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Radford Revival
05-02-2015, 11:05
We are thinking about producing a budget amplifier in the 1000-1500 range, I believe we can produce an amplifier of excellent performance in this price bracket. What features and specifications would people appreciate in such an amplifier? What is sorely needed in this category? We are very open to suggestions at this point and mainly just thinking out loud.

Gordon Steadman
05-02-2015, 11:16
A budget amplifier would be in the 200 to 400 range:)

For 1500, I'd expect platinum plated valves at least and some really nice dials an' stuff.

Reffc
05-02-2015, 11:34
A budget amplifier would be in the 200 to 400 range:)

For 1500, I'd expect platinum plated valves at least and some really nice dials an' stuff.

You're joking, right? A valve amplifier of any merit at all for 200-400? :rfl: I'd say that Will's being modest, and perhaps "budget" is the wrong description. Perhaps a "high quality no frills hand built valve amp using quality transformers" might be nearer the mark. 1000 these days for a decent valve amp is really very good value indeed. You could probably get a decent hand built SS amp for 400, but a valve amp? :scratch: no way.

Gordon Steadman
05-02-2015, 11:36
You're joking, right? A valve amplifier of any merit at all for 200-400? :rfl: I'd say that Will's being modest, and perhaps "budget" is the wrong description. Perhaps a "high quality no frills hand built valve amp using quality transformers" might be nearer the mark. 1000 these days for a decent valve amp is really very good value indeed. You could probably get a decent hand built SS amp for 400, but a valve amp? :scratch: no way.

Well, maybe just slightly tongue in cheek:eyebrows:

Reffc
05-02-2015, 11:38
:) ;)

Lee Henley
05-02-2015, 13:22
We are thinking about producing a budget amplifier in the 1000-1500 range, I believe we can produce an amplifier of excellent performance in this price bracket. What features and specifications would people appreciate in such an amplifier? What is sorely needed in this category? We are very open to suggestions at this point and mainly just thinking out loud.

Well Im not an amp designer and have no idea as to how much these things cost to build one but a few suggestions from me would be

Remote Control
4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker inputs
Facility to bypass the preamp
A choice of finish
More than one input

As an optional upgrade you could always throw in a MM phono stage

Hope this helps

Lee

Radford Revival
05-02-2015, 13:47
Well Im not an amp designer and have no idea as to how much these things cost to build one but a few suggestions from me would be

Remote Control
4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker inputs
Facility to bypass the preamp
A choice of finish
More than one input

As an optional upgrade you could always throw in a MM phono stage

Hope this helps

Lee

Hi Lee, thank you for your suggestions. These are all reasonable and doable, and mirror what others have said to me. It seems that what people want in this price range is a no-nonsense integrated solution. It should be fairly straightforward to engineer the chassis so that an alternative front and back plates could be made to mask off unused mounting holes for those who want a pure power amp solution, which would not add any cost to the development.

petrat
29-04-2015, 16:27
How about a 'mini-Radford', based on the EL84, but styled like the STA-15 etc?
Could be a lovely little thing ... Kessler would go nuts for it :)

Firebottle
29-04-2015, 18:51
Hi Will, I think the 'budget' description would sit better at 1000. To a lot of folks that is still a sizeable chunk of money for an audio device.

If you could include top quality iron at that price with say EL84's in ultralinear then it could be a giant killer.

I'm at present designing what I hope will be a 'giant killer' preamp with MC/MM and remote but realise that a 1000 target is a tough ask.

Good luck with the project :thumbsup:

:cool: Alan

struth
29-04-2015, 18:55
Hi Will, I think the 'budget' description would sit better at 1000. To a lot of folks that is still a sizeable chunk of money for an audio device.

If you could include top quality iron at that price with say EL84's in ultralinear then it could be a giant killer.

I'm at present designing what I hope will be a 'giant killer' preamp with MC/MM and remote but realise that a 1000 target is a tough ask.

Good luck with the project :thumbsup:

:cool: Alan

you could do a non phono version that would be affordable for folks that already have a giant killer phono stage :eyebrows:

walpurgis
29-04-2015, 19:03
I suppose a nice set of 2A3s and silver wound output transformers would be stretching things? ;)

shane
29-04-2015, 21:13
I'd have thought el84 p-p as well. People at the lower end of the valve amp market aren't necessarily going to have or want high efficiency speakers, so you're going to need at least 15W output. Domestic acceptibilty will be high on the list too, as likely customers are probably less likely to be prepared to compromise their living rooms in the search for ultimate fidelity.

It also needs to be different from KEL84!

hifi_dave
19-08-2015, 17:06
How is this project progressing ?

