《New Audiophile》158 ISSUE COMMENTS on PSVANE WE300B

PSVANE Replica Western Electric 300B 
Drunken Sound
  Chief Editor Lai paid a visit to Changsha Hengyang Electronics Co.,Ltd last year, and demonstrated the process and rapid development of this company with having had written many articles attractively(more details in Aug. 2013 ISSUE 149). To tube industry, the birth of a new brand is absolutely a good thing, not only in promoting intratype competition but also stimulating consumer spending. The biggest beneficiary of course are the wide tube enthusiasts who have got another opportunity and feel content to see every brand tried their best to promote tube quality.
  Mr. Xia, the general manager of Hengyang Electronics Co.,Ltd accompanied by many colleagues and chief editors attended meet-and-greet event of Peter Qvortrup, the president of American Audio Note and Mr. fang, then together made a appreciation and comparison among Western Electric WE300B( Replica in 1995), PSVANE Western Electric WE300B, 300B-T and so many types of tubes. Audio Note Parts (Asia) Ltd—British noble audio components (Asia) Co.,Ltd, a joint company established by Mr. Fang Jiehua-the chief master of British Audio Note and ANJ International Ltd specializes in selling exclusive noble audio components of British Audio Note and other antique audiophile components. AN-300 tube, launched by Audio Note Parts should be called the noblest one. With output transformer and every kind of components are made by pure silver, this one ensures the noblest taste of Audio Note.  
  During this meeting, Mr. xia had a listening test successively of 3 types of 300B items in Audio Note Parts tube, and had a comparison with Western Electric 300B of 1995. Different conventioneers expressed different opinions and all agreed that the power of 300B is really hard to be surpassed. Domestic promising brand PSVANE is indeed full of confidence and strength that impressed everyone. This time PSVANE sent Western Electric 300B to the Editorial Department of《New Audiophile》,at once I brought it home and had a test in LINE Magnetc LM-210IA. Another brand I had used in this test was domestic brand 300B. Before I begin to describe it, let us see why Western Electric WE300B is so “powerful”, which has been chased by so many fanciers for a long time. 
  American Western Electric WE300B is rare in the market, not only antique tubes, even much less new Western Electric Replica, and the price is so high that few people are interested with them. Though many brands have produced 300B tube, the ones who are able to have a head-on PK with Western Electric are rare. Triode tubes were invented by Lee De Forest in 1907, Earlier, the biggest American tube companies were WE and GE/RCA (separated later). In 1917, WE launched the 205A military tubeVT-2 at the first time, later 205D in 1924, and became the lead in the market of theater and cinema PA. At that time, the output power was nearly 1W or so, and depended on the super high efficient horn stand to provide adequate voltage. Another competitor—GE/RCA was also a demanding one, the power of UV-202 which was launched in 1920 only have 0.83W, but later launched 224 tetrode, and in 1928, the new 245 launched has output power of 2W and in 1930, 842 of 3W, which have the similar strength with WE. However, in 1932, WE launched 275A with the output of near to 5W, 300A of 10W in 1933. That year, the earliest classic matcher of 300A was WE86A. The power tube of WE91B used in 1936 was still 300A at that time. But later new power tube was replaced in WE91B in 1938--the classic 300B. Since 1938, 300B has been the favorite in tube fanciers for more than 7 decades. The old WE300B has been the value early in secondhand market with unaffordable price. 
  Before the Second World War, 300B could only be found to be used in movie vocal power amplifiers which were produced by Western Electric. As the biggest movie amplifier manufactory, Western Electric supplied theater in the form of lease, and provided it with maintenance service, so the operating condition of old amplifiers were better-maintained. Among all these audio power amplifiers, the most outstanding one should be 91A, which used 300b as single-end output and power reached to 8W, which had fully brought the potential of 300b into full play. While another type of 92A was not want to be beaten too, with two 300B push-pulls, its output was 12-15W. Today, two types are both precious, and have become the legend of Western Electric. According to the standard of American industry of the time, frequency response of movie power amplifiers should be reduced to as many as 20dB when reaches to 80-10000Hz. I believe that all the America-made movie sound amplifiers cannot get out of this circle. This frequency response is too different to the Hi-Fi Standard 20-20kHz of that time, which seemingly has become one kind of low and medium frequency amplifiers. While in fact, 80-10kHz has already have the capacity of cover all the sound of instruments, much more to human voice, so this amplifier obviously only can replay some parts of music, such as jazz or songs and so on. Even though it has its own restrictions, in the field of narrow frequency, this one is possible to make an outstanding performance. For example, tube enthusiasts in Japan once used WE91a (single-end 8W) combining with highly sensitive horn audio box, it had been said that the sound was surprisingly good, so that Japanese called them “Fantastic Combination”. Actually, as for this playing method, Japanese was second to France-- the founder. Earlier in the middle of 1960s, a group of crazy France tube fanciers found that 300B single-end amplifier combining with large-scale horn voice box, and added antique equipments to play jazz and songs would give listeners big surprise, and this kind of playing method had not been spread to Japan till 1970s. 
