This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Lithuanian reader Egidijus Slanina's properly configured system of Audiophilleo 2 + PurePower, Metrum Acoustic Octave DAC, Khozmo attenuator and Audio Note An-E/Spe HE loudspeakers with my former Yamamoto A-09s.

Because I'd sold off my Yamamoto A-09s and Woo Audio Model 5 with multiple pairs of fine output bottles each to give their new owners a head start and me single-ended transistor amps for a change, my personal inventory of 300B valves was sadly depleted. All I had left were basic Shuguang, Audio Aero and JJ plus one luxo pair of EML 320BXLS. To do right by his amp, I asked Shigeki whether he could include a pair of Takatsuki from current Japanese production. Those are rumored to exceed even the original Western Electric.  

"Today we obtained a pair for your review. This valve was revised in April 2012 as indicated by the new black base. The old type had a white one. From what I can tell, the TA-300B rarely ever seems to ship overseas. That's probably because the price in Japan is steep already. It would likely end up at $1.850/pr in the US. Takatsuki claims very good reliability and that out of more than 1000 pairs shipped, defects have been exceedingly rare. If we had requests, we could certainly export these. As you know, we're already the domestic import agent for Emission Labs tubes. Hence I'd like to include a pair of EML 300BXLs because that's what I used during the A-014's circuit tuning."    

Trick question alert: with a fixed amount of cash, would one be better off allocating most on the best tube amp one could afford and a relative pittance on a starter pair of output bottles; or go after the very best 300B available to instead settle for a cheaper amp?

Either way you'll want appropriate loudspeakers. After running his personal pair of Zu Audio Druid V widebanders off his existing Convergent Audio SL1 Legend preamp and Plinius SB301 power amp, Giuseppe d'Agata, personal friend of Zu's Italian/Sicilian importer and reader of this site, had opportunity to try the latter's 300B Zanden amp with matching preamp. So enthused was he with the results that he sold off his former electronics to replace them with a 5687-based linestage and a pair of 300B monos.

The upshot of this anecdote is that an 8wpc 300B SET and the 101dB 16-ohm Druid V make for a happy combination. With my pair of white Druid V plus matching Submission subwoofer en route, I would have a level playing field for the Yamamoto. Meanwhile Frederic Beudot on staff had Ocellia Calliope .21 Twin Signature high-efficiency widebanders for review and an A-014 promised from Ocellia's Samuel Furon who represents Yamamoto for Canada. Plus Frederic owns Zu's older Essence model and Yamamoto's A-08s. This promised to become a well-rounded and informative assignment.