First Watt F7/8 or 300b Amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by scoobyscrappy, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. scoobyscrappy

    scoobyscrappy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94544
    Hello All,

    This is my first post on this informative forum.

    I purchased a wonderful sounding Charney Audio Maestro 103db. I am interested in finding an amp for this efficient speaker. The owner Brian Charney recommends a 300b amp.

    I have very sensitive hearing with respect to low level hum. My existing EL34 generated a low level hum. I purchased a cheap Chinese 300b mono block amp and it generated a low level hum hearable from 4 feet away which I am returning. I am currently listening to my vintage 2005 Teac class t amp and it is dead quiet.

    My budget is $3500. My listen room is a 10'x10' and I listen to jazz and vocals at very low volumes. I will use this system for background music.

    I am looking at 300b kits from Elekit TU-8600S and the Ank K1. I will have these assembled.

    I thought my search was over selecting one of the above then I saw Steve Guttenberg and Jay (NBT) reviews for the First Watt F7. I watched Steve G. youtube talks with Nelson Pass. The First Watt F7 or possibly the new F8 may give me the tube sound in a solid state format.

    What are your thoughts about the First Watt F7 giving me the tube sound of a 300b?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  2. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    I don't have any experience with the F7 but I just got a 300b a few days ago. My setup is already excellent set of EL34.
    I am getting the same bass dynamics with a lot of surprising sweet and pleasant midrange tone on music that I have been listening for years., and I didn't know it was there.
    The way how I can describe the 300b is like a monster tone on a small wattage. I'm hooked!
     
  3. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I don't have any experience with the F7/F8 or any of the 300b tube amps.

    But I do have experience with the Aleph J and the M2.

    While these are good amps, I do not consider them to sound like a tube amp.

    At best I would give its sound signature 1/3 tube and 2/3 solid state.

    I have used twelve different tube amps with my vintage Altec Lansing A7 theater speakers and I just don't think that the First Watt designs that I have tried sound similar to any of the tube amps, new or vintage, that I have tried.

    Out of the twelve tube amps, two have been single ended designs, a Decware and a Line Magnetic.

    Real single ended tube amps have a sound characteristic that is quite different and unique to any SS amp that I have experienced.

    If you want tube sound, go with the real thing.
     
    thomaskong, Tim 2 and showtaper like this.
  4. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I do own and like a 300B amp driving 97 dB speakers, playing almost exclusively Jazz. Of the FirstWatt lineup, from what I've read, the amp that most closely comes to tube sound is the SIT-3 (or the previous SIT-2). I haven't heard it, but was considering it very seriously for a while, even getting on the list to get one. In the end, I decided to go with 300B, just as I got an email saying a SIT-3 is available to buy.

    Talking about hum, while a well-executed 300B amp can be quiet (mine is), it is also very dependent on the quality of transformers used. That's why it's pretty much useless hoping that cheap Chinese amps will be hum-free, as they use cheap transformers.

    The SIT amp, or other FirstWatt amps, being SS, run a lower risk of humming. However, having watched a long interview with Nelson Pass where the SIT amps were discussed in some detail, he did mention that, contrary to common logic that low-impedance speakers like lots of power (which FirstWatt amps do no have), the SIT amp sounds best paired with 4 Ohm speakers, and a bit under with higher-impedance speakers of 8 Ohm and above.

    The 300B amps, in contrast, will sound better with higher-impedance speakers of 8 and 16 Ohm, which will be easier to drive. My Zu speakers are 12 Ohm.

    So, since you already have the speakers - check their impedance, and if it's 8 Ohm or above, I'd suggest 300B amp.
     
  5. Ken Clark

    Ken Clark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    Consider also a 45 SET amp. It's been a while since I've had tunes, but I had Klipsch Cornwalls and drove them with some wonderful mesh plate 45 tubes and the sound was so wonderful.
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  6. spartree

    spartree Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I think there are some tube amp topologies that sound more like solid state than tube, but I haven’t met a solid state amp that provided the type of sound that people generally associate with tube amps. And I think the 300B sound/feel will be particularly difficult to approximate by a SS amp. I’m with @SandAndGlass; get the real thing and be done with it.

    I’d imagine the owner of Charney knows what he’s talking about too.

    I run Audio Note Quest 300B monoblocks with Audio Note AN-E speakers (6 ohm), and I love the pairing. Used Quests can be had within your budget. There’s a pair on Canuck Audio Mart right now, but the owner has put some non-AN binding posts on them so I’d want to know if anything else has been changed.
     
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  7. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    What 300b did you get? I'm just curious which ones folks are buying these days with good results.
     
