The upgrade made to the 814 SE was quite simple, I replaced the gyrator carbon 4M7 for a Holco one and the mu resistor for a Mills 820R MRA05 5W. The capacitor was finally reduced from the outrageous 1uF Mundorf Mcap EVO Oil Gold to an 220nF 450Vdc Mundorf Mcap EVO Silver Oil.
The main change was the capacitor and proved to have no loss impact on the bass. I have recently made the OT change so cannot comment on the overall impact in the sound of these changes. I can say at this stage that I cannot notice any big change. It sounds as good as before!
I’d have expected a noticeable change by reducing the size of the cap, but in this case I didn’t.
Given I had several emails asking about the output transformers I used in the recent upgrade of the 814 SE Amp, I asked Mr. Vincenzo to kindly provide an email address so you can reach directly to him. You can send your request via the form below which protects his email address from internet SPAM :).
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the form below you can browse his website (in italian only sorry).
After more than a year listening to this fantastic amplifier, it was time to do the first significant improvement to it despite I resisted to modify it after so much work and effort put into the design and build. The evident upgrade was the output transformer. When frequency response was measured, it was evident to see that the HF response was lower than expected. This is the result of the transformer and its configuration in this circuit. The LL9202 is a better OT for higher impedances and in this circuit, it is used in the 6KΩ /8Ω mode.
Spent this afternoon building a compact modular base for the UX-4 sockets, a custom tag strip and the filament bias resistor array. Given the very low power dissipation on the filament resistors they can be placed below the valve socket board to minimise space. The actual size of resistors is a killer, but I have a stock of these lovely wire-wound ones:
Also the gyrator boards were mounted on top of the output teflon capacitors, again to minimise space. The trimpots to set the anode voltage are located at the top for handy adjustment if necessary:
I remember my first 01a pre-amplifier to be one of the best sounding ones I ever had. The uniqueness of its tone, detail and clarity was astonishing. Perhaps it is due to the warm tone it provides and I guess this is the reason why Thomas Mayer branded his design as the “sound processor”. I fell in love with the sound of a CX-301a and the joy of listening to this stage was so great that I found a fantastic excuse now to re-build this stage. My Starlight Discrete DAC has a very low output due to the step down transformer it has. I can only get 500mV as maximum output level. Not enough to drive my system to full level. This was a perfect argument for me to look at building a simple amplifier stage that could add the sonority of the 01a in my system.
After 8 years I managed to bring over my CD collection. I had to get rid of the plastic cases and pack them in a cilinder-like shape. Luckily they survived the 11,000km trip and now I can enjoy hundreds of music hours. What a joy!