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Tube amp with cheap transformers 'useless' ? - Page 7

post #91 of 106

I just have two questions at this point:

 

1. Why would you think you can spend X to build an amplifier but then sell it at Y? *

 

2. Second question, and this is the real kicker ... assuming you were somehow able to sell this thing at Y, what do you do when you've sold about 15 of them, you only have 5 left, and you still want to stay in business? **

 

 

 

* This is especially true when everyone else can probably spend less than X to build just one.  They would have no prototyping costs, no case design and prototyping costs, no buying tubes at mass quantities and testing them (need to buy a few tube testers on ebay - that's fun!), no accounting for packaging costs, or especially: the point-of-sale investment and costs, etc., etc., etc.  It gets too lengthy to list.  It's sort of like buying and moving into a house.  You may not realize it until after you move in, but your need-to-purchase "stuff" has just exponentially increased.

 

Further - if you buy standard parts from a typical retailer and assemble the amps yourself, just what is your business's value-added accomplishment? The fact that you built it? Can you make just your labor competitive in a world market? I seriously doubt it. There are a couple of individuals around here that work that way - one in particular that many of us know - but there's years of reputation that's he's achieved. Even then, the builds are mostly commissioned.  They are also often based on teaming up with certain designers to restrict any possibility of free-lancers. That implies proprietary, unique designs. You've attempted to design this thing so far, but is it really unique - something that no one else has done? Where is your true added-value that's going to create the demand for anyone to buy it from you? IMHO, you need something more than simply creating a challenge in a single thread, thinking that you can design a tube amp, and create a demand simply because you've assembled it. You appear to have this uniqueness for some of your solid-state stuff, but sorry - so far I don't see it for tubes.

 

All of this dictates price and the resulting demand - it's everything between the success and failure of your "challenge."

 

 

** Simple - you have to re-invest or you're out of business.  What happens to all of that profit margin then?  For that matter, where did the investment for the original 20 come from in the first place? How many of us (even those of us already in business) can shell out $4000 for an experimental attempt at selling a design? Many people have trouble coming up with that much for a down-payment on a home. If you can't, you have to service that cost, too.  And it all gets rolled into the FLOAT - the difference between your supposed profit and the need to keep things in stock in order to keep selling them. Put simply, your $6,000 profit quickly becomes only $2000 as you order another $4000 in stock - and it's all waiting to be assembled again.  Now you have to find time to build inbetween packaging, shipping, and managing orders.  Trouble is, if you are really trying to stay in business, that $4000 gets spent well before you have $6000 in profit - so if you're servicing the debt on the original $4K, you're already teetering on the edge.  Meanwhile, someone decides to test the thing and tell you it's lousy (because it's tubes) or someone else starts a thread that says it shouldn't cost that much and dares anyone to prove him wrong.wink.gif

 

Like I said, just a couple of questions.wink.gif

post #92 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

 

Ah, well. You and I disagree there. I just don't think that a tube headphone amp needs to have expensive transformers, for the technical reasons I have already stated. I think that the limit of performance of tubes can be achieved at these power levels without expensive iron. That's all.

 

Nice to see a good-tempered post though.

 

As to the Woo amps. No, I have designed some overkill amplifiers. There's a certain satisfaction to producing (or owning) an amplifier with a diminishingly small level of distortion, or overkill qualities in some respect or other. Is it necessary for it to be transparent (or in the case of tubes for it to reach the limit of performance)? Almost certainly not. You probably can't produce a headphone amp of any description with audible quality better than an O2. You can build heavier, lighter, with more feaures, longer battery life, any number of distinguishing features including better measurements, almost all more expensive given the current state of the art, but you probably can't make one that is audibly better, because there is a limit to human perceptions. A lot of people think that that limit hasn't been reached, but what scientific evidence there is suggests that it has.

 

 

w

 

Ouch, man!

That hurts! frown.gif

I love tubes!

 

In closing,

Ouch!

That hurts!

 

P.S.

I am a very odd fellow, I respect Jack Woo as much as I respect the O2 designer: I have a very high regard for both gentlemen and their designs as well as their customers.  

