I’ve had these tubes since late October last year, so this is not “new” information for me, and I’m going to post it as I think/feel/want to.
Initial thoughts … again, going back to October last year …
These are true WE300Bs. Same size, construction and appearance. So, if you’re used to modern 300B interpretations/clones you might be surprised at how compact they are. There’s limited glow, as they are solid-plate. Mildly annoyingly … the labels face the rear of my amplifier, though that’s been a crap-shoot with other tubes anyway. More an amp issue than a tube one.
Packaging was lovely, as you can see from the pictures in the first post (those are all mine). The boxes are highly reminiscent of the originals, just in way better condition than you’ll likely have ever seen them. The outer wooden box is beautifully stained, nicely finished overall, and an unexpected touch.
The original “This theater is equipped with …” metal plaque, seen in the background, was an unexpected inclusion from WE due to the long delivery time for the first batch of tubes. At some point, I’ll take a dedicated picture of that. I don’t think you get that if you order now.
At a very high level, the initial sound, from cold, with no burn-in, was unmistakably WE300B. And a high-tier 300B at that. It took a good few hours of comparisons for me to place them, provisionally, vs. the Takatsuki 300B, the older 1998 “WE300B”, and the genuine NOS 300B. But that’s an assignment that hasn’t really wavered much since …
The true NOS tubes, in good shape, hold a slight edge (which is probably mostly preference driven), but at a massive price delta, and a lot of complication and effort to secure.
You can have 3 matched pairs of the new-production WE300B for the price of ONE NOS WE300B.
If you can find one.
Burn-in with 300B tubes is a real thing. Perhaps even a bit more so with these vs. NOS.
Out of the box, overall sound here was mesmerizing. It was also accompanied by comparatively high levels of spurious tube-artifacts. Both mechanical/thermal (microphonic tings and pings, audible both through the headphones and ambiently) and electronic.
The mechanical/thermal issues went away in the first 40 hours of use. Which was across 8-10 listening sessions. I suspect that this was less about time-in-use and more about the number of complete thermal cycles on the tubes, letting the physical components settle due to expansion/contraction.
Electronic spuriae were rather more apparent. Whistles and “swirlies” persisted, albeit with decreasing frequency of occurrence, over the next 150 or so hours. You could sit, with nothing playing, and be “treated” to a 30 second course of decaying whistles, or “swirlies”. Which would come and go, somewhat randomly, in 5-15 minute cycles.
I can think of 50’s era sci-fi movies that might have tried to make a soundtrack out of those.
But somewhere around the 200 hour mark (could be more, or less, for any given tube, mine certainly had some differentials) all the artifacts had cleared up. And now I would say they are among the quietest tubes I own. I can’t remember the last time I got whistles or the artifacts. It’s been at least three months.
I’m about to order a 3rd set …
I’ll have more specific sound comparisons in the near future, mostly just as a requirement to find the time to write something up.