Wall of Sound

Recordings, Concerts and Audiophile Reviews
  1. A Quick-shot, 3 Tube, 12AT7 Shootout by Steve Graham   A German tube, a Russian tube and an English tube walk in to a bar……     The 12AT7 is not the most commonly used preamp tube in audio.  That distinction probably falls to the 12AX7, especially when you add guitar amps to the mix.  So why do a 12AT7 (aka ECC81, CV4024) shootout?  Because the opportunity arose when I had the Elekit TU-8340VK push-pull power amp in my stereo den a while back.  (links 1, 2) The Elekit uses 12AT7’s for both voltage gain and phase splitting, two for each channel.  And I already had three quads -two NOS and one new production – of my own.  I wouldn’t have to beg, borrow and test the patience of the kind people who have loaned tubes unstintingly on previous occasions.  As these are tubes from my personal ‘inventory’, there’s no time pressure to return them or write the review. Why three quads you ask?  Spares for my DIY phono stage.  It’s not ready for prime time yet, so the Ellie amp would suffer yet more tube-change related trauma after the power tube shootout that I subjected her to.  Decent NOS 12at7’s are [...]
  2. Fluxion E&M is the work of Mr. Young Ahn, a Korean-born electrical engineer, who lives and works nearby me, in the rural farmlands outside Brantford, Ontario (Canada). Out here, ginseng has gradually replaced tobacco as the main crop, but it seems transistors have yet to replace vacuum tubes. Hallelujah. Mr. Ahn has been building and selling his amps for a while now, but I believe this is the first ‘industry review’. A more interesting gentleman you will rarely meet in this hobby. And I should clarify: not only does Mr. Ahn hand-build each amplifier, he also designs all his circuits, and even winds all his own transformers. Yes, all the power and output transformers are all wound in house on a winding machine, and Mr. Ahn says this allows him to pass on a savings to the buyer. The number of companies doing this nowadays can probably be counted on one hand. Fluxion amps are given their model designations in homage to notable contributors in the field of electronics. The AV-7 is named after Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery. This is a 12-watts-per-channel, single-ended design, using the Russian 6C33C-B power tube. This is the infamous triode tube that was unknown [...]
  3. Victor Kung of VKMusic.ca has given us the green light to share a very exciting announcement. The long-awaited replacement for Elekit’s 300B SET amp (which we loved to death) has arrived. Well, it’s almost here. The amp will make its’ North American debut at the LA Show next weekend (June 2-4). After that I will be receiving the prototype for a full review!! Availability on these shores is scheduled for late September. The following is the press release and some tasty photos. Enjoy.   VK Music announcement YOU asked for it. YOU got it!! We listened to your requests, and the highly-regarded ELEKIT designer, Mr. Fujita, has taken these requests into consideration. We are happy to present to you the release of the newly designed 300B amp (late September 2017). The new 300B amp has a lot of improvements over its predecessor (the TU-8300R). Here are a few of its new features/specs: Tube Set : 12Au7 X 2 + 12 AX7 X 1 + 300B X 2 Now compatible with low to high impedance headphones Frequency response (-3dB) : 10Hz – 80kHz Max. output (THD 10%) : 8.3W + 8.3W (input voltage : 250mV r.m.s) Residual noise : 42uV rms (IHF-A) Power consumption [...]
  4. Following the successful and fun meet held on March 6th, Frank Fazzalari has notified us that he is planning another get together on June 4th. Same location, but this time it will be at the rooftop space. Dolce Rooftop Featured items will include: Coherent Audio Model 12GR and Model 15GR speakers Triode Labs amps and preamps Tsakiridis amps Antelope Pure 2 ADC /DAC (perfect for high-quality ripping of vinyl) Nordost cables (tbc) All are welcome, to enjoy some great music, good company, special deals, and complimentary drinks. Details: Coherent Audio Meetup Sunday June 4, 2017 from 12pm to 6pm Best Western Premier C Hotel By Carmen’s 1520 Stone Church Rd E, Hamilton, ON L8W 3P9 Dolce Rooftop  
  5. Elekit TU-8340VK Amplifier Follow-up: French Impressionism, Triode Existentialism and Swedish Idealism? by Steve Graham   System Parameters: Triangle Antal XS speakers, mid 2000s vintage ‘Jane’ Aikido 12Vac line stage with a few tweak parts Cambridge Audio 840C CD player PS Audio Power Plant Premier for AC Conditioning My usual motley array of DIY interconnects and speaker cables Input & phase splitting tubes: Tung-Sol reissue (Russian) 12AT7W/6201 Output tubes: Electro-Harmonix 6550 The Triangle Antal XS Speakers (We come from France)  (video) A big thank you to my buddy Ed for graciously volunteering to bring these speakers over to my listening room.  Ed, you are a gentleman, I don’t care what people say.  The Triangles are normally driven, chez Ed, with DIY 300B SET monoblocks and a transformer-based passive attenuator or highly modded active line stage.  At first glance the Triangles seem like a sort of scaled-down version of my PSB’s.  A 1” metal dome tweeter, a 4” midrange, two 5½” woofers and a port grace the front baffle of these slender floor standing speakers.  Their rated impedance is 6 ohms and sensitivity 91db/w/m.  They are, in theory, an easier load and require significantly less power for equal loudness than my PSB’s [...]
  6. Achieving a State of Zen for Under $300 Canadian! by Steve Graham I was casting about, thinking of small speakers that I could try with the Elekit TU-8340VK amp I reviewed recently.  As a last resort, I took down the Radio Shack minis that I had on my workshop walls.  I placed them on top of a pair of floorstanders, connected them up and played a track.  Man, were they ghastly.  Bass was woolly, midrange dull and treble almost non-existent.  They had to go. Wharfedale is a storied name in British hifi.  They were known in the early days for really big, real wood cabinets with multiple drivers (some open baffles, too! -Ed.).  Then in 1981, they introduced the first Diamond.  It was a revelation.  A little speaker with full bass and a small price tag.  This goes back a few years, but it seemed like every Sam The Record Man store I went into, they were playing music quite loudly over a set of Diamonds – with the bass cranked.  I wonder how many people bought records after hearing them on a set of Diamonds. Wharfedale and Diamond have become so synonymous that it makes me wonder how they [...]
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