I think tube amps and SS amps both have their place.

 

BTW, I make my money the old fashioned way, I work for it.

post #93 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

I just have two questions at this point:

 

1. Why would you think you can spend X to build an amplifier but then sell it at Y? *

 

2. Second question, and this is the real kicker ... assuming you were somehow able to sell this thing at Y, what do you do when you've sold about 15 of them, you only have 5 left, and you still want to stay in business? **

 

 

 

* This is especially true when everyone else can probably spend less than X to build just one.  They would have no prototyping costs, no case design and prototyping costs, no buying tubes at mass quantities and testing them (need to buy a few tube testers on ebay - that's fun!), no accounting for packaging costs, or especially: the point-of-sale investment and costs, etc., etc., etc.  It gets too lengthy to list.  It's sort of like buying and moving into a house.  You may not realize it until after you move in, but your need-to-purchase "stuff" has just exponentially increased.

 

Further - if you buy standard parts from a typical retailer and assemble the amps yourself, just what is your business's value-added accomplishment? The fact that you built it? Can you make just your labor competitive in a world market? I seriously doubt it. There are a couple of individuals around here that work that way - one in particular that many of us know - but there's years of reputation that's he's achieved. Even then, the builds are mostly commissioned.  They are also often based on teaming up with certain designers to restrict any possibility of free-lancers. That implies proprietary, unique designs. You've attempted to design this thing so far, but is it really unique - something that no one else has done? Where is your true added-value that's going to create the demand for anyone to buy it from you? IMHO, you need something more than simply creating a challenge in a single thread, thinking that you can design a tube amp, and create a demand simply because you've assembled it. You appear to have this uniqueness for some of your solid-state stuff, but sorry - so far I don't see it for tubes.

 

All of this dictates price and the resulting demand - it's everything between the success and failure of your "challenge."

 

 

** Simple - you have to re-invest or you're out of business.  What happens to all of that profit margin then?  For that matter, where did the investment for the original 20 come from in the first place? How many of us (even those of us already in business) can shell out $4000 for an experimental attempt at selling a design? Many people have trouble coming up with that much for a down-payment on a home. If you can't, you have to service that cost, too.  And it all gets rolled into the FLOAT - the difference between your supposed profit and the need to keep things in stock in order to keep selling them. Put simply, your $6,000 profit quickly becomes only $2000 as you order another $4000 in stock - and it's all waiting to be assembled again.  Now you have to find time to build inbetween packaging, shipping, and managing orders.  Trouble is, if you are really trying to stay in business, that $4000 gets spent well before you have $6000 in profit - so if you're servicing the debt on the original $4K, you're already teetering on the edge.  Meanwhile, someone decides to test the thing and tell you it's lousy (because it's tubes) or someone else starts a thread that says it shouldn't cost that much and dares anyone to prove him wrong.wink.gif

 

Like I said, just a couple of questions.wink.gif

 

Well, before you start getting picky, you might want to look at your arithmetic, because the takings are $10,000, not $6000. You're so anxious to prove me wrong, you're in a big rush to ignore some significant details yourself.

 

Why don't you knock it off with those negative waves? Jealousy will get you nowhere. I'm not making a direct attack on your business, but it sounds very much like a case of 'if the cap fits, wear it'. Is it because you fear the genuine competition that you can't be a bit more encouraging?

 

If we're talking about unique, where's the true valve amplifier (not OTL or hybrid) that competes on price? Everybody keeps telling me 'you have to spend $1500'. Or are you admitting that that's not actually the case?

 

What makes you imagine that I'd embark on producing 20 amplifiers without some assurance that I had some possibility of selling them anyway? I'm crazy, but I'm not stupid. If other people can start a business from scratch, what's to stop me (apart from the fact that I'm probably alienating a few customers here)? Anyway, that's never been my serious intention, I just made an observation in passing, that I thought it wasn't necessary to spend (or charge) $1500 for an acceptable tube headphone amp. I've been driven to this position by the near-hysterical farrago of opposition that it's raised. If, however, you imagine that I've never run a business, you're very much mistaken, but as I've mentioned already, I'M RETIRED.

