EAT 300B tubes.
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Mastergill

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It's been a while that i wanted to write something about some 300B tubes that i bought last November (2004). Knowing you guys like pics i was waiting an opportunity to take good pics* before writing about these EAT 300B. EAT stand for "Euro Audio Team", a rather new company who introduced their 300B in the year 2003 or something (maybe 2002). I came accross this brand while looking for a pair to buy as 'back up' replacement for my Sophia/TJ. On a side note i'm amazed to discover a new 300B manufacturer almost every 6 months! 300Bs are strong and well alive, not a surprise when you know the unmatched qualities these tubes have to offer. Well i was planning to buy some Fullmusic 300B with 'st' shapped glass as they are from the same origin than the Sophia, the Chinese TJ factory, when i came accross these EAT tubes on a German website. They were looking good and at €550 a pair, hoped for them to be on the same class than the famous Alesa Vaic AVVT 300B Reference that unfortunately is no longer in production.

I had high doubt about buying those EAT tubes as i was able to find only one review and almost nothing on the web about this brand. I decided however to try them, based on the very modern look of the tube, especially the 'flat' plate that looked like AVVT tubes. At €550 a pair it was kinda risky, but hey, if we don't try we never know!.

I had first in my head/preamp the stock Electro Harmonix, not bad, gives you a good taste of the wonderfull 300B's capabilities like lot of 'air', true respect of the original harmonic's envelope and decay, with 300B a piano sound full and vibrant like the real thing period. One year later after reading a very good 300B shootout by Thorsten Loesch from enjoythemusic.com i decided to try the 300B Sophia 'mesh' plate, this one was much better than the EH, expanded 3D-like soundstage, gobs of details and a medium to die for, especially with voices, but maybe a little shy on the deep low end. (I knew AVVT tubes was supposed to do better in that matter).

Well, so i got those EAT 300B tubes in my head/preamp since 7 months now and all i can say it's maybe the most difficult piece of audio gear i had to talk about! Why? Because they just sound so damn good i still can't believe it! When you're too much dithyrambic about a product one can think the dude is not objective, but here, really, these tubes are so close to the ultimate perfection it's unreal. I have deep, controled, textured bass that can put the fastest transistor to shame. I have so much low level details that now i can say it's a truly holophonic experience, the 'breath', the size of the original recording or mix is now fully present. Dynamics that kill everything, effortless reproduction that grabs you and show you what breathtaking really means and most important IMO the legendary tonal accuracy, low level distortion 300B are famous for. Voices are so right and real it can make the most jaded, stone "heart-ed" audiophile cry...LOL. Really these tubes are so good words are useless, you need to listen seriously with a serious amp. This is the closest to perfection i ever heard from tube amplification and i'm using high-end tubes amps and pre since 1988.

But don't judge them before 25-50 hours or so. Brand new the sound was not very spectacular, i heard more details from the start respect to the Sophia, but the midrange was pretty thin, not wonderfully textured like with the Sophia. First i thought maybe i made a mistake with these tubes...but then after 10 hours the midrange began to get that density and texture 300B are famous for while maintaining an extremely good transparency and lot of air. Now that the EAT are fully 'burned-in' the Sophia, by comparison, sound distorted, uncontroled in the bass and have a very small (but pleasant) 2nd order harmonic distortion in the medium...that infamous 'tubey' sound!. The wonderfull thing with the EAT is that they don't sound "tube" or "transistor", they sound like your music is supposed to sound. The true mark of low harmonics distortion. These tubes are my 300B reference now, i don't need to look elsewhere and in fact they are so good and addictive that i'll need 8 pairs of these (yeah, 16 tubes!) for a crazy power amp (speaker) project i have...within 2 years.

A short resume: If you like a typical tubey sound and if absolute accuracy in the bottom end is not very important, these are maybe not for you, Sophia/TJ will do a great job for that and at half the price. If you're craving for near perfect tonal accuracy and real flat frequency response with a bass quality (fast and full) that can smoke most of the solid-state offering then go for it, these are a f...in' REFERENCE!


