It’s a Vacuum State of affairs …

Since completing my apprenticeship with Mr. Lance Cochrane, a well-known and respected vacuum tube amplifier builder for over forty years in  2007,  I have built over 150 units with a modest following to go with those amplifiers.  Now, after over three years since I built my last amplifier, I am ready once again to follow my passion.   I have built a new home along with a great new workshop in a place that time forgot,… with no distractions, no deadlines, or timelines to adhere to.  This is the perfect environment for a creative mind to go to work.

Please take time to read an article about Lance  posted August 2015 in Journal Plus Magazine in California…..Screen shot 2015-08-31 at 7.04.02 PM

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And…

Here is an article about me from back in January 2008…

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Here, I will display my work both previous, and present.  As you can see, I have my own design style, but know that each and every unit is a one-of-a-kind, custom vacuum tube amplifier that is numbered, dated, and signed by me, and to commemorate my new beginning here, I’m resetting my count and starting back to the number 1 with the suffix “n” to signify my new location.

I only make a very small number of these amplifiers every year, and therefore these units have become quite desirable over the years.  Anyone who owns or has heard one of these amplifiers know how wonderful they sound, revealing everything your favourite recording has to offer.  The circuit,  handed down to Lance’s apprentices has proven time and time again to be quite simply put;  brilliant!  We are a hand-picked few who have been handed the torch to continue on what he started.  Built the old-world way: with all point-to-point wiring, designed with rock solid reliability and stability in mind, and tuned by ear.  ( As a musician would tune his instrument by ear, we do the same with our amplifiers. )  Nothing can replace the accuracy of the human ear.  This, in it self, is what sets us apart from other builders.   As Lance many times has said:  anyone can follow a schematic, but it takes a true craftsman to accurately tune by ear properly.  The results speak for themselves, hence you have an amplifier that is rich and pure providing relentless attack, while still maintaining and delivering every detail.

A bit about circuit design:  

All my power and integrated vacuum tube amplifiers feature an auto-bias & auto-balance component.  This means you never need to adjust anything.  You can tube-roll to your heart’s content ( and that means BOTH driver and power tubes ) and never have to make any kind of tedious adjustments-ever!  Your time is spent listening to, and enjoying your amplifier, not making countless frustrating adjustments.  Any necessary adjustments have been performed by me during the tuning and bench testing stage.

Let’s talk Biasing.  There are two ways to bias the power tubes: Fixed- where you have to make the adjustments periodically yourself, with the aid of a bias meter, and Auto- where the circuit does this for you.  I like the auto-biasing method.  It’s easier for the user and ensures a constant watch (and adjustment) in real-time on your power tube’s bias voltage needs, so when I refer to biasing, I mean auto-biasing.

Biasing is usually done by tying all the output tubes together with only one bias circuit.  This is fine, and it works but I like to take this a step further.  I will either bias these tubes in pairs or bias them singularly.  This way, each of your power tubes can settle into a voltage that’s perfect for them, rather than a voltage that is an average, you know, one size fits no-one?!   My way, your power tubes last way longer,… your amplifier runs cooler, and therefore, sounds better. A lot better!

Now let’s talk auto-balancing.  The auto balance component unique to my circuit, ensures that both sections of the phase inverter (the in-phase half and the out-of-phase half) are working together at equal EMF or strength, no matter if your inverter tube’s sections are matched (Gm or transconductance) or not!  This is brilliant!   This is the hardest part of any push-pull circuit to get right.  I have had countless people try to copy and reverse engineer my auto balance system without success.  As I have said, it’s all in the tuning.

I use only new components to construct an amplifier, except the transformers.  Almost always the transformers I use are vintage, sometimes they are NOS, sometimes they’re used.  Why?– because they are in my view, better.  They are usually made either in the USA, Canada, or Europe.  They are made with high-grade copper wire, come pre-burned in, and have a proven track-record.  Yesterday’s society was not a “throw away” society.  Everything was made to be serviced and to last, something I pride myself in.  With that said, modern components such as sockets, resistors and capacitors are much better made today due to technological advances over the decades.  These are the components I use.

About amplifier design:

Most people are either technically minded or creatively minded.  It is uncommon that one processes both traits.  I am technical by nature, but I have, over the years, developed a design style all my own.  I know what works and what looks good, and obviously others think so too.  I will admit, this has been the most challenging part for me as a designer, but I take cues from various objects I like and make them work in my designs.  Sometimes the simplest things trigger a design, like an unusual tube shape, as in the Balloon amplifier with its #80 rectifier, or like with Flash Quattro.  That design came to me after seeing an old flat-head inline four-cylinder engine with its spark-plugs mounted on top of the cylinder head and the wires going to a central distributer.  Good designs are like those ones and should flow intriguing the eye.

