him directly and (I assume) you are domestic. In my case, buying used seems a bit of a risk in the event of an issue, given he seems to prioritize his direct customers only. I have heard rumors of a “tech” he works with, though (not to mention I could drive to Calabasas if Craig would agree to meet me). Lastly, EC amps are not the most complicated designs in terms of not many proprietary PCB’s to replace or similar - it’s mostly solder work and parts/wire - so it’s always possible that anyone could work on one, parts available and skill permitting.

    I would also tell you that I think it’s worth it. I’m in love with the amp. Have been holding off on posting impressions while I still get through 300B rolling (just put in Gold Lions about 72 hours ago) and new toy syndrome, but it’s far and away the best amp I’ve heard and really does give me that “I’ve arrived” feeling in terms of it being clear that there are not very many places to go from here with the components I have without starting completely over for something different, but not not necessarily better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  4. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Also, assuming Craig has a linear serial number scheme, 55 units (meaning what, 60 total out there by the time he's really done, maybe?) could make the amp have pretty good resale value if you choose to get it fixed.

    I will say that The Music Room continues to impress me. This is the biggest purchase I've gotten from them by far, but it's the second one that was very heavy and fragile, and they both threw in really cheap shipping (about 60 bucks for SB) but also use a custom foam injection packing machine for some items, so the PSU arrived in that surrounded by an enormous amount of padding and a big box with a lot of room to shift. I could see how it might get damaged easily if a FedEx guy threw it around in a box any smaller with less packing material. I'm not one to gush over audiophool companies, but they have my vote.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  5. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    So the screws were loose on the choke. @internethandle you can take off rhe bottom panel of the psu and hold the nut and retighten them, or at least see what was clinking around. It seems for some reason these screws loosen in shipping often. I think maybe they are lightly hand tightened when built. And even though its secure in shipping they still come loose. I did a once over and found a few loosies that needed tightening.

    Craig did not know what the glass is from. The only glass in there is the fuse and a small light and both were intact. Maybe it was some resin that cracked off something? But i dont know for sure. Craig also gave me an order to put everything on in and to check it all so ill be doing that
     
  6. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Yeah the glass is really odd, can’t think of what that might be. Maybe one of the caps got crushed or something and its innards look glass-like? Hard to say. Would also seem hard for that to happen without obvious chassis damage.

    I’ll take a peer into the PSU when I get a chance next time I turn the unit off. Glad it sounds like Craig is taking care of you.

    Anecdotally, I bought my Yggdrasil (A2/Unison, upgraded later to LIM on my own) used on HF and it came with something rolling around inside. When I opened up the unit it turned out to be a screw associated with the bottom of a stand-off for one of the two transformers. It was stripped so it wouldn’t thread in when I tried, so I just left it off because the transformers were soldered onto the board as well as secured with three other standoffs that were fine (an aside but I think something similar to this happened to a unit Amir tested which prompted an unnecessary freak out from him, of course). Yggdrasil is about as heavy as SB so my takeaway from those kinds of experiences is that unwieldy/big chassis items like these with lots of parts are not really amenable to modern quick and dirty domestic shipping realities.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  7. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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  8. Fenris

    Fenris Rando

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    I've had my Studio B for a little over two years. My 300b tubes have always wiggled just a little, and don't fit completely down into the socket (though inserted as far down as they will go). I haven't noticed it causing any issues.
     
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  9. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    If you mean the actual gold plated female pins of the 300B sockets having movement, my SB also has this. When removing a tube, one (or both) of usually the front two smaller pins will move upward with the tube as it works its way out, sort of gripping onto the tube's male pins as it leaves, but will fall back into place usually flush with the plastic portion once the tube is out. There's also a mild amount of lateral movement with these same female gold plated pins, but it's less pronounced than the up/down movement upon removing a tube. I don't have any experience with tubes that have pins this large -- my previous tube amps were Valhalla 2/Vali 1/Little Dot Mk III -- so I can't comment on how "normal" this is, but it doesn't seem to effect the amp's ability to heat the filaments etc. so far.