PS: You will notice i didn't talk about the highs, well i wanted to keep this short and while highs may be a little more extended with the EAT, most of the difference occurs in the bass and medium area of the spectrum.

PPS: I've just found another nice review from Positive Feedback. Glad i'm not the only one who's considering these tubes as a true Reference!

*Well having not yet my own digicam i'll update as soon as i can with cool pics.
 
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Jon L

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"These tubes are my 300B reference now, i don't need to look elsewhere and in fact they are so good and addictive that i'll need 8 pairs of these (yeah, 16 tubes!) for a crazy power amp (speaker) project i have...within 2 years."

Don't do it. I know it's tempting, but don't put yourself in the position of having to deal with 16 300B tubes and the cost.

And whatever you do, don't even listen to the new Alabama plant WE300B tubes b/c if you like them, they're $1200/pair.

My absolute maximum 300B-count is Four, and while I'm quite happy with my AVVT32B tubes (AVVT300B with higher dissipation) x4, I would not buy an amp that uses more..
 
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adhoc

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will someone explain to me why 300B tubes are so expensive?

it doesnt make sense to me - i would imagine the more fiddly and fragile small 9-pin types would be more expensive to make.
 
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Mastergill

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Jon L, don't worry i know what i want
. These tubes deserve something (maybe?) never done before, 4 300B push-pull per channel for 100 watts of pure madness. It's a big investment, but fortunately 300Bs are said to be very strong and reliable with a lifetime from 10,000 to 40,000 hours and maybe more, and anyway it's unlikely that i'll need to change all the tubes at once. And that will be a very reasonable price compared to all the crap sold at stratospherical price.

adhoc, 300Bs were always expensive, "official" WE price was $11 in 1929 and it went up to $150 in 1981. They are more difficult to manufacture than small preamp tubes, there's lot of tricks to make them sound good.

$1,200 for a pair...should i call that a rip-off? You can find them at $800/pair from thetubestore.com. They must be good, but i've never read a review saying they're the very best and i always agreed with these reviewers about other tubes...so i think they are overhyped and it's an old design. The EATs, like the AVVT before are a new design and you can hear it.
 
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psyco1

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From the thread title, I though this may be some kind of expensive audiophile diet.
 
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Jon L

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mastergill
Jon L, don't worry i know what i want
. These tubes deserve something (maybe?) never done before, 4 300B push-pull per channel for 100 watts of pure madness. It's a big investment, but fortunately 300Bs are said to be very strong and reliable with a lifetime from 10,000 to 40,000 hours and maybe more, and anyway it's unlikely that i'll need to change all the tubes at once. And that will be a very reasonable price compared to all the crap sold at stratospherical price.



I'm glad to see your push-pull plans instead of SET for the 300B. push-pull 300B sidesteps a lot of weaknesses of 300B SET IF done right. VAC has been doing it right for a very long time, including their Renaissance 140 mono, which uses 8 300B's per channel,

http://www.vac-amps.com/page0012.html

Canary Audio is another company that's doing push-pull 300B tube amps, sometimes with many 300B's per side.

Me, I don't need more than 30wpc from my VAC Renaissance 30 amp for my 95dB efficient speakers.
 
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Mastergill

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WOW! They did it, very nice. I need to drive 85dB efficient speakers, 50 watts is enough (i had 55 watts from 807s strapped in triode in the past), but i want some sort of "definitive" power amp that i'll keep 20 years and more, so if i move in a bigger room i'll need more power. With 100 watts of 300B i guess you can drive any speaker in almost any room.
 
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Len

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I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but EAT doesn't really do anything in the way of designing or manufacturing tubes. The reason why your EAT 300B might look like an AVVT is because it probably is. edit: the EAT looks nothing like AVVT's tube to me.

EAT was founded by Josefina, a former employee of Alessa Vaic of the now defunct AVVT. She was never a designer, but rather a secretary/rep. She now outsources designs and tubes from various plants (e.g Tesla's factory). EAT is a pure marketing company, not a tube innovator or manufacturer. Josefina is no Kron or Vaic, that much is for certain.

