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What about a SET amp with special Transcendar Iron wound for 32 and / or 600 ohm cans ??

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 




I am currently auditioning this very animal using my HiFiMan He500, I am thinking REFERENCE level amplification............


This is the builder Justin Webers variant on the Darling circuit using the 1626 tube at 3/4 WPC it is driving my phones easily as good as my 3 wpc  EL84 tube amp


The amp is the most revealing I have heard, all the nuance in vocals shines through with ease, I have always associated SET with romantic / warm / syrup................Not the case here with ZERO feedback this thing is as crisp and neutral as one would typically associate with High End solid state.................but with absolutely no hint of grain or edge. And DEAD QUIET to boot, Music just emanates from a solid black background ( it's almost eerie, yet welcome)


Bass is tight, deep, and controlled. tones show rumble at 20 hz on my cans, while I can hear tones as high as 15khz


Bela Fleck, Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, bass is surprisingly gutteral at 3/4 WPC This thing is amazing


Sometimes God Smiles, track 20. Prism is a drum solo by Bill Bruford, I have used this as a reference for impact and many amps just cannot pull it off, I often find myself reaching for the volume knob in order to reach the desired level............Not so with this amp It recreates the effect with ease


Beck Sea Change, A very well recorded album about breaking up, The amp portrays the emotion with startling realism...........One of Becks best albums just got better


Vocals reveal different pitches in what I considered well known, Steve Earl, Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontangue, Ryan Adams, Allison Kraus, Adele just to name a few


The amp seems to excell at any quality recording I throw its way, It also seems brutally honest in its presentation of the source (crap  in = Crap out, no warming the edges here)


Strings reveal the pluck, the body and the  decay, Cymbals reveal strike and decay and just shimmer with no static, or sizzle, Piano is very realistic.  I cannot recall ever hearing acoustic guitar so realistic (short of being there)


Build quality is second to none, very robust and solid construction with stunning wood work,  


If you are looking for a reference level amp you owe it to yourself to call Justin who can fill in all the details of the build, His number is listed on the web site, when you call you get the builder and he is one of the nicest people you will come across :L3000:

post #2 of 8

The 1626 is a great tube if you have speakers that can cope with the low power.

Google Clementine amp and you can learn a lot about this tube and its DIY applications.

(Get it: "Oh my darling Clementine") 


I am surprised that Justin bases his amp on a $40 PCB from DIY Tube. 


These boards are usually sold to DIY hobbyists. 


Most commercial Darlings are point to point wired.

This is a nice one from Jef Larson: http://app.audiogon.com/listings/tube-abraxas-audio-darling-set-amp-7-mw-nice-caps-2014-06-02-amplifiers-11101-astoria-ny


Jef built this 6CL6 SEP amp for me...2.8 wpc...8 ohm speaker taps and headphones...


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)



Enjoy...you have tempted me to try a 1626 amp with headphones!

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I can't comment on his reasons for using PCB, I am sure he has them and maybe he will chime in on those............I see no issue personally with using a pcb I have had both point to point and pcb and neither has proven more reliable when  implimented  properly................From what I hear it sounds very good


I have seen some of the other Darling amps offered, they look nice



post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by joespride View Post

I can't comment on his reasons for using PCB, I am sure he has them and maybe he will chime in on those.....

There's no problem using PCB. In fact they are more reliable if you are building many of the same design.

Usually when makers use someone else's board they credit the designer e.g. B22 or Gilmore's designs.

Justin states that "The 1626 is the ampsandsound take on the darling circuit." 

I would have thought he'd credit Shannon since he's using Shannon's boards.

Enjoy...it looks like a great little amp!

Edited by parbaked - 6/26/14 at 3:56pm
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

He credits Shannon all the time, I don think he keeps it a secret where he gets his boards, There have been several discussions on Klipsch Forums about his amps and I know several mentions of Shannon by Justin and others 


If you were to speak with Justin you would find he is very forthcoming about what he does. He is a Work-A-Holic has like 3 jobs and does the amp business on the side



He has told me something to the effect that he has had long discussions with Shannon and they have collaborated on projects, and Shannon supports his offerings 



once you speak with Justin, and get to know him a bit it will become obvious the type person he is and you would know he is the last person that would attempt to take credit for others work

post #6 of 8

That makes sense as he certainly doesn't hide it....cheers.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 


post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

The amp has really started to open up and now is warming up a bit as I would have expected, still very neutral...............to get the best I am finding I need to warm this up off my ears for about 1/2 hour and everything settles in with the wonderful SET (single end triode) sound quality I remember from my open air speaker days


I have never been a big Jazz fan, I have had a few songs I enjoyed but for the most part I could not set through more than a couple minutes without moving on, This amp (for what ever reason) keeps me listening much longer and finding a new appreciation for the genera. 

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