Sophia Electric Carbon Princess 300B vs. Mesh Princess 300B vs. Western Electric 300B - from John, New Jersey (July 2008)
Sue, now I have extensive time with both the Sophia Electric S.E.T. Princess 300B Carbon Plate and with the Mesh Plate 300B tubes. I wanted to give you my impressions of both two Princess 300B tubes in case it helps others decide on which tube to buy. First let me say that I had previously used the new production Western Electric 300B tubes in my Cary CAD-211 Anniversary Edition mono-blocks. I never was really happy with the sound produced by these Western Electric 300B tubes. So I decided, after reading a review, to try Sophia Electric Carbon Plate 300B. Compared to the Western Electric, the Sophia Electric Carbon Plate (Princess 300B) is magic. The Carbon Plate is smoother in every way and more three dimensional. Carbon Princess 300B seems to image extremely well and outperform the Western Electric in every way. In fact after I had listened to the Sophia Electric Princess 300B tubes for a while the Western Electric became unlistenable. After a few months with the Carbon Plate, I sold all my Western Electric. With the money I made from the sale I purchased the Mesh Plate Sophia Princess 300B. In my system these two princess tubes are really the best tubes. The Mesh Plate, at least for me, betters the Carbon Plate in every significant way. They are more extended in the top end and have better bass extension along with being more three dimensional than the Carbon Plate. I love both tubes but in my system the Mesh Plate simply sounds best. I feel that the Carbon Plate are like sitting in the 20th row of the hall listening to the band play and are more laid back while the Mesh Plate are like sitting in the second row, more in your face. The sound is more immediate and present without being bright or edgy.
I would say that if a system tended toward the dark side, I would go with the Mesh Plates Princess 300B and if the system leaned toward the bright end I would go with the Carbon Plate Princess 300B. In my system which is pretty neutral. Both two Princess 300B tubes sound great and I frequently switch back and forth depending on the type of music I am playing. I could happily live with either tube but I do prefer the Mesh Plate. Please let me know if you ever make a tube that betters these. I doubt it will ever happen but I’d love to hear it.