Now, as for the mirror, well there’s quite a bit behind the reason I do it.  First off, yes, I did get the original idea from Lance, as he’s been doing his amps that way for years.  I asked him first if he’d mind me taking that cue, and he was happy I liked it enough to adopted it as part of my own look.  Secondly, I used to make stained glass windows years ago that were all inspired by my favourite architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  The pure copper foil I use is what is used to hold all the pieces of cut glass that go into making a stained glass window together.  The copper allows you to solder and therefore bond the pieces to create a solid one-piece window.  Since I did this, I was used to working with glass, cutting, and forming it, so to use this talent I had here in my amplifiers was a true fit for me, and that’s why I use a mirror!

The following vacuum tube amplifiers are examples of new creations:

Something I get a lot of requests for is a Pre-Amplifier,…and to be right to the point, — a Phono-Stage & Line Stage with RIAA correction preamplifier –  being able to accommodate both MM & MC Phono Cartridges.

This amplifier is one I have spent a lot of time perfecting and matching to my power & Integrated amplifiers.  To date, I have only built a very small number of these units, with a few incarnations along the way.  I have actually worked closely with a good friend and client of mine to perfect & tune all the finer details of the circuit with great success.  Having two sets of ideas, ears and systems makes for a very thorough and motivated team.  I am very pleased with our results, as is he.

My new Phono preamplifier you see here uses a 6SN7 (or 6SL7) for its first stage of gain in parallel, followed by the RIAA stage, and lastly, a line stage preamplifier, all controlled by a single volume control.  No bass, or treble controls here, this is a true Phono Stage Preamplifier that is designed to reproduce the music as intended {with no means of colouration}.  The switch on the back panel of the amplifier chassis is the phono cartridge loading selector that allows you to select between 47kΩ for MM or 100Ω for MC.  Built on two separate chassis, one being the power supply and the other is the amplifier itself.  This means any “noise” from the power transformer can’t physically affect the quietness of the amplifier section.  As you can appreciate, this is a very sensitive amplifier capable if “hearing” the smallest signals from such a tiny source as a moving coil phono cartridge would produce, so the slightest hum or buzz from a power transformer would drown out any chance of the music being heard if allowed to migrate to the amplifying tubes themselves.

The sound is as I would expect:  clean, clear, firm-solid bass, with all the sound staging you wouldn’t expect!  A very transparent sounding phono preamplifier, if I do say so myself.  Coupled with any one of my Power or Integrated amplifiers, a decent turntable with a quality MM or MC phono cartridge, and a superior set of loud-speakers with good quality cables & interconnects would net you the complete listening experience!

…now, as one would expect, I have created an amplifier that would compliment this beautiful phono preamplifier…

I loved the design of the Empire 313 (it’s a few amps further down the page) so much,  I decided to order another chassis from my supplier, but only this time I’ll give it the Orange treatment and bump up the B+ a bit,.. well, a lot!

Presenting… The Empire 373.  With a B+ voltage of 373 vdc, the name just fit!  The amp  beautifully handles the quad of 6L6GCs you see here with a 5U4 rectifier giving it a solid 47 watts per channel!!  Now, pop in a 5AR4 and you’ll see an increase of about 20 vdc,… perfect for Kt-66 / Kt-77 / EL-34, and output power will reflect accordingly.  You’ll also notice, like the Empire 313, I’ve kept the balanced look with the 4 & 4 set-up where the tube line-up is concerned.  That last tube (or first) which ever way you look at it has that classic coke bottle shape that’s closest to the control centre is a OA3 voltage regulator.  If you know anything about the OA3, you’ll know it glows a brilliant Orange when energized.  That was the look I wanted to go with its paint work, and Orange pilot lamp.  The amplifier looks fantastic when on, and using any kind of voltage regulator is something I’ve never done before with any amp,… yes, this is a first and unique to this Integrated unit.

The look and colour is stunning, and sound is amazing!  Like the Empire 313, The Empire 373 uses a nice set of Electrohome output transformers.  These are some of the best outputs I’ve ever used,.. capable of handling 8Ω or 16Ω speakers via a selector toggle on the back.  Rich, deep bass, with a perfectly balanced midrange and highs that just hang in the air.  Very open forum imaging is the best way I can describe its sound.  With the higher voltage amps, I find them to be just so in-your-face with their imaging.  You’ll want to play your entire record collection all over again!

