"I have little confidence these amps will actually work"
Why? I am a complete novice and have not built anything electrical of this nature.
My first M125 build was tough for me ..
However, that being said, it is not impossible either, and a complete novice, with patience and upfront understanding of the level of effort required, can COMFORTABLY build these amps.
Build Time: 1st amp - 20 hours, 2nd amp - 10 (maybe 12) hours. Much better on the second amp... experience, even a little, on soldering will help. 80% of your build time is soldering.... get an old radio and solder the bejessus out of it. Also, get TWO 30 watt soldering pencils, my biggest mistake was not moving over to a new iron when my soldering got messy and ugly.
I finished my two block build in about 7 days, including pretty much solid over a weekend. I wish I had taken it slower... enjoyed the journey more. Biggest piece of advice if you are not a regular DIY electronics builder... SLOW DOWN, GO SLOW.
Now, to my amazement, shock and AWE, BOTH of these amp fired up FIRST TIME and worked prefectly! Eating my words above! :0)
As to the sound/quality/performance
- The amps have been playing for 2 hours, so expect they will improve as everything 'settles in'
- Cannot perceive much difference in triode mode?
- The bass is much 'bigger' and much more noticeable. That's not to say it is boomey, or overpowering, but it is much fuller than on SS apms used before.
- The stage width has DOUBLED - wow !, that's maybe the best part so far
- Where as my previous amps distorted and failed when I pushed the volume to max, the M125 did not even flinch, no distortion... just DAMN loud !
- Lastly, I drive directly from Wadia 21 to the amps and with no CD playing and volume on MAX, there is NO HUM, NOTHING... and I mean NOTHING, ear right up to the ribbons/cones... NOTHING... that's very nice, and certainly NO REFLECTION on the builders ability.. :0)
All in all, I wanted tube mono's above 100w, and these for the price and 140w+ with KT120, are great.
Would I recommend them? YES... just know what your getting into and be PATIENT.
Carver AL III
M 125 Monoblocks (WZ68/KT120x4)