New 211 Amp Coming Next Week

I got them biased and hooked up. They act wierd with my Line Magnetic preamp. I think there are some impedance issues (lomng stork the LM preamp has a really strange design). I've got it sorted out and it's playing with the Tocara 42e speakers. They sound good together, and I expect them to get better. The fuses on the amps as well as the Marconi U-12 and the Western Electric VT-25 are NOS so they have fewer than 10 hours on them. I don't think they will ultimately end up with the Tocaros but it all depends upon what listening rooms are available when I finally find a house to buy. Maybe the Viking Acoustics Tubemasters if they sound good together. My Aric Audio 211 didn't sound great with the Tubemasters. I bought a pair of Vinnie Rossi Signature amps for the Tubemasters because I really think they sound better with more power (even though they are 96db efficient). I could also use them with Tri Art Audio Open Baffle 5, maybe the 211 amp driving the mids on up and a SS amp driving the bass. We'll see. I'll update as they break in.


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Using a #10 to drive a 211 means that a lot of extra iron has to be employed. While it might be possible to use a 1:2 input and 1:2 interstage, there's probably a 1:5 transformer at the input and a 1:2 interstage to get the gain high enough for this to work properly. Consequently, I would assume that the input impedance is very low (maybe 600 ohms) and plan accordingly!
I have a very limited knowledge of tube circuits but the guy I bought this from knew exactly what tubes he wanted to use. Having said that, this sounds like no other 211 amp I have heard. The guy I bought it from, someone I trust that I've done business with before said he and a buddy paid $30k for two pair of amps. They ordered the parts and the builder built them to his specs. He said the parts cost alone was about $10-12k per pair not including tubes. They bought some ridiculous tubes for them including NOS Telefunken RS237S that cost almost $3500 themselves. I bopught some ubes from him including the Marconi mesh U-12 and Western Electric VT-25. I'm using a pair of current production Elrog 211s that aren't cheap but are half the price of the Telefunkens which I declined to purchase. He and his buddy each have a pair of DET 25 amps built using OCC silver wound transformers. He's only got one system so he decided to let the VT25/211 go that he's now using with an AER3/Field Coil horn system that took him a year to build and tune.

I can now understand how another acquaintance of mine just spent $40k on a pair of Aries Cerat Concerto 61 813 amps. There is some crazy good/stupid expensive stuff out there these days if you're willing to pay for that last 5-10% or so.
I have a preamp on the way from the same builder to pair with the 211 amps. It can use either 8608 or 8233 output tubes with just about any kind of rectifier. I begged the guy that sold me the 211s to let me try this because he said it mates well with the 211. He and his buddy have moved far beyond this, their last build commissioned being a 95lb preamp built around the U-8 driver, two AD1 output tubes and all silver wound transfers.

Here are some photos of the preamp. Should arrive on Friday. Meanwhile, the 211 continues to improve.


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Got any internal shots of these amps and preamp? Would love to see the guts
Preamp no. It hasn't arrived yet. Fed-Ex should have it here by Friday. Here's a shot of the amp, it's all I have unfortunately.

It's crazy stuff. The guys brainstorm the best cost no object designs they can come up with and the builder, who speaks not a word of English incidentally, builds them. The 95lb preamp/DAC they had built last year has over $15k just in parts. It would probably sell for $75k commercially. I'm talking about getting in on their next preamp build if I can swing it.

I'll let you know how the preamp works out when I get it. They told me it has amazing synergy with the 211 amp. The amp is better than anything I have ever heard, and while I have not heard the upper echelon of commercial tube amps I have heard or owned $15-$25k amps and this is better than they were.


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The new preamp arrived today. It's settling in now. Initial impressions are favorable. Is it better than my Line Magnetic DHT preamp? No, not yet. They actually sound pretty similar. We'll see over the next few days.

Anyone else have experience with the 8608 output tube? I had never heard one. I'm not sure they are used commercially.



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