  8. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    The guys that got me on the 300b is @Benzion and @5-String . Like what they say, get the line magnetics.
    The amp that I got is an aggressive 300b because my choice of music is a bit more than relaxed. I love it man. I been an kt88 and el34 guy for 30 years now. this is an excellent additional to my system. Every cent I earned and paid is well worthit and a lot more for this amp. Exactly the sound I'm dreaming about.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
    5-String, SandAndGlass and Ontheone like this.
  9. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    I was gonna ask you if its normal on the 300b for my main transformer heats up more than my primaluna?
     
  10. highendlover

    highendlover Member

    Location:
    USA
    After hearing the latest $20K Audio Note 300B Meishu Tonmeister Integrated amp I'm hooked on 300B now! This is a game changer..
     
  11. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig I didn't Choose Farm Life It Chose Me

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I have owned ElectraPrint SET amps with 300B, and Art Audio with a 300B variant tube. I also own a First Watt F7, and it does not sound like a SET amp. Its a very nice sounding SS amp, but it does not have the same presentation as a SET amp at all.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  12. scoobyscrappy

    scoobyscrappy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94544
    Thanks for your all of your inputs.
    I agree with @SandAndGlass that if I want a tube sound just get a tube amp.
    After reading about the 300b tube amps, posters mentioned that the type 45 tube amp may be heaven for high efficiency speakers (thanks @Ken Clark).
    I have read reviews on the Yamamoto A-08S but this amp is out of my budget. Then I found the Electra-Print 45 Silver Stereo. Does anyone have any experience with the Electra-Print amps?
    Thanks.
     
    Tony21 likes this.
  13. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I think the Pass First Watt SIT 1 through 3 are more comparable (than F7/8) to the 300b but still will not sound the same. I'd love to try the SIT-3 with my speakers.
     
  14. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    There I an instrument they use on the song Vienna - Ultravox. Its sounds like they're randomly releasing air in a pressure cooker. you can hear it alive on a 300b. what a trip!
    also the he's whispering in the song mr. x, sounds like he's right next to you. Lol.....
     
  15. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'd say yes - the 300B is a DHT - "directly heated triode".
     
  16. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    the rectifier tube is transferring heat to the transformer. quick fix.. I put a fan in it. Now its cool all the way around.:biglaugh:
     
  17. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Des Moines
    I've owned 3 First Watt amps. They have tube like tonality but ultimately do not sound like tube amps. They get real close but they are not going to convince most tube diehards to sell their tube amps, they just lack the dimensionality. With 103 db speakers I'd take a long look at Triode Lab in Canada. Frank the owner is very helpful and his amps are dead silent. My Triode Lab EL84 amp is just as quiet and noise free (if not more so) as my SIT-2.
     
  18. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    With high sensitivity speakers yoy have a large selection of amplifiers that are available to you.

    One very nice thing about 300B tubes is that they have a long life, as compared to some of the other tubes like the 845.
     
    Tim 2 and Classic Car Guy like this.
  19. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    The 300b is tripping me out. the first time I ran it a month ago and I played mr x - ultravox. man I thought there was someone else inside the room. when the singer was whispering it sounds like he was a few inches away from me. Lol... seriously man...
    Last night I was playing bach cello solo #1 both 300n and zu dw and it just sounds and feels like I was inside a hall while he was playing right next to me. :sweating:
     
    gestalt, SandAndGlass and spartree like this.
  20. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    See if you can find a preowned Cary Audio 300SEI. It's really an extremely nice sounding unit, and comes in a bit under your budget on the used side. Also just happens to double as a fantastic headphone amp as well.
     
    SandAndGlass and 5-String like this.
  21. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Isnt cary 300b are known to be more relaxed in sound than lets say the line magnetic 300b? I guess it depends on what music youre after for....
     
  22. scoobyscrappy

    scoobyscrappy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94544
    Thanks for everyone's input.
    The owner of Charney Audio recommended a 300b amp for his speakers so I placed an order for the ANK Audio K-1 Classic 300b kit. He has built several ANK 300b amps and tested them with his speakers. The synergy will be there and my next quest is to find a streamer to replace my Squeezebox 3.
    I am looking forward to getting the amp.
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    As I have an ANK L4 which is their EL34 based power amp. I can attest to the quality of ANK amps.

    I bought mine used on the forum.

    As a suggestion, I would be in contact with ANK.

    They have been known to ship their kits without all of their parts.

    There have been forum threads mentioning this.
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  24. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    One would think a company that depends on this type of sales would come up with a secure way of insuring that all parts are suppled after the first few complaints. Bad management I suppose.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  25. scoobyscrappy

    scoobyscrappy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94544
    I have spoke with Brian Charney of Charney Audio and he told me about the delay in getting certain parts for the ANK kits. I am in no rush but of course sooner is better.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.

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