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Yarland/Ariand Class A Tube Amplifier Thread

Xulonn

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As some of you long-time ASR members know, I am an 80 y/o retired American expatriate who lives in Boquete, a small tourist and farming town in the mountains of Western Panama's Chiriqui Province. I have been into audio since my high school days when I lived on the south side of Chicago just north of Marquette Park. I started reading HiFi Magazine in the late 1950's, and my father bought me my first amplifier - a used Bell 6L6 monaural PP integrated amp in 1958. I was also an usher for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1957 and 1958 - when Fritz Reiner was conductor, and the classic RCA stereo recordings of the CSO were being done. I have the 63 CD collection in digital format, and can actually listen to some concerts where I was present.

Fritz Reiner - RCA CSO Collection.jpg

I have owned many tube and SS components in the 60+ years since those days - Eico, Grommes, Dynaco, McIntosh, Adcom, Carver, Tektron, Supratek, Bryston, JBL, Wharfedale, ADS, Apogee, and more. I am an objectivist with respect to sonic differences between audio electronics, and a subjectivist with respect to preferences based on psychology, personality, artistic taste and other attributes not related to actual sound. Therefore, at age 80, I just ordered a Yarland EL34 Class A push-pull vacuum tube amplifier that looks gorgeous to my taste, and will hopefully provide many, many hours of pleasure as I listen to a wide range of music from internet radio plus my own collection of 36K MP3s. (Stream-ripping for personal offline listening (essentially time-shifting) is legal - selling or giving away tunes is not.)

Yarland is (was?) a Chinese company that designed and manufactured beautiful single-ended and push-pull "exposed tube-on-top" amplifiers with black wrinkle-finish or gloss black, and sculpted bubinga or zebrano wood front panels that some people (like me) love, and others hate. Considering my taste in art and design, love of eotic wood - and having turned bubinga and zebrano on my lathe in the past, I think that these are among the most beautiful tube amplifiers ever made. (They appear to have been inspired by Italy's Unison Research amplifiers.)

Yarland was founded in 1996 in Wenzhou, a coastal city in Zhejiang province in China. The company had two amplifier product lines, the standard Yarland and premium Ariand. (I've read that Yarland means “elegant” in Chinese.) Mr. Daikai, the CEO and Director, designed the Yarland and Ariand amplifiers. All transformers were wound in house. Mr Daikai was said to be a perfectionist, and continually made design changes and improvements to his amplifiers, striving to have high quality while keeping cost and prices reasonably low. It took a bit of internet sleuthing, but I actually found a short undated article with some photos [LINK] at the 6Moons audio website about a visit by a Roland Breteler to the Yarland factory in China.

The Chinese and Italian Yarland websites are now gone, so I assume that the company no longer exists. Most resellers seem to be out of stock, but China HiFi Audio, where I ordered mine yesterday, still has about 16 amplifiers from the six of twenty models that they list. I paid the $764 cost of the amplifier plus $331 for shipping to my Miami forwarder ($1,065 total) with PayPal for protection, and received a quick acknowledgement from PayPal and China HiFi Audio. Within 24 hours, I received a personal email stating that since I live in a country with 120v mains, would I like a free step up transformer power supply, which saved me the $100. That will cover forwarding to me in Panama, which includes customs clearance.

The below excerpt from a review of an Yarland EL84 Class A PP amp is one of a few I located, with most being very positive, but a couple complaining about quality. Yarland amplifiers were apparently fairly popular in Europe (for a boutique product line), with European distributors doing some upgrades and tweaking before selling them to consumers.
Reprinted from HiFi January, 2011 Review by Ken Kessler:

Looks Italian, but it’s made in China and tweaked in the UK – is the defies-belief Yarland FV-34B line-level integrated valve amp the best £499 you’ll ever spend?

