• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Beautiful Amplifiers? Exploring Art and Audio...

Xulonn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
1,771
Likes
5,825
Location
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
I am initiating this discussion about art and audio with a focus on amplifiers in part as celebration of the "Grand Opening" of a website and online store [LINK] that I built over the past month for an artist friend, Richar Huisa. Richar, like me, is an expat living in Boquete, a small town in the mountains of Western Panama. If not for the loving care and support of Richar and his wife during my medical crisis earlier this year - and continuing to this day - I would be relegated to an assisted care facility rather than continuing to live semi-independently in the little rental house where I have been for over five years.

Although my IT experience was in software sales and tech support, corporate desktop support and LAN network administration, I had built a personal website with WordPress a few years ago, and decided to muddle my way through building a website to showcase and sell Richar's art. I am not a programmer or coder, and had to work my way though the point and click intricacies of Wordpress/Woocommerce/Printful and a gaggle of other "plugins". I even had to edit some email-related DNS scripts on our webserver in Ukraine (Hostinger). After many late nights of struggling to make the website attractive and functional - and easy to navigate - we are ready to invite visitors who might enjoy the art galleries, and perhaps buy a piece of "wall art" or a mug or t-shirt. The art and printed items at the website are shipped from printing and fulfillment centers around the world. However, It's not only about sales. I set up a set of galleries that we will slowly populate further, and I hope to add a "lightbox" function to the galleries where a larger image and information about Panamá, its plants, animals and culture will pop up when you hover over or click on a gallery image.

Relevant to this thread topic - beautiful amplifiers - Richar agreed to let me have a sub-store to offer art-related items. Look at the bottom of the Huisa Art Store menu item, and you will find a category named "The Webmaster's Corner - Audio Art and More". To start off in that corner of the website, we are offering mugs and t-shirts featuring the amplifiers I have chosen as beautiful, although that list is subject to change based on my mood, whim, and the weather. Also, since I needed images that had sufficient resolution to look decent when printed on a mug or t-shirt, images of some beautiful amplifiers were discarded. Here's a screenshot of the RicharHuisa-Artist.com website that I built.

Home Page - Richar Huisa - Artist.jpg

There are already threads on beautiful loudspeakers and turntables, but for modern SS amplifiers, all they have is a black or silver faceplate, often with only power switch and on/off indicator light. Preamplifiers can have simple or very complex front panels, and for many modern digital-music only systems (like mine), a preamplifier is not necessary. AM/FM stand-alone tuners are rare, being replaced in some systems by a component-size DAC or DAC/Headphone amplifier. My desktop system has an amp with a plain square faceplate with a power switch volume control, and LED on/off indicator light. My A/V system has an AVP (Audio-Video preamp) with a plain black faceplate that also features a power switch , power indicator light, volume control - and a fairly large LED display panel that has about 6 practically invisible blow it.

Then there is my music amplifier - The YarLand EL34 PP amp in the list below, is designed to be looked at and admired, even when it is turned off. With its glossy black chassis and transformer covers, softly sculpted front wood panel with tiny gold lettering for the matching volume control and input selector, and 7 vacuum tubes rising from a black bed, I find it attractive. And the warm orange glow of the tubes during an evening listening session in a dimly-lit room is relaxing. (Evenings are always cool - in the 60's Fahrenheit - every day of the year in our tropical highlands environment.)

My first amplifier, purchased for me by my father when I was still in high school in 1958, was a used Bell 2300, a 6L6 monaural integrated amplifier with the tubes mounted horizontally inside a stamped metal case. A good component, but definitely not a thing of beauty in the days when McIntosh, Marantz, Fisher, Scott, Sherwood, and others were beginning to design attractive faceplates and wood cases.

Bell 2300 Amplifier Half Flyer.jpg

I also have a sentimental attraction to vacuum tubes. At the same time I got the Bell amplifier, I built a Tesla coil based on a pair of 811A vacuum tubes, did some experiments and was awarded 2nd place in physics at the Chicago city-wide science fair, held at that city's Museum of Science and Industry. Sixty-four years later, the Boston Museum of Science still uses that same Tesla coil in their electricity show - it's the little one - about 3' tall - at the front of the stage with the big monster coils behind it.

