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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just brewed: WE 171/R 120 integrated amp

Me and my pard just finished a lovely project, using ONLY vintage premium parts, irons, caps, resistors and tubes, of course...

The chassis, made of 2 mm copper, is old-timey and new at the same time... other features: Hirshmann's speakers posts and two line inputs, with a Clarostat carbon pot and ALL Allen-Bradley's resistors and Western Electric's wire throughout... on anode two '30s wire non-inductive 10W/600 ohm Western Electric huge, super-sounding wire-resitors complete the hardware...

One pair of sought-after, original Western Electric 171A output-transformers adds its own sonic footprint, musical, smooth, yet detailed, with a seldom heard sense of rhythm and trueness and a mind-boggling resolution which, at first listen - yesterday afternoon - made me wondering about soundstage and its misteries: there is no end in improving this or that parameter?

A record, actually a disk, which is in my DNA, proved to better than ever, demonstrates this: on Angel Song by Koonitz, Frisell, Holland and Wheeler, the sense of depth, the distance of musician(s) from microphone and the studio dimensions are truly impressive!

... but also on Tiny Vipers' limited-edition double LP-set (a TRUE winner, musically AND sonically, and an instant audiophile classic, folks!!!), the acoustic guitar and Jesy's beautiful voice gives shivers a go-go: the sound is so pure and mighty from these gorgeous 5 Watts it's quite embarassing, as I'm still using the Zeiss-Ikon/Klangfilm luggage speakers, NOT the Goto;-)))

The tubes are the much beloved tubes of Jean Hiraga-san - those R-120, sort of 2A3 european version, sports a cool true mesh-plate structure, a very rare find on these triodes, and... the sound, well... my pard Gianni demonstrated the R-120 little monster vs. an Audionote (UK) Meishu, several times its cost and, with Tannoy Arden and 15 Red speaker, the result was a no-brainer at all.

Seated, ultra-forgiving sound vs. sparkling, live, ever-surprising, x-ray detailed... R-120 won soooo easily.

I'm enjoying this little hand-made amplifier a lot... waiting to recover from my physical troubles and being so able to re-install Goto's in my new studio.

A nice way to being wished "Happy Birthday";-)

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