HK《THE TUBE WORLD MONTHLY》 on May 2016: Ascend and Conquer For PSVANE WE300B (part one)

 Ascend and Conquer
For PSVANE WE300B (part one)
……Replica WE300Bs are exquisite crafts with perfect appearance, standard assembly, neat tube core, and high consistency. If no serial numbers, these two tubes can be seem as the twines resembling to each other…



    Lately, the news that AlphaGo beat the ROK chess’s apex master Lee Sedol nine section has stunned the whole world. Depending on only the AL (artificial intelligence) without the human-specific emotions, AlphaGo performed implicitly and in a stern manner, whereas Lee Sedol presented anxiety occasionally. As to the technology, if compared with AlphaGo, the amplifier could be left far behind. However, audio enthusiasts with the rich imagination have desired to endow the emotion, charm, appeal and so many other human-specific features with the most beloved audios, this can be defined as “personification”.

Personification of the amplifier
    In terms of operating principle, there were no differences between the transistor portable megaphones commonly known as the “Lord of loud” with the audio amplifier. Both were designed and structured by the similar power source. Yet the former one was aimed at louder voice, and the latter at adjusting the dull and inflexible sine wave alternating current to fair-sounded music signal spectrum. Dating back to the development history of radio electronics, before the Second World War, the audio amplifier (called as the “audio frequency booster” in that era) were just a simple electrical equipment with only the output power, frequency reaction range, nonlinear distortion and several ones as their performance indexes, which could be measured, namely “quantified” as “fixed quotas”. 
    Since the end of the Second World War especially during the 1950s and the 1960s, there had been economic take-off in the North America, Western Europe, and Japan along with the swift enlarging of the middle class. Therefore, “audio”, non-necessities of life has made an important place in the huge market, when the audio amplifiers were not the simple household electrical application as before but the ones personated by audio enthusiasts and could express emotions. The amplifiers had been evaluated not by the fixed quotes any more, instead, more emphasized in their emotions, features, appeal and some other soft indexes marked flexibly by human. These were the indexes could not be measured by general equipment but only be enjoyed and appreciated by music fanciers and audio enthusiasts by employing their imaginations not logic thinking. In this aspect, tube amplifiers have the advantages and charm of their own. 
    The sound quality of tubes are about to have changes due to the structure of the electrode, the applying of materials, the technological process and even the handling habits of the assembly operators, so that the tubes with the same type could present abundant sound performance, bringing endless pleasure to audio enthusiasts, in which the audio artifact 300B is the most typical. 

Thanks to the creation of amplifier’s designer
    Directly-heated triode 300B had been designed and launched by the America WE company in 1938, which were equipped with the terrific high sensitive horn-type loudspeaker system and used in the film sound reproducers in most cases. It could meet the need of the whole large movie theater with no more than 20W (push-pull amplifying) of output power. The system frequency of 300B was 80Hz-10000Hz, including some human voice, somewhat weaker compared with that of the music instruments. For this reason, 300B, as a silent worker, had been employed in the movie theater for nearly 20 years. This could be described as “devoted itself silently yet less people appreciated” 
   After the end of the Second World War in the late 1950s, a playing method has become popular among some Western Europe tube enthusiasts, that is, combining the 300B single-end power amplifier with the horn-type loudspeaker, and soon this kind of playing method had been spread to Kyoto of Japan. Obtaining simple circuit, easy debugging, safety and stability, and high chance of successful performance, 300B revealed the sincerest feelings from the bottom of the heart. Thus, among the self-designed amplifiers, 300B has cut a figure rapidly among the male hearers until 1970s.       
   300B stood out in the hi-end audio market with each of its price soaring to USD500. It can be say that the achievement of 300B can not be made without the craftsmanship and hard works of amplifier’s DIY designers. Now, the production of 300Bs in the workshop can be regarded as the revival of the ancient tubes and are the outcome of the new era. 

Markets’ voices expedite the coming out of replica WE300B 
   When the 300B were at the prime of their time, the WE of 1988 has decided to halt the production of them by closing the production line, because the transistor at that time had beat the tubes in an all round way and become the mainstream in the amplifier market (facts prove that WE’s ending of the production of 300B is unwise). Since then, monitored by the market discipline, the price of 300B has continued to lift. In the earlier 1990s, the WE300B (WE original 300B) have been sold with the price of USD750 of each one in the native United States and even more than USD 1200 outside America. For this reason, the AT&T (America’s Telephone and Telegram Company) has resumed the normal operation of production line in a hurry, and till the early period of new era the 300B was able to be supplied stably in the market after going through ups and downs.
    There are harsh competitions where brings benefit. Now, apart from the WE 300B of the United States, China, Russia, Czech in the world are producing the varieties of 300Bs, forming a big production home. With the rapid rise, China has become the world’s second largest economy, leading the development of the global audio industry. China’s tubes and amplifiers have played the prominent role in the world market stably with the large scale. However, in the audio enthusiasts’ minds, the most qualified ones are still the WE300B especially those before the resume of the production line. And the more aged it is, the fair the sound is. WE300B thus has been well praised as the unparalleled “the King of the Tubes”. The author has seen two of this kind of WE300B in the local audio market with pricing RMB68000 a pair, and the sincere shopper mentioned the default in one of the two tubes, that was two years ago. Now the price is unknown. Based on this, Changsha Hengyang Electronics Lt., Co. of China has launched the high-end PSVANE WE300B accordingly (PSVANE Replica WE300B, hereinafter referred to as Replica WE300B, see figure No.1).
   
