Oh Sh#7! Eddie Current Studio B

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

  1. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    TBH, I'd be perfectly happy with the LL Cossor WE300Bs. But owning the new production WE300Bs makes me want to get my 40k+ hours in and force failure before the warranty is up so I can get a new pair that I'll leave mostly unused in the box as part of my retirement savings (being sarcastic).
     
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  2. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    I am still very happy with the Linlai Global 300B in my Studio B.
     
  3. Bourne Perfect

    Bourne Perfect Friend

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    We should organize a lil SBAF 300B Christmas Swap loaner program for established folks here to hear all these. Or something. Could be fun.
     
  4. joch

    joch Friend

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    You don't really need $1500 WEs, $900 Linlais, etc. for the amp to sound good. Those who go for these mystical woodland elfin-made tubes want to squeeze out that last drop of refinement (as you mentioned) for a slightly different sound.

    As some have mentioned, the Gold Lions are really good at a sane price. I'm sure the WEs are better in certain areas in presentation that you won't get with other 300Bs. Purr1n and others don't really say that the WEs are better sounding per se, but that they are more WE sounding and that they are constructed better. They just recommend that people enjoy the music and the amp (with whatever tubes). And you can probably get better value rolling the 5670 or the power tube than expensive 300Bs.

    Having said the above, WEs or Linlais or EMLs or black glass whatever may be "betterer" and does afford the owner some ORFAS pride. We should be appreciative that some of the guys here didn't just start from there but also did a lot of rolling to let us know the strengths and weaknesses of the tubes along the way. Takatsuki ("bad value"), WE ("most WE"), EML ("more SS"), Gold Lion ("value"), Shuguang ("You can do better if you stretch your budget"), etc.
     
  5. joch

    joch Friend

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    I'm curious of the difference between the Linlai Global Elite 300Bs and the Linlai Cossor WE300Bs (and maybe the Psvane Cossors).
     
  6. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    I found a huge difference in the rectifier. The stock Sovtek was..... Bad. I had a Mullard fat base gz34 from elsewhere, and that was night and day IMHO. Expensive now but amperex versions are less so, theyre not premium 300B expensive, and rectis tend to be long lasting.

    The Psvane ACMEs to me were V or U shaped. Very nice solid bass, sharp highs, but on the EC the mids felt thin, cold, and too dry.

    The WEs rounded the sound out, like the volume meters on the bass and treble where turned slightly down. But the mids were much better and had some thickness added back. I only heard them in the EC, so i dont know if ill say they are wetter, or sweeter, but in the Studio B i could still use more "romance" in the mids for say my LCD-2.2pf. The Shiney Eyes 300B amp i had before had that romance, and the taboo before that for sure had it, but theyre both different amps.

    Going to try bendix and we 2c51 & 396a tubes next.
     
  7. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Here's some show-and-tell on the physical construction differences. The Cossor WE300B has overhung filaments, 5-ribbed carbon-coated permalloy plates, no pole/frame structure which is positioned via a triangular mica with 3 mica leaves in the pinched glass, and a single bottom round wire o-getter and corresponding flashing. The base is phenolic, it has the same brass retainer pin as the original WE300Bs, and the pins are not plated.

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    The Global Elite uses what appears to be the same plates/plate design and overhung filaments, but uses a ruggedized 4-pole frame. The mica is round and supported by the 4 poles. It has two bottom, round flat-washer style o-getters, and corresponding flashing. The glass is globe-shaped and does not support the upper mica. The base is ceramic with a clear anodized aluminum cap and the pins are gold-plated.

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    You can find my subjective impressions comparing the LL E300B, Gold Lions, and new production WE here. The LL Cossors sit firmly near the new production WE's in overall presentation, with a slightly less burnished, golden-hued sound, and further from the E300B's slightly cleaner, clearer, less midrangey sound, in my experience.
     
