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Nice! The Violectric V281 was my other option.
I love my EML 520B V3's and as a second I like the KR 300B's. My concern with Western Electric 300B's is the history. Every seller tells you NOS and I say what? Who knows what they may have been through. These were designed as an amplifier tube and many had a hard life. You can only go by testing and that is a guideline. The other problem is that WE's are a status symbol in Japan and China and the buyers will pay a premium for a tube that I'm not interested in competing for. The Takatsuki's have great reviews as a tube that does it all well. Tak's do come up on the used market for $1k to $1.2k. There is a seller locally that sells new Tak's for $1695 US.
Just make sure you are getting some sort of guarantee that the used tubes are tested and matched pairs. If they're not matched, the balance will be off in your headphones. I found out the hard way.
You're usually not going to get a guarantee on resale. If the tube is DOA maybe a reseller would take it back. Most of my tubes were sold originally as pairs so I have reassurance that they were a matched pair at origin. I've never had a used tube purchase DOA. I have had a tube misrepresented as 100 hours or so. In fact it was a testing a 50% of new so that was nonsense. It's a back up tube so not a biggie.
I understand where you are coming from - without regards to the varying price on tubes, how does the sound compare between the EML, Takat and WE?
I wish that I could answer that because I have thought about a pair of Takatsuki's. There are WE detractors out there so my guess is tired tubes or the bane of high end........fakes. The WE reissues from the 90's are apparently good but not the same as true vintage according to aficionados. I love my EML 520B V3's and I just got a pair of EML 300B XLS's the XLS's are very close. What I like about these EML's is power, punch for bass and details for midrange and highs. They are very reliable to boot. The Takatsuki's have been described as detailed and refined. I don't know how that would translate into sound for my ears.
I'm ordering a pair of 6C8G tubes. Does anyone have any recommendations for 6C8G to 6SN7 adapters? or maybe between the two below, which ones are better if someone has bought either of them?
I've bought adapters and other products from both of these sellers and they were both acceptable in looks and performance. Shipping is fairly quick, about 10 business days or so.
You can get adapters from Woo Audio. They will get to you a lot quicker than the Ebay sellers in China.
I couldnt find them on their website. Any idea on pricing/shipping?
I don't think they list them on their site. If you email or PM Mike he will be able to get you pricing. Mike is @HiFiGuy528 here on head-fi. His email is mikeATwooaudio.com.
I have the Woo 6F8G>6SN7 and Woo 596>5U4G and the cost was about $400US for the two pairs. If you aren't hung up on these adapters looks you'll save plenty of money. I like the Nylon and Gold construction. You can see them in the image below.
This is the Woo adapter cost from my emails: 6F8G $45 each and 596 adapter $100 each
@jerick70 is correct, you need to contact Woo about their adapters. Woo makes really nice adapters. I have their 6SN7 adapters and the build quality is top notch.
I sold my Utopias recently but I would say exactly the same thing for the time that I had them. Now with the Abyss Phi tentatively I would say the cycle continues. I think there is a great synergy between the Abyss and the WA5. I do think that the V281 had a bit more speed, bass, and more clarity/definition than the WA5 w/ the tubes I was running. But the WA5 has that smooth silkiness that just makes everything nice and only felt a tiny bit behind on detail. With the Abyss and Taks I don't think I'm missing anything there in speed, bass, clarity, etc. Holy crap the Abyss is more of a monster than I imagined with just the demo time I had at CanJam. IMHO, run as fast as you can and get one. Sell whatever you have to to fund it.
So I went EML 300B (not the XLS) to the Taks. I felt more bass, seemed more precise and more punchy, and more refined. I didn't start swapping back and forth and I didn't take any notes, felt more expanded and maybe more detailed. It just felt more expanded. I wish I knew how to be more precisely descriptive but it really hit me when I plugged them in first time, like wow this is definitely a level up. Considering the cost I just don't know, I want them but not want to pay $1900 for them.
Woo Audio of course. They make some nice ones as others already mentioned. Also consider 2359glenn (you can PM him), he also does excellent work. I have adapters from both. I can't tell any difference like one sounds better than the other. I think it's more like ascetics and Glenn offered me a choice of colors.
For used Taks I think most of them in the states come in via WooAudio. Seems like they only are in sets. I guess if you're out on ebay then who knows but there should be a return policy. Both my EML and Taks came as a matched pair. The WA5 also has autobias so it can correct some small imbalance IIRC. There's always check the return policy before you buy. Make sure you can send it back if you don't like it. And when buying used tubes always plug them in and make sure they work and sound ok before your return policy expires.