  In 1988, after America’s most outstanding tube factory Western Electric went through nearly hundred of decade’s history, it closed for the cause of market, and allowed the most experienced general engineer Bernard Magers to supervise and carry out this tragic sabotage, that was, to dismantle all the equipments which used to produce vacuum tubes one by one. Fortunately, the high level in Western Electric still kept the records sensibly, not only had completely preserved the blueprint of every machine’s structure, but also had written down all the important procedures of producing a tube and saved them to the safe case. In 1992, one of the world’s three major telecommunications giants- AT&T awakened finally and found the most valued property its Bell Lab possessed in the history of music replay had been destroyed, that was exactly Western Electric.  At that time WE300B had been raised by stock involvers to $750 per one, even $1250 in Asia. High level in AT&T decided to invest 5,000,000 to rebuild Western Electric with the experienced and vigorous Charles Whitener as the chief master, recalled the former general engineer Bernard Magers to carry out the task of reforming the manufacturing line, and even employed 15 skilled technicians who could take charge of this work so that Western Electric could reproduce successfully. 300B manufacturing line which was reopened in Kansas America in 1995 and reproduced a batch of wooden-boxed 300B Replicas, whose price have raised several times than that year. 
There probably has developed a consensus among tube enthusiasts, that is, triode has fair sound and direct-heated triode is also the top one in power tubes. In principle, the triode is better-linear and has less produced harmonic. Although the question of direct-heated triode has better sound than heater-type is hard to testify with engineering science. But most of tube fans all hold that the subjective judgment of sound can be practicable if we treat rationally not to extremely strict. The reason of a tube can be a legend mainly lies in its outstanding sound not in the measured date. Now many factories such as Eastern Europe, china and so on still produce 300B, among which the specialty of mutual conductance and anode resistance of most part of products are basically the same. Many new designs have already surpassed Western Electric WE300B in terms of performance ability, so why the market still believe that only WE300B is leading? Mr. xia, the chief manager of PSVANE answered: “Western Electric truly has its uniqueness which can still not be surpassed now. What a difficult task should be to completely reproduce it for many materials at that year cannot be found yet, so they continued to test different substitutes to reproduce the products that much closer to Western Electric 300B. Through several decades of hardships of skilled technicians, this type of Replica WE300B can be said is the one that most close to WE300B in today’s market.”
PSVANE now has three series and 4 types of 300B tubes have had been produced. Including 300B and 300B-N of Hi-Fi series, TⅡseries and Replica WE300B.Most parts of domestic 300B had been different with ER300B on structure especially in heaters for a former time. WE300B adopted antique heater- hanging method, used metal hook to fix heater and allowed to slightly alter the internal resistance of cathode filament. While domestic 300B adopted a more advanced way, that was, used spring- suspended way to fix heater. The advantage of this way is that many tedious manual works can be reduced, benefiting to the massive production. While the disadvantage is this way doesn’t offer the chance to have a slight alternation to cathode filament, which makes the filaments temperature seriously uneven when being heated. This is also the reason of uneven lights appeared in many domestic 300Bs when their filaments being lighten. Later, several factories inland early or late launched a successive of different types of 300B, among these existed one type which adopted the way mentioned above, it handed on to the original hanging-method way to fix filament to make the sound performance closer to WE300B; also coated the plate with graphite to improve plate efficiency; there also existed a higher version, to coat the plate with titanium alloy for the purpose of also improve plate efficiency and lengthen the durable years of products.  
  PSVANE Replica WE300B is carefully produced in accordance with the former traditional handcraft of American Western Electric of 1960s. With the perfect combination of modern technology and antique materials, every detail of every product is asking for the best and never compromise not only in sound but also in quality. Pure handcraft, antique skill, only 10 pairs produced per day, all these make Replica 300B can never be surpassed. While the humble chief manager-- Mr.xia expressed that: we have been trying to make our products closer to Western Electric WE300B as much as possible, but they are unable to be the same no matter how skillful we are. Because from the test reports of different countries and regions such as Japan, HK, America, Canada and so on all over the world all shows, except Western Electric 300B of 1960s, only PSVANE WE300B can be regarded as have the grandest sound, even have surpassed American Western Electric Modern Replica 300B. 
During last meeting, American Western Electric Replica WE300B of 1995 and PSVANE Replica WE300B had a comparison in AN300 of Audio Note Parts, also involved two PSVANE T series and 300B of Hi-Fi series into this comparison. Some chief editors and audio fanciers expressed their own opinion. Honestly speaking, as to let AN tubes have a voicing on the basis of Western Electric WE300B, the tone, analyzing and control ability of Western Electric Replica WE300B is better, but is this the real ability of PSVANE Replica WE300B? NO. Although they are the same size, different tube brands have slightly different requirements to the operating point of power amplifiers. On the platform of this testing, the attractiveness of PSVANE Replica WE300B completely surpassed other two domestic newly made 300Bs especially in the analyzing ability, texture, and airy sense of medium frequency, which had given me a chance to experience the great charm of Western Electric WE300B. 