Conclusion: Both the editor and i had this pegged as a far costlier unit – at least a grand in the light of its build and performance. We were blissfully, deliriously wrong. the unit sells for so little not just because it’s Chinese, but because you buy it direct. the net result is an amazingly quiet, stable, punchy and musical amplifier for the price of a decent bottle of masseto. As an entry to the world of valves, it’s perfect.
Now to the details of my amplifier, which I should receive in 2-3 weeks.

The amp is self-biasing, and switchable between triode and pentode modes. And it has a pair of stereo balanced XLR inputs!

There seems to be some errors and confusion with respect to the model number. It is listed on several websites as an FV-34B-S, but the photo of the back of the amp shows a sticker with the Model # Ariand FV-34B-V.

The website listing says the front wood panel is zebrano, but the photos show a bubinga panel. Either one is fine by me.

I have heard enough complaints about the Chinese tubes that come with some amplifiers, so I will order some good quality, budget priced tubes which will be ready to install when the amp arrives.
  • The driver tube is a single 6N3, which is a Chinese version of the 5670. I just ordered two GE JAN NOS 5670 tubes on eBay for $4.79 each
  • The Input tubes are listed as 6SN8, which does not exist. There is a 6N8S which is a Russian military versio of the 6SN7. If they are 6SN7 or equivalent, I will order matched a pair of Electro Harmonix 6SN7EH from Viva Tubes for $40.
  • The output tubes are EL34, and I will order a matched quad of the equivalent Electro Harmonix 6CA7EH, also from Viva Tubes, for $79.
And now for some photos:

FV-34B-S-02.jpg


FV-34B-S.jpg


FV-34B-S-03.jpg


Yarland FV-34B-S Specs.jpg
 
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Larry B. Larabee

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Can you remove the transformer covers? :)
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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Can you remove the transformer covers? :)
At 37.5 pounds for a 40wpc EL34 PP amplifier, I'm not worried about transformer size.

Legitimate 75wpc KT88/120 amplifiers, rather than 20 pounds like the Carver Crimson, typically weigh 45-70 pounds.

However, If the tranny covers are removable, just out of curiosity, I will likely check them out.
 

BDWoody

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Very nice! I hope it arrives quickly and safely, and look forward to further reporting!
 

Doodski

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Wowow. Everything is so shiny and the wood looks gorgeous. Lots of stuff to polish on that amp.:D
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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Cross-posted from the Carver Crimson 275 thread:

Although I was initially attracted to the looks of the Carver Crimson amplifier, it never made my short list because of a low perceived price/value. I believe that this YarLand amp will prove to be a much better price/performance value. I look forward basking in the glow of the tubes as I listen to my big collection of high bit-rate VBR MP3's.

I have rational reasons (including nostalgia and manufacturer reputation) for buying this amplifier, which is on its way to me in Panama from China via Miami. YarLand/Ariand amplifiers were fairly popular in Europe over the past coupe of decades, with power transformer customization and other mods being done in the U.K. and Italy by distributors. They received good (subjective) reviews for sound and build quality. My Model FV-34B-S amp uses the classic EL34 output tubes and 6SN7 drivers in a push-pull Class-A design, although I would have preferred Class-AB design for better tube life and lower power consumption. This amplifier has a pair of stereo balanced XLR inputs, which is very rare in budget-priced tube amplifiers. It is also switchable from triode to pentode operation, and specs in general are decent for a tube amplifier. (There are some discrepancies between the specs, photos and description, so I will not know some of the details for sure until I receive it.) Because of the general bad reputation of stock unbranded generic tubes shipped with many Chinese amps, I do plan to immediately replace the EL34's with 6CA7's, and get new 6SN7's, both Electro Harmonix from Viva Tubes, and very reasonably priced. The replacement input tube will be a NOS GE-JAN 5670, which costs $4.79 each on eBay. $125 for a full set of new, name-band, good quality tubes is excellent compared to the outrageously expensive snake-oil tubes that some buy for the subjectively determined advantages. (A "premium" set of tubes would cost about $700-$800, and of course, rare NOS tubes for wealthy tube-snobs can cost thousands of dollars.)