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  8. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    My brief time with other 300B’s (entry level Shuguangs and Gold Lions) into HD800 largely square with what @yotacowboy is saying. The Linlai WE “clones” excel in the midrange comparatively. The Gold Lions weren’t as “V shaped” as the Shuguangs, but their midrange was still not nearly as refined and was significantly more congested than the Linlais, while the highs were significantly harsher/more piercing with the 800. Overall GL's tilted the SB toward a more "solid state" sound, at least in a relative sense, that did little for me after hearing the tooby magick of the Shuguangs (I was coming from a BHA-1, so this was particularly alluring, although the BHA-1 is also a little fatter sounding than some other SS amps). The Shuguangs were soft and bloomy, so their highs/lows did not bug as much despite being a bit tilted up at both ends. So basically, ear tweeters enjoyed having more midrange as long as it had some dimension or refinement/tonal balance.

    @Souldriver was right re: the Mullard rectifier, too, in SB. Worth the while to swap. Tonality tightens up/is less diffuse across the frequencies with the low end in particular getting a boost, generally a little sweeter/more tooby overall but without more roll off. I was using a new-ish Tung-Sol the previous owner sent with the SB. Probably could get away with a non-fat base late 60’s (or even 70's) Mullard for cheaper, from what I’ve read, although the fat base is the kind of golden goose for both longevity and tone. Amperex from the same era supposed to be pretty much identical and cheaper, too, as @Souldriver mentioned. Unsure how much I would prioritize this, personally - I changed the 300B’s too recently to be sure. My instinct is that I’d still say 300B swap >> recti swap for overall shift when dialing in SQ, as long as you keep in perspective that the SB highlights tube changes less than other amps so you’re not gonna get miracles if you are not digging what the SB is cooking from the get go. I can’t speak to the driver tube, I’ve just ran with a Bendix from the jump.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2022
  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Hi everyone. So I bought new production WE 300b tubes and one was making a squeaking noise that was intermittent, about every minute or so. Literally it sounds like rubber rubbing against rubber. I confirmed it was one tube because I swapped tubes from left to right and the noise followed from left to right.

    WE sent me a new 300b tube matched to the one that was quiet. But the new one has the same exact squeaking sound as the first. I'm going to contact them but they're closed for the holidays.

    And the tube that was once quiet has made a clicking sound that is constant but comes and goes.

    Has anyone else had this issue? I don't know if it is my power, or the tubes or what. But I feel frustrated paying this much and having noise. I feel confident that if I got cheaper 300b tubes they would be quiet.

    I'm thinking to sign up for the loaner WE 300b tube so I can see how they sound but that's a long wait to resolve the noise.
     
  10. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Pretty weird. I don't have WE's, but haven't seen any reports that match yours with them either with the Studio B or another amp. These noises are coming through your headphones/speakers, and not emitting from the tubes themselves? The Studio B's heaters at start up gets the tubes making noises (not through headphones/speakers, but acoustically from the tubes themselves), but then again @Souldriver had just reported that his new issue WE300B's made almost zero startup noise vs. some Psvane 300B's he had tried before. The three 300B's I've tried in the SB (Shuguang 300B-98's, Gold Lions, and Linlai "Cossor" WE300B's) have all made noises at start up, but nothing to speak of after they settle down (less than 3 min or so), and nothing from the headphones.

    I guess you could test for microphony by lightly tapping with a pencil eraser while they are turned on and listening for sustained ring/other noise through your headphones. Also assume you don't have another 300B amp to try them with -- I know you said you have an ampsandsound amp right now in another thread, but I think only their TOTL $$$$ amp uses 300B's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2022
  11. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Man speaking of ampsandsound, what is going on over there with these tube prices, holy hell:

    https://ampsandsound.com/products/mullard-gz34

    I get it, fleaBay prices and quality are all over the place, but when you can just go to something like Vintage Tube Services at a 1/3 of the price... sorry, derailment.
     
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    There's the normal sound upon startup, I'm used to that from my Aficianado. I'm talking about sound coming through the headphones even when the amp has been on for 12 hours. It doesn't go away or change.