I'm sure some EAT tubes sound fine. The problem is they also charge exhorbent prices for their tubes .... none of which they design or manufacturer. FWIW, I have had reliability issues with their 45s (which some say are "B" stock Emission Labs).
 
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Len

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Quote:

Originally Posted by adhoc
will someone explain to me why 300B tubes are so expensive?

it doesnt make sense to me - i would imagine the more fiddly and fragile small 9-pin types would be more expensive to make.



Aaron, power tubes require a lot more material and much more expensive tooling. It is also much harder to manufacturer a power tube; For example, to create a good vacuum on a large bulb is more difficult then a 9 pin miniature.
 
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Mastergill

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Len
I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but EAT doesn't really do anything in the way of designing or manufacturing tubes. The reason why your EAT 300B might look like an AVVT is because it probably is. edit: the EAT looks nothing like AVVT's tube to me.

EAT was founded by Josefina, a former employee of Alessa Vaic of the now defunct AVVT. She was never a designer, but rather a secretary/rep. She now outsources designs and tubes from various plants (e.g Tesla's factory). EAT is a pure marketing company, not a tube innovator or manufacturer. Josefina is no Kron or Vaic, that much is for certain.

I'm sure some EAT tubes sound fine. The problem is they also charge exhorbent prices for their tubes .... none of which they design or manufacturer. FWIW, I have had reliability issues with their 45s (which some say are "B" stock Emission Labs).



You can rain, man, you can rain, it's so damn hot over here!
Seriously i don't know what some of you guys have against this brand. I've read lot of crap about EAT on AudioAsylum.

First, i never read anywhere that Jozefina is THE only one designer or even that she's designer!. I think she's the manager, and anyway this is supposed to be a TEAM operation.
One thing i can tell you is that she must have good hearing and it seems they have very good source material like pro 1/4'' tape machine to test their tubes.

Second, this is not a rebranded tube. This is an original design. They don't look like Tesla/JJ, they don't look like KR or AVVT.

The plate looks a little like AVVT but it's far from being a carbon copy. And it's normal that if she worked with Mr Vaic she got there some ideas how to make a good 300B. Maybe she bought some patents when she left AVVT factory or when AVVT stopped their business?...If you know exactely how the EAT are build i'm very interested to learn. If it's just rumor you gathered over the internet it's worth nothing.

Third, the EAT's retail price in Europe is €550 per pair. The AVVT 300B Reference price was €520. I can agree with you, in USA the EAT was sold $440 a piece at that was maybe too much. But now the price is the same than in Europe, it's just bad luck for you that the dollar is weak, OTOH you're lucky you don't have 20% VAT like over here!. Now imagine if i have to order some Western Electric...$800+20%...ouch!

But the most important thing is that they sound incredibly good in my setup, i'm not dreaming you know. I've read with interest other reviews about their KT88, they seem to share the same amazing qualities, these reviewers are not dreaming too.
 
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Len

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I believe you when you say the EATs sound great in your gear. They did not compare to WE, AVVT, KR, or EML in my amps, but it's all circuit and preference dependant. I'm not critiqueing your opinion, but wanted to point out EAT's business model as I know it.

The EAT 300B looks remarkably similiar to old Tesla Vrsovice 300Bs (not the current JJ Tesla production you're thinking of .... those are modeled after American 300Bs). It's just conjecture, but I think Jozefina simply purchased the rights to distribute Tesla's old design*, tweaking it a bit and selling a rehashed design for $700+/pr. EAT admits they use tubes from the Tesla factory, so my theory is not very far fetched. FYI: Alessa and Jozefina had a reported falling out, so I doubt she bought any patents from him (or Richard Kron) anyhow. edit: * EAT's KT88 "Diamonds" look like Tesla Vrsovice KT88s too.

What I know is my EAT 45 looked a lot like EML's mesh plate design. I also find it curious that EAT doesn't sell 45s anymore and that their product line seems to shift dramtically over time (as if they were dependant on other mfg's supply). Perhaps Jozefina's company is now designing unique tubes. It definitely was not the case when they started out, but that didn't stop her from marketing her company as such from EAT's conception. Whether you like their products or not is one thing. But I would be wary to bite into their marketing hook, line, and sinker.

