45 TUBE AMPLIFIER
The parts cost for this amplifier is over $6,000 and I can’t obtain what I need to build this amp as an OEM currently. The supply demand situation for high end parts sucks and I don’t build this amp to make money. Paying full retail just to get the parts I need isn’t something that makes sense to me – but that’s what we have going on right now. Prices are going up (considerably) and parts are becoming difficult if not impossible to source. The amplifier you now see on this home page is FOR SALE and I have another identical amp that I built just for my own use. Future amplifiers that I build (using this same circuit and parts design) will definitely cost more for parts and I will also be adding a markup for my own time involved in building it. This is the only amplifier that I will sell at slightly less than my actual parts cost and I’m doing this to obtain an honest review of the sound quality in the purchaser’s listening room. This review in addition to the amount I’m asking for is the price for this amp and this amplifier only.
This is a true statement quality amplifier and if you use a superb set of tubes you won’t find anything that sounds better. If you’re interested in purchasing this amplifier from me, I’ll share anything that I’ve discovered to make sure you receive the ultimate value I planned for this amp. This amplifier has the rare vintage Tamura power transformer and pair of vintage Tamura potted output transformers (sourced from Alan Eaton) that in my opinion are better than new production iron. Unfortunately, I can’t obtain this “iron” anymore and will build all future amps using new production transformers. I’m using the very expensive Yamamoto teflon tube sockets (the last 5 for this amp were $70 each with shipping cost) and have to purchase them now directly from Yamamoto in Japan. Jac’s Music (in Germany) will no longer sell them since their price has gone up 40%. Even these parts are becoming scarce. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the right person. The sound quality of this amplifier is superb! It definitely will be the last high quality amplifier that I will be able to build at anywhere near this price.
My Asking Price For This Amp is $5,999.00
(At that price, I’m losing money and you’re paying less than the raw parts cost with no makeup for anything!)
Continue To Read What I’m Sharing About This Amp Below
Frank Lloyd Wright
If you’re interested in the absolute best sound quality for the money that is available at real world prices contact me. If you’re unsure, do your own research and spend your own money and I hope that you’ll end up eventually at where I’m at now. Odds are that you won’t since most people will not believe what I’m sharing is true. Its taken me decades of building, buying and selling to find this solution.
I’ve wasted a huge amount of my own money in this search and for the first time during my long journey I’m extremely pleased with the results.
Also, consider the following observation when choosing your audio reproduction approach:
You can always “color” a really good “clean” recorded track but you cannot take away “color” that has been added by inferior components and lack of skill added during the recording process. Consequently, only some of our music has been recorded really well and that’s another thing you need to live with.
I FINALLY DID IT!
I’ve been an OEM for decades and also have sold (as an authorized audio dealer and occasionally as a distributor) a number of really well focused audio brands. Currently, I’m only building my 45 tube amp and am selling just a few retail audio solutions made by other manufacturers. This is a decision that I’ve recently made after discovering the ideal high efficiency speakers that have eluded me most all of my lifetime. The new amplifier I just built with these speakers is incredible! The speakers weren’t available until last year so its taken quite awhile for even that manufacturer to come up with an excellent and affordable solution – something I’ve been searching for over a long long time.
My dream was to find a pair of speakers that didn’t need subwoofers to sound right (down to at least 38Hz for good acoustic music reproduction) and possessed other characteristics that allowed them to sound better and to come closer to my own speaker requirements than other speakers I could buy.
I didn’t want large speaker cabinets that I couldn’t lift and move by myself (these are floor standers and weigh about 60 pounds). They measure 15″ wide x 12″ deep x 42″ high and are a perfect size and weight for my use. I also didn’t want any crossover components to reduce the audio quality or to “color” the sound in any way. I wanted these speakers to be fast and dynamic and very “real” sounding.
They shouldn’t have any crossover components ideally and would be full range drivers in design but sound better than typical full range drivers. These are excellent in that regard. I’m a former professional jazz piano player and know what “live” music sounds like in many different venues. These speakers come as close to sounding “right” as is possible since an audio reproduction system really can’t equal live music. These speakers have excellent body, a very pure sound quality, allow me to listen near-field as well as further back in my listening room, and are extremely dynamic and “live” sounding.
