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CARY CAD 300sei or other 300b amp owners, share your 300B tube rolling experience pls

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

At this moment I use a pair of Sophia's mesh plates and KR Audio, tubular, earlier production type.

Recently been interested in Svetlana C logo, but wonder if they are worth to try, consider the brands I already have I mean. Also Shuguang Black bottle getting my attention, but less than Svetlana's, cos the inside construction of these Russians are identical to original WE's, but how are they sonically? Another brand that I am very interesting in, even more than Svetlana's, that's NOS TESLA's, which are so rare that they make WE like they are still in production. I know that you can get EAT, but I don't feel really comfy with companies who just re-brand the tubes and selling them for mega buck, but that's another story.

I see many of this Guiguang brand on Ebay lately, but I just don't get their asking price, are they crazy?



Of course it would be very interesting to know from someone who owns Cary CAD 300sei, cos they may not sound the same in differ amps, however if you have other amp it doesn't mean that your post will be less interesting or useful, so, just share pls.

I know that there are some threads where this probably been discussed, but the time doesn't stop and new brands are coming, so I thought it may be nice to have such thread going again.


Personally, I like both brands I own, where the most obvious difference between them is that the one is more robust than another, KR I mean, plus the bass have better detail and punch, however by rolling of 6SN7 I can transform the end results and get the sound even more to my liking, so, this part is also interesting, in the sense of 300B & 6SN7 combinations. So far I really liked this combo: 6SN7 TUNG SOL Mouse Ears as driver + 2x ECC33 Mullards + KR300B

As the last one would like to say that I am listen to AKG K1000 mostly.



post #2 of 63

Nice thread.

So now we are on the Holy Grail of the European equivalent of the WE3900B.

post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 

Seems that CARY 300 sei users are left the building, pity.


Would be interesting to know if ECC32 Mullards can be used on CARY, not sure how differ they are from ECC33, but if possible, that would be great, well, not for my wallet...

post #4 of 63

I can't speak to the 300SEI or CAD having only an SLI80.  But I did invest in 4 KT88 EAT output stage tubes to replace the stock Russian valves, plus 2 EAT Cool Valves to round up the picture leaving only the 2 stock rectifier valves in place.  It was $2K for the 6 of them, but they were worth every penny for me.  The sound is...fantastic.  My K1Ks love that amp from the speaker terminals as do my other cans.

post #5 of 63
Thread Starter 

Yeah, those EAT's look very interesting, thanks for the info. Any feedback about EML 300B XLS?

Originally Posted by warp08 View Post

I can't speak to the 300SEI or CAD having only an SLI80.  But I did invest in 4 KT88 EAT output stage tubes to replace the stock Russian valves, plus 2 EAT Cool Valves to round up the picture leaving only the 2 stock rectifier valves in place.  It was $2K for the 6 of them, but they were worth every penny for me.  The sound is...fantastic.  My K1Ks love that amp from the speaker terminals as do my other cans.

post #6 of 63
Originally Posted by Blackmore View Post

Yeah, those EAT's look very interesting, thanks for the info. Any feedback about EML 300B XLS?



Compared to the stock Russian tubes Cary supplied with the SLI80, the EML 300B XLS definitely kicked up the bass impact and overall dynamics.  This is noticeable even on the AKG K1Ks, although mine is supposed to be "bass-heavy" anyway.  In addition I could also hear elevated instrument separation using the HD600s, 800s and especially the Qualias.

post #7 of 63

Do you notice a significant difference rolling 300Bs in your 300SEI?  I was talking to someone (I don't remember who) who said that the 300SEI does not reflect tube changes as much as other 300B amps.  When he said it I thought to myself, "You know, that might be right..."  I haven't owned a 300SEI in years.  I loved it, but I got a much better 300B amp.  Still, I really loved it and I have really fond memories of it and sometimes I wish I still had one.  Have you rolled 300Bs using a different amp before?  My current amp is really sensitive to tube rolling.  The biggest difference is in the driver tubes and the rectifiers, actually...  But rolling 300Bs does make a difference.  I've always loved the Westerns.  They just seem to do everything right.  At least in my amp.  I put some Sophias in once and I didn't really like them.  They sounded underpowered.  EH 300Bs were a bit edgy.  I like the JJs with the heavy glass and ceramic base (the HEAVY ones!).  They have a nice strong tone.  But I always go to the Westerns for the best sound.  They have a delicate, airy tone, very high bandwith and clean.  Great tubes.  Western Electric is currently changing their manufacturing facility and I think they will be producing 300Bs again soon. 