Replica & Creation
   The replica of WE300B is aimed at the “reappearance of the WE sound”. Now that it is the replica product, the appearance is required to be the same in the first place namely the likeness. Geometric congruence is the essential condition of replica rather than the sufficient condition. The geometrical shape and relative position of each electrode have influenced the microstructure of electron current and then the sound quality. Replica WE300B and original WE300B are almost “equal” in terms of geometrical size with the similar color in every part. As to the material of components, it is hard to judge with people’s eyes. To conclude, replica 300B has the highest “likeness” to WE300B. 
   Despite this, the author still believes that it is impossible to replica WE300B to 100%. Figure 2 is a classic article the King of Tubes—new “WE” WE300B published in the “Tubes World” released in Guangzhou on 29th June, 2002. The original article was published in HK’s HIFI AUDIO, in which the special material used in producing the WE300B has been mentioned. If you read this article carefully, you will agree with the opinion mentioned above. During 1938 and 1988 before the resume of the production line, there have been many small changes of WE300B as well as of their features, leading to the difficulty of choosing which one to replica. After the resume, the assembly tubes of WE300B have more than 10 parameter pairings. Also, the ageing time was 3 weeks and 7 hours. All this has made the replica works become difficult to complete in a delicate manner!
   In fact, today’s surroundings and conditions have differed a lot those of that years, which at least can be called “something has changed”. 20 years ago when WE300B resumed the production, the skilled assembly workers were all aged. It was thus hard for the inheritance of their unique assembly technique. Even now, there are disputes between “replica” and “creation” in the domestic tube manufacturers. The author holds that both are not in conflict at all. Now that it is impossible to fulfill the 100% replica of antique tubes, it is necessary to inject creation in the process of replica. It is an expectation that China’s modern tubes can surpass the antique tubes someday.

Replica WE300B with exquisite craftsmanship
     See figure 1, the elegant and luxury packing box is well-designed and brings the texture of richness and solid. Polished with piano lacquer, as smooth as the mirror, this packing is the masterpiece in the domestic tubes market. Well-embedded inside the box, a pair of tubes is sure to be well-protected in the shipment. Only the not perfect-matched dimension makes it hard to put the tubes into the box, and even harder for the take out for fear of being broken up especially for the tube legs!
    Every tube has its own serial number, see figure 3, thus served as proves when problems occur. The most noted ones is that in every waist of the tube, there marked “WE300B”, see figure 4. Replica WE300Bs are exquisite crafts with perfect appearance, standard assembly, neat tube core, and high consistency. If no serial numbers, these two tubes can be seem as the twines resembling to each other. Unlike some other kinds of tubes, so harsh-assembled that makes people disappointed. Details determine the success, a truth at all. 
    Every Replica WE300B buyer is gifted with VIP card explicitly stating that every buyer can purchase serials of PSVANE products at a fair price. Sure that “PSVANE holds the right of final explanation” and items of this kind are included.

Technical parameter explanation 
     There attached technical resources. Replica WE300B has the basic consistent technical parameter with that of the original WE300B, or it can not be regarded as “replica”. Despite this, there still exists difference. The maximum dissipation power of the anode of replica 300B is 40W, whereas that of the original WE300B has not been provided with such index. The push-pull matching tube of the original WE300B has more than 10 matching parameters, yet only the “anode current” of that of replica WE300B.  
     Among the numerous parameters of WE300B (both original & replica), cathode current is the special one, and presented 100mA when adopted self-bias but lowered to 60mA with fixed-bias. Why there are two numerical values? This in fact refers to the anode dissipation power, the matter of the safety use of tubes. When the triode is used as class-A amplifier, the electrode current presents zero, at this condition, the anode current equals to the cathode current. 
     There are two reasons resulting to the occurrence of the two numerical values when flowing to the cathode current of WE300B: when adopted self-bias, the anode has been exposed to automatic protection. When one disturbance increased the anode current, the absolute value of bias voltage will be increasing accordingly, thus impeding to the rise of anode current. To the contrary, fixed bias have no function of automatic protection, it should be used with relevant low anode current in case it exceeds the largest anode dissipation power. The other reason is that the circulation of anode dissipation power should be made by referring to the voltage of anode relative to cathode. As to the self-bias system, the bias can be regarded as the voltage between anode and cathode when subtracting the anode voltage (the anode voltage to ground measured by the voltmeter). The bias of 300B usually reaches up to 60V-90V, whereas the fixed bias does not have this matter. 
 (to be continued)