A Lifetime Amp. The Encourage 300B-v by Dennis Had.
By Steve Huff
My Video Evaluate of the Encourage 300B-v
I purchased the snazzy SLP-98p pre-amp within the early 2000’s and for me that was an enormous deal again then. I used to be simply beginning to leap into the deep finish of the audio pool and for me that SLP-98P was breaking the financial institution again then, however I adored the heck out of it. It had a candy sound, an enormous sound, a heat but detailed sound, a TUBE sound. The sound I nonetheless love at present.
The Cary SLP98p pre-amp created by Dennis Had again within the early 1990’s
This was such a stunning preamp. With it’s all tube praise and exterior energy provide it was certainly as marketed. It was certainly a “Candy Little Preamp”. This pre remains to be made and bought at present by Cary Audio, although it now has upgrades accessible to convey it into the fashionable day. It nonetheless appears the identical although, and that’s a superb factor as this Dennis Had design is timeless IMO.
As soon as I began having fun with the SLP98p again then I went additional down the Cary Audio rabbit gap. Quickly I had a Cary CD 306 CD participant. Then it was the beautiful and mighty V12R amp. Then I attempted the Rocket 88R amp after which the Six Pacs. I additionally had some 805C mono blocks in some unspecified time in the future. The 300 SEI was in my dwelling in addition to the SLI-80. Actually although these Six Pacs have been my favourite of all of them, and the least costly! They have been so good for the little cash they value again then.
The Dennis Had AES “Sic Pacs” have been an incredible worth
One factor all of those merchandise had in frequent have been that they have been all designed and constructed by Dennis Had. Dennis is the person who based Cary Audio and he’s the person accountable for these iconic designs (and many of the tube merchandise that Cary nonetheless sells at present). Whereas Dennis retired way back from Cary his ardour for creating beautiful tube amps by no means pale.
In truth Dennis has been making some fairly critical low wattage single ended tube amps for the final a number of years. He does this type of below the radar with out advertising and marketing, promoting or hype. He creates a design, builds it, checks it and places it up on his Ebay web page the place they normally promote fairly rapidly. He additionally has a wholesome following of music followers who love his work. A lot in order that a lot of them have a number of Encourage amps and pre-amps.
I can perceive that as every bit is actually beautiful and like a murals. For those who love the best way tube amps look, these are about as tubey as an amp can get in design and elegance…and sound.
From KT88 amps to 6V6 amps and the whole lot in between. Dennis has additionally created a surprising 2 WPC 45 amp and the 6-8 watt per channel 300B amp I shall be speaking about at present.
The 300B-v because it runs at 1am within the listening room. These WE 300B are placing on a present!
I actually loved that Cary gear through the years. They’d (and nonetheless have) the appears, the construct and the sound behind them that make them so pleasurable. BTW, “That Sound” was just about all from the ear of Dennis Had. The way in which he voices amps is basically to my private liking. A bit heat however nonetheless detailed. Large bass and really holographic within the soundstage division. His designs have that 3 dimensional “tube sound” many search out, far more so than any stable state amp I’ve heard. His amps are by no means lean or sterile, relatively the alternative.
The little Encourage amps that Dennis makes at present make me consider one other low wattage tube amp maker, Decware, who’re very busy nowadays. Decware makes stunning distinctive designs as nicely however be ready to attend! Whereas I write this the present wait time (from what I hear) for a Decware amp, after ordering, is 2-3 years. Phew.
Decware makes some stunning tube amplifiers and preamps certainly
I’ve heard a Decware amp with some Klipsch Cornwalls and it was certainly stunning. With that stated, it wasn’t any extra stunning sounding than what I’m listening to with my newest acquisition from Dennis, and there was no wait in any respect for me to snag this magnificence up!
The Dennis Had Encourage 300Bv Amp.
The Dennis Had amp shouldn’t be a manufacturing line product, nor does Dennis need it to be. When he left Cary he left the complications of working an enormous enterprise behind. In his retirement he appears to do what he enjoys, and that’s making a phenomenal amp when he has the need to take action. He even indicators the underside of every creation with the date and identify of the amp.
These amps are very particular, and are a type of uncommon “Lifetime Amps” so long as it matches your wants. These are low energy designs however these are among the many sweetest sounding of all amplifiers one should buy at present, at any value.
Intimate. Actual. Lovely. Expansive.
With my Fleetwood Deville SQ’s that are available at 94DB environment friendly (8 ohms) the 300Bv amp powers them with ease, grace and what appears to be far more energy than the 7 WPC this amp places out.
The 300Bv amp is all handcrafted by Dennis himself. It’s his design, his circuits and his hand that wires up the amp. Yep this man is all level to level wiring. This amp additionally ships with I really feel is the perfect 300B tube accessible at present, the Western Electrical 300B. I owned a set of those again within the late 90’s and adored them. I want I’d have saved them however who knew that they’d have closed down and stopped making them for thus a few years!