In the US, the EAT is outrageously expensive. AVVT's 300B C37 sold for ~$380/pr when they were in production (jacmusic.com). It was an outstanding 300B (my personal favorite) and what I would call a true bargain.

FWIW, I value professional reviews as much as I value advertising slogans
 
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So, then what are some recommended 300Bs to try? I'm looking for something in my AN Meishu. Right now I have Sophia Princess 300Bs.

BTW, the new AN transport is simply awesome. The bar is raised again.
 
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Len

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I have a Meishu. My current line tube compliment is Hytron 6SN7GT, Tung Sol 5687, and Western Electric 300B. I've previously tried TJ/Sophia "mesh," two KR varients, AVVT C37, and a VAIC 32B in the Meishu. The WE worked out the best. YMMV
 
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Mastergill

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Len, we need more than your own "conjecture" or "theory" you know. It's not a secret that the Tesla factory is involved in the construction of this tube. What if it's an old tweaked design? These tubes are unique. Try them in the Manley you'll see what i mean. You won't have to sell your gear anymore, this is beyond benchmark.

You're comparing price of tubes when 1 dollar was like 1.2 euro. Now it's the opposite, your comparison is not valid.

And man, seriously, $1,200 for a pair of WE what do you call that?

I don't buy my gear based on marketing and not all reviewers are jokers. There's some dude that you can trust especially when you hear the same things, when you come to the same conclusion.

I was ready to make business with Alesa Vaic when he stopped production. This is a sad story for us tubes lover when a manufacturer disappear either you like their production or not. I'm glad i found some trully outstanding 300B tubes, i don't want this company to disappear too, so a little more solidarity amongst tubes lover would be nice don't you think?
 
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Len

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mastergill
Len, we need more than your own "conjecture" or "theory" you know. It's not a secret that the Tesla factory is involved in the construction of this tube. What if it's an old tweaked design? These tubes are unique. Try them in the Manley you'll see what i mean. You won't have to sell your gear anymore, this is beyond benchmark.


As I said, the tube is probably a tweaked version of the old Tesla 300B design. I never said it wasn't unique, nor did I question your opinion of them in your Manley. But for $800/pr, I personally want something more then a tweaked $200/pr tube. It also bothers me that Jozefina belittles true champions of innovative design like KR and AVVT.

Quote:

You're comparing price of tubes when 1 dollar was like 1.2 euro. Now it's the opposite, your comparison is not valid.


According to Jac's current price list and accounting for current exchange rates, a pair of AVVT 300B C37 is $340.48 USD + shipping.

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And man, seriously, $1,200 for a pair of WE what do you call that?


If Westrex honors their 5 year warranty on a tube designed for 20,000-40,000 hours of useful life, I call the WE a pretty fair market value. If the EAT is based on the Tesla design as it appears to me, you will be lucky to see 10,000 hours of use from them. Western Electric innovated the 300B. The current production is using the same vintage tooling, with the knowledge and craftsmanship of a few employees who worked on pre-1988 300Bs as well. Personally, these facts add great value to their product.

Quote:

I don't buy my gear based on marketing and not all reviewers are jokers. There's some dude that you can trust especially when you hear the same things, when you come to the same conclusion.


To each his own. IMHO, there are countless reasons not to trust reviewers. Leaving aside any conspiracy theories or accusations of questionable ears, the most obvious reason is that no reviewer can possibly audition the component he's reviewing in an environment remotely similiar to yours. Don't discount the placebo effect.

Quote:

I was ready to make business with Alesa Vaic when he stopped production. This is a sad story for us tubes lover when a manufacturer disappear either you like their production or not. I'm glad i found some trully outstanding 300B tubes, i don't want this company to disappear too, so a little more solidarity amongst tubes lover would be nice don't you think?


It was a shame AVVT went out of business. I don't take joy in watching any tube manufacturer fall, but don't expect me to support a company if I don't like their products or business practices. EuroAudioTeam, in it's current state, is one such company that has yet to earn my (repeat) business or respect.
 
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