1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

NOS Western Electric 300B

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by mabley123, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    I have 2 matched Quads of Western Electric 300B's Ive had for years in storage.

    I bought a Metro GMP45 3-4 months ago. Slightly used < than 20 hours use and less than 1 year old. It already had matched NOS GEC's in it from Metro.

    I swapped out the Modern Mullard Rectifier with an NOS Mullard 1961 Fat Base and the Modern Mullard 12AX7's for 3 NOS Mullard 10M's with Gold Pins. The New Mullard 12AX7's were so noisy and microphoinc they were unusable and only had 20 hours on them. Now its all but dead quiet.

    Im wondering if I can use the NOS 300B's ???? In Place of my NOS GEC KT66's in a Metro amp with Heyboer Drake type transformers Metro uses.

    If its possible I wonder if they will be To HIFI ?????? I know bias would have to be reset.
     
  2. Fred Mertz

    Fred Mertz Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,440
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    300B is a directly heated triode. Did you mean 350B? The 350B approximates a 6L6GC, but has lower maximum plate and screen voltages.
     
  3. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    Its a 300B. Very Similar to 350B. 300B is even more sought after. Os so Ive read.

    Brent Jessie has some 350B's for sale, but in his ad he states the 300B is even more sought after than the 350B.

    New old stock, original box. The original, never duplicated W-E 350B, nice 1960s vintage, yellow label. Rarely do I find these gems (only three times in the last 7 years!) and even more rare to find a matched pair! Carefully hand matched on our professional test equipment and satisfaction guaranteed. This is the ultimate 6L6GC/KT66 type of tube,........ and probably one of the most sought after WE tubes next to the 300B............ If your amp calls for the 350B or can use it in place of a KT66/6L6 (the 350B has higher filament current draw) then these may be the last and best you will ever buy. Grab them now, worldwide stocks are nearly gone! SINGLE TUBES ARE $700.00 EACH.



    I also actually have 3 350B's too.

    My Grandmother worked for GTE for 35 years and retired in the 60's and she knew most everyone that work there.

    I got to go into the basement of the phone company in the early 80's and get all the tubes I wanted. Hundreds of them still in boxes and never used. And they still have more down there and never ever took the old tubes or equipment out. They just rewired the Fiber Optics around the equipment and left everything there. I bet there are 5000 tubes down there stll in boxes. not counting whats still in the equipment.But I don't know anyone there anymore and its No Longer GTE.

    I also only live 3 blocks from the Tele company.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  4. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,270
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL, USA
    Mabley,

    Considering that those are original 300bs, I would be talking to tube depot or another tube vendor about selling those... They're literally worth their weight in gold, and 2 matched quads would bring a kings ransom!!! They would be completely wasted in a guitar amp, IMo

    Franc Robert
     
  5. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    687
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    300Bs are worth way more than you think. If you sell them, you can buy any tubes your heart desires.

    Eight NOS 300Bs will buy a nice used car.

    Agreed that they are wasted on guitar, not to say that guitar doesn't merit great tubes, but that pentodes/beam tubes provide the sounds that most people expect and want.

    My personal experiences trying triode guitar amps have not been encouraging. Good cleans for jazz/fingerpicking but mud overdrive.

    I'd sell the 350Bs also buy what you need.
     
  6. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,171
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Location:
    New England
    Short answer: No.

    Your best bet is to trade your 300Bs for GEC KT66s. Considering the prices of NOS 300Bs you ought to get at least a two to one trade in your favor. You could end up with enough KT66s for the next 200 years (assuming 10,000 hours life per tube as per their ratings) and still keep a quartet of 300Bs as they will inevitably increase in value.
     
  7. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    I was going to take the NOS GEC's out of my Metro GMP45 and put these in.

    I started collecting tubes in the late 70's and spent roughly 5000-7000 dollars on tubes from 1978-1982. I actually could start a small tube shop but I would not have any restock. And then I got to go into the Main Communications building of GTE where I live and get all the tubes I wanted. I had a Grocery Shopping cart FULL of tubes. Literally over 1000 tubes and this is where I got the 300B's and the 350b's. This is also not counting the tubes I bought to collect.

    My friend Richie Hall of Hallamplification... Who along with his brother DANA Devoleped VVR Kits for install.

    Told me to Hoard all the tubes I could find. This was in 1977. He told me tubes... Good 1's were on the way out and 1 day we wont have them anymore and if I want these types of tubes that I better start getting them now.

