Sometimes customers while ordering our 300B Provocateur ask for possible upgrades or better tubes.
Well already in Signature version we install PS Vane 300B Treasure Mark II tubes which is upgrade from standard version with basic 300B PS Vane or Electro Harmonics.
But when the Signature version is to be upgraded we enter in a bit different territory.
For the 300B Provocateur Signature being ordered by one of our French customers, we have run a test comparison with one of the best 300B tubes out on the market: The Elrog 300B and Elrog 300B Mo.
How to make a proper head to head comparison ?
To do this test we used two amplifiers. We run them for an hour or two to heat the tubes properly, and then we made a comparison only with one set-up to be sure that the only change is a change of the tubes, all well warmed up.
Also we used only CD with one record with these same material for only up to one minute program in order to keep the “psycho acoustics memory” capable to catch the differences. As a program music we chose Marvin Gay “What’s going on” for its brilliant musical content perfectly orchestrated, arranged and performed. All very well recorded, mixed and mastered, hence perfect multilayered program for short comparisons.
Yes, also this is one of those albums you can listen to all the time over and over 😀
We used our Allegra EX (field coil version) with 8’’ driver for its extension of frequency range and the level of details it is capable of.
Well, first of all, we need to say the PS Vane 300B Treasure is a very good all round 300B tube able to produce good sound full of depth, energy and detail. Smooth blend of sound very pleasant right from the start.
Switching to Elrog 300B, takes us to a different universe. To my ears, the change consisted of bigger soundstage both in horizontal and vertical dimensions as well as in depth. But it was not something like taking PS Vane sound and making it like “vector” enlargement to a little bigger dimension. In the same time the spacing of details within this dome of sound was different – like easier to separate. What struck me especially was the bass line that became so pure and pleasant to listen note by note.
Going to Elrog 300B Mo from Elrog 300B was not a big change like going form PS Vane to Elrog, however the change again was noticeable and quite obvious.
Again, whatI heard was a step further in the spacial dimension. The mix became even more dissected. Three dimensionality of details taken to the point where sounds could simply surprise you hanging in the air out of nowhere. Think of triangles… The bass became even more revealed. The sounds of fingers sweeping on congas drumheads …
Translating it from ear to eye perception, which maybe easier to catch, it would be like looking into the distance high in the mountains. There is a difference of what we can see when the heaven is a little cloudy, and when the heaven is clear.
But this is not all, there is another very important factor – the clarity of the air. So with sunny sky, and the perfect clarity of the air you can see very clear and very far. Layer, after layer, after layer on the“picture” or with life experience.
So to my ears this is what happens when you play with the Elrog 300B Mo.
Which 300B is best here?
Well it is difficult to say, because it depends of your preference in the reception of the music.
In my experience with people reacting to the sound they hear, some like very all-rounded not to much “complicated and detailed” sound and they will be very happy with the excellent all-rounder PS Vane 300B Mark II gives them – btw for some even this can be too much.
Also it is a perfect choice for relaxing listening sessions without to much dissection of “what is going on” 😉
But if you would like to take your time, listen with attention to your favored music, with a well recorded material, from a good source and you like very analytical and detailed sounds then Elrog 300B could be your choice. We need to remember that the price tag here is substantially higher tough.
The Elrog 300B Mo – takes this analytic approach two steps further with additional price tag increase. So definitely it is a tube for well-prepared listener who likes to dive into tridimensional space with all the rest of the system well capable of providing this detail.
Imagine what could happen when listening a superbly recorded and pressed vinyl with an appropriate cartridge > tonearm > > turntable > phono preamp…