The review of the Sophia Electric Royal Princess 300B vacuum tube is now live in Positive Feedback Online’s Issue 57 here.
The Royal Princess 300B vacuum tube is a major achievement in my opinion, combining superb musicality and sonics into one package. I hope you enjoy the review, I really enjoyed writing it and providing an overview of 300B history that I think you will find both entertaining and informative.
Here’s some text from the summary and conclusions section of the review:
“The sort of musical realism and dynamic truths that L’Audiophile impressed everyone with in their Paris demonstrations using 300B amplifiers, Altec Onken & Voice of the Theatre systems, and playing records on a Platine Verdier turntable, I get to hear every day in my 300B SET, Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers, and vinyl system, and I have to say, I am always thrilled and edified by this new-old style of music listening.
My new-old style of Hi-Fi system has never sounded better than it does with the Sophia Electric Royal Princess 300B vacuum tubes supplying the tunes, and in fact, I like the Royal Princess 300B vacuum tubes better than any other 300B I’ve encountered. The Royal Princess’ particular combination of spectacular sonic performance and intense musicality makes it totally unique in my experience. Usually you just get one or the other: the musicality of the ye olde Western Electric benchmark, or the linear ‘clean’ sonics of the various neo-300B tubes on the market, but with the Royal Princess you get both superior sonics and superior musicality in one package. That’s really cool.
The Royal Princess has an overall presentation that leans to the dark, warm, and musical side of life. Interestingly, the Royal Princess is also sonically very spectacular, being detailed, extremely dynamic, providing a huge sense of space, solid & vivid imaging, and a wide and deep soundstage. Usually you don’t find dark, warm, and musical combined with spectacular sonics, but in the Royal Princess you do in spades.
As I mentioned earlier, Richard said, “I think the Royal Princess as a new production vacuum tube not only has the vintage mid-range magic of the original Western Electric, but also betters it in the highs and lows. I think with the Royal Princess 300B tubes we have produced are the finest 300B vacuum tubes that have ever been made.”
When a manufacturer says something like that, it’s easy to dismiss it as hype, but in the case of the Royal Princess 300B I think Richard is exactly right. If anything, I think Richard is actually understating how good the Royal Princess 300B is. For example, I really liked the Western Electric 300B vacuum tubes I listened to in the Fi 300B mono amplifiers back when I wrote about them for 6Moons, but if memory serves me correct (and I think it does), the Royal Princess is much better through the mid-range than the Western Electric was. It’s also no contest in the bass, as the Royal Princess has better bass depth, definition, impact, and articulation than any vacuum tube—not just 300B tubes—I have ever encountered when driving my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers—it is simply incredible! The highs too, are extended, refined, and have a naturalness to them that is breathtaking to hear.
These sonic and musical traits combine in the Royal Princess to deliver a breathtaking musical realism to recorded performances, with instruments displaying rich and detailed timbral textures, deeply infused tonal colors, and an overall sense of drama that kept me on the edge of my seat, listening into the music with anticipation for what was to come next.
The build quality of the Sophia Electric Royal Princess 300B vacuum tubes is impressive, and to see & touch them is to want them. Richard’s and Mr. Liu’s collaboration on the Royal Princess 300B has yielded a vacuum tube with stunning sonic and musical performance, and I tip my hat in respect to them for a job well done.
The only downside of the Royal Princess 300B is it is shockingly expensive at $1200 per matched pair (one-year warranty), but if you want what I think is the best 300B vacuum tube on Planet Earth for getting the most out of your music, I believe the Royal Princess is calling your name. Very highly recommended to new-old style music listeners everywhere.”
I hope you enjoy the article – thanks for stopping by!
Sophia Electric: www.sophiaelectric.com