Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Whole Switcharoo!

This whole blog started a while back when Jeff and I were starting work on a Chinese tube amp kit. I figured the only way to track what we are doing is to take photos and document our steps. We were meeting up once a week at best and some weeks we would be confused where we left off. Since we were taking pictures and tracking what we were doing anyway, I thought to just post it in a blog that both of us could access.

That amp has been long since finished and put into action for a while, taken out of action when the Marantz 140 and came back into action for a short time recently. I decided that no matter what, that amp will stay around. We put a lot of hours and energy into it and it would be a shame to ever sell it.

The Marantz 140 was a nice, quick project and had a simple and powerful sound that was really gratifying compared to the flawed circuitry of our first attempt at building anything from scratch, nonetheless a Chinese tube amp with no instructions. Maybe in the future when we know much more than we do now, we can revisit the wiring of that amp and make it a bit more than it is now....

The switcharoo... Well, I decided to part with the Marantz and get some cash towards a new amp. I was looking at some assorted, lower end tube mono blocks and couldnt really find anything under $600 or so that would sound decent. I was on the fence about a pair of Dareds that were rather new to the market, but at the last minute decided not as all the tubes were very, very generic and low quality.. it made me question everything about the amp.

I was tracking a no name pair of amps and at the last minute ended up being the high bidder, but did not meet the reserve. I asked the seller if he would sell it to me at my high price and he agreed. However, he ended up listing them anyways with a lower reserve and not getting back to me. So, I waited it out and just decided to keep looking while following his auction. After the auction ended again, unsuccessfully, he sent me a second chance offer, but it was for my first bid and not for the final bid that I placed. In the end, I scored a questionable set of amps for a great price.

I knew that had 1 Mullard, 1 Ruby and 1 Sovtek each, came with original boxes and had under 40hrs each.

When I got them... I was surprised to say the least. They were about 2x the size I expected! There is much more amp than I expected.

I got them setup and as it turns out, the front tube is a magic eye signal detector tube! I am such a fool for gimmicks like this.

I have a bit of tweaking to do still, but am very, very happy with what turned out to be an even trade across the board for the Marantz 140!



In the new Ikea entertainment center... which Jeff calls "The Best Deal in Audio"



With some sweet new speaker cables!



In all its sweet tube glow

video

The Magic Eye is one of my favorite features of this amp.... check it out!