Haselsh1
19-08-2015, 18:08
My own personal requirement would be full class A, power amp only, very high quality transformers and EL34 valves minimum spec. If doable then dual mono.

Radford Revival
23-08-2015, 13:30
How is this project progressing ?

There have been developments as it happens - watch this space!


My own personal requirement would be full class A, power amp only, very high quality transformers and EL34 valves minimum spec. If doable then dual mono.

The amp will be using EL34s - though Class-AB. The thing is with conventionally biased Class-AB valve amps you're listening to mostly Class-A anyway.

Desmo
23-08-2015, 15:52
My own personal requirement would be full class A, power amp only, very high quality transformers and EL34 valves minimum spec. If doable then dual mono.

Sounds like you need a pair of World Audio Designs KEL 80s. They were a great amplifier. I still have a pair in a cupboard somewhere, must dig them out...

Gazjam
23-08-2015, 17:55
There's a valve amp "mythology" I think (justly deserved imo) and a lot of folk are curious about them, so a well turned out, British built and designed box is a good idea in concept. (think the cache that Glen Croft amps have for instance)

The problem I see is that making "it being budget" its unique selling point is self defeating, as folk that know valve amps know of the issues with cheaper Chinese examples...so you'd have to differentiate yourself from those.

Quality Iron, good caps and a unique circuit will justify a substantial chunk of change for the amp which people will be willing to pay.

Just my 0.02 :)

Arkless Electronics
23-08-2015, 18:48
A grand is certainly cheap for a quality valve power amp made by hand in this country and in small quantities!
My 2p worth as a fellow engineer and designer (I don't do all valve power amps so no conflict of interest! :)).... El84's and about 10 - 16 WPC is pretty much set in stone at this price if there is to be enough money left to not compromise other areas too much. I would forget the remote on cost grounds as well personally. I would be tempted to keep it nearer 10WPC than 16 due to modern valve quality and reliability. This should also allow the output transformers(OPTX's) to be rather better for the cost.... OPTX's are of course the biggest hurdle in the price V performance race so any help you can give yourself here should be grabbed and run with!! Forget boutique brand parts! Very little improvement, costs a fortune and you need all the money to go on them there OPTX's. It may be worth looking into SMPS for the power supply but there is market resistance to this and at this power level you probably wouldn't save much...
Fairly cheap casework of course as that really takes a big chunk of the money and yes... there's those OPTX's to buy!!

All the above should be obvious anyway to anyone thinking of doing this but if any was of help, great.
Of course this is just how I would want it done as an engineer and as an audiophile... maximum sound for the pound and sod the aesthetics as there isn't money for both at this price! Customers are funny things though (yeah don't I know it! Quiet at the back there!) and it may be that medium sound quality with a great remote control and looks to die for sells more :rolleyes: :scratch: I dunno :eek:

Spectral Morn
23-08-2015, 19:38
We are thinking about producing a budget amplifier in the 1000-1500 range, I believe we can produce an amplifier of excellent performance in this price bracket. What features and specifications would people appreciate in such an amplifier? What is sorely needed in this category? We are very open to suggestions at this point and mainly just thinking out loud.

At least 25 watts, 5 inputs, tape loop (yes still useful to many), MM phono-stage would be great but at the price line level only would be best. Remote ummm seems folks need that these days so it will need a remote.

Big problem is all the cheap as chips Chinese imports have spoiled what folks think is and isn't doable for that budget and being a UK built and designed amp will possible mean less bling than a Chinese amp, but should mean better sound and reliability.


Regards Neil

hifi_dave
24-08-2015, 15:18
There have been developments as it happens - watch this space!



The amp will be using EL34s - though Class-AB. The thing is with conventionally biased Class-AB valve amps you're listening to mostly Class-A anyway.

Looking forward to this.

anthonyTD
24-08-2015, 16:54
:)
A grand is certainly cheap for a quality valve power amp made by hand in this country and in small quantities!
My 2p worth as a fellow engineer and designer (I don't do all valve power amps so no conflict of interest! :)).... El84's and about 10 - 16 WPC is pretty much set in stone at this price if there is to be enough money left to not compromise other areas too much. I would forget the remote on cost grounds as well personally. I would be tempted to keep it nearer 10WPC than 16 due to modern valve quality and reliability. This should also allow the output transformers(OPTX's) to be rather better for the cost.... OPTX's are of course the biggest hurdle in the price V performance race so any help you can give yourself here should be grabbed and run with!!

archiesdad
27-08-2015, 20:12
I'm still threatening to dunk my toes in the valve amp water but to me, 2 inputs, 20+ watts, choice of colour finishes? (interchangeable panels?) would be handy/enough at the base price with options for more demanding pushing the price towards the upper limit? 0.02. Oh, warm edging to clinical sound too.