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Vacuum Tube Lust Page


Quad II

     Ya know, i get e-mail from many really cool dudes. Ya know, sometimes they say somethin' like "please add a link from your site to mine..." Well, stupid me is overly cautious, overly demanding, and very picky about adding links, though this dude's web site had all these really cool retro Quad yummies... So after lottsa thought we figured out a way! Specifically, a groovy photo of his slammatocious Quad II amplifier.

The Quad II first appeared in 1953, but the one featured here comes from the mid 1960's. It's a 15w push-pull monoblock power amp designed by "Mr. Quad" himself - Peter Walker. It uses five valves. Two (Mullard) EF86's, one (Mullard) GZ32, and two (GEC) KT66's in the output stage. The Quad II was so well designed that it's very gentle on the valves, so consequently the tubes last for ages. In fact the valves seen here are the original ones! These British-made amps may be understated in appearance, but are very much renowned for their performance.

Please click here to see this tube-arrific vintage Quad web site.


Sakuma 845

     Shown at the Vacuum State of the Art Conference and Show (VSAC) were many great tube yummies. One of them was this beautifully handmade and hand painted Sakuma 845 single-ended amplifier. Using the famous Tamura/Sun Audio transformers. This is a part of the great offerings via the Direct Heating Club of Japan, designed by Sakuma, by the way. Wish we had a club like that here in the USA. Anyone know if there is such a club here in the USA? This is a push-pull amplifier and i really love the hand painted keyboard on it too. In fact you can find the schematics on their web site and build one yourself!

Click here to see Direct Heating's web site.


The Steve

     This new yummy is actually a joke by the nearly deaf and proven corrupt C.G. and not a real tube amplifier. i received the below letter with said (badly) doctored photo. Felt you cool folks out there might enjoy it:

Whole Tubes Out-Does The Best With $100K "The Steve"

Woodland, CA -- Whole Tubes, a new high-end tube/analog company launched to meet the needs of real people, not just audiophiles, who love the sound of vacuum tubes and vinyl LPs, announces the introduction of their flagship tube amp, The Steve. Inspired by well-known and prestigious keepers of the audio faith, Whole Tubes has but one goal for The Steve: to radically out-perform that $89,000 you-know-what (referring to the Audio Note Ongaku --- ed.), the most talked-about amplifier in the history of high-end audio.

Zoltan Kublik, Whole Tubes founder and chief designer, calls "The Steve" the most important work of his life. "My profession is astrophysics, and I deal with silicon and digital all day long. These technologies are good for aerospace design, but ironically, they are sadly inferior to tubes and analog when it comes to reproducing the soul and magic of live music." The Steve is an all-out assault on the finest sound reproduction possible, with no limits and no compromises. "Of course, perfection never seems inexpensive, until you realize that all that matters is that you enjoy the music. Once you realize this, choices in life become simple and clear."

Woo'd by some of the biggest money in Silicon Valley, Kublik instead opted for the purist approach. "Surfing the Web, I was blown away by the passion and knowledge of music and technology that exists, if you know where to look. There are legions in the populist underground with radical, yet deceptively simple, ideology. It's exactly this synthesis of art and science that guided the design of The Steve," says Kublik.

Based on the elusive physical properties of the total spatial vacuum, The Steve is a 15OW tube monoblock amp featuring a quartet of hand-selected 300B output triodes in a parallel single-ended configuration, in order to preserve the magical qualities of single-ended amplification but with enough raw power to drive today's best loudspeakers to concert levels and beyond. The all-copper chassis is silver-plated, to serve as an ultra-clean circuit ground path and to enhance The Steve's rich appearance. Silver wiring is used for all of the internal point-to-point wiring, including the hand-wound output -- and power -- transformers, which are sourced from a high-end Japanese supplier Kublik claims was an early mentor of the esteemed Kondo-San. "It is with the greatest respect that I invoke Kondo-San's name and legacy, because his is truly the enlightened ear," Zoltan Kublik explains. "My only wish is to pay tribute to his work and take it even further, to push the envelope on what is possible, and never stop dreaming of the undreamable in audio, and life itself."


Pentode Babe of the Year!

     That's right. it's the babe-alicious Pentode Babe of the Year award goes to Betty Oh! Many thanks go out to Joe at Sound Practices magazine for allowing me to use this photo. Hopefully the full color version will be replaced by this B&W versions soon. Thanks Joe!


KR Enterprise 32 B S I

     What we have here is the KR Enterprise model 32 B S I integrated amplifier. Running their KR32B tubes (one per channel) in 'Class A' this unit can give a solid 25 wpc output with a frequency response from 18Hz - 35kHz (-3db). Gold plated inputs and speaker posts as well as ceramic tube sockets are standard. Input impedance is 100Kohms, has four line-level inputs, and can easily be used with either 110 or 220 volts (50-60Hz).

KR Enterprise sro
Nademlejnska 600/1
CZ 198 00 Praha
Czech Republic

Website: www.kraudio.cz 


Unison Smart 845

     Unison's Smart 845 is a beauty isn't she? Look at that Italian sculptured wood! Truly tasty! Inside you'll find three power supplies which allow a tension filter close to 1,000 volts. Two outputs connections allow for bi-wiring on the rear of this unit. Power output is claimed at 24 wpc and she runs in Class A triode of course. The ceramic shell you see around the output tube acts as a thermal shield because the output tube runs hot, hot, hot!

Unison Research
srl, Via F. Chemello
20-36075 Montecchio Maggiore


Bel Canto Design SET 40

     The first tube yummy to lust after in 1998 had ta be special. Not just any ol' unit mind ya. Well, here i'm presenting the Bel Canto Design SET 40. This unit produces about 40 watts in Class A1 mode per channel with only two triode stages! Of course it uses zero feedback and looks, well, tasty! Please don't let this photo fool you because the actual unit weighs in at 90 lbs!

