Significant Bits | 4.28.19

A completely random, not at all comprehensive, compendium of audio nuggets we’ve seen this week.

German bespoke electronics maven Thomas Mayer (head of tube manufacturer Elrog and designer of an eponymous line of beautifully executed valve components) has announced that he commenced construction on his first digital to analog converter. Expect more information soon, perhaps at Munich 2019.

Update: The DAC has made it’s first appearance. It is a three chassis system with the primary unit containing the digital circuitry and a tube (801A or 10Y) output stage. Two additional boxes contain separate power supplies, one for the analog portion, one for digital. No word on the nature of the beast (chipset, R2R, FPGA etc.) but I am sure more will be forthcoming. VinylSavor


Herb (née Eddie) Reichert goes deep this month on the EleKit TU-8600R 300B integrated amplifier. This isn’t the first time my interest has been peaked by EleKit -these inexpensive pieces have been a frequent favorite of Doctorjohn from Cheaptubeaudio whose tastes run in similar veins to mine.

The fact that the amp violates several bits of dogma but sounds the business is appealing. Solid state rectifiers and global feedback aren’t usually terms associated with a 300B power plant but, in my very limited experience, these techniques in capable hands can produce an amazing amplifier at a lower than average price point for a typically boutique product (see the Shindo Cortese for an example of well implemented SS rectification). This also looks like it could be a killer headphone amp as it drives cans directly from the output stage vs the typical opamp. Stereophile


Jeffrey Jackson (Experience Music) and Dave Slagle (Intact Audio) whose wonder twin powers activate to form the juggernaut of esoterica that is EMIA have unveiled a permalloy 50 (mmmm…globes) amplifier. I shudder to think about the cost and weight of this beast but guessing it sounds epic.

As Jeffrey puts it: “check out those ridiculously giant nickel outputs… no, not 49% nickel… actual Permalloy – 80%…. sometimes I forget how much I love the sound of nickel… especially when coupled to a globe 50… not sure it gets any better than that… different maybe, but not better… a true classic…”. And he would know. HiFi Heroin


Charles Michlin of Azzolina Audio announced the availability of his choke-based field coil power supply. It avoids the spurious noise signatures of many silicon diode based generators by employing Schottky diodes. Very interesting in light of a project we’re working on with some Wolf Von Langa field coil drivers, “homages” to the RCA 1428. But more on that soon. ElectraVolt

2 thoughts on “Significant Bits | 4.28.19

  1. Hi, I think the 3 chassis of Thomas Mayer’s DAC are as follows, blank top on the left is the DAC section. My guess (I don’t know for sure) is it is a R2R NOS resistor ladder sourced from Vincent Brient of Totaldac. The middle chassis is his usual TV damper bridge rectified choke filtered power supply. The chassis on the right is the analog output section that appears to be based on his 10y/801a preamp design. The reason I’m guessing the DAC section is from Totaldac is that I believe Thomas used Totaldac for his digital playback at Munich last year. For that relationship to continue in this direction would make sense.

  2. Just as an FYI the EMIA amps are about the size of a shoe box and are very manageable weight-wise. I had a chance to hear both a couple of weeks ago. The silver with globe 50s sounds glorious. Also, put my pair of Elrog 50s in it for comparison and while they weren’t as good as the globes they sounded pretty damn good. The copper doesn’t give away too much but once you have heard the silver it’s hard to go back, until the sticker shock hots you!

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