Vacuum tubes are hot!
Its like the difference in taste between a tomato you grew in your backyard or one of those plastic things at the supermarket, or frozen pizza vs. a slice fresh out of the oven in Little Italy. Were talking big differences here. And those are the sort of sensual pleasures high-end audio delivers compared to iPods and ear buds. Sure, the little buggers sound good enough, but if you really love music,rotary vane vacuum pump. dont you want to hear your tunes sound as good as they can?
Im sitting here listening to the late British singer/songwriter Nick Drake, and his lines Do you feel like a remnant of something thats passed?/Do you find things are moving a little too st? put the consumer electronics current ball of confusion in perspective. If youve had enough of the never ending parade of formats: cassette, LP, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, AAC,负压风机 FLAC, Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS Master Audio, Blu-ray, DVD, HD DVD, HDMI,SZB Series liquid ring type va…. HDMI, 铁艺栏杆 1.1, HDMI 1.2, HDMI 1.3, HDMI 1.3a, and now HDMI 1.3b, you might be ready to drop out.
This little Darling 1626 amplifier that came to me from George Lenz of TubesUSA is the perfect antidote to that malaise. The amp is an all-vacuum tube design (no transistors) and hooked up to my Zu Audio Druid Mk IV speakers the sound is spectacularly beautiful. There,vacuum equipment I said it, the B word, which is after all, why musicians seek out old Martin guitars and Steinway pianos. Its why some folks go for early analog Moog synthesizers. Its the sound baby!
The Darling 1626 in all its glory.
Its the same deal with vacuum tube audio amplifiers,冷却器 they somehow coax more natural sound from recordings than solid state or digital amplifiers do. The tone feels richer, warmer, sweeter, more like the way instruments sound in real life. My recordings take on a dimensional solidity, and vocals sound distinctly more flesh and blood human. Tubes also look really cool; sure, they have their followers here in the land of Coca Cola, but European and Asian audiophiles are even more devout believers.
The Darling 1626 amplifier goes for $2,500, but this amplifier wasnt born in a ctory; Lenz only builds one when he has a buyer. He imports all sorts of tubes and not only tests each one, he actually takes the time to listen to them as well! He also sells exotic Japanese amps, like the Kurashima 2A3 integrated amplifier ($4,995) that pumps out four (4) watts per channel, 直流电源 double the juice of the Darling, but since my Zu speakers are extremely efficient, they can sing with a couple of watts. These handmade amplifiers arent cheap, but the pleasures of living with handcrafted designs are a big part of their appeal. The people like Lenz who build these things do it for the love of it, and thats a rare commodity in the twenty first century. The TubesUSA Web site is loaded with great info, especially for the hard-core DIY (do it yourself) audiophile crowd.
Steve GuttenbergEx-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.
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