 

Lastly, the fact that somebody says it's lousy (because it's tubes) doesn't seem to be that much of an impediment, I don't see much in the way of simulations or test results being produced by the people who are selling tube amps already, it's all third party 'listening impressions', and you can't talk sense to a......... tube enthusiast, as this thread shows.

 

w

 

Oh. If there's one thing that demonstrates that despite all the argument that's produced to the contrary, that nobody in their heart-of-hearts is really convinced that ~100% markup on cost isn't sufficient to survive in business, it's the fact that nobody will put their money where their mouth is and take up the bet that you will still be able to buy an O2 for the same price, $150 or less, in a year's time from when I first made the offer. No profit in it for me. $100 to the charity of the winner's choice.

 

Life's a bitch, and then you die biggrin.gif.

post #94 of 106

Wakibaki,

I don't think that it is your opinions so much as the tone in which you state them that has generated the opposition. We're all entitled to our opinions, some are based on experience, some on theory. Post 91 resonates with me even if he did get the numbers wrong, for which you dismiss the point he was trying to make. I admit to having misquoted you as well, and with a tone to my voice- but that does not negate the points that I've made either. I don't feel that anyone is being 'partisan' about the subject, we just have strong opinions too.

 

But stating that you are driven to take action by the opposition is simply not true. You're an adult, you can stop reading and responding to this thread at any time. You don't have to do anything. We can all just agree to dis-agree on our opinions about profits vs. costs and move on.

 

That said, I do agree with you that good results can be had with 'cheap' transformers in a headphone amp. I've done it. I would be interested in you building this design you've whipped up and see how it performs. It is, as you know, a wonderful, frustrating and rewarding experience to build something and perfect it over time. Many of us share that and I encourage you to do it. Maybe start another thread about your build, with pictures and without all the rhetoric from you, and from us. Maybe we can show some community spirit and help you along the way if you so need or desire.

post #95 of 106
Thread Starter 

Baiting wakibaki is only going to lengthen the time it takes him to build MY new one-of-a-kind tube amp, the Waki HP1000, and ship it to Australia. I hope they don't levy taxes in Devon, UK, cause that is just going to add to the price I have to pay. And those shipping costs wont want to be too exorbitant either - I can get stuff shipped from China for under ten bucks. 

 

Cant wait to get my hands on this amp. I promise to publish a full comparison review with my O2.  

post #96 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliottstudio View Post

Wakibaki,

I don't think that it is your opinions so much as the tone in which you state them that has generated the opposition. We're all entitled to our opinions, some are based on experience, some on theory. Post 91 resonates with me even if he did get the numbers wrong, for which you dismiss the point he was trying to make. I admit to having misquoted you as well, and with a tone to my voice- but that does not negate the points that I've made either. I don't feel that anyone is being 'partisan' about the subject, we just have strong opinions too.

 

Very true.

Wakibaki,

you seem to thrive on being confrontational.

post #97 of 106

"Takings" implies profit.  That's only $6K.  I never count the rest because it was cost.  After all, you're looking for something extra out of this, not equal-sustainment.  Maybe I wasn't explicit enough up there, but if you count all the $10K as income, then you have to service your original $4K debt.  It's one or the other - sometimes both, depending on how your sales are going.

 

 

 

EDIT: Never mind.  I thought I was genuinely polite and tried to offer some insight based on many years of real experience.  However, one of my friends reminded me, "Don't Feed the Trolls."  That's good advice.smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by tomb - 9/27/12 at 6:07pm
post #98 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

 

EDIT: Never mind.  I thought I was genuinely polite and tried to offer some insight based on many years of real experience.  However, one of my friends reminded me, "Don't Feed the Trolls."  That's good advice.smily_headphones1.gif

 

Which is why I stopped debating with Mr..................never mind, who cares anyway.wink_face.gif

post #99 of 106

 

Only a trial fit, so far... I thought satin black for the paintwork. Maybe I can get it powder coated.

 

I'll start a thread.