    Out of high school I got a Great job at a local steel mill and was making 25 dollars an hour in 78. So I spent a lot of money on tubes during this point. I got GEC's for 20 dollars each. Mullard 12AX7 10M's Gold Pins for 10 Dollars.
    I got some Osram Marconi 12AX7's for 15 dollars each. I do have enough tubes to last more than my lifetime.
    I was just reading at Brent Jessies site that the 350B is a replacement for 6L6 or KT66 so that got me thinking about using these.

    I didn't know what 300B or 350B were then but I knew they were big so I got them..

    So not a Good Idea ???

    I was offered a Brand New Metro Amps GMP45/100 with NOS Glass. GEC x Mullard for a matched pair of these. Ill probably take it if these aren't good for a guitar amp.

    I know they are worth big bucks but I got them for nothing and would use them if they were good for this application. I know they are great in certain stereo systems. But I don't have anywhere near that type of Stereo.

    The thing is too theres probably still several of these tubes at the Tele Company but I cant get access anymore. They have a Gold Mine and don't even know it.
     
  8. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,171
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Location:
    New England
    For starters you have to change the sockets on your Metro.

    Modding a $3500 amp to use tubes that are worth $1000 each is unusual and probably not the best use of the amp or the tubes.
     
  9. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    I wouldn't care about using different sockets if it made the amp better. Or even compatible with the tubes and that it could make for a good sounding amp.. I would do it for the heck of it and if it didn't sound good I could always reverse the mods.
    But if its a dead end, its a dead end.

    I couldn't of course mod it myself as Im all thumbs for that. I know many don't like NOS Telefunken because they are to HIFI. I guess these could be in the same category.
     
  10. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    687
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    The 300B is an entirely different type of tube than a KT tetrode. It needs a different filament supply voltage and wiring arrangement for the filament, in addition to a different impedance output transformer for optimal operation.

    I'd have to know more about the circuit of the Metro to comment further.

    You could probably plug the 350Bs right in to a KT66 amp though, but I'd do some research to make sure all conditions are appropriate for the 350B.

    I am in the audio business working with one of the top manufacturers in the world and we make amps for 300Bs that cost up to ~$100k+ with silver foil output transformers. The people who buy amps like this are the people looking to buy NOS 300Bs. They will pay more than you think.
     
  11. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    The circuit is a simple Marshall JTM45.

    It sounds like its more trouble than its worth.

    The main reason I wouldn't sell them is because it would jack me up into a higher tax bracket and Im sure that anyone that pays 1000+ for 1 tube would have a Paper Trail and I don't want to mess with the IRS.

    How about an OLD ALTEC LANSING Mono Block that runs a 300B?

    Anyone have any thoughts about what a guitar would sound like through 1 of those ????
     
  12. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    687
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    There are no Altec amps using 300Bs. Altec began after the heyday of the 300B, which was in the 1930s. The first Altec amps used 6l6, and while they had a few high powered amps using transmitting triodes, they didn't make anything low power enough to emply 300Bs.

    Edit--let me qualify that slightly...Altec was the service arm of Western Electric for theater gear. You might find some Western Electric theater amps, Model 86, 91, 82, with Altec stickers on them, but they are Western Electric amps.
     
  13. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,044
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    ashland kentucky
    Yeah I know Altec and Western Electric did stuff together. That's why I asked.

    Ive been using Altec 418 8H guitar speakers since around 73 and have 3 604E's that I use with my stereo and 3 417 type Diacones

    I regularly recommend the 417 8H ect. for people looking for a nice 12 for guitar.

    It does sound like this endeavor is much more trouble than its worth and even considering the quality of components they probably aren't ideal for guitar.
     
  14. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    687
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    Trouble, expense, and I can't think of a good reason to do it...and I love and encourage experimenting.

    The only sensible thing to do with NOS 300Bs is sell or save them as an investment, unless you want a really fine 8 watt hi-fi amp.

    WE and Altec were great companies and made some of the best stuff ever. I use as much of it as I can.
     
  15. mitchfit

    mitchfit Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    848
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Location:
    north east texas
    equis ese mucho,

    approached a common acquaintance about building a guitar amp with some NOS JAN 300B tubes i have.

    he, like mojo2001, said these [300B/triodes] sound like hammered feces for guitar use.

    is there a short, "triodes for dummies" length explanation for what causes this phenomenon?

    mabley123, given much's #8 posting, perhaps you could find some used tube tester adapter bases to experiment with, leaving nothing but re-bias to return to OEM?

    but eventually, with the advice of poor suitability, and value of the bottle to consider, i decided to abort the mission.

    mitchfit

    PS:

     
  16. Johnny Cache

    Johnny Cache Former Member

    Posts:
    1,809
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    Oregon
    IMHO no.