    Speaking of 300B's, @CEE TEE was right about the Shuguang 300B-98 "cheapo" tubes that came with my SB. I actually prefer them to the Gold Lion PX300B's I just got from Upscale Audio, by a large margin, going into an HD800 from LIM, so much so that I'm cutting my losses and selling the Gold Lions so that I can go up the ladder on Chinese tubes before hopefully settling down and getting out of the 300B rolling game for a bit. It's a system synergy thing, I think -- the Gold Lion's tilt the sonic signature closer to solid state vs. the softer, bloomier Shuguangs, which plays poorly with the HD800's (ear tweeters), and even though LIM is "rounder" than A2/OG Yggdrasil, it is still a Mike Moffatt supercomboburrito DAC and has a lot of detail and incisiveness. The Shuguang's "fix" the 800 FR more, I guess, with a more warm and toob magic kind of midrange. I could not find a comfortable position on the SB's volume pot with the Gold Lions and was getting some serious listening fatigue, even though they do sound fairly detailed and "balanced" with better extension. This is all even more surprising to me given my historical love for treble and highs, but the longer I go in the hobby, the more I appreciate having things be more balanced out and even handed, I think.

    EDIT: I neglected to watch your videos. Upon doing so, I can say that while the movement in the front two pins in the video you have of moving them with the pick seems to match my SB at least approximately, I am not able to move the whole tube around in the way you seem to be able to once it is inserted -- they are really rigid and firmly planted in the amp at that point. My guess would be (without being able to see more level with the amp) that the tube may not be all the way inserted, which was difficult for me to get done properly at first. When inserting (or removing) a 300B, I have to sort of gently rock and sway the tube into and out of the socket. If I do this with steady downward pressure (obviously being careful to not have too much, and being even more careful with removal so I don't decouple the tube base and the globe/glass) when inserting a 300B, I'm able to get the tube's base usually flush with the socket. Then again, if you look at pictures of Studio B's around the web (including on the EC site), it seems normal for there to be some still exposed pins. TL;DR: If you haven't already, you might be able to get rid of the tube's movement if you can get the pins more fully inserted into the socket.

    I also should mention that I think this may not matter a whole lot as long as the tube seems to be heating up/energizing appropriately. I'm sure other EC and Moth amp owners could chime in here, too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  10. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    Mine are as flush down as possible, they still move and groove. I would think this not great if used with speakers that will shake it more.

    I am using psvane ACME 300bs and they are pretty fine. My one complaint right now is that there is an emphasis on mid bass, and its so much so that it feels like it is clouding other parts. It is also triggering something ive had as a kid where too much in the 200-300hz range will feel like excessive pressure in my ear and my inner ear will get hot, and irritated. Im hoping break in helps this. These tubes were ok on other amps. I just hope it isnt an issue with me and the amps signature...
     
  11. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Odd about the wiggle, then, if they're flush. I don't know. Other EC amp owners?

    I'm not noticing any mid-bass emphasis (or bass at all, really, just some mids) with these Shuguangs. Certainly didn't have anything like that with the Gold Lions -- if anything the problem there was the highs were too sizzly and sharp. Than again for all of the above, I'm using 800's, so bass emphasis is not usually a big concern.

    I likely will move to some "Cossor"-branded Linlai's next, since @EagleWings mentioned them in another thread, and they've gotten praise for matching some higher tier Linlai/Psvane WE 300B clones. Unsure, though.
     
  12. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    Looks like all my issues were due to screws becoming loose in shipping. Literally got a screws loose. All fixed and Craig was a great help. Only had a night on it but its been great.
     
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  13. Bourne Perfect

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    All of my 300Bs have wobbled in my SB like others have mentioned. Annoying nitpick but doesn't affect anything. Oh and the knob screw was loose when it arrived, but that was a quick enough fix.
     
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  14. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I just got a Studio B! From awesome local SBAF'er @elwappo99

    I've been wanting to try this amp for a long time! I'm using it with orthos exclusively, mostly low impedance Audeze's (modded) and my modded S12 ortho iems. My initial feeling is that the amp was designed for electromagnetics and isn't ideal for orthos. But it's only been half a day and I need more time to evaluate. I was just expecting to be floored by the sound and wasn't' today. But who knows...

    I also today just got delivery of my new production WE 300b tubes to test with the amp! (and a custom 300b amp I'm having made that I'll compare to the Studio B). Man the packaging on the tubes is sooo ORFAS. Double boxed, then a fancy wooden box, then individual boxes for each tube with foam cutouts inside. That's a lot of fun unboxing! o_O

    I've got a couple problems I was wondering if anyone might have some advice about.

    One of the 300b tubes makes an intermittent squeeqing noise like rubber rubbing against rubber [insert penis jokes here :p]. That's the best description I can come up with. I've emailed Western Electric, but I thought I'd see if anyone else has had this issue. I know its' one of the tubes because I swapped the tubes and the sound moved from the left channel to the right channel.