 

 

As you read down to my past creations, you’ll see that many times I have made what I call my ‘Demonstrator’ amp.  The idea is;  this is the amplifier I would use to take with me to a person’s home for him to try on his OWN system, …and then I would build him his brand new custom unit.  This way, he get’s to see what one of my amps sound like on his personal system without any other differences, ( he removes his current amp, and replaces it with mine ).  Let’s face it, each and every system has its own ‘slant’ or personality on how the music ends up sounding.  Even the room the system’s in has a huge influence on things.  You know how your system sounds in your own home, so I bring over an amp to demonstrate what my amplifier will bring to your system sonically.

The Demonstrator amp I use is small, light, and integrated just to cover all the basis.  The only problem I’ve run into in the past is, the client ends up wanting the demonstrator because they’re so blown away – they must have ‘that sound’ RIGHT NOW!, and I end up, once again, without my Demonstrator.  I digress!

Here is my latest ‘Demonstrator’ amplifier.  It’s an integrated 6V6 running in push-pull at about 15 watts per channel using 12AU7s for both the phase-inverters and the pre-amp stages, with rectification taken care by a 5AR4.  A metallic Cobalt blue is the colour and the sound is exactly the same as my larger 100 watt per channel units.  Output Transformers are vintage Hammond organ and are 8Ω only.  The power transformer is a beefy Thordarson supplying all the heater and plate voltages.  Volume control is set dead-centre as always in my signature 5mil mirror surrounded by pure copper.

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 If this integrated amplifier looks somewhat familiar, then that’s because it was inspired by the Balloon amp, and like the Balloon amp, this one focuses on rectification, and in this case, dual rectification.  This a 6L6, EL-34, 7581, 5881 integrated tube amplifier using two 5U4Gs or, if you prefer to use Kt-66 Kt-77 or 7591s, then use a pair of 5AR4 rectifiers to boost the B+ to power these tubes.  This very versatile unit allows you to try many types of power tubes while the amplifier’s auto-bias circuit makes all the necessary bias adjustments for you.  As to be expected with this much power on tap, the amp runs hot!  When you tune it the way I have this one dialed in, it’s going to need a large chassis like this to sink the heat generated.  You are looking at roughly between 35 and 57 watts per channel depending on which power tube you choose to operate.   It’s also important to give the power tubes plenty of real-estate for efficient natural convection, which I’ve done here.  A set of well proportioned Electrohome output transformers to handle the added power ( provided by the second rectifier ),  sport both 8 and 16 Ω taps.  Now, you have a fully Integrated amplifier that can drive larger speakers for a real-live powerful concert sound!  A toggle switch on the back panel of the amp for switching between these two impedance was provided.  Hidden behind the left output transformer is the line stage 6SN7GTB input tube, with both the phase-inverters and output power tubes out front along with the dual rectifiers taking centre stage.  It’s a very well-balanced unit to the eye, and a full rich, powerful feast for the ears.  Painted a deep Charcoal Black in a Satin finish with very fine metallic throughout, it looks as rich as it sounds!

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Now, here’s something I don’t do very often….

This is a Single Ended Kt-66 / EL-34 integrated amplifier, using 6CG7 signal tubes and a 5AR4 rectifier (used when driving Kt-66) or a 5U4 rectifier (used when driving El-34).  B+ voltages are good and high,.. at 425 vdc and 400 vdc respectively.

Clean, clear, detailed, with deep rich bass, that has a graveyard dead-quiet back-drop, (to take a quote from my teacher Lance Cochrane).   In its original circuit and form, this power transformer did operate a pair of Kt-66 and several signal tubes along with a 5U4 rectifier.  I had to make a Kt-66 amplifier of some configuration out of this transformer, it would simply have been a waste not to.  Of course, you know me, I had to create something unique and totally my own with it, so here’s what I came up with.  (Pictures below)

After the final tuning and set-up, I took this rather small and light integrated tube amp over to my personal music and demonstration room, as I do with all my ‘just finished’ creations, and connected it up.  As you may or may not know, I normally use a set of mono-blocks I built a few years ago that deliver about 100 watts per channel.  I knew this little 25 watt per channel SE amp would be full-bodied in every way, but I didn’t expect it to drive my 1977 Sansui spX9000 speakers as it did!  Yes, these speakers are super efficient at 105db, but the drive and bass was more than I thought it could produce quite honestly!  In its design I did build it with 985 uf of capacitance, and the power transformer is more than capable of driving what you see here, and these are really nice Kt-66s, but I was still blown away at how well it seamlessly and accurately pumped out any and all the music I played!  It only goes to show that a Single Ended amplifier with really good components and designed with a great circuit can quite easily keep up with any Push-pull, or in this case, a push-pull-parallel any day of the week, even in the low-end of the frequency spectrum!   Yes, this really is a true sleeper!