Tubes for YarLand Amplifier.jpg

Good quality audio vacuum tubes are not always outrageously priced, thanks to the sales volume supported by the guitar amplifier world. Of course, guitar players buy them to drive into distortion, and Hi-Fi audio tube fans buy them to use below gross over-driven distortion levels.

If I weren't 80 years old and getting towards the end of my days, I would have drop-shipped the amplifier to Amir for testing - just for fun, because I would not expect stellar results. (There is one of this model plus a couple of other models still left from this apparently shut-down manufacturer via China HiFi Audio, so someone else can buy the last one for $753 and drop-ship it to Amir for testing nd measurement! :cool:)
 
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rwortman

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I have one of those 1950’s Bell integrated amps. I built a huge high efficiency speaker to play it into. It’s my nostalgia system. Sounds surprisingly OK.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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That was fast and efficient! My new Yarland/Ariand amplifier that I ordered one week ago from China HiFi Audio was delivered via FedEx to my freight forwarder in Miami, Florida this morning. It should arrive at my little town here in the mountains of Western Panama next week.

1/3/22 - edit: I received notice that the amplifier arrived in Boquete yesterday. I will pick it up on Friday when my driver takes me to town for weekly errands. I am also expecting my new (used) Canon PowerShot SX260 camera to arrive from Amazon by then, and I will be able to take decent photos of the unboxing and setup.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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I went to town today and picked up my new YarLand/Ariand EL34 amplifier.

Here is a recap for those interested in the details of shipping from China to the Americas. I ordered the amplifier from China HiFi Audio on January 20 using PayPal to protect myself from issues should something go wrong. It shipped from the Shenzhen Grand Technology Co. warehouse in Hong Kong on January 24 via FedEx, and it arrived at the Miami facility of my Panama freight forwarder facility on January 27. Five days later, on February 1, the package showed up here at the downtown Boquete office of the Panama forwarding cmpany. This was a very efficient and well-managed shipping experience for a 19Kg (42lb) package from China to the Miami, USA ($331), and then from Miami to Boquete, Panama ($102).

The amplifier arrived in a corrugated cardboard box with 8 plastic corners taped on to prevent corner crushing. Inside, the amplifier was suspended in the center of the carton by foamed-in-place padding, with a machined polyethylene foam block surrounding and tightly supporting the tubes. A cursory examination shows the YarLand to be in perfect condition. However, I will not power it up and test it until I get 120vac to 230vac voltage converter, and I will also wait until I get my set of higher-quality Electro Harmonix 6CA7 Output and 6SN7 driver tubes.

For now the amplifier will sit on a table about three feet to my right where I can admire it. For my own personal taste, this is a beautiful piece of 21st century vacuum tube retro audio electronics technology. The front wooden panel is African bubinga, one of my favorite tropical hardwoods - the same wood that I used to create my only entry (a woodturning piece) in juried art competition. The turning was awarded first place in the amateur woodworker division at the 24th Annual Artistry in Wood exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum in Northern California the year before I moved to the mountains of Western Panama. Everything kind of ties together with my love of music, my nostalgic fascination with vacuum tubes, and my admiration of beautiful wood. The layout of the transformer covers, the arc of the tubes across the front of the amplifier, the satin-finish bubinga wood front panel, the tiny gold lettering for the volume control and input selector, and finally, the two satin black knobs, make for a very elegant design in my opinion, and based on my tastes in art and design.

YarLand Amp Unboxing-1.jpg


YarLand Amp Unboxing-4.jpg


YarLand Amp Unboxing-6.jpg


YarLand Amp Unboxing-9.jpg
 
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_theLaughingman

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I went to town today and picked up my new YarLand/Ariand EL34 amplifier.

Here is a recap for those interested in the details of shipping from China to the Americas. I ordered the amplifier from China HiFi Audio on January 20 using PayPal to protect myself from issues should something go wrong. It shipped from the Shenzhen Grand Technology Co. warehouse in Hong Kong on January 24 via FedEx, and it arrived at the Miami facility of my Panama freight forwarder facility on January 27. Five days later, on February 1, the package showed up here in Boquete at the downtown forwarders local office. This was a very efficient and well-managed shipping experience for a 19Kg (42lb) package from China to the Miami, USA ($331), and then from Miami to Boquete, Panama ($102).