THE SPEAKERS I NOW USE HAVE ONLY ONE VOXATIV 8″ A2.6 FULL RANGE DRIVER PER CABINET
There are no other speakers involved. The Voxativ A2.6 in these cabinets are very full bodied sounding and reveal the highest quality of music reproduction. They do not sound like full range drivers that I’ve used in the past and are much much better. DO NOT USE THE Voxativ A1.6 or other lesser speakers in this cabinet unless you plan on upgrading to the A2.6 in the future. The A2.6 really allows this cabinet to produce the best audio quality.
Overall there is a point around that 100hr mark where somebody removes the parking brake and this 45 tube amp and it kicks into full gear. Up to that point it is good, just not jaw-droppingly good. When in full swing, it amazes. The second and pricey caveat is that you must upgrade from low cost new production tubes which are great for clocking burn-in hours on the circuit, to Czech Emission Labs (mesh 45 or solid plate 45 your choice) which sound nothing like the low cost tubes.
They are punchier, faster, deeper, richer and more resolved; in other words, in a different league entirely. Depending on the model you settle on, mesh or solid plate, it will cost you around $700 for the upgrade but you won’t hear this 45 tube amp at its full potential unless you do, period.
Just as importantly, tube differences are amplified when the EML 45 bottle is used to drive speakers (as in this power amplifier) rather than an amplifier’s input stage (when used in a preamplifier). The increased current capabilities of the Emission Labs are far more critical during speaker-drive duties than they are in a direct-heated amp.
Finally and most importantly, to appreciate what this amp is capable of, you will need speakers that thrive on SET power. Sadly that’s far more complex and less predictive than simply going with high efficiency. Case in point: I currently own a pair of Charney Maestro Extreme speakers with Voxativ A2.6 drivers. These speakers are SET-friendly and truly show their full potential with triode amps. Zu speakers, even though rated at a very high efficiency, do not work well with low powered tube amps. They do better with low power solid state amps.
An 8″ speaker is the ideal size for reproducing the human voice and most instrumental acoustic music in the best possible way and is one of the reasons these sound so good. You need the Voxativ A2.6 drivers at minimum to render authentic body and beauty with the incredible sound quality these Tractix horn cabinets produce. Because of the Tractix horn design of the cabinets, they play low frequencies well and do not need a subwoofer for acoustic music. This is unusual for a full range driver system.
These speakers go down to 37Hz really well (the lowest frequency that I’ll desire for acoustic music). Their cost is $6,800 for the pair plus shipping so they are not inexpensive but also not crazy expensive either. They can be afforded by most people even if they need to save for a period of time before purchasing them. In all honesty, these speakers are about as perfect as it gets with the goals that I’ve stated above. Plus they are 101db efficient and work extremely well with 2 w/ch amplifiers. These are my “desert island” dream speakers. Are there better speakers? Of Course! But they would be much larger, much heavier, and a whole lot more expensive and wouldn’t satisfy the goals I set out for myself. These cost enough and play really well and I’m extremely pleased. You would be too if you owned them and passing them down through your family would be an easy task since most people would like them and be able to use them in their space. These speakers will live way beyond you and endow others really well and they deserve a tube amplifier like the one I’m discussing here.
“For the very modest power output, the 45 would have been forgotten. However, one outstanding strength has made audiophiles rediscover it decades later. The sound from the 45 tube is simply pure, seductive, and even magical! Anything good that can be said about the 300B tube or the 2A3, the 45 can do better, with only one limitation – 2W output, versus 3.5-4W from 2A3, and 8W from a single-ended 300B.” Quote is from Richard Wugang at Sophia Electric here in the US.
ALL OF OUR MUSIC SIGNAL IS CONTAINED WITHIN THE 1ST WATT
The 2nd Watt is needed to properly propel that music into your environment. Anything beyond those first 2 watts degrades your sound quality (if what you’re looking for is reproduction as close to real music as is possible and is emotionally satisfying). The sound quality presented by the 45 tube is intoxicating and the absolute best I’ve ever heard in my highly customized 45 tube amp. 2W is what it puts out and is the perfect amount of power for the absolute best audio reproduction (if you have really good speakers). It was the lack of the right speakers that caused me to not consider using the 45 tube to build an amplifier over the decades that I’ve been building amps. I’m glad that I finally did.