As for its design, well, you know me,(again), I had to come up with something unique, something that stayed in-keeping with my style.  I decided to take this layout from the grey demonstrator 6L6 I made just before I left Peterborough.  It too had the power tubes staggered like this.  I often try to incorporate old design cues in my new designs.  it shows growth and my constantly evolving style.  For those of you who have followed my work over the years, you should be confused by the stamped concrete…  I’ll keep you guessing on that front! Take a look….

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If you’ve followed my work over the years, you know I’m due to build a monster of an amp right about now.  Well, I promise not to disappoint,….. so here’s my latest creation all dressed in Blazing Purple!

This is a Push-Pull-Parallel, fully integrated,– 6L6 , 5881, EL-34, Kt-77, 7581, 7591, and all their variants using 12AU7 phase inverters and preamp tubes with a dual set of 5U4, or 5AR4, or even 5R4 rectifiers.  If you take a good look at the power transformer, you’ll see it’s the same one I used in the Candy amp a few years back.  I had two of them and this is the second one.  This means, just like with the Candy amp, you have two high voltage taps on the transformer, so I added a toggle switch to select either 350 volts or 390 volts, and that’s using the 5U4 set.  If you choose the 5AR4s you get about 15% higher volts on either taps, or if you go with the 5R4, you’ll see about 10% less volts, so the power tubes you can choose here are quite varied, as I stated.  A set of neon red lights next to the toggle selector indicates which voltage tap you’ve selected for a neat visual effect.   The outputs are Drake giving 4Ω, 8Ω, and 16Ω taps that are selectable here via a rotary selector on the back panel.  All three transformers are NOS and the amp weighs about 50 lbs.  There are two sets of inputs for two individual sources you can connect at the same time and a toggle to select between the two.

This design is a real show stopper and head turner.  A beautiful centrepiece for your stereo system, and the sound stage with these huge outputs is incredible!  There really is something very captivating with this much power and output transformers this big.  Size, in this case, matters!

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The Empire 313

If this new integrated 6L6 looks somewhat familiar in its layout, then you’re familiar with other amplifier manufacturers.  This is a layout I’ve always loved,… and so, as they say, being inspired by another’s design is the highest form of flattery!   Then here’s my rendition of that amplifier.

This is the Empire 313.  It is an integrated push-pull 6L6 / 6V6 using 12AU7 phase-inverters, and 6C4 pre-amp signal tubes with a beefy set of Electrohome power and output transformers (capable of running 8Ω or 16Ω speakers via a toggle switch located on the back panel), all dressed up in a beautiful Powder Blue reminiscent of the 1950s.  This unit puts out a modest 20 to 40 watts per channel depending on which power tubes and rectifier tubes used.  Oh,… and if you’re wondering what the 313 stands for, well, that number is one of the reasons this amp sounds so good!  It’s the anode voltage when operating using a 5U4 rectifier and the power supply is loaded with 6L6 power tubes.  Running the power tubes in this voltage range means your tubes will last many years running this softly, but as you know, if you want a higher voltage, you simply replace the 5U4 with a 5AR4 or equivalent and you’ll bump it up 27 volts or so.  With that, you’ll get more power, and you’ll slant the voice of the amp a small amount providing more attack!  You can change its personality another way too….  Simply by changing the phase inverter tubes from the 12AU7s, to a set of 12AT7s, or 12AV7s, or 12BH7s, or even 12AX7s, and all their industrial equivalents, you will “tune” the amp to your taste.  So as you can see, this amp is very versatile.  By changing power tubes, and / or the rectifier tube, and / or phase inverters, you have many tonal choices to explore!  The amplifier makes all the adjustments to accommodate the different tubes, making it plug-in and play fun!  This is the beauty of my circuit, its complexity – with its Self-Adjusting, Self Adapting components, makes owning and operating a vacuum tube amplifier easy even for those who have no electronic knowledge or formal training.  Perfectly and beautifully handcrafted by me, please take a look…

 

 

 

The following vacuum tube amplifiers are some examples of past creations:

Note:  When viewing the pictures, you can click on them to bring them up close, and if you want to zoom-in even more, just click on the picture again.

