Friday, August 25, 2006

Cheap Trick

A good friend of mine has me totally pegged. He forces me to try things myself by asserting just how positive he is about something. Playing on my natural tendency to disbelieve, I of course have to try it myself. Then, just as sure as the sun rises, I find he was right. I'll hide his name here by spelling it backwards - bob.

So the most recent edition of "bob" knows - POWER.

Bob has been telling me that for good bass in a system you need two things - Internal volume in the speaker and POWER. So - as you can see by the LP#9's that I now have speaker volume. Lots of it. But on the power side I was convinced that my ultra efficient single drivers and tube amp were quite pleased with each other.

So, the other day on e-bay I see this little NAD amp being sold - using hawking techniques gleaned from Bob I win the auction. For ninety bucks I get a old NAD Power Envelope 2240. The NAD has forty watts of real power with plenty of dynamic headroom. I bring it home and repair it - check the bias and solder together a 100K ohm volume pot onto some old RCA jacks I have lying around.

I hate it when Bob is right. Same volume levels that I typically listen to - guessing about 87-89Db SPL and wow - I can feel the bass - not just hear it. The tube amp was doing a fantastic job of making the music happy but the solid state amp was doing an equally excellent at making the music jump right out of the speakers - it's alive.

So - Bob is right - about the power at least. Problem is, I can tell the difference in the amps. The tube amp wants me to listen to music and the solid state amp makes the music something you "show a friend" and then turn down due to listening fatigue.

The plan right now is to build a Bottlehead Foreplay III with all the trimmings and use it to add the softening that the tubes do and run it through the NAD to amplify a already tubeā€™ed sound. Time will tell - but the tube amp is back plugged in and the NAD is on the shelf - working but cold.


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