Boston Museum Tesla Coil.jpg

As I mentioned above, most solid-state amplifiers are black or silver rectangular boxes with little ornamentation. In fact, some power amplifiers have a solid plain slab front panel, with perhaps a small, discreet LED light to indicate power-on. On the other hand, vacuum-tube amplifiers come in a wild variety of designs which can enhance the visuals of the amplifier in a lighted room, complimented by the soothing orange - and sometimes blue - glows of an amplifier's tubes in a darkened room.

So here is a list of some of my favorite vacuum tube amplifiers, mostly modern. If you have a favorite or two, post it below...

EL34-PP YarLand S2 Richar.jpg


6L6-PP Fatman iTube S2 Richar.jpg


300B-SE NanoAT S2 Richar.jpg


EL34-PP Kypo Prototype S2 Richar.jpg


EL84-PP Steampunk Amp S2 Richar.jpg


KT88-PP Popular Audio S2 Richar.jpg


KT150-PP Zesto Richar.jpg


845-SE Absolare S2 Richar.jpg


KT120-SE Aric Audio S2 Richar.jpg


KT88-SE Yamamoto S2 Richar.jpg




45-SE Yamamoto S2 Richar.jpg



EL34-PSE Tromba Vindicate S2 Richar.jpg


KT170-PSE Tektron S2 Richar.jpg


 

Attachments

  • KT150-PP Zesto S2 Richar.jpg
    KT150-PP Zesto S2 Richar.jpg
    465.1 KB · Views: 46
  • KT88-SE Yamamoto S2 Richar.jpg
    KT88-SE Yamamoto S2 Richar.jpg
    131.5 KB · Views: 18
  • KT150-PP Zesto S2 Richar.jpg
    KT150-PP Zesto S2 Richar.jpg
    155.7 KB · Views: 17
  • Screenshot - Huisa Home Page.jpg
    Screenshot - Huisa Home Page.jpg
    286.4 KB · Views: 342
Last edited:
OP
Xulonn

Xulonn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
1,771
Likes
5,825
Location
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
I liked McIntosh - during Christmas college break in 1960, it was the first audiophile stereo I ever heard - a pair of MC60's driving Bozak low-boy infinite baffle speakers.

However, I always thought Marantz gear looked "classier", and their original Model 7 "Stereo Console" preamplifier is still highly regarded and sought after by collectors. The Model 7 came out in 1958 - the year stereo went commercial - and well before SS audio gear came onto the market.

Marantz Model 7 Peamp.jpg
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
1,360
Likes
2,152
Kenwood L-08m. Available to @amirm for testing if he’s interested. Recapped.


Power :1x 170W (8 Ohm, 20Hz...20Khz, 0,003% THD)
1x 250W (4 Ohm, 1Khz)
1x 400W (4 Ohm, 1Khz)
THD :0,003% (rated power, 20Hz...20Khz)
0,003% (half rated power, 20Hz...20Khz)
IMD :0,001% (rated power, 1Khz, 8 Ohm)
0,001% (1W / 1Khz, 8 Ohm)
Rise time :0,6µs
Slew rate :200V /µs
Frequency response :DC...600Khz (+0 / -3dB)
S/N ratio :116dB (IHF-A)
Damping factor :15000 at 55Hz




1658704343362.jpeg
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
1,360
Likes
2,152
JBL SA600. With Amir for testing. I didn’t ship them with the wood panels. One of the world’s first solid state silicon transistor integrated amps.

1658704683663.jpeg
 

Vacceo

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
1,756
Likes
1,778
I liked McIntosh - during Christmas college break in 1960, it was the first audiophile stereo I ever heard - a pair of MC60's driving Bozak low-boy infinite baffle speakers.

However, I always thought Marantz gear looked "classier", and their original Model 7 "Stereo Console" preamplifier is still highly regarded and sought after by collectors. The Model 7 came out in 1958 - the year stereo went commercial - and well before SS audio gear came onto the market.

In terms of pleasant to the eyes, I wholeheartedly agree on both of your choices: I really love both McIntosh and Marantz aesthetics, today's and yesteryears.
 
Top Bottom