In the present day the classic WE tubes from the 70’s and even 90’s are wanted and go for insane cash. The brand new manufacturing is simply pretty much as good IMO and are available at $1500 a pair (with 5 yr guarantee).
No circuit boards right here. Hand wired all through.
Sure! Western Electrical is now again making thee tubes and after listening to them within the Encourage 300B-v (together with attempting out a few different units) I nonetheless adore them for his or her magical midrange and excellent transparency. The element retrieval is magical with this tube as soon as they’re run in for about 50 hours. Dennis ships them in there iconic picket field together with the amp.
The Blue Glow is Fairly Cool (and regular)
The Encourage 300Bv amplifier is once more, handcrafted by Dennis. It consists of and was designed across the WE 300B and so he ships them with the amp, model new. These amps, not many are made. Even so, the entire Amp is available in at $4,000 with all NOS tubes and people WE300B. That is nicely price it for this amp. I bear in mind listening to a Luxman 300B amp that is available in at over $20,000 and I don’t bear in mind it sounding any higher than this Had design.
If I had a pleasant $10k Luxman preamp I’d like to mate it with their 300B however for a fraction of that value the Encourage is one heck of an amp.
The Luxman is a magnificence certainly however be ready to pay! One other lifetime amp.
The Encourage amp is hefty however compact and makes use of two 300B tubes, one 6SL7 tube and also you selection of rectifier. Both a 5U4 or a 5Ar4/GZ34.
I’ve a number of rectifiers right here and a few NOS 6SL7 (Dennis ships with NOS tubes for the driving force and rectifier).
Bear in mind although that this can be a low wattage SET amp. It places out between 6 watts and eight watts, relying on for those who use a 5U4G or 5AR4 tube.
What I’ll say is that it drives my Deville’s with ease to average and semi-high volumes in my small and intimate 13X20 house. It drives Klipsch Heritage to ranges I’ve not heard earlier than. What I imply is, I by no means heard sweeter extra stunning sounds from the Heresy IV’s. This amp looks as if it was made for them.
The amp additionally has a in-built quantity knob. The 300bv doesn’t use a preamp circuit, relatively it has a quantity pot put in. This implies when you’ve got a supply with a excessive sufficient output you’ll be able to drive it and not using a pre-amp. My DCS Lina DAC lets me go to 6V and that works so nicely with the Encourage amp (It doesn’t clip the inputs). There is just one enter so it isn’t an built-in amp, although it features like one for those who solely have one supply.
I wouldn’t use this with a supply that solely places out 2V as you’ll not have sufficient acquire/quantity on faucet to essentially present you what this amp can do, until you’re working 100-102DB audio system. One thing just like the Klipsch Cornwall or LaScala would rock with this amp and 2V output.
Direct from my DCS Lina it sounds detailed, heavenly, large and expansive with a wealthy totality together with that tube midrange glow and delicacy. It’s a magical sound certainly and doesn’t sound something like stable state or anything I’ve heard. In comparison with the Willsenton R300 300B amp I not too long ago reviewed this Encourage is a unique animal.
The $1500 Willsenton R300 is a 300B built-in that punches WAY above its weight! See my overview HERE.
The place the Willsenton has an enormous beefy heat bassy sound, the Encourage is extra clear, delicate and supplies far more air round every voice and instrument together with extra finesse and style. If the Willsenton offers us an enormous style of that 300B SET sound, the Encourage is the definition of the 300b sound.
It did take about 50 hours of burn in to really flesh out and open up however as soon as it did I used to be flabbergasted by how good this little amp sounded direct from my DAC. It had that 3D imaging factor occurring the place each sound might be heard in house, the place it’s purported to be. It was not syrupy or bloated however relatively has a balanced sound from prime to backside with one additional ingredient….TUBE MAGIC!
The outdated Dennis Had 300B mono’s from his Cary Audio days
A few years in the past I heard Dennis Had’s 300B mono blocks from Cary. For those who ask me, these older amps don’t compete with the fashionable day 300B-v. Positive, I’m going by reminiscence however the 300B-v is creating what I really feel is as near a “excellent SET sound” for my ears. This amp is extra alive and actual sounding vs the outdated 300B monos.
I like the inside glow, the gentleness, the sweetness and the 3D soundstage side.
With that stated this amp won’t be for everybody! It doesn’t have a large kick and slam kind of sound. Oh sure, it does have dynamics and deep bass however this amp is extra about listening to music relatively than being blown out of your seat with energy. It has a delicate move, that 300B character that seduces greater than excites.
