Q: Why would I want one of these?
A: Maybe you don’t. These amplifiers are all out of the mainstream, reflecting quality in simplicity and intrinsic linearity, often with little regard for the usual performance specifications. I presume a subset of audiophiles will appreciate them.
Q: What about all the other amplifiers that measure better?
A: The ear is not a microphone, the brain is not a tape recorder, and measurements are limited in describing subjective quality. I like to have low distortion and so on, but these things take a back seat to what I experience when I listen. There are plenty of products which have great specs – I will not be offended if you buy those.
Q: Why such simple circuits?
A: It is my experience that simple linear circuits tend to sound better. I think they are more interesting and subtle than complicated circuits, and I find that measurements and subjective sound quality correlate better with simple gain paths. Exploring their potential for high performance is what I like to do.
Q: Why do they run hot?
A: They are Class A amplifiers. They are very linear, but they run hot. Can I make them sound good without Class A? No. Because they run hot, it is important that they get good ventilation. Do not place them in a closed cabinet or on top of another hot amplifier.
Q: Isn't Class A bad for the environment?
A: Everything is bad for the environment, in case you haven’t noticed. When I look at the cost of enjoying my 25 watt/ch class A amplifier as compared to watching a big screen television or running a porch light all night, I see that I get as much or more value for the same sort of consumption. If I drive down the hill to shop at Fry’s, I consume about as much power as running one of my amplifiers for 2 hours a day for a year. So I go to Fry’s less often, and I turn the amp off when I’m done.
Q: What's so bad about feedback?
A: Feedback isn’t so bad. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t. It all depends on what makes a particular design sound better. In the ideal case, we wouldn’t need feedback to improve the performance, but our parts are not ideal.