Tubes/valves hold a real fascination for audiophiles with many many using them and swearing by them. Here’s a selection of tubes we found at this year’s High End in Munich. Of course there were lots of rooms using tubes and most of the pictures you see here were taken on stands where we weren’t able to listen to them. Includes: Angstrom, LAB 12, Unison Research, Audion, Triode Labs, Tsakiridis Devices, Jadis, Acoustic Plan, Fezz Audio, Mastersound, Dared, Cayin, AudioValve, Rumee Audio, Remton
These lovely machines were found on the Diesis stand and come from Angstrom. The first photograph is of the Quantuum dual mono pre amplifier, the second is the company’s dual mono Stella power amp whilst the final picture is their dual mono stereo amplifier. Absolutely stunning to look at but unfortunately we weren’t able to have a listen. One of the downsides of the stands at High End.
We’ve been using the LAB 12 gordian power conditioner for a good while now…it’s pretty much fit and forget which is a great thing. However, we’re focusing on tube gear here and first up we have the Greek company’s integeré4 integrated amplifier that is capable of using EL34, 6550, KT120 and KT150 tubes. It’s remote controlled, knocks out 45W a channel with 6550s and comes with a five year guarantee.
Unison Research hail from Italy and make very nice gear, we’ve owned it in the past. Here we have the €10 000 Performance amp that is Class A, gives 2 x 40W using 6 Tungsol 6550, 2 ECC82 and 2 x ECC 83s.
Audion are a British producing lovely looking valve amps and preamplifiers. Here we have their Silver Night 300B Special edition that was new for 2016. It’ll give you 8 Watts a side of lovely 300B loveliness and is also available as an integrated version or a Paralle Single Ended version.
Tsakiridis are from Athens, Greec and make a whole range of affordable valve amplifiers. This is the company’s Theseus integrated which can use any tube you like from EL84 to KT150 enabling tube rollers to get the sound they want. There’s three line inputs and a MM phono input. There’s an onboard headphone out and it uses a blue Alps motorized volume pot.
Jadis are a popular and well known manufacturer of tube gear from France. Pictured is the Diapason integrated amplifier which is an aesthetic departure from their normal gold and silver bling so may be an early preamp or perhaps a prototype.
Fezz Audio make tube amps using toroidal transformers. We’ll cover there room in more detail in another Highlights of High-End but we spotted this 300B cutie outside their rooms. It’s going to give the standard 8W a channel, will be called the Mira Ceti and will be available later this year.
An Italian brand, MAstersound have a good reputation with tube lovers and a philosophy that states “We want to produce amplifiers which arouse emotions in the listeners,
every piece of music should arouse exactly the emotions the artist who composed it
and the performer who played wanted to convey.
The listeners should feel immersed in the music, absorbed
in the execution of the piece enjoying the details of the voices and of the instruments
in the most natural way, feeling emotions…”
Once again it’s a shame to see them on a stand rather than in a booth or room as it would be good to have heard these in action.
Pictured are the Duenedici integrated using 2 EL34 and 2 ECC802s to give 11 Watts a channel with three line inputs and the Dueventi wich is parallel single ended using 4 EL34s with a ECC802 driver to create 20 watts a channel in pentode configuration and 10 watts a side in triode.
Global Audio Union
Lawrence Lau that runs the company is a great guy…we had a photograph with him proudly wearing his “Hifi Pig Loves You” badge at last years show. Many readers will know the brand DARED that produce affordable valve gear. Now there are two distinct levels of product in the portfolio with Dared remaining the entry level products but with the new Aeron representing a higher-end product. The new products look very well made and nicely finished.
Zhunhai Spark electronic Equipment Co LTD are the parent company of Cayin and so there are no prizes for guessing that the company is unashamedly Chinese, with Cayin being the brandname. They’re exported to more than 20 countries and have won lots of awards. They have their own production and research foundation with more than 12000 suare metres where they have their R&D and management team too.
Helmut Becker is the name behind AudioValve and he’s been tinkering with valves since he was a boy. Then he became a TV technician and during military service he became a radar technician. He’s worked in developing air warning systems but also he is very well known for the development of medical technology.
In 1982 he developed his first patented project the RKV for audiophiles. The principles for the RKV circuit are still found in the RKV2 and RKV3 OTL tube amplifiers. Pictured is the Luminaire headphone amplifier which will work with any headphones including Stax!
We found out very little about this Taiwanese company other than they make custom built speakers and amplifiers, but their valve amps on show at High-End certainly caught our attention with their distinctive wooden cases.
Remton make the 383 tube phonostage which is made in Prague. You can read more about it in this review.