AMPLIFICATION STORY IN SHORT
I remember my first encounter with proper tube setup back in 1990. It
was Audio-Note rig and it totally floored me.
So instantly I knew that
was it. After 15 previous years with transistor amps I found the answer
But Audionote, apart from being famous for good sound, is mainly famous
for being extravagantly expensive. So I bought back then the basic
level set (DAC2 and SORO PP) and started modifying it to death. I
modified and modified and upgraded and reworked until it was a
nightmare. Like the Frankenstein of amplifiers.
But climbing up the ladder using their catalog was impossible for a
poor engineer like me.
Then I met Ewgenniy, the tube guru from Lviv. It turned to be a
lifelong friendship and he let me use all his prototypes. I spent over
12 years using ARG amps designed and built by hand by Evgenniy and I
learned everything about them.
I take it as a privilege to talk and listen with him, because he knows
so much about music, sound and amps. If he was not living in Ukraine
but say California, I am sure he would be the king of the world's tube
In general, I have nothing against transistors. At least once every
year I try to borrow a good transistor amp just to see if I am wrong
about by preferrence for tubes. And believe me - the transistor amps
return to their owners VERY VERY FAST.
The man who is behind the
ARG amplification. Mr.
Ewgienniy from Lviv. The king of 6c33c triode!
Let me list what I had at home:
"SOTKI" - the 80 WPC class A push pulll triode zero feedback monoblock.
10 were produced and still in service. That was a revelation, although
unnecessarily resembled its sister design from Shushurin.
On the picture below you see their older top
model - a 100
W PC (@ 8 Ohm) fully balanced design, single-ended triode in bridged
mode. Four independent power supplies with no regulation and with choke
filters. famous Russian 6C33C-B military power tubes. Zero
feedback, (neither local
Custom made power transformers with no less than
Custom wound output transformers, optimized for this special
2, 4 and 8 Ohm output taps. Analogue master bias
Very high sensitivity (plus an input potentiometer)
allow for using in a passive mode.
All military grade parts throughout. Kendeil
electrolytic caps, audio note copper PIO coupling caps, Audio note
binding posts. Noble pots.
Must be heard to be believed!
"MALYUCH" - the 20 WPC set triode stereo - a lovely simple design,
dressed in titanium body. Outstanding value for money. Approx. 10
produced and still alive.
"SOTKI NA TORACH" - this was a modern and simplified version of the
first mono block although with much stronger power transformer and less
sophisticated power supplies.
PC SHAPED P-SET:
30 WPC zero feedback, parallel single ended triode.
The two power triodes are
running on separate output
primaries, so they don't
have to be closely matched and you can even unplug a playing tube
musical play with no harm to the amps. Plug it back (having a cooking
is nice!) and it plays again. From PSET to SET and back in 30 seconds!
click to enlarge images
Then Evgienniy started to flirt with OTL 's (Output Transformer-Less
Starting with the smallest SET mono block with just one tube and 5 WPC,
capacitor-coupled to the speakers, then going to stereo push pull, and
the latest one is the end of the road: the best amp I ever heard. And I
own it already!
Lets describe it folks: first feature is NO CAPACITORS. Everything
inside is DC coupled so goodbye Audio note PIO caps.
Second, no chokes. Evgienniy is a choke lover so I was surprised he
eliminated all of them.
Of course there is also no output transformer.
So what is there one might ask?
There is one tube 6H6 in input stage, one driver stage - both in
symmetrical config allowing for XLR balanced amplification without any
transformers or things like that. Then it goes to 6S33S triode running
as a huge cathode follower "preamp" stage. Cathode is direct coupled to
speakers without any capacitor.
The power tubes, being effectively a pair of set triodes running in
parallel on balanced signal have very low voltage on the plate - only
130 V. But the current on idle is astronomic 700 mA !!!
The sound of these monster amps (20 WPC) is incredibly transparent,
huge sound stage, bass like the strongest I ever heard. Frequency
response is from zero to 100 kHz flat.
This amplifier must have the smallest component count in the market
today and rivals the 845 crowd or even excels. On my very sensitive
(100 dB) speaker set the sound totally thrashes everything that in last
20 years I was able to beg borrow or steal.
SOME MORE TUBED
OTL stereo, 5
OTL mono, 5
SET stereo, 15 WPC
PSET mono (parallel
single ended) PIC2
100 WPC bridged triode
25 WPC push-pull
entry level stereo
ARG company profile
SET 845 Music Angel from CHINA
My amps AD2009: My new
GM-70 Mono Block SET amps