This all started in Oct. of last year when I heard a friends tube system and was blown away. I knew right there one of my Hafler 500s was dead to me. I do not have the disposable income that the Optimizer has, so I spent endless hours of web searching looking for the biggest bang for the buck. Building a set of amps was not on my list. However, after finding Bobs web site, reading, and saving to favorites both text and photos from this forum and others, it sure seemed like the way to go.
I first contacted Bob just before Xmas last with a short list of newbie questions. He was gracious, and answered them all, for the two thousandth time I'm sure. Since I seem to enjoy holding onto what pennies I have tight enough to turn them into copper wire, it took until after the middle of Feb. for me to send Bob the cash. The package arrived on March 1st and that night I was painting transformers building a plywood assembly jig and buffing out the chassis. I took the rest of the parts upstairs and laid the out no the dinning room table, read through the instruction manual, three times, and thought what have I done!! Pin 6 of V3...what the..... Long story short, once I got started, I couldn't stop. I found ways to blow off work I had never even heard of before. The step by step, along with photos of others builds, posted here, gave me great confidence.
On March 13th I plugged in my first tube amp and did not have to use the fire extinguisher I moved close to hand. An ground loop and a little buzz from a driver tube were quickly fixed. The second one was plugged in the next day.
That is were the story should end, but I couldn't stop. A couple of evenings in the shop produced a test box for small adjustments of jigs and tooling. Next came one of my all time favorite woods, Zebra Wood. I knew I had to do the amps justice and really wanted them to be a piece of furniture. To that end tolerances were tightened and thirteen coats of lacquer applied. I still can't believe that they friction fit to the point of needing two people to remove them from the box.
Working with plastic was another first for me, but with the help of the tutorial videos on the Tap Plastics web site, it was quite easy and fun. I may build myself another pair as I made some adjustments to the jigs on the second one.
The system; Oracle Alexandria Grace F9e cartridge
NAD 521 c Cd player
Apt Holman pre amp
Morrow Audio cables
And turned on sometimes; Hafler 500 bi amped through a Rane ac22 running a set (yes I set set) of home built TL cabinets tuned to 42 hertz, crossed between somewhere between 100, and 70 depending on recording.
See slide show here, I would love to hear some feed back.
Oh, how do they sound? Like I need to tell you guys.