The amplifier arrived in a corrugated cardboard box with 8 plastic corners taped on to prevent corner crushing. Inside, the amplifier was suspended in the center of the carton by foamed-in-place padding, with a machined polyethylene foam block surrounding and tightly supporting the tubes. A cursory examination shows the YarLand to be in perfect condition. However, I will not power it up and test it until I get 120vac to 230vac voltage converter, and I will also wait until I get my set of higher-quality Electro Harmonix 6CA7 Output and 6SN7 driver tubes.

For now the amplifier will sit on a table about three feet to my right where I can admire it. For my own personal taste, this is a beautiful piece of 21st century vacuum tube retro audio electronics technology. The front wooden panel is African bubinga, one of my favorite tropical hardwoods - the same wood that I used to create my only entry (a woodturning piece) in juried art competition. The turning was awarded first place in the amateur woodworker division at the 24th Annual Artistry in Wood exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum in Northern California the year before I moved to the mountains of Western Panama. Everything kind of ties together with my love of music, my nostalgic fascination with vacuum tubes, and my admiration of beautiful wood.

View attachment 184206

View attachment 184207

View attachment 184208

View attachment 184209
That's some neat gadget porn if I've ever seen it.
 

Doodski

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I went to town today and picked up my new YarLand/Ariand EL34 amplifier.

Here is a recap for those interested in the details of shipping from China to the Americas. I ordered the amplifier from China HiFi Audio on January 20 using PayPal to protect myself from issues should something go wrong. It shipped from the Shenzhen Grand Technology Co. warehouse in Hong Kong on January 24 via FedEx, and it arrived at the Miami facility of my Panama freight forwarder facility on January 27. Five days later, on February 1, the package showed up here at the downtown Boquete office of the Panama forwarding cmpany. This was a very efficient and well-managed shipping experience for a 19Kg (42lb) package from China to the Miami, USA ($331), and then from Miami to Boquete, Panama ($102).

The amplifier arrived in a corrugated cardboard box with 8 plastic corners taped on to prevent corner crushing. Inside, the amplifier was suspended in the center of the carton by foamed-in-place padding, with a machined polyethylene foam block surrounding and tightly supporting the tubes. A cursory examination shows the YarLand to be in perfect condition. However, I will not power it up and test it until I get 120vac to 230vac voltage converter, and I will also wait until I get my set of higher-quality Electro Harmonix 6CA7 Output and 6SN7 driver tubes.

For now the amplifier will sit on a table about three feet to my right where I can admire it. For my own personal taste, this is a beautiful piece of 21st century vacuum tube retro audio electronics technology. The front wooden panel is African bubinga, one of my favorite tropical hardwoods - the same wood that I used to create my only entry (a woodturning piece) in juried art competition. The turning was awarded first place in the amateur woodworker division at the 24th Annual Artistry in Wood exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum in Northern California the year before I moved to the mountains of Western Panama. Everything kind of ties together with my love of music, my nostalgic fascination with vacuum tubes, and my admiration of beautiful wood. The layout of the transformer covers, the arc of the tubes across the front of the amplifier, the satin-finish bubinga wood front panel, the tiny gold lettering for the volume control and input selector, and finally, the two satin black knobs, make for a very elegant design in my opinion, and based on my tastes in art and design.

View attachment 184206

View attachment 184207

View attachment 184208

View attachment 184209
It sure is pretty. :D Is it waxed? Will dust blow right off easily? It's going to be even prettier when the tubes are lit up.
 
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Xulonn

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It sure is pretty. :D Is it waxed? Will dust blow right off easily? It's going to be even prettier when the tubes are lit up.

