I admit that regarding many subjects in audio I love to sound, to act or just to be a compulsive. However, I feel that my compulsiveness does make sense to me and ironically it does make sense, quite frequency, for some others (unless they are Morons or Republicans)….
Anyway, taking under consideration that “life is what we sell to ourselves” I begun to sell a couple years back an idea to myself that no one care about my audio-desires and that my quest for a better Single Ended Triode will never be satisfied. I mean that taking under perspective my demands about what "might be got" out of an amp and my consideration of the specific duties that I impose to an amplifier I feel that have reached a level where is practically imposable to get anything out of “ordinary amplifiers making people” out there. Really, after the years of being spooled with Lamm’s ML2 something is got permanently “fixed” in my head and any amp that I have seen or heard was remarkably not interesting, not to say juts insulting. Talking about the ML2 “integrity”…
Generally, I might talk for hours about some uniqueness of ML2. The problem with this amp is that there are very few people out there who actually understand what the conversation would be and most likely - no one would understand what I might say. The reason for this is that there is no know to me speakers that would be able to handle all ML2’s ability. Yes, all known to me people who do use ML2 and who adore the ML2’s sound do not have in their room Sound the I would be consider interesting or worth any serious audio-attention. Furthermore, each and single reviewers who did write thier full of ML2’s admiration reviews did not get out if this amp even 30% of it’s capacity and were in an ultimate darkness about this amp’s abilities. There are multiple composite reasons for the domination ignorance about the ML2 and, as I said, the absent of a sensitive, discrimination of tone and contrast capable, dynamic-gifted, real-bass-enabled, musical loudspeakers is one of the most important.
Anyhow, running my installation with ML2 multi-amping and loading them to very sensitive and very contrasty, high impedance loudspeakers I approximately 3 years ago (when my speakers took a drastic move forward) began to question if it was all that might be got out of an amplifier. Following my essential rules:
I compiled a few years ago a list of all shortcomings and limitations that I observe in ML2, and this list is keep growing since then. Then I began to ask if anything out there would be able to address my detected “nuisance”. Yes, there were a few amps that were able to push the ML2’s envelop in one or another area but all of them were completely unusable in many other areas; and all-together they never were able to compete with ML2. I do not know if a luck of real engineering expertise or a general limited cultural level of the different amplifier manufacturers and builders prevented them to push Sound further then ML2, however, despite all my intends to find something better then ML2 it still was comfortably positioning at a very top of amplification summit and without any visible contestants.
A couple years ago a friend of my – a Russian Designer Dmitriy Keeriev (‘deemon’ at this site) told me that he somewhere in the end of 90s he discovered one very intriguing tube that no one at that time ever tried for audio. The tube was initially used in Russian laundry machines for fastening of thier drying cycle*. According to him that tube demonstrated some abnormal audio qualities that he was feeling takes Sound at the very different level. When I complained to Dima (sort for Dmitriy) about my frustration to found anything that would be able to top the ML2 he suggested that his tube, if to use it properly, might be able to furnish the competition. Month after the month it were juts conversations. I got those tubes, send them to some local friends of mine who performed some analyses with them and concluded that it was something totally out of this world. At that time Dima and I came up with some concepts about what the proposed amp might be all about. The clouds on the SET horizon were gathering…
Eventually, Dima came up with the final design of the circuitry using some semi-radical means combining his own engineering expertise, intuition and his own experience of using this tube in his multiple projects. It took for us a couple months to come up with the specification and nail down the best possible components and we did bult this amp. We named it “Melquíades” ** after the inflames foretelling gipsy of Gabriel García Márquez...
What can I say? The “Melquíades” is something very strange and something is very special. I do not know how much of the Melquíades’ quality derives from the Dima’s tube, how much derives from the other interesting decisions that Dima put in the game in the amp and in it’s PS. The amp initially was bult with an intention to be able to work in bi-amp configuration to drive my upper-bass horn. Initially I would be VERY pleased if the “Melquíades” was able to work with ML2 in bi-amping (no one amp that I trued did it OK). At the back of my consciousness I hoped that I might try to compete or even to push the ML2 but I was very skeptical. However, the sonic result that I got out of “Melquíades” kind of stumbled me. It did addressed each and single point of my “ML2 frustration list” and took sound way about all my expectations…
Currently, I’m kind of in “skeptical mode” trying to detect what “Melquíades” dose wrong. I am doing many experiments with it and some of them (partially technical and partially listening analyses) are quite interesting and superbly enlightening. I do not know at this point if “Melquíades” will end up as my “it’s it” amp but so far, the amp is very noble contestant that in many aspects has already put MlL2 in unspeakable shame. The amp now it too fresh but it getting better dally, partially due to some very minor changes/adjustments and partially because it keep burning in. I will keep the site’s visitors posted about the further fate of “Melquíades” and will eventual post some pictures.
Romy the Cat
PS: I am at this point do not divulge any further information about the amp, unless until I load my storage with those tubes :-)
* juts kidding
**Melquíades was a gypsy who brings technological marvels to Márquez’s Macondo and befriends the Buendía clan. He is the first person to die in Macondo. Melquíades serves as José Arcadio Buendía’s guide in his quest for knowledge and, even after dying, returns to guide other generations of Buendías. Melquíades’ mysterious and undecipherable prophecies, which torment generations of Buendías, are finally translated by Aureliano (II) at the end of the novel—they contain the entire history of Macondo, foretold.
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche