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Re: [Amps] Western Electric

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Subject: Re: [Amps] Western Electric
From: "Paul Christensen" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2022 12:34:54 -0400
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I often see an inverse relationship between money spent on high-end audio gear 
and one's technical knowledge concerning audio engineering and acoustics.

It's amazing to see matched pairs of 5U4 rectifier tubes selling for twice the 
price of an unmatched pair.  Or, $1K+ AC line cords marketed as a design 
derived from a DNA double-helix when home AC wiring between the receptacle and 
service panel contains common Romex and builder-grade receptacles, some of 
which are shared with other receptacles on a common branch circuit.  But 
somehow, none of that matters with the expensive line cord.  

I recently saw several beat-up Gates Sta-Level compressors sell in excess of 
USD $3K each.  If any of you spent time in broadcast engineering, you know what 
these are.  We junked them decades ago but now they're the Holy Grail of audio 

I pay no attention to the tube v. solid-state debates and how colorful 
adjectives are used to describe an audio experience.  If there's some attribute 
that can’t be measured, I consider it non-existent and a figment of one's 

Of all the audio amp parameters I deem important, it's the damping factor.  
Interestingly, few vacuum tube amps offer high damping factor owing to the ESR 
of transformer secondaries.  Many audio systems can be substantially improved 
by choosing an amp with a high damping factor.  Combine it with big copper 
conductor size Romex for speaker cabling and be done with it.  We don’t need 
expensive deoxygenation nor hyper-stranding to improve skin effect.  

FWIW, my home amps are 1970s vintage Marantz.  They offer good performance, 
have a high damping factor, and are still easy to repair.     

Paul, W9AC  

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