Bel Canto Design, Ltd.
212 Third Avenue North
Suite 345
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Click here to see their www site.


Fi Type 50 monoblock

     Simplicity, purity, hand-built one at a time by the owner of the company.... Fi. If you've ever seen Fi's advertisements, they are simple just like the products built by owner Don Garber. During a recent conversation with him my feeling were that this guy is just a humble soul making what he feels is the best. This is not to say there was any ego or sales hype from Don. There wasn't. Not only are his advertisements simple, his product brochure is simple, elegant, and all black and white. A class act in my humble opinion. Some may remember his shop on 30 Watts Street in NY. This was years ago when talented designers such as Gordon Rankin, Herb Reichert, and a few others showcased their tube amplification units and speakers in one small store to a small, yet well educated crowd. Oh yeah, the monoblock amplifier above uses the Type 50 output tube and has tube rectification. Here is a "Tube Lust" that simply doesn't really tell you about the unit showcased. Sometimes in life seeing a photo bears nothing to disclosing the true beauty of hearing the real thing. Aint nothing like the real thing baby. Aint nothing like the real thing.

30 Veranda Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

voice (718) 625-7353
fax (718) 875-3972


Welter WT500

     Fashioned in racy red here is the Welter WT500 monoblock. Sure you can have it in black or chrome, though red is really cool! This unique single-ended triode design uses the specially made WT500 tube produced by Welter themselves. This lil' powerhouse is capable of producing an output wattage around 18 watts each! Specially designed output transformers are also used in this amplifier which are claimed to measure from 5 Hz to 110 kHz (-3db) and the entire unit weighs just over a hefty 39 lbs. for each monoblock.

Welter Elektronic
Oberbilker-Allee 295
40227 Dusseldorf

voice 49-211-727778
fax 49-211-727779


 #1  #2

     Here are some of the very first tubes ever lusted for. Tube #1 is, as best as i can tell from my overseas literature, called the A. It was made in 1914 no less! The specs for it are as follows: 2.5V/0.52A, =14, Gm=120. As for tube #2, it's called the SSI and it's specs are as follows: 2.5V/0.38A, Ep=35V, Eg2=12V, =33, Gm=100. (Said with humor) This tube was made in 1917 by the way. Therefore it's much newer then the first one. Lust away my friends. After all, a gooooood tube is hard to find, let alone those over 80 years young!


Signal Amplifier

     Here's another home-brewsky unit that'll make some famous manufacturers nervous. Here's a listing of what's inside this amazing amplifier:

Point-to-point 99.999% 1mm solid core Teflon insulated silver wire throughout (no PCBs).  Mullard 5AR4s used in a bridge configuration for B+, 6V4 used for 845 bias.  Input tube consists of a 12AU7A which is direct-coupled to triode-wired GEC KT66.  In turn transformer-coupled to 845 grid feeding to an NC-20 Tango interstage transformer.  X-10S Tango output transformer.  Two separate 400VA toroidal transformers for power.  10H 400mA toroidal choke per channel are also employed.  3 x 10H 200mA EI chokes per channel as well.  Elna Cerafine B+ capacitors used in the power supply which the tube are entirely AC heated.  RMA Japanese hand-made carbon composite resistors and silver solder used throughout.  All of this is mounted on a 3mm copper chassis.

i've seen a photo of this dudes system and needless to say even i am lusting over it! More like these please!!! The dude responsible for this is Robert Ang and he can be contacted by e-mail at rang@tartarus.uwa.edu.au. Looks like Robert really knows what he's doing my friends!


Quardic MT-35

     Going through some photo's of last years WCES i found this cool photo of the Quadric MT-35. It uses the 845 output tube, an EL34 for driver (which can be substituted with a 6L6/6550/8417/etc.), and the two other input tubes are the 6922 variety. This tasty treat looks cool all chromed out, seems to be an integrated unit via the volume knob on the front right, and i betcha it has zero negative feedback.

Taurus Audio
5680 Thornton Avenue
Newark, CA 94560


Manley 300B Preamplifier

     When i first saw this unit i felt it was an integrated amplifier. It's got the usual five input selector switch and then has two 300B output tubes. Well Manley Labs surely fooled me. What we have here is actually a cool preamplifier that uses what's usually found in a tope quality amplifier, but used as a kickin' preamp! There is not just one, but two headphone jacks too! The tube compliment consists of two 300B, two 6SL7GT, two 5AR4, and two OD3 tubes. Feedback is used, but is user adjustable from eight to twelve db. Volume is adjusted via a 24 position gold contact Greyhill switch. Those of you who may say tubes are deficient in the frequency extremes, how are these for specs... frequency response 5 Hz to 50 kHz +- 1 db, signal to noise is 105 db, and distortion is -80 db (.01%)!

Manley Laboratories
13880 Magnolia Ave.
Chino, CA 91710

Click here to see their Manley Laboratories' site.



     This is is a home-brew/kit amplifier made by Frits Donker Duyvis. Based on the M-60 MkII seen at Atma-Sphere's www site, Fritz did a great job at building his dream. Proof that you don't necessarily have to buy what you want in pre-built form. Simply build it yourself! The M-60 MKII uses is a balanced differential output transformerless design. Running in Class A using eight 6AS7 output tubes and four 6SN7 driver tubes it achieves 60 wpc. at 8 ohms. To quote Fritz "Despite classic appearance, the state of the art in thermonic audio amplifiers (!?). This (my) sample was built from a kit." Looks to me like he did a great job! Keep up the awesome work dude!

Click here to see Atma-Sphere's site.


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