New 211 Amp Coming Next Week

ihmeyers

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I broke my rule (actually my wife's rule) and bought a pricey but very cool 211 amp. The amp was designed in the U.S. and built in Vietnam by one of their top builders. In case people don't know (I did not until recently) Vietnam has a thriving DIY tube culture and a number of very high end builders using exotic designs and parts. I'm a sucker for these builds because I love DIY/vintage tube design and I don't have the skill to build anything myself but like to try new things.

This is a SET (VT25) driving a SET (211) and produces about 13 watts of power. It is fully tube rectified with an RGN 1064 (there are many very cool replacements for this like U-10, U-12 etc.) rectifying the VT25 and 4-5U4G/Gz34 rectifying the 211. They are fully choke loaded and the power transformers and chokes are custom made/wound specifically by the builder for the operating points of each tube type used. Highest quality parts used throughout, Have both single ended and true balanced inputs.

I am going to try them first with the Tocaros I just traded for. I've heard the amps play well with those.

Of course, now I might have to sell an amp to keep the peace at home.
 

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Thanks. I practically had to beg the guy to sell it to me. The seller is the one with the connection to the Vietnamese builder. He's got a few pair of monoblocks and a crazy 100lb $20k preamp that he had built for him.
 
Very nice!

I once spent some time listening to a beautifully built 211 amp using all James iron in a system I was quite familiar with (using Altec 604Es), and loved it.

Never considered building one myself (scary stuff for a hacker like me) and can't see being able to afford a quality 'built' amp anytime soon, but the 211 seems the nicest sounding of the 'big' SETs to me.
 
It would take a lot of planning to get a build that nice, hopefully they built more than 1 pair!

Don't be too scared of the 211, 30W into a 5K transformer at 600V is achievable.
 
The builder builds them to order. It usually takes about 6 months. The guy I'm buying them from is keeping another pair of these he has. He also has a pair of DET 25 driving DET 25 SET monoblocs with all custom transformers wound with with silver. Those are crazy expensive but the owner said he had Thomas Mayer amps and he liked these better. The higher priced Meyer amps are $40k+.
 
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It would take a lot of planning to get a build that nice, hopefully they built more than 1 pair!

Don't be too scared of the 211, 30W into a 5K transformer at 600V is achievable.

I have another 211 amp now. I'm thinking of selling it.

The seller of this amp told me it puts out 13W because it's run very conservatively. I have a number of speakers greater than 95db efficiency so I should be OK there.

The seller and his buddy had two pair of these and a couple of other SETs from this builder. I don't think the builder builds many amps/preamp over the course of a year. He doesn't have to though. I'm guessing he clears $5-$7k per build and the average cost of a luxury apartment in Hanoi is $700 a month, I'm sure he's not getting rich but he does OK and of course, this is what he loves to do.
 
I don't have the amp yet so I don't know. It should be here next week. I do know that the seller's buddy who is Vietnamese and made the contact with builder sold off his Audio Note Kegon because he felt these were better. He's also in the proceess of selling his Audio Note M8 having puchased a crazy 100lb $22k preamp from the same builder.
 
WTH? Where do I sign up?

Of course, the salaries aren't very high there, lol. I work for myself and can literally live anywhere in the world I want to and continue to receive the level of compensation I make in Florida. I've suggested it to my wife on more than one occasion, south of France, Portugal, Turkey on the Mediterranean, etc. but my son wouldn't do it and I won't go anywhere where I can be within driving distance of him.

At one time I had a business partner that was married to a Filipina and lived in Manila. All his clients were U.S. based (my company alone paid him $20k a month for IT), and all his employees were local. Programmers made $40k USD there which was a fortune by Philippine standards, but of course 25% of what they'd get paid here. He lived like a king, literally. He and his wife had a full-time staff of five. He moved to Florida at one point but that was years ago and he might have moved back.
 
Do you have a design already for this? What is the spec for the opts?
I have sketched some ideas out but not completely nailed down a design. I have gotten a little complacent with class A2 amps that seem to like about 20V of positive grid bias to get the desired plate current, and I can do that with a little Hammond 156C and a 6BL7. To really squeeze all the power out of a 211, the grid bias should probably be adjustable between about -30V and 0V, and this means a -150V rail and a CCS underneath the 6BL7 instead of the 150H choke. That bit of extra work has been enough to reduce my motivation to do a full powered 211 build, though just adding a little tube preamp power transformer to a more typical tube amp power transformer could be enough to make that work.

At 650V on the plate and 115mA of current, plate dissipation is about as hot as you'd want to go (just under 75W). Running this operating point into a 5K OT could get you a little over 30W (probably not into a Chinese 211, more than likely into a GE though). Local feedback between the plate of the 211 and the plate and/or cathode of the first drive stage will definitely be necessary to achieve reasonable THD/damping figures. I have tried this kind of operation on the $125 Edcor 25W OPTs and they to pretty well at these levels, so you don't have to spend huge money if you don't really want to.
 
They arrived on Thursday and I've just gotten to unboxing them, or at least one of them. They are built like the proverbial brick sh**houses. Each one weighs about 70 lbs. The transformers are enormous and incredibly heavy. It's the most solid tube mono block I have ever seen, not that I've seen hundreds. The guy that sold them to me (he has another pair) told me his friend had a pair of these built with silver wound transformers and they destroyed the Audio Note Kegons he had. Not that the silver wound ones are cheap (about $30k) but the Kegons are well over $100k.

I hope to fire these up this weekend.
 
They arrived on Thursday and I've just gotten to unboxing them, or at least one of them. They are built like the proverbial brick sh**houses. Each one weighs about 70 lbs. The transformers are enormous and incredibly heavy. It's the most solid tube mono block I have ever seen, not that I've seen hundreds. The guy that sold them to me (he has another pair) told me his friend had a pair of these built with silver wound transformers and they destroyed the Audio Note Kegons he had. Not that the silver wound ones are cheap (about $30k) but the Kegons are well over $100k.

I hope to fire these up this weekend.
I had to use it:)

:wrtlss
 
I got one amp set up and biased this morning. I'll probably get the other done tonight and install them in my office system tomorrow. The seller said they'll need some run in time since they hadn't been used in 6 months. Here they are glowing away. Marconi U-12, WE VT-25, Elrog 211. Cost of tubes alone, jeez...
 

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