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  Handcrafted Ralph Gleason
This is an archived listing originally posted on 11/15/2009. (View live listing)

LaFayette 6AQ5 012

LaFayette 6AQ5 013

LaFayette 6AQ5 015

LaFayette 6AQ5 016

LaFayette 6AQ5 007

  Description (Handcrafted Ralph Gleason)
You don't see nearly as many amplifier postings from me as you used to. Age does that to you. Still, most go in hours once someone realizes what they're looking at. I've been doing HiFi since the late 60's and building since 1970 so I've seen many trends come and go. The lunatic fringe is stronger than ever and the retailers that prey on those that never took a Physics class in their lives, well, those retailers are doing very well thank you. I'm not on Audiogon often. Audiogon is so frequently a home for broken dreams. Fancy, overpriced and overhyped equipment ends up here all the time looking for someone that believes a review they've read in a glossy magazine only to be disappointed when they get the unit home and live with the reality of their purchase. Then the cycle repeats and the overhyped and overpriced unit goes back on the market in pristine shape. Should be in pristine shape. Didn't rate much use after all you see. One time, years ago, I went through a few of those Recommended Components listings from old copies of HiFi lust magazines just out of curiosity. Found that a lot of items that had wonderful ratings and lovely prose written in their behalf had actually ended up in my living room for short stays. We all go through that. What surprised me was the quantity of just plain bad equipment that I had endured thanks to misleading reviews. Not mediocre equipment that one could say was a matter of taste if one liked it or not, not that at all. Truly dreadful equipment that had great reviews. Great reviews and high prices. In Real Estate they have what they call the Greater Fool Theory. You buy it and just hold on a bit and some greater fool will come along and pay you more than you paid the last guy for the same pipe dream. Until recently that worked just fine in the Real Estate world. Still seems to work in the HiFi world. I've always detested the smoke and mirrors mumbo jumbo aspect of HiFi. You know, the ignore the laws of physics and buy my product side of things. I remember when my old next door neighbor had some fancy pants custom 300b amplifier that he got from some guy in Singapore. It had these hand rolled silver and teflon AudioNote coupling caps in it that kept blowing at below rated values. Dang things were $250 each or something. I replaced the blown ones with these 35 a shot film caps and there was no audible difference. None. The 35 jobs were far more reliable that the mondo ultra models though. Yes, you can spend a fortune for audio jewelry if you want to. There are plenty of people that will be happy to take your money. Then again, there will come a time when you look in the mirror and feel like an idiot about the whole thing. I'm protecting you from yourself here. The chassis doesn't have a surplus of extra space and the RCA input jacks won't allow the use of those silly garden hose sized interconnects that many deluded souls affect. Good quality el cheapo gold terminated cables work just fine and do sound exactly the same as the nutso stuff anyway. Yes they do. I remember when I used to work in 94107 and Monster Cable was based there. When those guys came in they used to laugh about the bozos that would spend high dollar for whatever "brilliant" advance they could think up to market. It all sounded the same but it tallied differently in the bank account if you know what I mean. They certainly knew what I mean. Ahem.This amplifier is my Ralph Gleason model. If you don't remember him, he was a music reviewer that bucked the trend and said so. Most went to shows and reported back what went wrong, what they didn't like, what they could criticize. Ralph went and would report what went right, what he liked, what was good. See the difference between what the misguided critical listening HiFi types do and the sit back with a glass of red and relax and enjoy yourself school? If you think Ralph was right, and I certainly do, and just want something that sounds splendid that just might get you off the amp of the month carousel, here you go. This is a modest 6AQ5 push pull basic amplifier that I built on the chassis of an old LaFayette tube tuner. Not much use for old mono tube tuners these days really but a heck of a nice chassis. I added a pair of Hammond outputs, some good hardware ins and outs, and hardwired in my own circuit. If you know my circuitry you need read no further. In any case this amplifier puts out about ten watts a side. Plenty for the 1% of Audiogon types that have retained any semblance of sanity. It drives my VMPS Tower IISE quite nicely thank you. No, not to disco ball frenzy but that's fine with me. The last guy that got an amplifier with similar power specs from me is currently driving his pair of Tanny gold 15" speakers in a very satisfactory manner. That unit actually had about half the power of this one now that I think about it. The tubes are all included. A new pair of 12AX7 and a used set of very good testing 6AQ5. If you want to upgrade to a new set of 6AQ5 it should cost you less than $10 so feel free to take the plunge there. The tubes are driven softly so they will last for many years and also not have the hardness and edginess that you get when you overdrive affairs in search of higher power. I'd much rather have it sound right than get a bit louder. So would you if you stop to think about it. Dead graveyard quiet. If you have original Quads or Lowthers or La Scalas or Edgarhorns or any manner of excruciatingly efficient speakers you absolutely need dead quiet. Any noise and you hear it with 110dbw speakers. Is not to worry Bunky. You're taken care of here. No adjustments either for you to set wrong. Plug and play and all that. Nothing to fiddle with and worry about. If you're into fiddling and fidgeting about with your finicky equipment, give yourself a respite. In any case, I've written enough. If there are questions, ask away. It's all in the circuit you know.
  More Info (Handcrafted Ralph Gleason)