    There's also pretty loud buzz/hum coming form the power supply transformer. It's loud enough to be annoying if near the amp, which I am all the time. It seems to come and go though. I tried an iFI DC blocker and it did nothing.

    Exciting to finally hear this legendary amp! Cheers
     
  15. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    Glad to see you have one in hand now!

    My power supply is dead silent from the outside. The only odd thing i have is some very low hum comes through the headphones when the amp is off but headphones plugged in. It goes away and is silent when the amp is turned on, you can hear it get "sucked away" then it is dead silent. I guess something is acting as an antenna and the amp has good filtering once powered.
    I know tubes are said to not matter much on the ECs, but i found a good rectifier can make or break the amp. I have a nos fat base mullard gz34 in there and it has tightened everything up and added bottom end, similar of what you get from going from adequately driving a headphone to properly powering one.

    With my LCD-2.2pf, i have enjoyed the amp tons. I get what people say as dry, which to my ear comes across as a cooler mid range. I am also coming off amps with extremely rich colored mids such as the taboo. I have psvane acmes in right now, i should be up soon on the WE loaners.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
  16. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    At first I read “custom 300B amp” as “custom 300B [tube]” and was like :eek: - lol.

    Anyway, @rhythmdevils there was some discussion upthread about trafo hum/buzz from the PSU (bob even measured it with a microphone), and the consensus seemed to be that the culprit is usually line/mains voltage that exceeds 115V - if you use something to dial down the voltage it seems to go away. Mine buzzes but not any more than some of the toroidals in my system do (BHA-1 was loud AF), and I’ve placed the PSU about a foot and a half below and to the side of the amp so I usually struggle to hear it. Craig recommends 6 inches of space between the amp/psu minimum but I think that’s more to just not develop interactive issues between the OPT’s in the amp and the PSU.

    @Souldriver there’s also a post upthread from @Josh Schor about hum in headphones while the amp is off and Bob said it was likely the OPT’s interacting with a transformer in near proximity from another component, so Josh moved his BF2 at the time and the noise went away.

    I sold the Gold Lions and thanks to @EagleWings’ report on Linlai “Cossor” WE300B clones in his Elekit, ordered a pair from Victor Kung of VK Audio in Canada. His website is a little clunky but he was insanely responsive via email and shipped within literally an hour via DHL, so recommend him. The tubes have high marks in direct comparison to new issue actual WE300B’s from both some forum posts and even a Herb Reichert review in Stereophile, so I have high hopes given they are about a third of the price (the impressions do not match the new issue WE’s though, obviously, no free lunch etc. - still, it seems like it’s mostly a matter of that last bit of refinement and detail being missing in comparison). I remain fascinated at how much I preferred the cheapo Shuguang red/brown base 300B-98 tubes to the Gold Lions, though. It’s mostly an air thing - there’s less detail and frequency meat to the Shuguangs but they just breathe better and have this nice sparkly tube-y extension that plays much better with my 800’s.

    Anyway, glad you get to hear the amp, @rhythmdevils
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
  17. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    Hi Whitney
    The WE tubes I have made that noise also, it goes away as they break in. I also had a transformer hum, very slight but there. I had Craigs tech change power supply to 83 mercury tube and its now completly gone ( not helpful to you unfortunatly)
    best,
    Josh
     
  18. Bourne Perfect

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    Never had hum with mine, even listening with uber sensitive Ad2000s.

    I had a gassy WE which they replaced with no issues since I warrantied them, although this might not be your issue.

    Planars. My Ether 2s fwiw, by most accounts a fairly current hungry planar, are driven with full grip and authority by the SB...better than the Bha-1 and Rag 1 if that means much. Or rather, just as well, but certainly at a much higher subjective level as well. My .02.
     
  19. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    The sounds you describe are possibly from metal migration as the tube elements settle in. They may go away over time, they may stop after thermal equilibrium has been reached.

    I had a similar issue with the power supply transformer. Discussing with Craig he mentioned the transformers will make some audible noise when the AC mains are above 115 VAC for US users. I acquired a Staco 3PN1010B variac to reduce the 121 VAC in my lab to below 115 VAC. The EC PS transformer became very quiet. I initially tried an inexpensive Chinese variac. It had multiple issues. Made noise and the contacter would frequently arc. Not something I wished to risk with a Studio B.
     
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  20. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I picked up Cossor 300Bs from Victor, too, back when he'd first received them from Linlai and had a deal on them. My experience with them mostly squares with everything else out there. They're great for the money, and better, by far, than Gold Lions. If you prefer more realistic tone and even timbral balance, then they're also better than LinLai E300Bs.
     

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