PSVANE Replica WE300B has the surprisingly noble sense and texture, which has been the essential part of PSVANE products, Replica WE300B is the most top one among them. This good reputation has been passed by PSVANE users all around the world. The dazzling noble sense and vivid texture are all being re-brought into full play. Such degree of special quality and improvement is the highest and the biggest turning point, PSVANE Replica WE300B surely highlights users among the former familiar systems. As to the density of sound, it has never been skilled in 300B, which more in expressing transparent not decorous feeling, while PSVANE 300B does a good job in this point, which impressed me a lot. I am not here to say that the density of 300B has the ability to surpass 845, while the ability of PSVANE Replica is not less powerful. The density of medium and low frequency has replayed the stability of concerto. Also it will not bring users the unreal frightened feeling when in loud volume. Re-listening to the “double bass” cello of jazz, that natural and soft low frequency has clear sound leaping ability,never will bring users the vague and slack sense that average 300B often bring to them. So, offering such high-qualified sound of low frequency, PSVANE Replica WE300B really impressed me to a large degree. 
  Another charming point of 300B is the musicianship. After I listened to PSVANE Replica WE300B, that kind of fascinating feeling made me forget the test task and didn’t want to do other things for a long time, which had never happened when I used other domestic products even Russian 300B in the past. Before this, I had read in other medias and forums for many times, PSVANE Replica WE300B was regarded as the “the most music-tasteful modern audio tube”, and is being verified again as expected this time. The musicianship of PSVANE Replica WE300B is from the coherent frequency, transparent and soft sound texture, which is far from the harsh and vague sense of domestic average-priced 300Bs. What it brings to users is natural, and the real direct listening experience. I believe that every tube fancier who possesses PSVANE Replica tube can feel such attractiveness under good revised system.  
  The reason why 300B would be one of the landmark products of Western Electric was hard to be explained even by Western Electric itself. After this company ended its business, one NOS tube (New Old Stock, inventorial new tube) of 300B was once raised to 750$ by stock involvers in America and $1250 in Asia. 300B was once a common-used tube with not big power and of course didn’t have outstanding special quality compared with other tubes. Several predecessors summarized ten factors why Western Electric WE300B will have such outstanding quality in the past.   
  1, Low Pollution: the manufacturing factory of WE300B will go through high-standard air handling, whose requirement for purity is much higher than other factories in avoidance of the short lifetime of heaters. 
  2, Oxygen-free Metal Materials: one WE300B triode is comprised with more than 40 kinds of different material components, among which plate has taken up large part of volume, so that the quality of materials will do a direct influence on the lifetime and sound quality of tubes.
  3, High Vacuum: the vacuum standard of the latest type-WE300B is 2*0.000006 torr—one 500,000th of gas pressure. While the vacuum standard of several brands still on the level of 2*0.0004 torr—one 5,000th. With nearly no disturbance of air molecules, the texture, frequency response, accuracy and stability of sound are well-performed with filaments, the lifetime of it is also proportional to vacuum degree.
  4, Deep Sea Communication Technology: the core and protective covering of WE 300B tungsten filament all hands on to the deep sea communication technology that Bell Lab exploited. Bell is the authority in this field. Before the popularization of satellite communication, the cross-country long-distance telecommunications were all held by Bell submarine cables which are able to bear the pressure of deep sea, the erosion of salt, the shock of strong undercurrent, and maintained the long-time stability even under the uneven seabed operating condition.
  5, Non-magnetic Shield: Bell’s most proud design, and the unique- designed tungsten protective- covering, which can not only lengthen the using years of tungsten but also can be used as shield to avoid disturbance of electron beam radiation. 
  6, The Longest Durable Years: WE Western Electric has one product with the purest metal-coated plate, the most high-qualified glass shell, the top advanced tungsten filament, and under the highest vacuum- degree operating condition ----WE300B, through the strict measurement and calculation by two groups of skilled technicians who are more than 4 decades of experience, the final result was that the average durable years of WE300B under standard operating condition can reach up to 40000 hours. 
  7, Superlinearity Matching: at that year, per WE300B was priced 400$, clients should pay more $100. The factory scanned the full-frequency curve of per WE300B with precise instrument to match one full-frequency symmetric WE300B, and then packed the finished products with a hand-made delicate wooden box, along with individual number, produce certificate and feature chart to sell in the market. If the client pay 1900$, then factory would strictly match 4 pairs of WE300B in one wooden box to sell. 
  8, The Highest Quietness: many other brands of 300B have noise problems. While the low noise of WE300B could be compared with American full-balanced tube amplifiers. 
  9, Super Wide Frequency Response: brand- new WE300B was once reproduced in WE in 1995. Its frequency response could be called the champion of all 300Bs especially in high frequency, more delicate and rich-detailed than the old WE300B obviously. 

  10, Stronger Dynamic Condition: Replica WE300B is slightly better than old WE300B in analyzing ability, sense of line, texture and transplant degree.