THIS AMPLIFIER’S CIRCUIT DESIGN HAS MORE UNLEASHED POTENTIAL THAN ANYTHING I’VE USED OR BUILT
This amplifier has the simplest circuit (thank you Alan Eaton – more about this on a separate page on this website) and AC heats the 45 tubes with minimal interference from what I consider are unnecessary and more complicated component designs that degrade the sound quality. Components that actually “take away” from the beauty rather than add to it. All of these typical circuit components have been removed so only the most beautiful analog sound quality can emerge in its most natural form. This borders on being able to hear hum but I don’t hear hum even when using my 101db efficient speakers. To accomplish this, the layout needed to be really well done since now we have the possibility of hum and I wanted to avoid that. Alan Eaton avoids hum by doing over 20 different things to his circuit design to avoid extraneous noise
I’m using the same circuit design and build concepts (particularly when keeping AC down the middle of the amp and sensitive signal circuitry on the left and right sides. My amp, however, is highly modified and in a substantially larger chassis and that larger chassis also contributes to producing less hum since components are further apart. I don’t hear hum and didn’t hear hum in Alan’s original 45 amp that I first purchased with my 101db sensitive speakers. Purchasing that original Alan Eaton 45 amplifier was what motivated me to use it’s circuit design to create this highly upgraded component. His amp that I received also was built in a larger chassis than he typically uses but not quite as large as the one I use here. To further mitigate hum potential in my build, a large cnc’d chassis is used and the best separation (distance) between AC and DC power is created. This provides the absolute best way to layout this kind of circuit design without the need to separate the AC from the delicate DC signal components by using a 2nd chassis for the power supply. If I did that as well as adding a few other design considerations that are my own, I’d increase the cost beyond what normal people could afford and would be heading toward the $20K territory. That doesn’t interest me and my design, even though expensive, is extremely cost efficient.
My retail price will probably exceed $8,000 for this amplifier to help compensate me for the extensive amount of time it takes to put it together. My parts cost alone is well over $6k so there is little left for me at my planned selling price. There are no margins paid to distributors and dealers nor any money spent on advertising. If you purchase this amp from me, you are paying below normal factory direct pricing. I’m not making money doing this and in all honesty, I won’t even break even. So if you’re interested, fine. If you’re not fine. The last thing I would ever do is try to sell this amplifier in quantity and consequently short change its beautiful sound quality or increase its cost. I won’t produce it at a lower price or a higher price with a considerable amount added for marketing and profit.
THE END RESULT IS A BEAUTIFUL INCREASE IN SOUND QUALITY
This amp was already excellent sounding when built with the lowest cost parts as Alan does it. However, I needed to use the right tubes to mask the distortion that I heard (contributed from the various inexpensive parts and wire that Alan used). At $1,500 (Alan’s selling price) this amplifier is a bargain. It replaced Kevin’s Yamamoto 45 tube amp (that now costs well over $7,000 for a new one) that was his favorite for a long time until Alan’s amplifier came along. Kevin is the owner of glowinthedarkaudio.com and purchases amplifiers on a regular basis to be able to hear their differences. Some are good. Some are not. And a few are really great. Alan Eaton’s amplifier made it to beocome one of Kevin’s favorites in spite of the issues I know that exist. After purchasing this amplifier, I too realized why Kevin liked it. I also understand why he sold it and have corrected those areas so they no longer are a concern. This does increase the cost. There’s no “free lunch” in audio reproduction and is where I excel with my abilities – making a really good amplifier design sound considerably better. I don’t create new designs but rather take proven and really excellent and rare designs and improve them beyond what anyone else has done. I understand how components work and how to put together an ideal combination for a specific goal. It’s much like cooking that rare dish above and beyond what anyone would normally do.
