EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> ZEN SARAH 300B >> Cryotone vs WE 300B

Message started by mk60 on 05/17/24 at 14:29:09

Title: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by mk60 on 05/17/24 at 14:29:09

I'm wondering if, among people have tried both, there is a strong consensus among owners about whether they prefer the (new production) WE 300B or the Cryotone 300B? In the reviews I've seen, it seems like the edge always goes to the cryotones, which I found surprising given that the amp was designed for the WE.

Would love to hear whether people have any strong or nuanced opinions about this if they've tried both? I have the 300B and they're nice, but at these prices tube rolling and having both sets on hand for comparison gets pretty pricey.

Also, for those that prefer the Cryotones -- did you find the rest of the cryotone tube complement for the SEWE300B essential, or is it really just the cryotone 300B tubes that matter?

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Doug on 05/20/24 at 20:15:09

Hey mk60,

Since no one else has replied.....might as well throw in my two cents.  

Several weeks ago Steve Deckert said "I am pleased to announce that we have our own 300B tube now. It comes as a result of over a year of testing. It is my pick/favorite sound of my collection. All of the tubes I've been testing are great with the WE300B leading the way followed by the Cryotone, but the WE300B is super transparent and neutral, and the Cyrotone is bold and dynamic. Both are also pricey. I wanted something a bit more laid back with a more addictive midrange and  less expensive. These are my ear candy 300B tubes. They make you want to listen because they have just the right color."  

Steve favors the Western Electric due to its transparency and neutrality.  Interestingly, that's pretty much the way I described the difference between Western Electric 300Bs and Sophia Electric Classic 300Bs a year or so ago.  Both are fantastic tubes, but the WE's transparency very well may place it as the tube to beat among the high dollar 300B contenders.  That's the way I hear it, for what it's worth.  

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Lon on 06/21/24 at 09:47:04

Doug, if you want to try something different and like the Classic 300B from Sophia Electric somewhat, I just did a shoot out between well seasoned pairs of the Classic 300B and the Shuguang Black Treasure 300B-Z and the 300B-Z were easily far better though a bit similar: the 300B were more relaxed and yet vivid in detail, make the Classic 300B sound edgy. I have fallen in love with the Black Treasures and have two back up pairs now, and the Classic 300B will be back ups to those. I sold my Cryotone 300B-WC as I preferred the Black Treasures, and I have not heard the Western Electric. . . probably won't.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Rhtubes on 06/21/24 at 16:08:25

Hi Lon. What version of the Black Treasure tubes do you have? I believe that the current version has what looks like a grouping of three upside down As without overt Chinese lettering and the prior version had no upside down As but had Chinese lettering. I would love to see a picture of your tube. Thanks for all of your impressions!

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Lon on 06/21/24 at 21:06:25

I don't really do pictures well as I don't have a digital camera, nor a phone that connects to the internet (just a flip phone). Mine are not current ones. . .mine are made by Shuguang who have been "out of business" for a while and are the 50th Anniversary 300B-Z models. (There was a 300B-T model as well, mine are the Z).

I found a pic online of mine, they were probably made about 15 years ago as the reviews of the tubes that are pictured here are from 2009 or 2010:

They come in a box like this:

Parts Connexion sells their remaining stock:

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Rhtubes on 06/21/24 at 21:25:51

Thanks Lon. I was hoping that these were the ones because they are reasonably priced.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Lon on 06/21/24 at 21:33:10

Cool! Yes, I have two backup pairs now (and a pair of Sophia Electric Classic 300Bs that I like less but like) and am happy to have them.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Doug on 06/23/24 at 16:45:06

Hey Lon, thanks for the tiip.  I may give the Z's a shot.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Kamran on 06/25/24 at 00:45:10

I think this largely depends on the sound signature you’re chasing.  No right or wrong. I prefer the more fuller, organic and more detail retrieving sound of the Cryotone 300Bs over the more euphonic sound of the WE’s.

And while you will certainly hear a difference with just the 300Bs, I think there is a certain synergy to be had with a full Cryotone compliment.  At a minimum, play around with the rectifier in addition to the power tubes.  While I liked both Cryotone rectifiers, the 5AR4 v2 is my current go to.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Lon on 06/25/24 at 00:55:39

It is interesting how different we all are and our rooms and systems and preferences. I find the Black Treasure 300B-Z to be more organic and full sounding than the Cryotone 300B-WC and was able to afford three pairs of the 300B-Z for what I sold my 300B-WC for. And I moved away from a nearly full complement of Cryotone tubes in the SEWE300B to a complement without any Cryotone tubes. My least favorite Cryotone tubes so far have been their rectifiers.

In my experience it is not seeking a certain sound signature as much as it is power treatment, cabling differences and ultimately the room, size, whether it can be treated and is treated, etc. These differences define the system in disctinct ways.

There are many ways to skin the audio cat.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Kamran on 06/26/24 at 01:43:43

There are many ways to skin the audio cat

100 percent—couldn’t agree more.

That said—I think you will agree that everyone has different tastes/preferences and they end up fine tuning their respective rigs to the sound they prefer—-hence chasing a particular sound signature.

The OP’s question had to do with comparison between WE and Cryotone 300B and having used both—I found myself almost instantaneously hooked to the Cryotone.  

In fact, the best comparison between the two brands can be gleaned from Ghostship’s review—I haven’t seen a better comparative description—it’s the gold standard in my book.

I feel frustrated for not having listened to him from the get go and to have bypassed the whole WE experiment.  Would have saved me a lot of time and hassle, but such is the journey of an audiophile….

I’d add that it is definitely recommended to have a set of backup tubes so if something goes wrong with the main set, you aren’t out of commission. Steve’s stock tubes are a solid value there and kept me running while I sorted out my affairs.

Title: Re: Cryotone vs WE 300B
Post by Lon on 06/26/24 at 09:43:37

Oh I agree completely.

It's astonishing how much you can hear with this amp. Charles let me borrow his pair of Takatsuki 300B and I immediately liked them but preferred the Cryotone and even the Sophia Electric, and that experience, the way Steve compared the WE and Cryotone, and the high price made me cross off trying the WE300B. And Will sent me a pair of the Black Treasure 300B-Z to try and I was shocked at how perfect they were with my preferred tube complements.

There are so many great choices that one can certainly find the tailoring that one prefers. And the field and scope of the room really matters immensely. And backup tubes are fun to seek out as well.

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