I thought about waxing that beautiful black YarLand finish - just like I did my father's 1958 black Pontiac Star Chief - identical to the one in the below picture. Dad's version had the "Tri-Power" option - 3-two barrel carburetors, or "three deuces" as we called that configuration. It was the first car I drove when I got my driver's license at age 16. High carnauba wax content "Blue Coral" was best car wax at the time, but was really hard to rub out.
1958 Pontiac Star Chief - Black.jpg

Jumping ahead to today, I thought that the heat of the power transformer might be too much for wax, but the paint and wax on black cars gets pretty hot in the sun.

I think that a small paint brush might be good for dusting off the amp periodically, although we get very little dust here. (Unless you live downwind and close to a dusty road. Otherwise, there is not much airborne dust in the rainforest regions.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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I am finally listening to music through my new vacuum tube amplifier. I have a compilation of 570 acoustic and electric guitar mp3's - solo and small ensemble, some classical and jazz, but no rock or pop. Thar collection is playing now in random mode.

The 120v > 230v transformer/power adapter that was included with my purchase arrived from China to Southern California via air, then UPS surface to Miami, and air freight again to Panama. It is much bigger and heavier than I expected - almost 20 pounds! It is a 2,000VA unit and the output ranges from 224-228v in operation, and remains cool. Like the amplifier, it also has an EU "CE" certification. (I don't have a photo of it, but the form-factor is identical to the isolation transformer below.)

120v to 230v Transformer.jpg

I hooked everything up today on a side-table next to my desk. I'm using my Lenovo tablet headphone out as a line-level source and the amp - still in "triode mode" - is driving my very bass-limited tiny 25 y/o Yamaha NS-A325 speakers. The sound is excellent considering the limits of the source and speakers - the little Yamaha speakers sound very neutral to me. My new YarLand amp has been on for about three hours now, and the power transformer is pretty warm - I can barely rest my hand on it, but that is what I expected from a Class-A vacuum tube amplifier. With my face about one foot above the amplifier, I can feel the convection heat, but It's not too bad. Where I live here at 3,200 ft. (975m) the daily temperature ranges from about 60-80°F (15-27°C) every day, year round. Doors and windows are open every day, and gentle breezes make the amplifier's heat a non-issue.

I have not yet completed the design of a new media stand with extra shelves. Half-way decent custom-made hardwood furniture is cheap here. The unit will be configured to not only hold my A/V gear and 40" LCD monitor, but will also serve to showcase the YarLand amplifier as well as some other wood and glass art.

Since there are no commercial boxes out there that can simultaneously switch inputs and speaker outputs between two amplifiers, I will likely buy an input switch box and a speaker switch box and mount them to a single faceplate. Then I will be able to switch back and forth between my 100wpc ICEPower/Ghent video-side amplification and the YarLand, and use the YarLand only for two-channel focused listening while basking in the glow of the tubes.

I checked with a couple of small audio companies, and they don't want to make such a switch because they claim that it would require relays, be expensive, and the potential market is likely quite small. Plus they were concerned about the liability associated with blowing up tube amps if a switch fails or is misused - and an amplifier is turned on without a load on the output transformers. (However, @Blumlein 88 tells me that a 220 ohm/5w resistor "permanently" attached across each of the tube amplifier's ± speaker terminals woud solve the problem - and not distort the sound if in place when driving speakers.)

The journey continues...
 

Doodski

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I am finally listening to music through my new vacuum tube amplifier. I have a compilation of 570 acoustic and electric guitar mp3's - solo and small ensemble, some classical and jazz, but no rock or pop. Thar collection is playing now in random mode.

The 120v > 230v transformer/power adapter that was included with my purchase arrived from China to Southern California via air, then UPS surface to Miami, and air freight again to Panama. It is much bigger and heavier than I expected - almost 20 pounds! It is a 2,000VA unit and the output ranges from 224-228v in operation, and remains cool. Like the amplifier, it also has an EU "CE" certification. (I don't have a photo of it, but the form-factor is identical to the isolation transformer below.)