The key is to find that unusual and unique circuit design in the first place. My build far exceeds Alan Eaton’s 45 tube amplifier quality and is now a STATEMENT amplifier and represents what the best sound quality actually sounds like using the 45 power tube. I can now use the correct tubes that make this amp sounds its best and that’s what I’ve done after trying many different NOS old vintage tubes along the way. Previously, the 6SN7 tubes that I found to be the best in this new amp were the worst sounding in Alan’s amp. They were too linear and too correct and uncovered the “hidden” distortion. When using them, the sound quality ended up in your face and that is one of the first things that I found when I powered up Alan’s amp. It wasn’t the circuit design that did this but rather the low cost approach he uses to provide an attractive and affordable solution. His solution works at the price he’s asking and if that is all you can afford, start with his amplifier. To sound its best, however, this amplifier needs to be built as I’ve done it. With my upgraded design approach, this amplifier sounds superb! If you can afford to purchase my amp, by all means, do it. It will be one of the best things you could do when accumulating great audio gear.
I‘m done. There are no more alternative circuit designs to consider other than the work I’m now doing to fine tune this amplifier and to try out a few very high end alternative components. This amplifier combined with the speakers I’m using are as perfect as I’m ever going to achieve anywhere near the total cost of this system. It meets all of my goals and the sound quality is sublime. I love it! The initial fine tuning is now done and I’m using the best tubes and connectors that this system should use. I can now share how to do this with you. Beyond that is my own continued R&D and if it works out, I’ll share that later. For now, this finished amplifier is perfect for my and your use.
I’VE NEVER HEARD REPRODUCED MUSIC SOUND SO GOOD, SO BEAUTIFUL, AND SO REAL
Because of this accomplishment, I’m suspending all OEM building from here forward and will only build this 2 watt per channel 45 tube amp in the manner that I’m doing it. Any other items that I sell will compliment this recommended system or extend my personal use requirements. There is no need to sell other unrelated items.
The speakers I’m now using are made by another manufacturer and I highly recommend purchasing these speakers or anything more expensive that they have to offer. You will end up paying what I did for this solution.
This is another botique company that doesn’t market through distributors or dealers so I pay what you pay for these same items. Even though the price might seem high, its money well spent and is affordable by most all people interested in owning a superb audio sound quality and one of the best values that money can buy.
My only music source is digital and is my incredible DAC in NOS mode. I use Audirvana Plus and Isotope Ozone9 to play music. My hardware system is my iMac Pro computer. This combination allows for re-mastering all of my music to a standard that rarely is heard. This is the way to get all of your music to sound good and is something that I’m willing to share with my customers.
My DAC is a Holo May Kitsune DAC and again I pay what you do since I can’t be a dealer for that product either. I’ve owned well over 30 DACs (all purchased at dealer pricing) in the last 5 years and this is the #1 DAC I’ve ever owned or have heard. Its quite unusual for me to purchase a DAC at retail but I did and am very pleased with this decision. With the unique and extremely high quality of music repodctuion that I get with this DAC, there is no need to sell other brands! I’m not here to make money selling audio components. Instead, I’m sharing what works best and what you should consider doing on your own. These 3 components, my custom 45 tube amp, the speakers I now use, and that DAC are the keys to obtaining the best sound quality you could purchase at anywhere near their total cost.
I’M GIVING AWAY MY HARD EARNED EXPERIENCE INSTEAD OF CREATING A PROFITABLE BUSINESS MODEL
I’ve purchased components at 60% off at distributor prices, at 40% off as a dealer, and through building my own OEM components and I rarely pay retail. If I do, that component really needs to be well above the quality that other alternatives can provide. These speakers and this DAC are so incredible and well done that I’m willing to pay retail prices for them. That says something. And of course, this superb audio quality comes together only when combined with my own custom 45 tube amp. THIS AMPLIFIER IS THE KEY to providing the unique sound quality I’m receiving. All three should be used together.
If you can’t afford to accumulate these 3 components all at once, purchase the amplifier 1st. I’ll then share alternative purchases (for the speakers or the DAC or both) that you can use until you save enough money for the 2nd and then the 3rd component purchase. In this manner, you will be committed to building this system correctly (one step at a time) and can do so at your leisure and at the pace you can afford. You definitely will hear serious improvements as you add or upgrade each component and ultimately end up with this complete system.