Here is a great video I created to show my work with some amplifiers in different stages of completion…

The segments originally showing the wired circuit in this video have been flashed-out for proprietary reasons.

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These are a very serious set of 80 watt per channel Power Mono Block amplifiers.  These are strictly EL-34 or KT-77 units using a 12AU7 inverter and a 6C4 input stage, rectified by a single 5U4.

They weigh 40lbs each!

In all my years of building vacuum tube amplifiers, I have never seen power transformers like these!  They are made by Hammond and are simply overkill for what they are driving here.  Originally they were only push-pull, if you can believe it, so I rebuilt them, and made into push-pull-parallel.  I brought these with me from Peterborough and I bet they were a good portion of my shipping cost.

Now, as for their sound, well, as I’ve said in the past, they sound just like all my other amps, but these are very powerful!  Deep bass, rich highs, and very well-balanced everywhere else.  These are a set of Organ rebuilds,.. in other words, they’re not my design,.. I just rebuilt them using my circuit with all new parts.  Fantastic amps! Take a look…

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This slender 807 power amp was designed to fit nicely on a shallow shelf. The Bookshelf amp uses what is likely my favourite power tube, and that is the 807.  The 807 is a high voltage radio transmission tube designed for the final output stage of the transmitter.  These are large robust tetrodes that are capable of handling over 800 volts on their anode or plate.
I loved the design and look of the tube so much, I wanted to use it in my circuit and build an amplifier around this unique tube.  With some careful reworking and tuning of the original circuit design, I succeeded, using it in both single ended and push-pull applications while maintaining perfect sonic quality, rock solid reliability, and an amp that looked like no other!

This slender 807 power amp was designed to fit nicely on a shollow shelf.

Here is a side view of the Bookshelf amp displaying the four plate caps and the high voltage plate wires.

Here is a side view of the Bookshelf amp displaying the four plate caps and the high voltage plate wires.

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Here is how my amps look before they see paint, and just after the tuning process. This single ended 807 power amp will soon sport a beautiful cobalt blue colour…

Here is how my amps look before they see paint, and just after the tuning process.

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These two amps were made at the same time for two separate clients

These two amps were made at the same time for two separate clients

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This too is a very early amp, likely #4

This too is a very early amp, likely #4

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Built for one who wanted something that looked like something Dr. Frankenstein would have in his laboratory.

Built for one who wanted something that looked like something Dr. Frankenstein would have in his labratory.

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Designed for the heavy machinery crowd I give you the Caterpillar amp.  Painted that all too familiar brilliant yellow you see most heavy earth moving equipment sporting,… but with a twist, I added lots of ice pearl metal flake in the top three clear coats.  A power amplifier capable of running 6L6 (GC/G/GB) / 5881 / 6V6 (G) or any of their many variants, and since the outputs had taps for 4/8/16 Ω I added a selector switch so the user had a choice  between these three impedance.

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…And here a look at the back…

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The best way to describe this next amplifier is it’s a Titan. It has to be the biggest, baddest, heaviest and most powerful amplifier I’ve made to date! Weighing in at just under 60 lbs. this push-pull-parallel EL-34 / 6L6 is conservatively rated at 110 watts per channel using EL-34 tubes. Capable of driving 4 or 8 ohm speakers via a switch on the back panel, this amp is a tube roller’s dream.

Simply by plugging in which rectifier tubes you want to use, be it a pair of 5Y3s, 5R4s, 5U4s or even 5AR4s you can match the correct plate voltage with what ever power tubes you choose, be it a set of 6V6s, 6L6s, 5881s Kt-66s, Kt-77s, EL-34s, or even 7591s.

You also have the choice of running the amp in push-pull instead of push-pull-parallel simply by not installing the front four power tubes and switching off one of the two rectifier tubes via a switch located on the right hand side of the chassis. The signal and phase-inverter pre amp tubes used are my favourite large dual triodes 6SN7s.

Now, about the transformers, seeing that this amplifier has to drive thirteen tubes!!!, I thought it only made sense to use a separate filament power transformer. The transformer right next to the larger power transformer is the 20 amp filament transformer. By doing this, I’ve removed the heater load off of the main power transformer which now only has to supply the high voltages the amp needs.

Along with a hefty octet of 470 mfd 400 volt capacitors, there is more than enough capacitance to keep this amp in the black during those high current moments when the music demands it.

By sharing the load this way, the main power transformer will not be taxed nearly as much. The output transformers are massive Hammonds that can easily handle the wattage this amp delivers.