I hooked everything up today on a side-table next to my desk. I'm using my Lenovo tablet headphone out as a line-level source and the amp - still in "triode mode" - is driving my very bass-limited tiny 25 y/o Yamaha NS-A325 speakers. The sound is excellent considering the limits of the source and speakers - the little Yamaha speakers sound very neutral to me. My new YarLand amp has been on for about three hours now, and the power transformer is pretty warm - I can barely rest my hand on it, but that is what I expected from a Class-A vacuum tube amplifier. With my face about one foot above the amplifier, I can feel the convection heat, but It's not too bad. Where I live here at 3,200 ft. (975m) the daily temperature ranges from about 60-80°F (15-27°C) every day, year round. Doors and windows are open every day, and gentle breezes make the amplifier's heat a non-issue.

I have not yet completed the design of a new media stand with extra shelves. Half-way decent custom-made hardwood furniture is cheap here. The unit will be configured to not only hold my A/V gear and 40" LCD monitor, but will also serve to showcase the YarLand amplifier as well as some other wood and glass art.

Since there are no commercial boxes out there that can simultaneously switch inputs and speaker outputs between two amplifiers, I will likely buy an input switch box and a speaker switch box and mount them to a single faceplate. Then I will be able to switch back and forth between my 100wpc ICEPower/Ghent video-side amplification and the YarLand, and use the YarLand only for two-channel focused listening while basking in the glow of the tubes.

I checked with a couple of small audio companies, and they don't want to make such a switch because they claim that it would require relays, be expensive, and the potential market is likely quite small. Plus they were concerned about the liability associated with blowing up tube amps if a switch fails or is misused - and an amplifier is turned on without a load on the output transformers. (However, @Blumlein 88 tells me that a 220 ohm/5w resistor "permanently" attached across each of the tube amplifier's ± speaker terminals woud solve the problem - and not distort the sound if in place when driving speakers.)

The journey continues...
Finally! Good to see that everything is operating well and sounding good. :D I was surfing that website you posted the other day with all the Yarland tube amps for sale. Very nice looking stuff.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Congratulations on your new amp - it looks beautiful. :cool:

Might I suggest Pro Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish to make it shine. This is literally the best stuff I've ever used - I used it on my custom painted motorcycle and use it now to polish my power amps and other items. It leaves a great finish on shiny surfaces. Its generally only available at motorcycle dealers (and Amazon link above).
 
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Xulonn

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I wrote a review for the dealer - China HiFi Audio - and managed to get in a plug for AudioScienceReview...LINK.
 

rwortman

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Works on matte surfaces and vinyl too. I use it in bikes and when restoring audio gear.
Congratulations on your new amp - it looks beautiful. :cool:

Might I suggest Pro Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish to make it shine. This is literally the best stuff I've ever used - I used it on my custom painted motorcycle and use it now to polish my power amps and other items. It leaves a great finish on shiny surfaces. Its generally only available at motorcycle dealers (and Amazon link above
 
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Xulonn

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Congratulations on your new amp - it looks beautiful. :cool:

Might I suggest Pro Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish to make it shine. This is literally the best stuff I've ever used - I used it on my custom painted motorcycle and use it now to polish my power amps and other items. It leaves a great finish on shiny surfaces. Its generally only available at motorcycle dealers (and Amazon link above).
Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, I no longer have a car, and rarely get down the mountain to the regional capitol and its big stores any more. So I buy from Amazon the things that are not available in local stores up here in Boquete. My Amazon orders come to Panama via air freight, and pressurized aerosol cans, whether or not they are flammable, are classified as "dangerous goods". So I will probably try the Meguiar's Quik Detailer equivalent to the Pro Honda product - it comes in spray bottles rather than pressurized aerosol cans.
 

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Xulonn-

We are contemporaries - I am also 80 and have a similar history in music.

I have read that Boquete is very cost effective for retirement; how do you like the area?

Congratulations on your new amp! Enjoy!

Tillman (grew up in Roswell, NM)
 
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