Even the amplifier that I build will never create an income for me but its creation is worth doing. That’s the only reason I’m offering my time and money to duplicate this build. This 45 tube amplifier is the absolute best I’ve heard during my extensive time involved with the audio industry. Anyone interested in purchasing one of my custom amps will need to prove to me that they will benefit or I won’t accept their order. My time is too valuable and this effort is too labor intensive to mess around. I don’t make money doing this and instead am endowing another individual who wants to experience the joy that I experience when using this system. I’m only looking for someone that truly will benefit from my work and will appreciate it. If I can determine they will, I’ll build an amp (for them). I no longer will build the amp ahead of finding its new owner.
EXPENSIVE BUT NOT UNOBTAINABLE
These aren’t inexpensive options but then again they aren’t super expensive either (I guess its all relative). I don’t believe in going all out and spending huge sums of money on your gear when its not needed.
The “old guys” who spend $100K to maybe $200K on their systems and dedicated listening rooms are a vanishing breed and I’m not one of them. There is plenty to do (room treatment being really important and can’t be ignored) and there are still plenty of places to spend money when putting a world class system together. For around $20k spent on components, however, you can own this system and end up with something that will satisfy you more than the alternative ways that are recommended so you end up owning even more expensive systems that others advocate and put together for sale (to you). Most of these system’s cost is for bling and substantial payments are also made to distributors and dealers for really high profit margins. That can easily amount to 60% or more of your purchase price. So even at “used” prices, you’re still paying too much for what you’re getting. Consider what I’m sharing and head in that direction. Don’t waste a substantial portion of your audio money paying for “air” and “bling”. Focus on what you’re doing and be careful and only pay for the best value.
SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY
With the components I’m now using, I’m achieving the utmost archival quality and am gaining the most serious value for money spent. There is nothing even close to the sound quality and the value of this system that I’m aware of. To get to this level of quality, however, I had to build this amplifier from scratch and use my decades of experience to select the best possible components to increase the sound quality as it now is. Fine tuning this system was also very important and I can now share the items needed with my customers. The specific combination of electronic components have been selected by me and they sound the absolute best in the way I use them. Plus, the system simplicity is at its highest level through my unique audio approach.
A really good audio reproduction system should hold its value and provide a way to endow other’s in your family when you pass on. Thus, a really great system needs to be useable by not just you but by many others that might not be currently here or have no idea what really superb musical reproduction sounds like. To do this, your system needs to be both attractive and useable within a given set of goals (similar to what I’ve outlined above).That’s an important accomplishment for me and is what I’m now working on to find out if there is one last level above the one I’m offering to you. Maybe there is one more step beyond what I’ve already built with this amp. Maybe there isn’t but I need to find out so consequently I’m not done and I’ll keep exploring.
For you, however, this amplifier as it is currently built is the best I can provide.Its sound quality is superb. I need to make sure that each and every one of these statement quality amplifiers is easy to repair in the future and have done so through its design. The biggest change that I’m considering right now will be the future replacement (maybe 20 years from when each amp is built) of the expensive Audio Note Kaisei electrolytic capacitors that I use in both the power supply and the 6SN7 tube signal path areas. I need to build this amp (even larger chassis will be required) one more time using all film capacitors to decide if I’m already at the highest possible level. I have designed printed circuit boards to hold all of the Kaisei capacitors and the really large 2W AudioNote Niobium and Tantalum silver resistors. Even though I prefer point to point wiring, the printed circuit boards are really required to connect the large components I’m using in the best way while keeping the shortest distance between points.
My design is a combination of point to point wiring with some printed circuit board use and is really a hybrid design. This is the ideal way to build an amplifier of this type and this circuit design is set up to do this. I really don’t like using a single printed circuit board for an entire amp. In my opinion, that limits the life expectancy of the amplifier and requires using alternative parts that might not sound as good down the road (just to fit the original board).
I’ll also include extra bare boards with this build (at no additional cost) so anyone could start over (30 to 40 years down the road and only if necessary) when re-populating the Kaisei capacitors. The original pcb’s should be able to be used one more time and this should provide 30 to 40 years of use (the new set I’m including should double your useful time. The transformer set will easily last as long as you use this amp) so right now, it definitely has built in heirloom quality.
