YAQIN Tube Amp Review: MS-300C

Published: by POLITUSIC - Updated: 11-29-2016 09:03:30

YAQIN tube amplifier, front tubesI’ve owned the YAQIN MS-300C stereo tube amplifier for about two weeks, and have enjoyed it so much that it’s only been turned off when I sleep.

Audiophile I am not, but I am a former recording engineer so have a little perspective. Previous owner of a couple smaller integrated tube amps, and abused the YAQIN MS-30L push-pull amplifier for about a year before buying the MS-300C.

I’m also not a photographer. Sorry.

I was happy with the MS-30L, but chose to upgrade to the MC-300C because I wanted a Class A with 300B tubes. The MC-300C fit that bill without breaking the bank (about $1200 new).

Advertisement

The MC300C is a beast (like most YAQIN amps) in that it weighs about 60 pounds. It’s very well built and obviously fun to look at. Since the 300B tubes are so much more expensive, I’m using stock PSVane 300B tubes that came with it. Even with the stock preamp tubes, the sound quality is impressive. Because tube amps are just as much as obsession as they are a tool, I threw $100 at tubedepot.com to upgrade the preamp tubes a little, but will keep the PSVane 300Bs it came with for awhile since upgrading those are a lot more costly.

Basic amplifier specs:

Tubes: 300B x 2 (power tubes), 5ZP3 (rectifier tube), 12AT7 x 2 and 6N8P x 2 (pre-amp tubes).

After about 100 hours of being perfectly happy with the stock tubes, I replaced the 12AT7 tubes with JJ gold pins, and the 6N8P tubes with Tung-Sol 6NS7’s.

Output power: 8.5W per side (that’s *more* than enough power… unless you own those ridiculous tower speakers with 10 drivers and a 60db sensitivity rating)

Frequency Response: 5Hz – 56kHz

Signal To Noise Ratio: >84db

Other notables: remote control, pure-post stage, the typical YAQIN user manual with terrible English so you get a chuckle reading it, 4 and 8 ohm load, headphone o/p.

Listening to the MS-300C Amplifier

Tube stereo amplifier, tube close up
MS-300C with all stock Chinese tubes.

After plugging in, warming up, and checking the tube bias (it was biased a bit hot out of the box), I ran it through some of the old records I’ve had forever and pretty much know how they sound.

They most certainly sounded better.

While the EL34B amp I’ve been using for awhile sounded good (and slightly wider with KT77’s in it), this amp with the 300B tubes immediately had a stereo image with a softer high end that feels as though it extends well beyond your speaker placement. Depending on the mix of the track, the stereo image is almost unsettling. There have been many times when I’ve been caught off guard by the 3D-ness of a trumpet stab or a really wide synth.

What is also striking is this thing has handled any genre of music I can throw at it. Early Floyd, to debut Ricki, to mid Björk, to late Radiohead – the YAQIN MS300C just smiles and we both ask for more. Chris Wood’s bass is almost tangible, Etta’s subtle throat rasp demands a deep sigh, the air in Rosa Passos’ vocal floats in the room, and I’ve fallen in love with Bebe’s voice all over again.

I can’t afford to buy every record I want, so also stream a lot of music… this is where those who fancy themselves and “audiophile” smirk and insult, right? Nevertheless, the MS-300C either distracts from, or effectively masks the normal upper-harmonic ripples you hear in Pandora and Spotify streams. The encoding flaws are still there, but there’s so much more “goodness” happening that my ears, at least, don’t really care or notice anymore.

Tube stereo amplifier, top view
Protective cage on for those who are clumsy, paranoid, and/or live in a child-filled house.

Depth is also much better than any other tube amp I’ve previous owned. Other amp / tube combinations often make strange trade offs between depth and width. What makes this special, though, is how the depth compliments the width. It’s not so much the two forces are pulling against one another as wrapping around (that’s the only way I can describe it).

Frequency balance, top to bottom creates yet more smiles. Even though most serious listeners scoff at the stock Chinese 300B tubes, these have a very impressive overall balance. Everything is there, nothing wolfs or sinks, and you can hear the whole mix without anything getting lost. If the track is too compressed the tubes will start to get “confused” – that could also be the rectifier tube trying to keep up, but it’s really the mixing engineer’s fault, anyway, not the tubes. ;)

Obviously, it’s no secret at this point that I like this amp. It’s well worth the price, even with the stock tubes. Take care of it and it’ll definitely take care of you.

Advertisement
Category:  Audio Gear
Published: by POLITUSIC | Updated: 11-29-2016 09:03:30
 
 

FEATURED:

10 Things We’ve Learned From 100 Days Of Donald
10 Things We’ve Learned From 100 Days Of Donald
Facts Are A Luxury Item In America
Facts Are A Luxury Item In America
Donald Trump Is A Distraction, Keep Your Eyes On Paul Ryan
Donald Trump Is A Distraction, Keep Your Eyes On Paul Ryan
School Choice: What Are School Vouchers & Do They Work?
School Choice: What Are School Vouchers & Do They Work?
The Problem With Politics: We Think We’re Smarter Than Our Brains
The Problem With Politics: We Think We’re Smarter Than Our Brains
American Voters: Vote Personality Over Policy
American Voters: Vote Personality Over Policy
American Politics and the Beta Male.
American Politics and the Beta Male.
Republican Party of Emotion and Gravity of Discontent
Republican Party of Emotion and Gravity of Discontent
The Political Dialectic: Why Democrats Need The Tea Party, Trump
The Political Dialectic: Why Democrats Need The Tea Party, Trump
How To Record Drums
How To Record Drums
What Does Privatization of Medicare and Social Security Mean?
What Does Privatization of Medicare and Social Security Mean?
How to Sing with Emotion in Your Voice
How to Sing with Emotion in Your Voice
 
KEEP POLITUSIC ALIVE: DONATE
 

LATEST:

Donald Trump: Is Being An Idiot An Impeachable Offense?
Donald Trump: Is Being An Idiot An Impeachable Offense?
Pick Your Own Ending: What Would Trump Do?
Pick Your Own Ending: What Would Trump Do?
10 Things We’ve Learned From 100 Days Of Donald
10 Things We’ve Learned From 100 Days Of Donald
Pro-Trump Rallies Continue To “Make America Great Again” In Their Own, Special Way
Pro-Trump Rallies Continue To “Make America Great Again” In Their Own, Special Way
Trump Wiretap Tweets: Obama Is Once Again The Preferred Enemy
Trump Wiretap Tweets: Obama Is Once Again The Preferred Enemy
Curiosity Killed The Conservative
Curiosity Killed The Conservative
The Middle Class Isn’t Shrinking, It’s Lost In America’s Loophole
The Middle Class Isn’t Shrinking, It’s Lost In America’s Loophole
Twilight Zone Town Halls: Republicans Face Angry Constituents
Twilight Zone Town Halls: Republicans Face Angry Constituents
Trump Superfans: Supporter Loyalty Built From Hate And Envy
Trump Superfans: Supporter Loyalty Built From Hate And Envy
Redefining Fake: Ideological Echo Chambers Are Getting Worse
Redefining Fake: Ideological Echo Chambers Are Getting Worse
What A Man Losing It Looks Like: Trump’s Press Conference
What A Man Losing It Looks Like: Trump’s Press Conference
Republicans Love Putin Because Obama Emasculated The GOP
Republicans Love Putin Because Obama Emasculated The GOP