Finale 300B Stereo Amplifier With Hashimoto Transformers
I’ve been building audio components for many decades and finally, this year, built my first 300B amplifier. I’ve heard this amp type used in other systems but didn’t like the lack of treble and loose bass. Very few 300B amps are designed well to sound their best compared to other stellar amps (like the 2A3 and 45 tube amps). There is something about the 300B tube that provides the most beautiful midrange ever heard and if you also want a good linear presentation that sounds close to live music and also want tight bass and extended treble, then you need to spend some money on the amp and the related tubes. Without doing that, the 300B amp just isn’t worth using (in my opinion).
If you aren’t using stellar transformers like those made by Hashimoto (in Japan) then you’re missing out and probably should consider using a different tube type amplifier. Solid state? I can’t go there any more. Even though I’m a detail freak and have focused mainly on Class A solid state amps, I find that the 300B tube amplifier provides a degree of emotional connection to music that I can’t obtain with any other amplifier design (tube or solid state). And, there is just enough power to listen to the speakers that I prefer.
With the right 300B amplifier (Triode Labs EVO R) and a stellar tube set (Takasuki, Mullard, Brimar, & Reflector), there isn’t anything that comes close to the beauty and the emotional tugging on a person’s “heartstrings” with any other audio amplifier type known to mankind. Plus, this amp and tube combination provides superb detail and tight bass. Because of my prior past experience (poor sounding 300B application) I avoided working with the 300B amp and that was a total mistake. I’m late to the party but I made it. I’m enjoying every minute of working with my 300B amp and getting it carefully integrated with my audio listening system. The sound quality so far is the best I’ve ever had.
What caused me to use the 300B tube power amp instead of my Pass solid state power amp (with my custom tube buffer) was my construction of several Elekit 300B 8600S DIY kits. This amp was reviewed positively so many times that I had to join the rest of the builders to find out what was going on. Eventually the ruckus was too much and I joined the fray. I love building amps and typically build my own from scratch. This time around, I purchased a retail priced kit that was easy to put together and I was surprised at how good it sounded (even though it wasn’t what I ultimately wanted for myself).
I heard a beautiful tube amplifier sound quality once I had my first Elekit 8600S built with Lundahl transformers, V-Cap CuF coupling caps, Takman resistor upgrades, and TKD pot upgrade. However, this amp sounded more like a 2A3 amp rather than a 300B. That was partly due to the fact that the 8600S uses solid state rectification with no choke rather than the typical tube rectifier. Even though the voicing was good, it wasn’t good enough (not emotional attractive enough) so I kept looking but was now hooked and decided to use the 300B tube as the underlying basis of my ultimate audio system.
I ended up purchasing a pair of Takatsuki 300B tubes to elevate my sound quality beyond the Cossar WE300B tubes that I initially used. Yes! Those were the tubes to use but they sure were expensive. After making this purchase (again at retail pricing), I needed an even better power amplifier (with a tube rectifier and choke) to properly use these tubes. So . . . I continued my search.
One of my favoite amplifier manufacturers is Finale/Triode amps located in Canada. I’ve been a dealer for them in the past and decided to purchase their Triode 300B EVO21 tube amplifier to find out if it could obtain the sound quality I’ve been looking for during my long adventure in audio with their circuit design.
To summarize: Yes! This amplifier was everything I could ever desire and it had “that” beautiful yet detailed emotional sound quality. It was so good, that it turned me completely around and once again I’m focusing on building a world class audio system rather than the high end pro audio recording system I was going to showcase. Both systems are good (at the level I work with) but, this 300B amp (put together the way that I do it) creates a listening system so real and so absolutely breathtaking that I can’t go back to my pro audio gear to create a listening system that is anywhere near as good. This 300B tube amplifier is so much better and hence that is my focus now.
What’s the catch here? Unfortunately, to obtain the best sound quality using a 300B amp, you need to spend some serious money. The 300B amp that I’m now using costs $8,500 (without appropriate tubes). The best sounding pair of Takatsuki 300B tubes retail at $2,500 a pair and of course, the other smaller tubes and rectifier tube are expensive too. However, once this expenditure is made, the sound quality becomes absolutely mesmerizing and not just good but superbly great! And, for a 300B tube amp, this isn’t expensive compared to the other few good alternatives. Sound quality, however, is one of the absolute best and I’m very pleased with my decision to go back to Triode Labs for the solution.
Also, speakers need to be high efficiency types (around 95db or higher) and that is somewhat limiting but not impossible to come up with a good solution at different budget levels. My favorite after decades of building, buying, and selling speaker systems is the Coherent Audio systems with beryllium membrane tweeters fully upgraded. However, those speakers are expensive too even though they are an incredible value compared to any other commercial alternative.
I highly recommend that you purchase the amp first if you can’t also afford to purchase your final “keeper” speakers. Use a pair of inexpensive speakers (that are fine tuned for this use – I can help you with the selection) until you can afford much more expensive but permanent ones. Basically your “desert island” speaker system. Don’t give up listening but rather take your time building toward your final goal and do it right.
Here’s a photo of the amp and the gear that I use to obtain the incredible sound quality that I now have:
The Tubes Used?
- NOS Mullard GZ32 rectifier tube.
- Matched pair of new production Takatsuki 300B power tubes.
- My absolute favorite and extremely rare NOS 1975 Reflector silver shield single wire getter 6N23P tubes for the driver tubes.
- A NOS matched pair of Brimar 12AT7 preamp tubes.