Maintaining archival quality and long term ownership has been my ultimate goal along while providing the absolute best sound quality possible. That’s what I have to offer and your purchase of this 45 tube amplifier will be one of the best decisions you will ever make (if you are fortunate to purchase one).
The speaker purchase I made and you could make too is up to you but I highly recommend this approach as an ideal solution. I have not found other speakers to satisfy my goals so for now, use the speakers that I have and you will not be sorry. Most other smaller full range driver systems will require subwoofers and plate amplifiers to drive them and then the simplicity and the absolute best high quality sound will suffer. If you use a lower cost pair of speakers (I’ll recommend the best ones for you to use), save your money and replace them with this speaker design I have when you can eventually afford it. I’ve never found subwoofers to integrate well with main speakers (and I have tried many times) and is not a concept that I’ll explore anymore. My last attempt was with subwoofers that retailed at $3,500 each and I’ve given up. Its just not worth adding them in my opinion if you want the best sound quality. Yes, if you want to listen to artificial electronic bass but absolutely not if you want the best audio reproduction of acoustic instruments as well as vocals. Everything in audio is a compromise and that is one I will no longer make – using subwoofers to augment my audio system.
I HAD TO BUILD THIS AMP SINCE WHAT I ENVISIONED DIDN’T YET EXIST
The only way to accomplish what I’m sharing in a sane manner is by my building this audio amplifier (from scratch and with the best quality components put together in my way) using Alan Eaton’s circuit design and to pair it with the stellar pair of high efficiency speakers that I’m now using – single driver speakers that don’t need subwoofers to sound right. Without the need to also include a preamplifier and to use instead pair of high quality mono pots for volume control (installed inside this power amp) is my ultimate solution.
If you build your system that way you end up with a simplified system with the least number of “coloring” components and connections. You definitely do not need a separate preamplifier for this system. In fact if you use one (only for convenience), your audio quality will suffer. For added convenience it might be worth using a separate external volume control solution (for you) and if you did, I highly recommend that you consider a transformer based passive volume control solution (with remote). An active preamplifier generally will provide a serious reduction in quality of this system and a really good one will easily cost close to $20,000 or more. You definitely do not need to add gain to this 45 tube amp through the addition of an active preamplifier and I highly recommend against doing that.
The quality of your source is the final determining factor and with the addition of the best sounding DAC and digital music, you should be able to end up with a stellar system and enjoy it tremendously. Ease of use is superb if you use the system as I do. Add the transformer based passive volume control that I will recommend (with an Apple Remote) optionally and you will love the simplicity, the sound quality, and the ease of use.
THE END RESULT IS EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE
You can see the photo of this new 45 tube amp that I custom build for you at the top of this page. I have one built and ready for sale right now and in the future will only accept custom orders in advance of the amplifier being built. This amp is beautiful and it’s sound quality is emotionally addictive and totally sublime! From my experience, the circuit Alan used for the 45 tube creates the absolute best sounding emotionally laden and right sounding audio system I’ve ever heard and I love it. I enjoy really well built solid state amplifiers (such as Pass Amps & First Watt – both that I’ve owned) as well as tube amplifiers. But this 45 tube amplifier that I’m now building is so good that I can no longer use either solid state or any other tube amp no matter who builds it including myself.
WHY PURCHASE FROM ME?
I’ve spent decades building audio gear (power amplifiers, preamplifiers, power supplies, speakers, cables, etc) and have worked with high end audiophiles for a very long time. And, I’ve sold numerous other manufacturers components as an audio dealer and occasionally as a distributor. I’m a former professional jazz piano player and I know what real live music sounds like. I’ve owned a Bechstein Concert C234 piano. I purchased it new and built a special highly tuned acoustic room for it. I’ve learned a long time ago that optimizing room acoustics is an integral part of putting together a great sounding audio system for mixing, mastering and listening enjoyment and shouldn’t be avoided. I can help you with that effort if you’re interested.
I’ve also built several high end recording studios for clients of mine (from scratch) and am very informed as to how to achieve really good room acoustics. I’ve done this through actual experience rather than just from what I’ve read online. I’ll share my honest experience oriented findings and am not doing this to make money. Instead, I’m pretty much giving away most items that other companies try to sell you (to make money and not necessarily in your best interest but rather theirs).