New amplifier progress

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I got pretty excited yesterday and wanted to share. Our chief engineer, Bob Stadtherr, has been doing the heavy lifting of hand building the first of two power amplifier prototypes at the direction of the amp’s designer, Bascom King. Yesterday we finally plugged it in to see if any of the smoke hiding in the components escapes. Whenever one of these events takes place, especially with high powered electronics, the ritual around the lab is for the engineering team to stand in a small circle to watch; Bob with his hand on the line cord ready to pull it if the smoke starts to escape.

We were smoke free! Which is not surprising since he’s tested all the modules well before this point but … with anything that’s new …

Wow. The new amp, complete with a tube front end works. We did a quick measurement of the frequency response, it was only down half a dB at 100kHz, distortion well under 0.01%, clips at 270 watts into 8 Ohms, does about 500 into 4. If all that doesn’t mean much to you, don’t sweat it. It’s really good. Just what we were shooting for. Sure there’s a few niggling problems to get through, and then months of tuning and voicing, but this is a spectacular moment and one I wanted to share.

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That’s Bob getting read to turn the amp on. Unfortunately, Bascom wasn’t here for the launch, he has an identical copy on the way to his home in California.

And today I am spending the afternoon listening to it. So far it’s very promising, it actually needs some break in.

This is exciting. Thanks for letting me share.