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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WE 437A/LCR Phono-stage and 801A/10Y Line-stage project - Thomas Mayer's at work!

The result of sooo pleasant, recent Berlin's gathering and endless audio and music chatting has been the above: Thomas Mayer is definitely at work on my behalf seeking for my next all triodes/tube rectified, separate P.S.U. four-chassis LCR phono-stage and line-stage pre-amps.

After my recent exposure to the glory of a Telefunken EC 8020 based phono-stage, I finally understood 'twas time to go for a special project: an LCR based on classic Tango EQ600P LCR modules, using the most exotic and sought after of the super-high transconductance, super-low impedance and highest Mu triodes ever: His Majesty the Western Electric 437A triode (sort of an U.S. version of the mega-rare German-made Telefunken's EC 8020).

All the above mentioned goodies will be painstackingly filtered by hands, skill and knowledge of one of the truly passionate, out-of-the-choir, leading audio designers and builder around, in Europe or elsewhere: Thomas Mayer from Germany. His knowledge of the basics, musical and aesthetic good taste and respect for the data-books is filtered by a braveness and a dadaist experimenter fever which is simply rare these days.

It's always a great experience to discuss and fiddle and think about the building of a one-of-a-kind audio gear... I still fondly remember - in my limited, yet sincere experience - when I built a couple of WE 300B based monoblocks... every aspect, down to the last screw and inch of wire was worth long chatting around... all in the name of Music.

So... here we go: found a quartet of '70s WE 437A, one pair in the USA and the other pair in Japan; found the classic Tango's EQ600P LCR pair, discussed about circuits, tubes, sockets, metal-chassis, colours, wooden-boxes and aesthetics, TVC by Dave Slagle and among the best components and parts around... well, knowing someone, a friend, is making drawings, thinking, assemblying, soldering for you alone, is bespoke care and salt to life and to this passion.

... about TVC (Transformers Volume Control)... here is something I recently read on the matter, which deeply intrigued me...

"Trasparency & ambience": There is a great sense of clearness, possibly due to ground decoupling, and a much improved ambience retrival.
"All bandwidth sounds at the same level" Another reason for going TVC is that all the part of the sound spectrum "works" in the same way and direction. We realized that with the stepped resistor attenuator we used previously, at some level-settings and under certain conditions, the sound started to "shout" (at very high level).
"Whispering with body and guts" at very low level - so nice at midnight - with previous volume control, sound seemed quite "thin", this will be another surprise: you can have a great "body" also when listening at low level.
"Pump up the Volume" We don't know why, but from the time we've put this pots in the chain we're pleasantly listening at an higher level than before; the tonal balance seems more natural & open and also power flows more gently, effortlessly natural.
At the end we found ourselves listening (almost without fatigue) at a so high level we could barely chat to each other."

... the above points, taken from an Italian blog, sounded so true, I simply had to try TVC in my system and yes... it worked as per above mentioned hypes!

Unfortunately the TVC's equipped gear was on loan... but...

... more to come.


(added at a later date...)

Thomas Mayer just wished to add the following:

"Dear Stefano,

thanks for the kind words...

It is an honor for me to construct these music making machines for such a fine gentlemen who has such a refined taste.

Thanks for the interesting chats we had in Berlin. And thanks for the trust you put in me!

best regards


... my pleasure, Thomas!

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