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VALVE Magazine Online!
It's Not A Gang, It's A Club
Editorial From VALVE Issue 1 / 2, February 1994

  A sampling of tube amplifier prices from the October 1993 Stereophile Recommended Components list:

Air Tight ATM-2  $6995
ARC Classic 60  $3995
Sonic Frontiers SFS-80  $2895

Yes, the price of admission to the world of euphonic, liquid midrange is plainly exorbitant. Handcrafting, limited production, and hype all work to drive the price of new tube equipment ever higher. But what about used gear? There was some great stuff produced in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Luckily, a fair amount of this vintage gear still exists, and guess what — most of it goes for less than three grand a piece! Some representative vintage amp prices I have come across lately:

Harmon Kardon Citation II  $650
Eico HF89  $450
Dynaco MkIl   $375 a pair
Fisher 50A  $255

And these are dealer retail prices. A little patience and determination may turn up prices far lower than this.

OK, you say, I bought an amp. But wait a minute, you say, there's old capacitors in there, I don't have a tube tester, and I don't know how a HF 89 should sound.

That's what VALVE is all about. I've been playing with audio gear since I was 15. I still have the Ampex tuner, amp and preamp that a dear friend let me use to find out about high fidelity back then. Since then I've met many people interested in vintage gear, be it vacuum or solid-state. I've bought, bartered, borrowed, built and befriended, but I never found the venue for information exchange that the antique radio clubs and new equipment-oriented audiophile clubs had.

So here's an attempt to get all of us vintage audio collectors, users, hackers, scratch builders, and B.S.'ers some sort of organization. Any club needs some basic components to work. First is a place to meet. I am happy to volunteer my shop as a starting point. This year I plan to convert a 12 x 20 foot garage next to the workshop into a LEDE (live-end dead-end) listening room / showroom. It should be able to hold a dozen or more people for starters. So we just need a president to preside at the meetings.

I now have a photocopy machine arid desktop publishing equipment for production of a newsletter. So we just need an editor and stamps. I have software for tracking names and addresses of members, so we just need a membership chairman. I would be happy to coordinate the assemblage of loaner test equipment for member use, so we just need volunteers to give presentations on repair and mods. I have also begun to build a reference library of  schematics, tube manuals, magazines and texts, which could be used and augmented  by members, so we just need a librarian.

A lot of you folks out there  have experience with these types of positions, so be prepared for a phone call from me leaning on you to volunteer (hint - unless I hear from you first). If we get enough membership we could do some righteous equipment comparisons using member units. Sharing homebrew construction projects and experiences would be another great area to explore.

This doesn't have to be a ‘tubes only' club either. I would enjoy talking vintage 78s, building speakers to match amps, matching solid-state components to tube components within a system, and I know you have some interesting ideas too.

Oh yeah, solid-state is vintage now too. And hey, if you think old tube gear is a good deal, people are practically giving away excellent solid-stale gear from the 70's and early 80's. I guess they figure it don't sound good if it ain't painted black.

So let's do it! Call me at Classic Radio of Liberty Bay, (ph# removed, no longer valid), and increase my feedback plus
Or stop by my first Sunday of the month swap meet and give me direct output. Remember, valves operate in a vacuum state, clubs don't.

 

Dan 'Doc B." Schmalle
February 1994

 

Dan was owner of Classic Radio of Liberty Bay, specializing in restoration and custom modification of antique radios and vintage audio equipment. Fast forward a few years and now Dan is responsible (some say guilty of) the Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference (VSAC) and is the Head Bottle of Bottlehead. His company has a longstanding reputation in offering excellent kits and parts. Such kits may also be offered preassembled and include the S.E.X. integrated/headphone amplifier, Seduction phonostage, the Foreplay III linestage and other goodies.

As an extension to his company, Dan published a magazine called Valve that features many DIY projects, tweak article and think pieces. Here on Enjoy the Music.com we will feature one new article each month that will be of great to various audio enthusiasts. As the VALVE namesake heralds, this is for Vintage Audio And Valve Enthusiasts.

 

Smoothing The Audio Jaggiesan...
Easy CD tube output stage you can build!
From VALVE Volume 2 Number 10 October 1995

A Few Words About 78 RPM Cartridges And Styli
Article By Dave Dintenfoss
From VALVE Volume 2 Number 9 September 1995

Editor's Thing By Dan
From VALVE Volume 2 Number 8 August 1995

Dinkin' Around
Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.
The 75 Minute Restoration

Dinkin' Around
Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.

Rare Birds
Listening impressions of some collectible equipment.

Dinkin' Around
Tech tips and other unsolicited advice
 Article By Doug Grove

Triode Amplifier Operating Points
Article By Paul Joppa

High Efficiency Speakers
The continuing saga of a search for a loudspeaker for single-ended tube amplifiers.
Article By Dan Schmalle

Firin' Up Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.|
Article By Dan Schmalle

Living Stereo Reissues
Is CD or Vinyl Better?
Article By Steven Schneider

Dinkin' Around With Star Grounding
Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.
Article By Dan Schmalle

Editor's Thing
Article By Dan Schmalle

Cary'd Away: A day with the Cary tube preamplifier.
Article By Dan Schmalle

Joining The Singles Club
Article By Dan Schmalle

Dinkin' Around
Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.
Article By Dan Schmalle

October's Meeting
Article By Dan Schmalle

September 1994's Meeting
Article By Dan Schmalle

Triophoni -- Triode Triumph
Article By Dan Schmalle

Home Theater, 50% Style
Article By Dan Schmalle

Altec Alternatives
Article By Dan Schmalle

Acoustical Quad
Article By Dan Schmalle

The Venerable Dynaco Stereo 70
Article By Dan Schmalle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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