I got to the shop this morning excited because I knew the new Tri 300b integrated was showing up. As I approached the door I saw the dreaded yellow slip informing me that I had just missed my beloved package. BUMMER! I’m not waiting until tomorrow plus I don’t want it bouncing around on a truck any more than it already has. I hop into my truck determined to find the mail truck. I knew he couldn’t be far. So I tear off down the street slowing at every intersection… nada! I make a few turns and… There’s the mail truck, but is it the right one!? Where’s the mailman? I pull up and walk up to peek through the window. Yep! There it is, the unmistakable blue shipping label from Japan! OK, cool. I found my amp but it’s locked up inside the truck. The thought briefly swept through my coffee addled mind to try the door. Then I realized jail would put a real damper on my most excellent Summer! I doubt they would allow me to have a hi-fi in my cell, unless it was a Federal prison, which it very well could be, but still. Where’s my favorite mail carrier??? I hang out for about 10 minutes and then decide to just write a note pleading to return. I stuck it under his wiper blade and headed back to the shop. As I make the first turn, there he is!! I do a U turn and park. I’m clutching my “yellow slip of undefeat” as we lock eyes and both laugh. I yell across the street that I was hunting and stalking him. I sign my yellow slip and grab my box… off to the shop!! Hopefully it hasn’t been dropped from a conveyor belt!
Nope, all is good. The box isn’t trashed and no glass shards from broken tubes fall out as I lift the amp out of it’s cozy bed. In no time I have it hooked up to the 98 db Zu Def’s and a Naim CD5i. Let’s hear this thing! Mind you, I have never heard a 300B tube amp. Just a few years ago I would’ve scoffed, “An 8 watt tube amp? Please! I wanna RAWK! Low watt amps and high efficiency speakers are for weirdos who are over 40 and still live with mama.” I’m a FLAT EARTHER! How could I possibly turn my back on fine UK made solid state gear? Well, it turns out I didn’t have to. I can enjoy apples AND oranges. Hell, I can make a fruit salad! Who cares as long as it sounds good? Well, as I write this, the amp has been on for about an hour now and I can tell you this… It sounds good. Really good! Guess what? You can even throw down at a house party because 8 watts is plenty of juice to smack around 98db speakers to ear bleeding levels! Looks like I’m getting more open minded as I grow grayer… go figure. Maybe it’s that I have found some really cool gear in the tube / efficient speaker World that I could afford… I’m still not going to bid on the pair of NOS 300B Western Electric tubes on eBay… They’re at $1700 and haven’t hit the reserve yet! As far as that solid state gear from the UK? I still love them too! I have a great big heart for anything that makes my foot tap.