It’s a superb low quantity amp and supplies flesh and bone to the music even when listening at low ranges at 2AM. It retains the small print and transparency as nicely. Whilst you can play any music with this amp, don’t count on it to excel at hardcore steel and even EDM. It may do these genres however this amps forte is jazz, classical, chamber music, vocals, ambient, bluegrass, strings, and so on.
Whereas I did take heed to some good quaint rock and roll, I believed it was a bit missing in drive for these genres at instances. If you wish to crank it up and jam different amps are higher for this stuff (extra highly effective amplifiers).
I used to be so happy with what I used to be listening to with my DAC simply going into the 300B-v that I made a decision to order a pre-amp from Moon Audio by Dennis Had. The IHA-1 which is primarily a headphone amp but in addition has a preamp as nicely.
The Dragon Encourage IHA-1 Pre/Head amp from Moon Audio.
As soon as I had the Encourage amp for 7-10 days I wished to see what a Dennis Had encourage preamp would do to the 300B-v. Moon Audio sells the Encourage IHA-1 that was created by Dennis Had in collaboration with Drew Baird. It is a pure tube design as nicely with 2 6SN7’s and a rectifier. Whereas 98% of those that purchase this piece use it for headphones I used to be curious concerning the pre-amp perform.
The IHA-1 is a really nicely liked amp within the headphone world so I figured that if it labored out for me as a pre-amp in to the 300B-v I may use it for some headphone opinions as nicely. This one can also be signed by the person himself. It’s a magnificence as nicely although the paint is completely different from the 300B-v I’ve. It’s extra of a copper pink than the amp’s jaguar pink. Even so, they give the impression of being good subsequent to one another.
The Dragon Encourage IHA-1 is a Pre-Amp and Headphone Amp for below $2200.
When the IHA-1 arrived I put in the entire NOS tubes I ordered with it. RCA 6SN7’s and a RCA 5U4G NOS rectifier.
With the IHA-a hooked as much as the 300Bv the sound turned slightly bit hotter and barely much less clear. It had a barely extra highly effective sound however after a pair straight days of working it in and listening I seen the deepest decrease bass was additionally diminished a contact from working direct by way of the DAC. The mid bass was fuller however the decrease bass was a contact shy, a unique sound.
Additionally, the preamp enter was clipping from the 6V output of the Lina DAC. After I turned it right down to a 2V output it stopped clipping however I needed to flip the amount virtually full bore to get medium degree daytime listening output. This was not going to work for me because the 300B-v sounded significantly better from the DAC itself and utilizing the amount pot on the amp for loudness. If I used to be utilizing audio system that have been 99-103db environment friendly the IHA-1 would have been an ideal mate.
What About Klipsch?
The Klipsch Heritage audio system are very dynamic and reside sounding audio system. The Heresy IV are additionally much more delicate at 99DB environment friendly. They will generally have a treble that could be a little “exhausting” sounding and the combo of the Lina and 300Bv made these audio system sound expansive, alive and the bass was full and fairly massive sounding.
The little H4’s sounded massive and as highly effective as ever however have been far more expansive and the imaging efficiency went up a few notches. The Bass was sounding very current and whereas not as tight because the Deville’s they have been very good to take heed to with the Encourage gear.
I additionally examined the Encourage 300Bv with the LaScala AL5s earlier than I bought them (Sure, I needed to transfer them for house causes). The LaScala’s have been completely drop useless superb with the 300Bv amp all by itself. I examined them with the amp after the brand new proprietor of the audio system left me a deposit. I began second guessing my resolution to promote them as once more, I by no means heard them sound higher. Klipsch Heritage love that 300B. If I had a a lot bigger house I’d have saved the LaScala as they really are lifetime audio system.
On the finish of the Day
I’ve all the time liked the best way Dennis Had amps sounded. They’ve that human contact sound. They will convey that emotional response out of your coronary heart and in addition excel at low quantity listening. These moments late at night time if you end up at your most relaxed, listening in your seat. This amp can convey that artist to you with the tube glow and heat.
Waves of candy music float to your ears, mind after which coronary heart. You are feeling it. You soak all of it in. It is a typical expertise with a pleasant S.E.T. amp, and the 300B-v delivers that to me in my room with out a lot effort.
The 300Bv is a Single Ended Triode amp that ships with the perfect 300B tubes you should buy at present, the Western Electrical 300B. That is an amp made within the USA by a legend of Audio. I really feel Dennis is making his greatest amps ever in his retirement!
Whereas these Encourage amps should not mass produced they’re made for passionate audio buffs who wish to personal one thing that could be a piece of artwork and in addition sounds completely stunning. That is certainly an amp one would wish to personal for all times. Dennis makes use of prime quality components within the construct and they’re inexpensive for what they’re as a result of the truth that there isn’t a promoting, intermediary or advertising and marketing concerned.
These within the know certainly know the way particular these amps are.