I have three pairs (one old but still working -80's stock, one 90's stock with only one or two hundred hours on them, one brand new, only tested to make sure there are no flaws).  I plan on buying two more pairs when they return to production.  I really think they are the best 300B being made today.  For $800 a pair, they are worth every penny. 

post #8 of 63

I Don't have a Cary, but I do have "Chris Ivan" custom made 300B amps that use a pr. per mono amp. These are my Mid-range amps. I use vintage '90's Western Electric matched Quad set for these babies and I'd hate to go back to my back-up tubes... 2nd choice for 300Bs are the JJ's  a nice sounding tube, and well built...my 3rd back-up's are the Electro-Harmonix...no comment!   Can I hear a difference, you bet.The WE's have a strong "full" sound, also (smoother, but yet very detailed)  I couldn't go back to the JJ's sound signature, I don't think???? .. Blackmore, I've  heard nothing but great remarks from my audio buddy's using the   Sophia's mesh plates!       I'd love to hear the  300SEI with headphones, I've only heard "It's" sound with Horns....nice amp! 

Edited by 9pintube - 10/15/10 at 10:31pm
post #9 of 63
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing guys:)


I believe in good combination of tubes and how well they match together rather than just one particular section of the whole that will make more or less difference. So far, I clearly hear / heard the influence of every part, cos if the output tubes cant deliver the goods that been created by driver and rectifiers, you need to find the one that will, isnt?


Sophia's 300B's are sure great valves, but to say that they are the best possible choice for Cary is something else. I sold them not because my fully disliking, no, just need  funds for the pair I hoping to get pretty soon and these are AVVT's. I know, at least 2 members up here, where one of them for sure recommend AVVT's for Cary and both of them thinking that these are one of the best out there. Where that all leaves WE's? Well, at their own place, where they should be, just wish that I had the funds to try them out.


Have you ever tried NOS Tesla or EAT, which, by look at them only, basicaly are the same valves. Also Svetlana's C logo are interesting, read some impressions that they are very close to original WE's, any thoughts?




post #10 of 63

Yeah great thoughts on these tubes.....I was wondering (Blackmore) and others about your choice of 6sn7 tubes that usually are used with the 300B tubes on several amps........I've found to like the sound of the RCA 5692 Red Base 6sn7 tubes in my mono amps that have the pr. of WE-300Bs...I've tried and have in my stock the, Sylvania 6sn7 WGTA Brown Base tubes...I find these have a good detailed and tight bass, that equal a warm sounding tube.but prefer the Reds...Some rave about..The Holy Grail, Sylvania 6sn7w Metal base tubes to sound very good but are to micro phonic and priced way out of sight, now...I've got a quad set but they're just like (money in a bank) for me.....I did end up using the Ken-Rad 6sn7 VT 231 "black glass" tubes in my Line Stage pre-amp......So Guy's as Blackmore eluded to the fact that these tubes used together help shape the final 300B tubes, sound....What have you tried as far as the 6sn7 tubes??

post #11 of 63

When I had my Cary 300SEI I found best combo was the RCA red base 5692/Western Electric 300B had the right synergy with My K1000.

post #12 of 63
Thread Starter 

So far tried:


Sylvania's Chrom Top - they are nice.







Here some differ such as: KEN RAD, RCA and Sylvania, where some were as pairs and some singles, so I used them as driver only.





And these are pretty rare Radiotron / RCA?  AU made, should kept them...





Also have a single Sylvania brown based from earlier 70's - didnt use it yet, crazy, will do as soon as I get the time, pity its one only.




Also tried some 6SN7TG Brimars, CV1988 Brimars and 6SN7GT Tungsram, all UK made, but I ended up with a pair of Sylvania's Bad Boys, pair of Tung Sols Mouse Ears and single ECC33 Mullard. Want to try Tung Sols Black Glass, round plates and RCA Grey coated glass, both from 40's, but also need more of those ECC33 Mullards.


Here is the best combo, so far, I could create: KR 300B+Sylvania bad boys+ECC33 Mullards (these were on loan, thanks to rosgr63). Recently bought TS Mouse Ears and they are great to.



I wish that my funds were more flex to try as many of 300B as I did with 6SN7 type, but I am not complaining, its just the matter of time.

Edited by Blackmore - 10/17/10 at 12:13am
post #13 of 63

Yes it's a matter of time.