You will notice a volume control knob located right smack in the middle of the mirror in front of the amp that’s surrounded in pure copper foil, and that is because this is a fully integrated power amp with a line stage pre amplifier built into it. That means you do not need to buy a separate pre amplifier. You only need to plug in your CD player, MP3, I-pod, I-phone or what ever type of line stage device you like to use, directly into the amplifier.

There are two benefits to an integrated amp, one, you don’t have to go out and spend money on a separate pre amp, and two, you are amplifying completely with tubes throughout the whole amplifying process from pre amp to power amp, and that makes it sound better, way better!

For one who wanted the biggest, most powerful integrated tube amp I could make (at the time). This Push-Pull-Parallel 6L6 using 6SN7 drivers and a pair of 5U4G rectifiers.

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These units were brought to me as a pair of 6BQ5 organ amps that sounded thin and weak. I rebuilt them only keeping the chassis and transformers turning them into a robust pair of 6L6 powerhouses. Beautifully painted with lots of ice peal metal-flake imbedded into the paint-work.

These units were brought to me as a pair of 6BQ5 organ amps that sounded thin and weak. I rebuilt them only keeping the chassis and transformers turning them into a robust pair of 6L6 powerhouses. Beautifully painted with lots of ice peal metal-flake imbedded into the paint-work.

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For those who believe a pair of mono-block amps are the only way to go, I give you a practical alternative. Here is a true-dual mono stereo power amp with pre-heat/stand-by switches. This unit uses two power transformers each with their own power supplies and rectifier tubes driving two power mono amplifiers all on one chassis. Neat eh?

For those who believe a pair of mono-block amps are the only way to go, I give you a practical alternative. Here is a true-dual mono stereo power amp with pre-heat/stand-by switches. This unit uses two power transformers each with their own power supplies and rectifier tubes driving two power mono amplifiers all on one chassis. Neat eh?

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Have you ever seen output transformers as big as these ones? This Kt-77 power amp running at a cool 385 volts on the plates has likely the nicest outputs I had seen to date, that is until two years ago. I now have a set that is even bigger than those just waiting to become part of a new creation…

Have you ever seen output transformers as big as these ones? This Kt-77 power amp running at a cool 385 volts on the plates has likely the nicest outputs I had seen to date, that is until two years ago. I now have a set that is even bigger than those just waiting to become part of a new creation...

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One of only a few 6550/Kt-88s I have made to date. These units run HOT. This one in particular runs with 450 volts on the plates with lots of room between the power tubes for the release of that heat. This power amplifier is rated at a cool 60 watts per channel. One of my all time faves.

One of only a few 6550/Kt-88s I have made to date. These units run HOT. This one in paticular runs with 450 volts on the plates with lots of room between the power tubes for the release of that heat. This power amplifier is rated at a cool 60 watts per channel. One of my all time faves.

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Originally designed to be my third demonstrator amp, this integrated amplifier was quickly scooped up without hesitation, as this little guy is no slouch, but is a true sleeper. Boasting 25 watts per channel with its output transformers submerged under the chassis for that minimalist’s look. This amp represents a tidy balanced look with everything my much larger and more expensive units possess including being integrated.

Originally designed to be my

This unit can be fitted with 6L6, Kt-77, 7581, and even 6V6. Phase-inverters are 6FQ7, and pre-amp tubes are 6C4. The two rectifiers are 6CA4 (Ez-81)

This unit can be fitted with 6L6, Kt-77, 7581, and even 6V6. Drivers are 6FQ7, and preamp tubes are 6C4. The two rectifiers are 6CA4 (Ez-81)

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Flash Quattro or four flashes.  Quattro is Italian for the number four and seeing that this amp uses 4 807 power tubes, I felt the name seem to suit it. Painted Firecracker Red with loads of ice pear metal flake, this unit is reminiscent of the bookshelf amp, and it’s true, the design of the Bookshelf amp inspired some of my other designs. Still, a very different looking amp, but with only one view,  you can tell right away who built it.

Flash Quattro or four flashes, quattro is Italian for the number four and seeing that this amp uses 807 power tubes I felt the name seem to suit it. Painted Firecracker Red with loads of ice pear metal flake this unit is reminiscent of the bookshelf amp, and it's true, the design of the Bookshelf amp inspired other of my designs. Still, a very different looking amp, but one view and you can tell right away who built it.

and the back-end….

and the back end....

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This demonstrator power amp was my first one.  Designed to be light and compact for travel and ease of installation. Like so many of my other successor Demonstrators, it was snapped up by a client who first wanted to hear a sample of what I can create. The second it was connected into his system, he had to have it. Happens every time!

