Publisher Profile

LINLAI tubes distributed by Grant Fidelity

By: |

A team of engineers exited Chinese tube manufacturer Psvane in 2019 and formed LINLAI. And they started big.

Instead of manufacturing less costly input and rectifying tubes on the outset, the powers that be at LINLAI introduced triode tubes using proprietary technologies, such as the Elite E-845 ultra purity Molybdenum  Metal Plate vacuum tube that is specified to deliver 25 watts, reaching 100 watts heat dissipation without red platting in a 1,000+ volt live circuit! A standard matched pair goes for 799 USD, while a “Top 10% measurement Best of Best” pair retails for 899 USD.

Features of the Elite E-845 include:

  • Ultra purity Molybdenum metal plate with superior heat dissipation than graphite plate, better stability under extreme temperature
  • No solder points in the entire plate for superior reliability, with 16 nuts and screws for securing the Moly plate
  • Superior sonic signature per the metal plate, producing strong emission and thus strong plate current
  • Low tube base noise as low as 0.01mV
  • Reinforced 4-pole internal structure
  • Manufacturer recommended bias at 65mA, 1,000V plate voltage

 

Fans of 300B may consider the Elite E-300B ultra purity Permalloy with carbon coating Plate, designed to compete against top, ultra high-end offerings by others.

Features of Elite E-300B:

  • Ultra purity Permalloy with carbon coating plate for superior electron emission to create strong current and longer tube life
  • No-Contact design between filament structure and the glass enclosure to minimize external vibration and resonance
  • 4 metal pole securing the filament structure
  • Ceramic base with metal sleeve cover
  • Gold coated pins

Standard pricing is 795 USD, and 895 USD again for Best of Best.

 

Diehards of Western Electric 300B can look to the WE300B Western Electric Replica Tubes.

LINLAI WE300B Western Electric Replica Tube

The company claims this WE300B is 100%, 1:1 identical to the Psvane WE300B visually and electronically.

Regularly matched pair goes for 649 USD, and 799 USD for Best of Best.

 

Other tubes now being offered by LINLAI include the 805-DG Overhung Filament, Elite E-101D Mesh Plate, Elite E-2A3 Permalloy Plate, and 845-DG Overhung Filament.

 

The following is reposted with permission from the original Grant Fidelity webpage:

LINLAI is a brand name, and it is a phrase taken from an ancient Chinese poem praising ‘the Beauty of Music’.

LINLAI is a trademark belong to a NEW tube factory in China – formed by a team of engineers who exit Psvane in 2019. This story script sounds like an ‘encore’ of how Psvane was formed a decade ago, when a team of engineers exit the state-owned Shuguang tube factory.

What tubes does LINLAI produce?

As a newly established tube factory but certainly formed by a group of veteran professionals including an ex-VP Production from Psvane tube factory, LINLAI started its product line with triode tubes other than small signal tubes or other power tubes. Triode tubes include 300B, 2A3, 211, 845, 805 and they also produce 274B rectifier tubes.

It is said LINLAI will start producing popular power tubes such as EL34/6CA7 and KT88/6550 at late 2020. Higher power output tubes such as KT120 and KT150 will only be considered for production when the factory has fully commissioned the process to perfection for KT88 type first.

Should you purchase LINLAI Tubes?

There have been many many same models of triode tubes (such as 300B, 845 etc) pumped out by the two major tube factories from China, Shuguang and Psvane, in the past 10 years, under different OEM brands and series. Now comes the 3rd high end tube factory LINLAI. So how do you choose among them?

Psvane is derived from Shuguang. LINLAI is a derived from Psvane. It is no surprise to see some similarities across their tube offerings, since the engineers are hopping from one employer to another. Each brand has its own core offering:

Shuguang – more dominant in entry level stock tubes for tube amp manufacturers. We found the quality control on high end Shuguang tubes is a hit and miss. If you go with this brand, be sure to purchase from a reputable vendor who does their own screening and stand firmly behind their warranty. You may notice that we at Grant Fidelity are not gradually discontinuing Shuguang tubes – mainly due to the Shuguang factory warranty terms are not as good as Psvane has offered, and we see much higher reject rates for Shuguang tubes than from Psvane tubes. It would be ideal for Shuguang as a manufacturer to tighten its quality control and do not let all quality level of tubes out of factory door.

Psvane – with a decade of experience in making primarily high end tubes, Psvane and Grant Fidelity have formed a solid relationship for us to pay a price premium in order to have “first dip to their new production inventory”, which in turn greatly reduce our reject rates from each Psvane factory shipment. Psvane warranty policy so far has been solid – by promptly replacing tubes within agreed warranty terms. If we rate Shuguang warranty from 1-10 scale, it is a 6 or 7 max in our opinion. But Psvane can score to 9 out of 10 based on our experience.

Linlai – As a new comer, Linlai is also focusing on upgrade tube market, by introducing two innovative series – one with “Moly plate”, and the other with “Overhung filament” structure. Sonic feedback from early adopters in Asian market has been very positive, let alone its sharper pricing compared to Psvane. Linlai has also offered “as good warranty as Psvane, in some case even better”. Even though we have limited first hand experience on warranty claim yet (since we literally haven’t had any Linlai tube failure yet!), our communication and commitment received from Linlai has been top notch. We would say that consumers can purchase Linlai tubes with the same confidence as with Psvane branded tubes.

We will be working with professional reviewers in the next while to have more unbiased reviews done on the Linlai tubes. Please keep come back to our website, or google audio forums to see early adopter audiophiles’ listening impression.

