Thought I just start a new thread to chat about Takatsuki TA-300B ...
These are sashimi fresh from Japan in the neighbor of where AirTight lives. With Western Electric become harder & harder to get, there are some potential AirTight will ship with them in the future. We shall see. The day when Takatsuki makes a 211, I will buy one, hopefully by then Airtight will run their 211 amp with more juice which is what the 211 needs ...
My first experience with the TA-300B after 150 hrs burn in confirm me that it has basic characteristic, tonal balance similar to the Western Electric 300B and not Sophia Electric. At this stage, it feels like it has less impact then the WE300b. It's very polite with outstanding air and sense of surrounding to everything. It leads you to music, prescence rather then hi-fi. At ~$1400 a pair (which was what I paid), it's a stiff order but it really isn't entirely their fault. It's the USD vs Yen issue. Back in the old days, it would be about $900 pair. That would be a fair asking price !
With Sophia Electric Royal Princess, it would be something like Covette vs Maseratti, Covette being the Royal Pricess. I have listen to the RP for about 6 months now, it is an impressive hi-fi 300B tube. Modern sound, crisp, solid, impact, superb extension. Doesn't draw me into the music like Western Electric or even TA-300B but it is so high fidelity, disect every area, it's going to win. Air and presence and reverb appears to be a tag shy from WE300B or TA-300B, perhaps that's one of the ingredient that usually draw me into the music. At $1200 a pair, it's probably the most expensive production 300B available today. Well worth owning a pair and have fun and show off it's guts. But when light's out, family sleeping, pull out your favorite ensemble or vocal, I would slip back into the Western Electric along with a Scottish Speyside single malt. The Royal Princess on the other hand is probably 10 fold better than the sister Princess. Once again, it's on every order better, cleaner, more impactful, more reverb, more extension. It's less than 1/2 the price though ! I live with the Pricess for more than 4 years and it was my 2nd pair. Princess are substanially better over JJ, early KR, Sevlenta and most stock Chinese tubes in my opinion.
I don't have the Black Tresure, almost brought one in July but the self control kicks in and I was saved. Probably next year, I will still get it just to hear the difference.
With a stong competitor like Royal Princess, Western Electric is really meeting some challenges. It's hard to get, it's expensive, reliability, you don't really know what you get and a tag behind the impact and extension of RP. But if you have a handful of good stocks, cherrish it, plug them in when you want to melt like ice-cream. In my system, the sweetness is still not met by Royal Princess nor TA-300B
When time permit in the near future, I will try to write some more specific examples, deatils and comparison of them using actual software ( LP, CD and computer)
Enjoy a slide show of the TK-300B I took over this weekend.