One of very few I’ve built that are SE ( Single-Ended ) and talk about versatility, look at all the different ways you can run this one:  Choose your rectifier ( 5U4, 5AR4, 5V4, 5R4, 5Y3 ) for the centre socket, choose your drivers ( 6SN7GT, GTB or GTA, 6SL7GT, GTB or GTA), in the sockets next, then choose your power tubes that go on either end ( 6V6, 6L6, 5881, EL-34, Kt-77, 7581, 7591 ).  It’s no wonder it’s long gone!

This demonstrator power amp was, just like the second one, snapped up by a client who first wanted to hear a sample of what I can create. The second it was connected into his system, he had to have it. Happens everytime!

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Designed for a client who likes a balanced look. The colour was a surprise. Created in a Jet Black with prismatic metal flake, this Push-Pull power amplifier was designed to show every tube at almost any angle.

Designed for a client who likes a balanced look. The colour was a surprise. Created in a Jet Black with prismatic metal flake, this Push-Pull power amplifier was designed to show every tube at almost any angle.

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This unit, designed to fit a very small space went all the way to other side of the continent. One of my very early units.

This unit, designed to fit a very small space went all the way to other side of the continent. One of my very early units.

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Ah, my favourite amp. Here’s the bookshelf amp again showing it from yet another angle…

Ah, my favourite amp. Here's the bookshelf amp again showing it from yet another angle...

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Probably the most unusual looking power amp I’ve made with a truly unique feature.  This unit can be switched from Tetrode mode to Triode mode on-the-fly due to a design I’ve pioneered to go with my unique amplifier circuit. This system works flawlessly and really demonstrates the difference between the two modes of operation. Cool!

Probably the most unique looking power amp I've made with a truely unique feature, this unit can be switched from Tetrode mode to Triode mode on-the-fly due to a design I've pioneered to go with my unique amplifier circuit. This system works flawlessly and really demonstrates the difference between the two modes of opperation. Cool!

Here’s a shot of the high voltage cables as they seem to grow out of the chassis…

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Now, this is the most involved, most sought after, most featured integrated vacuum tube amplifier I’ve made to date. This is a push-pull-parallel, dual voltage, dual source, 60 to 100 watt per channel integrated amp. With a set of three switches on the left hand side to make these selections. You have an on/off switch first, then a 350v / 390v / stand-by switch next, then a dual source select switch. This system allows you to run 5881, 6L6, 7581, and all their variants on 350v and 7591, Kt-77, EL-34 and all their variants on 390v. The power transformer had these two high voltage taps, so I used them. FYI, I have another one of these transformers just waiting to be used along with some kick-ass outputs!

Now, this is the most involved, most saught after most featured integrated vacuum tube amplifier I've made to date. This is a push-pull-parallel, dual voltage, dual source, 60 to 100 watt per channel integrated amp. With a set of three switches on the left hand side to make these selections. You have an on/off switch first, then a 350v / 390v / stand-by switch next, then a dual source select switch. This system allows you to run 5881, 6L6, 7581, and all their variants on 350v and 7591, Kt-77, EL-35 and all their variants on 390v. The power transformer had these two high voltage taps, so I used them. FYI, I have another one of these transformers just waiting to be used along with some kick-ass outputs!

Beautiful candy apple red paint work.

Beautiful candy apple red paint work.

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Once again a very unique look but a very familiar sound, the sound of purity and punch, with every detail your favourite recording has to offer. I can make them look like anything the mind can conjure up but make no mistake, they all sound the same, with only slight differences in personality depending on which tubes are used, with driver tubes having the most influence here.

Once again a very unique look but a very familiar sound, the sound of purity and punch, with every detail your favourite recording has to offer. I can make them look like anthing the mind can conjure up but make no mistake, they all sound the same, with only slight differences in personallity depending on which tubes are used, with driver tubes having the most influence here.

Top look of the Ocean Blue 807…

Top look of the Ocean Blue 807...

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The Balloon amp.  Designed as my second demonstrator and like the first one, snapped up two days after I finished it. I designed this PP-6BQ5 integrated unit around this beautiful and quite rare #80 rectifier tube made in the year 1931 still new in its box! This tube is the predecessor to the 5Y3G or GT that we all know. The only real difference is the #80 fits a 4 pin socket and the 5Y3 fits a more modern octal socket, but it’s the balloon shape of this #80 that I loved and what makes it rare. Featuring this rectifier tube was the catalyst for this design. Simply elegant don’t you think?

