I have never spoken to or communicated with Alesa Vaic. We all know there has been positively high Shakespearean drama among the Princesses of Directly Heated Triodes with Riccardo Kron, and Alesa Vaic rattling thunder. I would like to know what these men were in a previous life time that they have such heavy vacuum Karma in this one. Were they spurned lovers? Did one murder the other? After leaving a troubled partnership with Kron, Alesa Vaic hooked up with Quovtrop, and when Audio Note started to have financial problem he separated himself and started his own company. There is no love between Kron and Vaic, each claiming to be the "real" tube maven.
You would be right to say that this article is a tease because I have not heard nor do I have any experience with any of the new Vaic tubes....but as I have mentioned in a previous article, my very old Vaic VV 300Bs, which dates from the time when Kron and Vaic were working together are now my favorites....and they must be over four years old. While the KR 300BXL tubes are more ejaculatory and have the ability to fill my space with more excitement, my old Vaics have a relaxed natural tone that has very little fatiguing microphonics...compared to a good 2A3.
Remember the price you pay for all of directly heated triode magic is the possibility of microphonics.
Now that 2A3 awareness is growing..... what you are hearing is the advantage that these tubes have in refinement, and I am sure that is related to the fact that the mechanical parts in these tubes, because they are smaller, are more stable, meaning less microphonic. You pays and you sways...2A3s from 400Hz up are smoother, more relaxed and have an extra dose of that triode cream that we love, but dont have that testicular grunt in the low end that 300Bs have. In many speakers the 300B microphonics, which are endemic to all directly heated triodes, can be a real plus because it can add a shine to the sound. The point being that my old Vaics are closer to the natural smoothness of a good 2A3s, and has a very respectable bottom end...much better than the Western Electrics. Why I am torturing you with this information?
After living with so many different 300Bs for so long and listening to them in so many different amplifiers...and having received so many email dialogues about these tubes.....my view of them is changing....or not...but.... yes I am sure....
I am sure that once we get over the hormonal haze of all love affairs...once we settle into our marriages, our perception changes. We begin to notice things that were always there but because we were blinded by the heat of love they didnt matter....or .....we, in our heat, didnt care. Glands can deceive us...as you know. But long term commitments require a recreation of passion. I still prefer the 300B to the 2A3...when the tube is perfectly matched to the amplifier and speaker, The qualities that I admired in both the KR and Western Electric tubes, are still there, but now their flaws are shining through, because I have become an old married fart.
The Western Electric tube is not undergoing any refinement. It is what it is, and what it is, is a fabulous midrange tube with a definite microphonic personality. I understand that the KR 300BXL has undergone some changes, but I havent heard the latest versions. What I do hear here is an upper midrange microphonic that can be irritating at certain times. In a biamplified system a Western Electric 300B on the top and KR on woofers would be quite superb.
And I still believe that the JJ Tesla 300B is an all time great bargain. I have requested some samples of the Chinese Art 300Bs from the importer, but no response. Are they afraid of my opinion?
Where does this bring me? I suggest you go to the Vaic web site and check out their new line up of tubes. There is much conceptual excitement hear. The notion of having a directly heated triode driver tube is a way big idea, and one that is sorely needed. This alone could be the next big breakthrough in single-ended circuits, if the microphonics are controlled. The use of a directly heated triode input stage is very hot in Italy where the 10Y and 45 are used, but the problem keeps on coming back to microphonics, and with the gain required in this stage this can make these type of tubes unacceptable. Has Vaic solved this problem?
While Western Electric has talked about re-introducing the best sound tube rectifier, Vaic may be doing something about it with his modern version of the Western Electric 274... also a way big idea. You will also note that he claims to have a more linear 300B.. also a way big idea. Is this more refined? Like his arch rivals Vaic is making a high horsepower tube to compete with the KR 52.
Do you get my drift...brilliant thinking. Superb concepts. Vaic, if he can deliver, and if these new tubes are equal to their promise, he will surely become the new King of Directly Heated Triodes.
I will let you know as soon as I know. Vaic tubes will soon be available in America...again...and lets hope that this time there are no problems because we need more of what we love.
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