Greetings from Brisbane, Australia.

Hi all, I’m Ray from Brisbane, Australia.

You’ve got a great place here. The exchanges are warm, supportive and involve some story-telling. My system should fit right in: DIY SE 2A3 amplifiers, GPA 604s in MLTL cabs, R2R DAC etc. I even use cables and stands and stuff.

Musical tastes? Well, I wasn’t allowed to listen to much music when I was a kid because of my parents' religious beliefs. Still, I had friends at school who were into music and I used my lunch money to purchase cheap vinyl (being replaced by CDs) which I hid under the bed. I looked forward to my parents going out so I could play music on a badly set up three-in-one. I treasured those moments and sometimes wonder if I’m not trying to recreate the sound of those big old Philips wide-range drivers. I’m currently listening to a lot of ambient (not New Age) and minimal modern composition, though I’m pretty broad in what I listen to. I’d like to learn more about classical, at least to better understand what I might enjoy.

I’m embarking on my second (kind of) SE 2A3 build – not as elegant as some of the builds I’ve seen here(!) – and would be happy to share if there is interest.

Kind regards,

P.S. My moniker “shoshin” is to remind me to keep an open, curious mind; it’s not a proclamation that I actually have one.


Staff member
Welcome Ray! Would love to see some pics of your system (I have a weakness for 604s on 2A3s :) ).


Staff member
Welcome to the Haven Ray! You’ll find there are a few like minded SET and 604 enthusiasts here.

You mentioned a 2A3 build. I’d love to see that if you’re ready to share.
Thanks for the kind welcome all - very much appreciated.

Hmmm, I'll need to think more on the crochet thing; leave me with it... :chin

I'll start a build thread, maybe a brief overview today and hopefully some progress tomorrow. I've put a lot of planning into this build and am now anxious about putting it together - it's dragged on for so long I've forgotten what I was trying to achieve and how I intended to put it together. But hey, there'll be no ending without starting...

I've uploaded a quick snap of the system as it currently stands. My room is shallow - I could only include one speaker channel in the shot.


Thanks again all for your interest.



Next Round Is On Me
Welcome to HFH! Please tell us more about how you arrived at your current setup. Loving the baby bluish base on your amp too!
How did I arrive at my current setup?

I've had an interest in music and audio since my late teens. About 20 years ago I burned out hard, swapped my high-pressure, decently paid job for a job with lower pressure and lower pay. I could no longer $upport my audio interest as I had been... which was a great opportunity, though I did not see it that way at the time. I stumbled across a DIY forum and thought I might like to give that a try: better performance for less investment. I spent a lot of time (hours a day, for years) assimilating info from forums and daydreaming, but not really learning what was needed. I can see now it was a distraction from other things...

After a decade I decided to transition to a SET-based system - more research, thinking, daydreaming about speakers and amplifiers. After another five or so years I raked up the courage to actually do something about it.

Firstly, despite my apprehension, I had to sort the speakers first. I settled on the GPA 604-8H III speakers: they were a known quantity; a trusted cabinet designer agreed to do a custom design; a good crossover design became available; and I expected them to tick the most important practical and sonic boxes. Armed with a little knowledge, I coordinated the various steps to pull the design and build together. The end product is a speaker that has a balanced response when driven by a current/power-source amplifier (high output impedance) and wall loaded in a small-medium room. Although I'd like something more petite and more natural looking, I really do appreciate these wonderful speakers.

The SET part of the system is a story of learning from failure... again and again. I'd learned a bit and decided to build a SE 2A3 (very similar to the Radiotron 2A3 on the JE Labs site) from a partial kit with partial instructions. It did not work out well, so I kept the transformers, tubes and what I had learned about myself and building then tossed the rest. Attempt 2 was not a success, so I kept the transformers, tubes and what I had learned... With attempt 3 I decided to spend more effort on design and layout and have the chassis and a sub-subchassis fabricated. Success - the blue beauty was born! There are things I will do differently, but overall I'm pleased with it.

The rest of the system involved some reading, building a few relationships and paying for components. The AMR DP-777SE was the first one in Australia and is a lovely DAC/pre. I have a few gripes with practical aspects of the DAC, but I do like its flexibility and sonics. The Antipodes DX is a nice player chosen for for not making music sound "reproduced" and a desire to support local(ish) manufacturers. Again, I have an occasional gripe about some practical aspects, but I like the sonics.

Recently, for about a year I was not listening to music through the system as often as I used to. I'd made a few changes at around the same time and the sound turned nasty in the upper mids to high frequencies - something I don't like. The etch was mitigated via cables until one day, after a system clean, the power conditioner started making a high frequency rapid high-frequency ticking noise. I removed it from the system... and surprisingly removed the etch right along with it; the conditioner was the culprit. Now the sound was dull and lifeless. After a while I got used to it... Roon recently released an upgrade which has pushed the sonics in the right direction (for me) and all is well in the world... well, with my system anyhow. It is back to being balanced, easy, and musically expressive. I likey.

Wow, that was a journey - thanks for reading if you were able to stick with it.

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Glad to have you here, Ray. I like the back story and I look forward to the next chapter!

Also good to have another builder here.