Designed as my first demonstator and like the other one, snapped up two days after I finished it. I designed this PP-6BQ5 integrated unit around this beautiful and quite rare #80 rectifier tube made in the year 1931 still new in its box! This tube is the predicessor to the 5Y3G or GT that we all know. The only real difference is the #80 fits a 4 pin socket and the 5Y3 fits a more modern octal socket, but it's the balloon shape of this #80 that I loved and what makes it rare. Featuring this rectifier tube was catalist for this design. Simply elegant don't you think?

Rear view of the Balloon amp

Rear view of the Balloon amp

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Here is the first Push-Pull-Parallel power amplifier I ever made.  This unit was inspired by one of Mr. Lance Cochrane’s earlier creations.  It was one that really caught my eye, so when the opportunity came along for me to build one of these, I wanted to design it around his.

This 80 watt per channel purple power-house uses solid-state rectification and a great set of Harman-Kardon output transformers with an oversized Baldwin organ power transformer.  With a set of stand-by / pre-heat and high voltage power switches, you can determine the warm-up time depending on which power tubes you decide to use, may they be 6L6 / 5881 / Kt-77 / El-34 / 7581 / or any of their variants.  Its outputs have taps and a selector switch to select between 4/8/16 Ω.

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This beast has been featured on the internet more than any of my other amplifiers. People seem to love its design, and it came about rather simply.  The client like the 80s movie Christine that featured a 1958 Plymouth Fury. He wanted an amp that paid tribute to the automotive designs of the 1950s, and this is what I came up with… With 50s badging and the signature “V8” look of the tube and transformer layout, I think I pulled it off. Power of a V8 too, 100+ horse-power, oops, I mean watts!

This beast has been featured on the internet more than any of my other amplifiers. People seem to love its design, and it came about rather simply- the client like the 80s movie Christine that featured a 1958 Plymouth Fury. He wanted an amp that paid tribute to the automotive designs of the 1950s, and this is what I came up with... With 50s badging and the signature

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This was a project 40 years in the making. Since I was five years old I wanted a console stereo. You see, I grew up in the days when every household had one of these, and my family was no different. This piece was a great accomplishment for me. It took two months to build and two weeks to tune. Tuning not only meant the amplifiers, but also included the speaker crossovers too. Everything had to be taken into account- right from the cabinet, down to the phono stage pre-amplifier. Every detail was carefully thought through and executed. It even had to have the iconic Garrard Type A turntable in it, just like the one we had so many years ago. The reconditioning of the Garrard in itself took two days. Once completed, this console stereo was a testament of my determination to create the best sounding console possible. I use my console nearly everyday. It really takes me back to my early childhood.

This was a project 40 years in the making. Since I was five years old I wanted a console stereo. You see, I grew up in the days when every household had one of these, and my family was no different. This piece was a great accomplishment for me. It took two months to build and two weeks to tune. Tuning not only meant the amplifiers, but also included the speaker crossovers too. Everything had to be taken into account- right from the cabinet, down to the phono stage pre-amplifier. Every detail was carefully thought through and executed. It even had to have a Garrard Type A turntable in it, just like the one we had so many years ago. The reconditioning of this unit in itself took two days. Once completed, it was a testement of my determination to create the best sounding console possible. I use my console nearly everyday. It really takes me back to my early childhood.

These Garrard turntables are mechanical marvels. I find it so amazing how reliable they are and how well they’re put together.  As a child, I would climb up just to watch the unit work, and I still do. Here you see the turntable along with the 807 power amplifier, with its line stage amplifier. Being an amplifier builder, I wanted to showcase the vacuum tubes for all to see, rather than hiding them inside the cabinet as they would have originally been.

These Garrard turntables are a mechanical marvel. I find it so amazing how they work. As a child, I would climb up just to watch the unit work, and I still do. Here you see the turntable along with the 807 power amplifier, and the line stage amplifier. Being an amplifier builder, I wanted to showcase the vacuum tubes for all to see, rather than having them hidden inside the cabinet as they would have orginally been.

…and a side view of the newly rebuilt Garrard type A, along with 30 glorious watts per side of Empire tube power.

...and a side view of the newly rebuilt Garrard type A, along with 30 glorious watts per side of Empire tube power.

Here is the satellite speaker.  This miniature version of the main unit can be placed anywhere in your listening room, making stereo imaging more pronounced than the usual short, fixed distance separating the two speakers consoles were always made with.  The upper compartment will hold a nice number of your favourite LPs.

Console satellite speaker

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