There are so many combinations, it's not easy.

post #14 of 63

My favorite 6SN7 is the Sylvania short bottle chrome top from the 1950's.  In my system this is the one that sounds best.  I don't know why.  I haven't tried the Brimar which, from what I have heard, is really, really good.  I don't care too much for the Black Glass Ken Rad VT231.  It has a muddy sound in my system.  I also recently tried the Shuguang Treasure CV181 in my system and wrote the following mini-review of it in the "Reference 6SN7" thread:


"I bought a burned-in pair of Shuguang Treasure CV181s.  As most of you know, they are a 6SN7 but shaped and named like a CV181, which, as we know, has too much heater draw for our purposes.  I plugged them into my amp and I heard some very interesting things.  These tubes gained a very good reputation thanks to reviews such as Mark Wheeler's at TNT-Audio.  To make a long, somewhat long-winded review short, they were the best 6SN7 type he had ever heard.  He focused particularly on the resolution and the inner detail of the CV181.  But he also writes that it images better, has better dynamics (macro and micro), is faster, stronger, hipper, lighter, sexier.  The whole package.  Of course, I had to try them. 


My favorite tube and the reference 6SN7 in my system is the Sylvania 6SN7GTA short bottle chrome top from the 50s.  The Syl. has great detail, wonderful air, the high end is sparkly and yet refined without any harshness.  The bass is tight and low and strong.  It keeps things quick, but I personally think the rectifier tube affects the speed of an amp more than the driver.  The Syl. images wonderfully and the image is tight and solid and holographic.  I figured I would plug in the CV181 and get all of these qualities only MORE SO.  Like it would be a Syl. GTA just with more gain.  More power.  More authority. 


I was wrong.  Immediately, the CV181 was underwhelming at best.  The only thing about it that met my expectations was the higher gain.  It is a higher gain tube than what I was using (for some reason).  The high end went all muted and cut off.  The high end detail in particular suffered significantly.  The resolution in general also decreased significantly.  The bass was out of control.  It lost all tightness and became wooly and one-note-ish.  The soundstage flattened out and lost cohesion...  It wasn't harsh.  It was almost the opposite of harsh.  Not brittle.  So it has that going for it.  I've heard brittle sounding Chinese tubes and I always thought that was the signature of Sino tubes.  These break that mold. 


I dare say that my Sylvania GTBs from the 50's (taller, chrome top, yellow labels) sound better.  And the GTAs sound significantly better than the GTBs. 


Now, this is not a review as much as it is a long question.  If the CV181 has the EXACT OPPOSITE effect in my system than it does in a lot of other systems, and if my favorite is the GTA, what kinds of additional 6SN7s should I be looking for?  BTW: the GTA sounds better than my Ken Rad dark glass and VT-231s by Sylvania and Tung-Sol something or others I have lying around.  Should I just look for more of the same?  Is there better?  Also, I'm curious, has anyone else had similar results to mine? 


Here is my system:  Sylvania big bottle 5AR4 rectifiers, choked power supply, 6SN7 driving 300B SET, Cain and Cain back-loaded horns with a single fostex full range driver and super tweeters.  All cables are 47 Labs OTA single strand copper.  I tested soundstage and imaging using speakers because I don't consider imaging as much of an issue with HP.  The ultimate soundstage compliment I can give a supra-aural headphone (or any headphone for that matter) is if they sound like they disappear.  In my opinion this is as good as imaging can get with a headphone.  Speakers image as if the musicians are right in the room, sitting in front of you.  HP can't really do that. 


Any comments or advice or invitations to tube rolling parties would be welcome."

post #15 of 63
Thread Starter 



Thanks for your impressions, interesting note about CV181. I just sold my Sophia's 6SN7, which are great tubes, but were to metallic on top, when used with K1000,  but the rest of the spectrum was good.


I just bought some RCA Grey/Black??? coated glass 6SN7GT VT231, they were cheap, hopefully they will be strong enough to perform.


You may want to try some Sylvania's Bad Boys, if you didn't already, but also Tung Sols Mouse Ears are pretty good as a driver together with ECC33 Mullards http://www.natubes.com/data/images/product/large_570.gif Can your amp use ECC33 type? If yes, try these Mullards brown based. Also CV1988 Brimars are very good, but they come with differ inside construction, with short and long plates. The one I tried were short  http://www.natubes.com/data/images/product/large_772.gif and here is the one with long http://www.natubes.com/data/images/product/large_773.gif, but ECC33 were better, at least in my rig.


Thing is, like I wrote, my main use are K1000 and that's something else than speakers, so, your experience may be way differ from my.


Are these the one you like at most?  http://www.natubes.com/data/images/product/large_668.gif

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