    So al of your favorite alternative to the WE NP 300b tubes is these? I might have to buy an alternate pair to troubleshoot. :(

    https://linlaiglobal.com/index.php/product/linlai-we-replica-300b-vacuum-tubes-pair/

    I can only find one version of the Lineal WE300b replica anywhere online, there's no mention of the "Linlai Cossor" that I can find.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2022
  13. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Idk about favorite, but some of us can vouch for them, at least. If you want to pick up a pair you gotta email Victor Kung at VK Audio in Vancouver. Here:

    https://www.diyaudio.com/community/threads/cossor-we300b.360103/
    (edit: realizing his email is like eight posts down on that thread, so here I'll just list it, it's: [email protected] )

    Seems old school or odd/janky I know but he is pretty quick and responsive, usually, and more than a few of us have bought either those tubes or Elekit kits from him (he’s also the NA Elekit distributor).

    Idk though, personally I’d just borrow some cheap 300B’s and see if it persists. Would be happy to ship you my cheapo Shuguang 300B-98’s if you want/are willing to pick up a USPS tab. They’re not half bad with the Studio B - soft and lack mid range, but pleasant. I’m in Long Beach.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2022
  14. Souldriver

    Souldriver Almost "Made"

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    To be clear, they do not make that cool sci-fi shimmering sound for the first 10 seconds after the power is flicked. They still make all the pings, tinks, and tocks while heating up and cooling down. My set is quiet between, no squeaks or microphonic ring that i can hear.

    The Gold Lion 300Bs seem to be the best of the less expensive tubes and are what Craig recommended to me. Maybe that for troubleshooting? Outside of that many like the EML especially the mesh, its said to have a more linear "solid state" sound. The ACMEs had good lows and highs but i felt the mids were flat on the SB. I dont have much info outside of that.
     
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Does anyone have a pair of the Linlai Cossor 300b's they'd be up for loaning by any chance? I'll pay for shipping.
     
  16. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I didn't see this when I replied to your PM, but shoot Victor from vkmusic.ca an email about Cossor availability; I believe he's the only one importing the Cossors from LL into north America right now. But, from what I can tell the Cossors are identical to the LL Global WE300B that Grant Fidelity is selling: https://premiumvacuumtubes.com/product/we300b-western-electric-replica-tubes-by-linlai-pair/
     
  17. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    So this was with a different EC amp (Aficionado, I think the one you had and just sold) and Linlai 2A3s (the ones you borrowed), but for a while I had a similar (but faint) issue with one of the Linlai 2A3s that for the most part I resolved by radically rearranging the room where I had the amp to keep WiFi and cellular gear well away from the amp. My conclusion that the time is that some 2A3s are better radio receivers than others. In fact, one of the RCAs you got with that Aficionado had a similar but even more faint issue. The same Linlai exhibits a variant of the issue with the Stellaris I have at the same location I had the Aficionado, but again somewhat differently. In contrast, the stock 2A3s with that Stellaris are totally quiet, as are all the tubes I've used with my other Stellaris.

    My conclusion is that tubes, physical arrangement, EM sources all matter and make this hobby maddening at times. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my current amp/tubes/layout continue to behave...
     
  18. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Yeah that one 2a3 you gave me with the AF had lots of noise in my room where it is, but I have a woven mesh copper cloth made for blocking EMF/RMA (cheap on ebay) that I bought for just such a situation and for troubleshooting and when I covered the tubes with that, they sounded fine. I then got another pair of the same RCA black plates, and they had no issue with EMF/RMA and didn't need the cloth covering them. I also took pictures of the pair you had with the amp at night, and you could see a difference. I meant to send that to you, I'll have to see if I can find it. There was a difference in how the tubes were lit up, the noisy one looked different. I'm guessing it had a leak or something.

    My Studio B WE 300b noises are unaffected by the same copper mesh cloth so I know it's not EMF/RMA causing the problem. :)
     
  19. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    @rhythmdevils reading the above gave me an idea but it's a bit of a long shot -- when you have the amp off but headphones plugged in, can you hear any noise in the headphones? There have been some reports of the OPT's in the Studio B picking up noise from nearby equipment's transformers (see this bob post). It always seems to manifest with the amp off for others (hasn't happened to me), but I guess it's possible the OPT's are the culprit for you here when the amp's on. The solution for others has always been to just move the SB away from other equipment, but I guess you could also try putting the mesh somewhere near/around the area where the OPT's are located on the main amp (see Marv's post here).
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2022
  20. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    ... but then the noise would not swap channels LR when the tubes are swapped...
     

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