I can fortunately say that at present I’m listening to a number of the most interesting sounds I’ve heard on this room, albeit at medium quantity ranges. I really feel blessed to personal some unimaginable audio system, a few unimaginable DACs and even amps. I like all of them however I do have my favorites. This 300Bv has grow to be a type of favorites. It gives up the sound (with delicate audio system) that I’ve all the time liked and chased. It appears beautiful. It’s handcrafted by Dennis Had.
It’s not excellent although as it isn’t for these searching for head banging loud volumes which have immense kick and punch. It’s extra for many who wish to chill out in a candy spot and hear critically. The place you might be surrounded by the efficiency and benefit from the magic throughout the soundstage your self.
This Encourage 300Bv is among the most interesting amplifiers I’ve ever heard or owned as one as it’s used inside its limitations. When you have audio system in your life which might be 90Db or higher in effectivity (I’d even say 93 or higher) and a supply that may output 4-6v you’re in enterprise and actually may wish to take a look at this amp. When you have an energetic preamp with some acquire even higher. When you have a Dennis Had Encourage devoted Pre, higher nonetheless!
It is probably not straightforward to amass certainly one of these as there isn’t a store, seller or house to examine them out however Dennis is on Ebay as Radioman731. He’ll listing amps sometimes on his web page, and I consider he can even do customized orders.
I’ve a sense that if Dennis began an enormous firm once more for these amps he too would have a protracted wait listing. As it’s, I’m certain he’s happiest doing issues at his personal tempo. It’s in any case his ardour to create units that convey stunning music to your residing house. In the present day he’s doing that higher than he ever has IMO. The person has delivered stunning music to me for shut to a few a long time. Wow.
I like this amp. It’s particular certainly. The satisfaction of possession with this one is excessive my associates. For those who personal a Dennis Had encourage, or plan to amass one, take pleasure in it and let the music feed your soul!
I can’t say for certain if it will stick with me for the lengthy haul. It has each proper to, nevertheless it’s not the perfect overview device as generally I get audio system right here that aren’t a straightforward drive. Whereas this amp sounds deliciously good with my Deville’s, it could not achieve this nicely with 87-89 DB 4 ohm speaklers. It may certainly be my low wattage reference although, as it’s that good.
Low Wattage Heaven lives within this amp!
Strand of Oaks – Album “In Heaven” Acoustic Model. Track: Jimi & Stan
I like this album, each this model and the usual. The usual model has some stunning sonic landscapes throughout the songs and the music washes over you want an enormous wall of magical bliss. The acoustic model is good as nicely however stripped right down to acoustic guitar and vocals. On the monitor Jimi & Stan, which is concerning the singers pet cat (who handed away) assembly Jimi Hendrix in heaven you’ll be able to hear the emotion within the music when he sings “Now I don’t have my Buddy who knew me so nicely, it’s exhausting to be completely happy and even exit with out Jimi & Stan”.
I do flip this monitor up as I can really feel that emotion within the recording. The 300B-v does the human voice so nicely. That’s a function of a properly achieved S.E.T. amp. Every guitar strum has meat on the bones, and the voice is barely ahead and throaty but in addition clear sufficient to listen to these feelings. It’s a cool music and sounds superb on the Encourage amp. Be sure you take a look at the usual model as nicely. It rocks : )
Erasure – Day Glo – Track Harbour of my Coronary heart
This album is completely different from most Erasure albums. After I take heed to gear I don’t cherry decide audiophile tracks as I need it to sound nice with the music I take pleasure in. This album is filled with digital beats and three dimensional results. Voices go from left to proper, entrance to again and the music fills the room as devices hold within the air. With my Deville’s the bass is good and the monitor is full bodied whereas nonetheless retaining that magical sweetness. With Heresy IV it’s brighter and extra thrilling and a contact holographic. A uncommon feat for the Heresy IV! This album shouldn’t be could fave from the band however this monitor is fairly cool whenever you wish to hear that enormous 3D sound. The 300B-v brings its deep bass sport for this one, and passes the take a look at with ease.
Girl Blackbird – Black Acid Soul Album – “Repair It” music.
This monitor will present you the magic that the Encourage 300B-v brings to vocals. Many amps will do justice to this music however with a 300B tube you actually are taken to the efficiency in a method that stable state can’t do. The vocal is useless heart and you’ll swear you may have a hidden heart channel in your system! The Piano gently weeps within the again proper behind my Deville SQ. The Bass line seems behind the left and heart. The Piano sounds so beautiful right here as if the notes are floating within the house above and behind the precise speaker. With the Heresy IV the Piano has a bit extra chunk however this additionally brings extra pleasure and a extra reside feeling.
That is the type of factor this amp is made for. Beautiful. The Piano solo is astonishingly ALIVE!