6 Channel amp - behind the scenes test

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Sonik Wiz

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Of course this is the classic case of someone buying a trademark. The real Western Electric went out of business between 1984 and 1996.
The current company using the name mainly exists to relieve audiophiles of their money. Just say no.
They were in the telephone and telegraphy business. Audio and movie speaker systems were a small sideline.
I checked up on WE after reading @Sal1950 post. It's been so long I thought about them I figured they went the way of Sansui, existing only as trademark purchases owned by an un-caring conglomerate somewhere. But they are indeed producing gear that would make Dan D'Angistino wince at the price. Still it's an interesting website to prowl around a bit. The company history gives some info about the Kansas City plant I didn't know details on. Take a look at the pics... the facility was HUGE!:

 

gene_stl

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I do categorize it as snake oil. Its not as bad as Shakti stones and cable trestles but in my estimation it meets all the requirements for snake oil.

At Axpona 2019 I went through their large suite. They aren't just selling 300bs. They make giant tube things now that looked pretty absurd to me.
Yacht club audio.

Does anyone remember Al Capp's Lil Abner comic strip. He depicted a pet which was called a Shtoonk. It was sort of like a Tasmanian devil.
It was expensive rare and vicious to keep, snapped and bit a lot. The perfect pet for a rich show off. That's what tube amps are.
 

Sal1950

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The current company using the name mainly exists to relieve audiophiles of their money. Just say no.
Agreed, what the hell anyone would want with a almost 100 y.o. design vacuum tube, at $1500 a pair, in a modern HiFi I have no idea.
They do look pretty cool when running though.
 

LuvMyQuad

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About a year ago or so I had a co-worker who was into audio (2 CH). I helped him get a ripping process going and schooled him on what was needed to play digital files. He came in one day and announced he had bought a used Macintosh preamp and power amp, both tube units, to power his also recently purchased used mid line Magnepans.

I mentioned to him, "You do know that tube components are distortion producing machines right?" His reply, "Yeah, but I just love how it looks in the dark".

When he bought the Magneplanars I said "Are you planning on using a subwoofer with those? Panel speakers are pretty notorious for weak bass." I had a pair once as well, and its pretty much true. His reply "No, I think they have plenty of bass for my taste".

The same guy also used the analog headphone jack on the mini pc I set him up with to decode his stereo rips. I had suggested to him to look for a decent stereo DAC with USB input. I even recommended some MiniDSP equipment to do this and provide room correction as a bonus. He thought the headphone jack sounded just great.

Go figure.
 

LuvMyQuad

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The old saying still holds true,
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink
You can however make him spend $8k on 10+ year old used tube gear, apparently.

Another one... during a discussion with him regarding media player software, I suggested to him to try Kodi, Foobar and Musicbee, as he could get his feet wet with file playback without paying for any of it. Nope. He immediately purchased a license for JRiver because he read it was "bit perfect", and he wanted that. I explained to him that they are all bit perfect as long as they are set up that way. He didn't believe it.
 

gene_stl

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Some people regard their sound systems, as articles of worship, and must sacrifice to them periodically. ( I don't neccessarily exclude myself from this statement} :rolleyes::cool:
 

DuncanS

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About a year ago or so I had a co-worker who was into audio (2 CH). I helped him get a ripping process going and schooled him on what was needed to play digital files. He came in one day and announced he had bought a used Macintosh preamp and power amp, both tube units, to power his also recently purchased used mid line Magnepans.

I mentioned to him, "You do know that tube components are distortion producing machines right?" His reply, "Yeah, but I just love how it looks in the dark".

When he bought the Magneplanars I said "Are you planning on using a subwoofer with those? Panel speakers are pretty notorious for weak bass." I had a pair once as well, and its pretty much true. His reply "No, I think they have plenty of bass for my taste".

The same guy also used the analog headphone jack on the mini pc I set him up with to decode his stereo rips. I had suggested to him to look for a decent stereo DAC with USB input. I even recommended some MiniDSP equipment to do this and provide room correction as a bonus. He thought the headphone jack sounded just great.

Go figure.
You can however make him spend $8k on 10+ year old used tube gear, apparently.

Another one... during a discussion with him regarding media player software, I suggested to him to try Kodi, Foobar and Musicbee, as he could get his feet wet with file playback without paying for any of it. Nope. He immediately purchased a license for JRiver because he read it was "bit perfect", and he wanted that. I explained to him that they are all bit perfect as long as they are set up that way. He didn't believe it.
I had a discussion-argument once with my late best friend, he was an English teacher, me an Electronics Engineer/Physicist, him "the hi-fi mags and the guy in the hi-fi shop say you're wrong!", me "but what they are saying breaks the laws of physics!", my mate "I believe them, they sold me it, they must know what they are talking about, they deal with it everyday!"
 

