I’m a big fan of the thoriated-tungsten filaments and I value them not just because they do look very cool, but fundamentally due to how they sound in a single-ended stage. I hope to build a nice push-pull amp with these type of valves soon.
I found a pair of HY1269 valves recently. This valve is not well-known amongst the used ones out there but they do have some interesting characteristics as a directly heated tetrode that would be interesting to consider it for a plate-to-grid (Schade) feedback configuration. With its 30W of anode dissipation capability, it’s a good candidate for an output stage. However, it’s quite likely that you will have to drive it in A2 to get the most out of this valve. Like designs using 811a and similar transmitting valves, the HY1269 can be operated in class A2 even with no signal on the grid.
As per my “Robustiano” design using the 6P21S, it would be nice to see extracting 6W or more out of this transmitting valve. I’m sure that the thoriated-tungsten touch will provide a lovely sound if properly implemented.
A lot was already said about this fantastic day at Jon’s. The Starlight CD + Discrete DAC festival didn’t go as planned but we had a wonderful time. I had the chance to bring my own Starlight and sounded nice in Jon’s system despite the ground loop issue. Not clear what it was, despite it played well at low AVC levels but not when volume was increased. Perhaps was the load? Anyway, lots of tests from differential DACs to cathode follower outputs and Tom’s bipolar version.
I have to admit that the transformer coupled DAC sounded very transparent and detailed. The valve output gave a warmer tone and even harmonic contribution. The 6N1P implemented as cathode follower was very well received.
Tom’s bipolar DAC implementation is very promising. Clearly the tiny DC bias saturated the AVC and bass wasn’t good. Once we added the coupling PIO it came back to life with a subtle sound I enjoyed very much. Some challenges aside with the ESL resonances which I hope Jon can sort out soon.
Food and hospitality were superb in another unusual warm September day.
After an incredibly long journey I’m glad to say that is nearly over. The Starlight CD transport (I2S output and 4x oversampling) with its discrete DAC sounds absolutely amazing. Getting back to play my CDs is what I was cherishing for a long time. I will be bringing my +500 CD collection from my previous home soon so that would be perfect timing.
I promise to write up a proper blog entry with a full description of the learning experience. For now, I will just sit down and relax. Listen to many CDs and enjoy!
All the acknowledgements and thanks go to Tom Browne for this fantastic design and all the help provided throughout this journey. I think this is the Starlight number 20 or so built so far. Not sure if there are other ones being built anyway. Also my thanks go to Jon Finlayson for his help on the DAC boards, Richard for the UI stuff and to Tony for inspiring me to give it a go…