 

 

w

post #100 of 106

Wow, looks great!

post #101 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

 

Ah, well. You and I disagree there. I just don't think that a tube headphone amp needs to have expensive transformers, for the technical reasons I have already stated. I think that the limit of performance of tubes can be achieved at these power levels without expensive iron. That's all.

 

Nice to see a good-tempered post though.

 

As to the Woo amps. No, I have designed some overkill amplifiers. There's a certain satisfaction to producing (or owning) an amplifier with a diminishingly small level of distortion, or overkill qualities in some respect or other. Is it necessary for it to be transparent (or in the case of tubes for it to reach the limit of performance)? Almost certainly not. You probably can't produce a headphone amp of any description with audible quality better than an O2. You can build heavier, lighter, with more feaures, longer battery life, any number of distinguishing features including better measurements, almost all more expensive given the current state of the art, but you probably can't make one that is audibly better, because there is a limit to human perceptions. A lot of people think that that limit hasn't been reached, but what scientific evidence there is suggests that it has.

 

 

w

 

I wouldn't call Hammond Transformers cheap.

post #102 of 106

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

 

I wouldn't call Hammond Transformers cheap.

 

We're talking 61 euros for 2 transformers. These are Hammond universal transformers, run at low power and low DC bias to exploit the wider 1dB bandwidth which can be anticipated, which is the whole point.

 

My other thread has been deleted on the basis that I am promoting an amplifier that I intend to sell. Yes, it is true that I said I have toyed with the idea of manufacturing and selling one of my other amplifiers. Toyed. It is not currently my intention and it never has been my intention to sell this amplifier, or any other amplifer, I only presented economic arguments in support of my contention that it is not necessary to spend or charge the kind of sums that are being spent and charged in some quarters. It was my intention to evolve the design in the public domain, as I have done so far, both with this and other designs. I have only ever given away boards or charged cost + postage. I make no money from Hi-Fi, it only costs me. I am retired and financially secure. I have no intention to quit retirement.

 

Since I have no desire to become a Member of the Trade with the inhibitions on free comment involved, I will not be posting further details in the Trade Forums, or anywhere else on Head-fi.

 

I don't listen to tube amplifiers, I listen to solid state amplifiers. The tube amplifiers I have are instrument amplifiers. I started building this amplifier for one reason, and one reason only, to prove a point. Now, it seems, I am to be denied even that satisfaction.

 

Despite this, I like it here. You can expect to see other free designs from me. One of them will be a comparatively cheap fully-conventional tube headphone amp. Push-pull, I think. Maybe someone will manufacture and sell it.

 

@elliottstudio, thanks.normal_smile%20.gif

 

w

post #103 of 106

wakibaki, I misinterpreted what you were saying, and thought you were going to be selling amps (as a business).

 

Sorry.

 

As per our PM exchange, I've restored your thread.

post #104 of 106

Thanks, jude. That's very even-handed of you. I don't know why, but I was expecting a bit of an uphill struggle and maybe even to have what I was saying dismissed out of hand, which was completely incorrect.

 

Thanks.

 

@everybody else, I really want to stop arguing about this, so that's what I'm going to do. You're all welcome to express any technical or aesthetic criticisms of the design over in the new thread tho', and you will be able to see details of changes as the design evolves and hopefully test results and even my listening impressions, for what they're worth, at some point.

 

w

post #105 of 106

Wakibaki,

 

I'm glad you're going to go forward with the design. I am looking forward to seeing it evolve and possibly helping you along in any way I can. Please let us know where to find your new build thread so we can follow along~ I'm sure there will be some excitement as you will be posting your design for the benefit of all.

 

As you stated you're a solid state guy, I'm not sure if you've had much experience with tube hi-fi other than your instrument amps, but be prepared to be hooked like the rest of us tube (or valve) freaks! Also, if you're planning to use a PCB it's best with tube stuff to build your first example point to point because you will undoubtedly have to do some revisions along the way. You know how difficult it is to re-work circuit boards, especially with the large parts involved. Personally I prefer the sound of point to point wiring over circuit boards and all of my products are built point to point.

 

Now if I could figure out how to market them..confused_face.gif

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