The 100% Identical WE Replica series by LINLAI:

LINLAI’s WE-series offering are identical to Psvane WE series. There is NO difference. They are 100%, 1:1 identical, visually and electronically.

It is a ‘1:1 duplicate’ of the ‘Psvane WE845 replica’, by LINLAI Tubes, made according to the exact same blueprint, with exactly the same materials from the same suppliers as before. NOTHING IS CHANGED, except the brand printed on the glass. We were told that Linlai holds the design right of these WE replica tubes, as the designer of the series have now joined Linlai.

As a newer business, LINLAI is pursuing market shares aggressively, so they priced some of the WE model (such as 845 and 300B) lower than what Psvane previously offered. The end result is positive and favorable to consumers: same WE tubes are offered at lower price and more audiophiles now can afford to experience the Western Electric replica sound without breaking the bank!

Other less popular WE models such as 101D, 274B etc, remain similarly priced as Psvane.

What will happen to Psvane WE series, then?

From impression we got from Psvane, they are shifting to focus more on their ultra high end new ACME series which has all the overlapping models with WE series. It appears Psvane doesn’t want to get into a direct competition with LINLAI on who makes a better WE replica tube. Once Psvane sells out their current WE stock, this WE-series may not be produced in Psvane factory in the future. We will update if this situation changes.

The competitive flagship Elite E-Series by LINLAI:

This Elite series is the proprietary design flagship series by LINLAI. It is positioned to compete with the Psvane ACME Supreme series and other European tube brand in the ultra high end upgrade tube market.

The listing page of each model under Elite E-series will have all details on their design features.

Since LINLAI is counting on this Elite series to make its foothold in the high end tubes industry, we can see from the final products that efforts were not spared in the production. Since it is positioned to compete with Psvane’s top ACME series, LINLAI Elite series has price set slightly lower than Psvane ACME.

Do they sound at least as good, or even better than the highly famed Psvane ACME series? We will know with more market feedback, as they are still very new to the market. However, because the design difference between the two, we feel it’s more fair to say they each will have their own advantages. For those with bigger budget, you may consider to take the ‘cost averaging method’, by acquiring both tubes under ACME and Elite series, and enjoy them both to your different music mood and style.

The ‘bread & butter’ DG series with ‘overhung filament’ by LINLAI:

Replicating identical WE series and competing with lower priced flagship models are not long term sustainable strategy for a business. So LINLAI has also set their focus to cannibalize the ‘quality + price’ hunger mid-price tube market.

LINLAI spent significant amount of efforts to overcome the technical difficulties in ‘overhung filament’ design and created the DG series. DG – in Chinese, means ‘overhung filament’.

Among tube manufacturers and audiophiles it appears to have a consensus that: A metal plate tube by default will sound more dynamic and transparent than a graphite plate tube; and when same plate materials are used, a ‘overhung filament’ design by default will sound more delicate and refined than other filament design.

Overhung filament is extremely difficult to manufacture as a tiny discrepancy in spacing, fixture and material characteristics under extreme temperature can lead to more possible ‘failure’ in production. Overall, tube factory will face a much higher rate of ‘scrap’ even before a tube reaches the product finishing line. This leads to eventually higher overall production cost. Many tube factories deliberately stay away from this filament design.

845, 211 and 805-DG are made with graphite plate and overhung filament. As LINLAI counts on this series to be their future ‘bread & butter’ to take a solid market share in the upgrade tube market, these tubes are priced also very attractively below the $500 per pair mark and certainly worthwhile for audiophiles to explore the sonic benefits of this unique design.

The ‘Me Too’ TA-Series, T-Series, Z-series by LINLAI:

What else does LINLAI produce?

No surprise that they also make ‘very similar’ models offered by Shuguang tube factory – the black bottled triode tubes under TA-series, T-series and Z-Series.

It is understandable that in order to keep the new tube factory to optimal production capacity, LINLAI have to keep the full time workers busy for enough hours per day, and hope to capture as many market shares as they can.

Shuguang being a state owned factory, IMHO, is not well managed in terms of production quality and marketing in recent years. We certainly can understand the reason: state owned corporate CEO’s are nominated by upper management, not necessarily by market performance. Because of this ‘not-business-first, not-market-driven’ management mentality, we have found in the past years that warranty claim with Shuguang has been rated from inconvenient to very difficult, and frequency of claim has been much higher than what we experience with Psvane. We have gradually phased out from carrying Shuguang branded upgrade tubes – it is simply not economically possible for us, as a western business to honor warranty to the level we deem appropriate in the western world, to make it viable for business. We as commercial tube vendors selling in large quantity of tubes must rely on ‘statistically satisfactory’ warranty practices, not on ‘maybe I am lucky and Paypal will back me up’ as consumers often hope for.

We hope by reading this post, you now have a good understanding of what LINLAI Tubes is about and if you, as a consumer, can find a suitable ‘performance + price’ tube offering from this NEW TUBE BRAND. We think it is certainly worth a try! As always, Grant Fidelity will honor warranty as with any other tubes we carry.

Last words: What about ‘NATURE SOUND’ tubes?

The very early batch of LINLAI tubes were printed with a brand called ‘NATURE SOUND’. Later on it turned out that the trademark had been used and registered by an un-related business, so it cannot be legally used on any commercial audio related product anymore.

We do NOT have stock of any ‘NATURE SOUND’ tubes. Early batches from a new tube factory could often be of uneven quality while the production lines are being commissioned to perfection. We have waited till quality stabilized to carry the current ‘tubes by LINLAI’.

Email: grantfidelity@gmail.com

 

 

  • (Page 1 of 1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By : XYZScripts.com