    I don't think it would be worth the effort to mod the amp to use them.
     
  17. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,171
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Location:
    New England
    Power triodes are '30s technology. They were supplanted by beam power tubes and pentodes. If beam power tubes didn't work well Altec would have used 300Bs in their Voice of Theater amps.

    Which were literally the Voice of Theater supplanting the supposedly obsolete Western Electric amps.

    If I were to mess around with triodes I'd use 2A3s or 45s.

    ...except I traded all my 2A3s for a batch of 12AX7s.

    Hassle with the 2A3s is the 2.5v filament voltage. There are old Hammond amps that use 'em but eventually they burn the filament winding out of the transformers.

    I have a couple of the 2A3 Hammond amps but like I said, my 2A3s are all gone.

    Hi-fi nuts tell me 2A3sa are the most linear device ever designed. That may not be a good thing in a guitar amp.

    In the same vein I had an old RCA amp that was supposed to take 45 tubes. Same deal as 2A3s, they're a triode with a 2.5v filament. Balls to the wall they make around 18 watts. Big expensive EL84 surrogates, anyone? That amp went in a box and went on its merry way.

    Somewhere in my junkpile I have another amp that may or may not have used a 45 for the output. That one was scattered all over a couple hundred yards of the highway. It was probably nice before if fell out of someone's truck. I dutifully scooped up the pieces 'cuz tubes is tubes. It's the only amp in my collection that has road rash. Unfortunately it skidded down the road on its power transformer.

    So, while I have the means I don't have the will. If I ever run out of 6L6s, 6V6s and 12AX7s I may experiment with unusual tubes. For now I'm glad I'm not going to run out of 6L6s. :D
     
  18. Green Funyuns

    Green Funyuns Former Member

    Posts:
    240
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    NJ
    Single-ended 300B triode amps were a fad among a tiny subset of truly deluded audiophiles back in the 90s. Those guys made you guys seem almost sensible. There were a few companies that sold $10,000 mono SE triode amps with NOS Western Electric tubes, silver wiring, even transformers wound with silver wire. These 7W amps were bought by rich doctors and lawyers and sounded dull and muffled for the most part, with no real low end and an overall lower quality of sound than an $8 Chinese Tripath amp on eBay. Back in my Austin days I had a buddy who was into SE hifi amps, horns, the whole low watt SE trip. Great guy, but man those amps sucked. All that money and a living room crowded by giant theater horns just to get conversation level honk out of a pair of 300B amps.

    If I had some 300B tubes I'd sell them, fast, to the first sap I found who still believed in this nonsense. The number of aging audiophiles who speak in tongues and pay top dollar for stuff like 300Bs is shrinking fast, and at some point in the near future there won't be anyone left willing to pay anything for old WE tubes, or tubes of any kind for that matter. I've got a nice stash I gathered over the decades but I don't kid myself it's "worth" anything except the comforting thought that I'll never have to buy another tube for any of my amps ever again. 300Bs I'd sell I'm a heartbeat, they have no special sonic qualities, are easily outperformed by even a cheap 6V6 or EL84 in a tube hifi amp, are only "worth" anything to the few audiophile religious types still on life support. Take the money and run.
     
  19. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    687
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    I tried building guitar amps with 45a, 71As, and 2A3s. Super clean and then mud when overdriven. I can see a place where these could work for jazz or especially an acoustic guitar pickup, but definitely not for plugging in a tele and playing "The Things that I Used to Do"

    I have done a lot of hi-fi and guitar tube electronics building. There is very little overlap that I can figure out. Many things that work great for serious audio kinda suck for guitar and vice versa.

    I should not that my friend Gordon at Wavelength Audio has built and sold many 300B guitar amps. Maybe his customers can play a lot better than me~

    Here's an article I wrote about 300Bs a looooong time ago and I may or may not still agree with what I then wrote in detail:
    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/sound_practices/1/single_300b.pdf

    The tube price has gone up considerably since I published that article. Bell System era 300Bs are well more than $1000 apiece.

    I used to know a sell out audio huckster back in back in Austin who thought 300B amps sounded dull...what a freakin stooge! The fact is that these represent the highest level of audio attainment known to man.

    I'd still flip them to a horny Asian buyer though. I was in Korea last month and saw early 300Bs for $6000 each.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.