Owen Smith

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There are still some applications for which there is no substitute for valves (what we in the UK call your tubes). High power long wave radio broadcasting is one of them. The BBC broadcasts Radio 4 on FM, DAB and also on Long Wave at 198KHz. The LW is high power and because of the low frequency it can be received hundreds of miles out to sea. This was necessary for maritime safety as the shipping forecast (for weather) is on it, skippers in waters all around the UK would ensure they were listening at the appropriate time. In the satellite era this is pretty much redundant but there are some skippers that still use it. It was also part of the UK's nuclear deterrent for nuclear missile submarines, part of the protocol for "does the UK still exist or has it been wiped off the map?" is can the submarine still receive Radio 4 long wave.

Anyway, most of the historic reasons for needing 198KHz broadcasting have gone over recent decades. The BBC proposed switching it off once, but got enough complaints and modestly valid reasons for still needing it that they kept it. BUT, it requires a matched pair of enormous valves (I forget if they are bucket sized or dustbin sized) for the power amplifier. There is no solid state gear that can handle the power required at 198KHz. The BBC bought the last remaining stock of the valves. Last I heard they had the pair in use, and two spare pairs, and when those have all gone that's it. Radio 4 LW will have to shut down. And you can't mix and match, they have to be a closely matched pair of valves. OK it's possible as a last ditch continuation they could cobble something together with less well matched remaining valves from the pairs, but that can only extend the service life so much. I seem to recall 7 years as the average life of a pair of valves. If it were me I'd be reducing the power a little to make them last longer.
 

Soundfield

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BUT, it requires a matched pair of enormous valves (I forget if they are bucket sized or dustbin sized) for the power amplifier. There is no solid state gear that can handle the power required at 198KHz. The BBC bought the last remaining stock of the valves. Last I heard they had the pair in use, and two spare pairs, and when those have all gone that's it. Radio 4 LW will have to shut down. And you can't mix and match, they have to be a closely matched pair of valves. OK it's possible as a last ditch continuation they could cobble something together with less well matched remaining valves from the pairs, but that can only extend the service life so much. I seem to recall 7 years as the average life of a pair of valves. If it were me I'd be reducing the power a little to make them last longer.
The two 250 kW Droitwich R4 LW transmitters are Marconi B6042. The output valve is a Thomson (now Thales) TH573:

Thales 573.JPG


It is 583 cm high and 320 cm diameter.

They are not used in matched pairs though. The B6042 was a LF variant of the 300kW B6162 MW transmitter and only uses a single valve in its output stage:

B6126.JPG


The outputs of the two independent transmitters (which can be run separately) are combined in a ‘Bridged T’ combiner to give a total output of 500kW.
 
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kfbkfb

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(might be time to split this thread into a 6 channel amp part and a tube/transistor part)

(USA) AM radio is increasingly subject to interference (they are now allowed to use a low power local FM station just to rebroadcast the AM content).

Is LW (AM signal fomat) subject to increasing interference there?


Kirk Bayne
 

Owen Smith

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I have no idea what the interference on MW and LW is like in the UK, I don't listen to it. But there's hardly anything broadcast now so I would have thought interference would be at its lowest in decades. Do you know why it is going up in the US?
 

Owen Smith

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The two 250 kW Droitwich R4 LW transmitters are Marconi B6042. The output valve is a Thomson (now Thales) TH573:

It is 583 cm high and 320 cm diameter.

They are not used in matched pairs though. The B6042 was a LF variant of the 300kW B6162 MW transmitter and only uses a single valve in its output stage:

The outputs of the two independent transmitters (which can be run separately) are combined in a ‘Bridged T’ combiner to give a total output of 500kW.
OK so they are half way between the size of a bucket and a dustbin. Thanks!

And thanks for correcting my matched pair mistake. They're a pair of transmitters but independent.
 

kfbkfb

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Many consumer electronics devices emit some noise in the AM band, more devices, more noise.


Kirk Bayne
 

Owen Smith

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Many consumer electronics devices emit some noise in the AM band, more devices, more noise.
The regulations on that have got a lot tighter in recent years. Or at least the ones applicable in the EU (and hence UK to date) have. So this may be a different experience in different parts of the world.

On the other hand LED lighting is notorious for flagrantly ignoring those regulations. And ethernet over mains adaptors are semi officially allowed to, in that they clearly breach all known emissions regulations (there's no way they can avoid it given how they work) and yet are still legally on sale.
 
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