Changes on the wind………………………….

Classic Tube Audio is growing!, now gong into our 44 th year, our shop work space is busting at the seams. You know what that means ?, cleaning up and reorganizing it’s just not working anymore. So with that said a new shop is in order and in the works over the next 60 days we are constructing our dream lab.

I will be sacrificing a lot of electronics in the process, I do not wish to move all this heavy electronics audio inventory. Below is a partial list. no sane offer refused. Yes sane, do not insult me or yourself by being a low-baller. I will tell you to go pound sand.. Ha Ha. But if you are fair with me I will be in kind to you.

As we move toward the build out of the shop I will post progress reports. With the new shop comes changes with me I will be spending a lot more time on the bench so I will be expanding my offerings service wise taking in more work. Turnaround times will improve, as to quality of work no changes we already are #1 top rated in the good old USA we live and breathe vacuum tube Hi-Fi, new old in-between………

Dr Tubeology

Tube whisperer

New Arrivals, 
1)     McIntosh 2505 stereo amplifier, just serviced works perfect clean and in great condition $ 900.00

 1)     Pair Marantz Model 5 Tube mono-Block amplifiers EL 34   Tube (RARE) As-Is non restored, SOLD 8-2016

1)     McIntosh Model MC30 mono amplifier (Tube)

1)     McIntosh C8 Mono Pre-amplifier (Tube) ($ 395.00 as-is)



Very Rare Audiophile Amplifiers:


1) Futterman OTL 3 Complete (mono-bloc pair) restored and for sale (RARE) $ 2500.00 the pair (SOLD 8-2016)

(just changed the price as I installed a better set of close matched output tubes and also did a few circuit revisions, they are functioning better than new!, I was able to lower the distortion even more with some additional bypassing of the power supply)


1) Mr. Liang 845 amplifier ($ 500.00) Mint and functions perfect

2) McIntosh C20 pre-amplifier (1) sold 4/2016) (2nd one SOLD 8-2016)

1) McIntosh MR65B FM Stereo tuner (Ready to go and complete with original packing and box and documents)

1) Celestion SL600 bookshelf speakers (Pair)rough (Sold 7-2-2016)

1) Marantz 10B FM Stereo tuner (This will go into Q for full rebuild) ($ 2000.00)

1) Adcom GTP500 stereo Pre-Amplifier/Tuner/With phono (150.00)

1) Linn Basik LV X arm looks to be (new in box) with new Linn cartridge in headshell $ 600.00

1) McIntosh MC275 (to restore yet with new chassis and rebuilt electronics $ 4,000) or as is $ 2500.00 (SOLD)

3) McIntosh MR71 (One sold 5/2016 (2nd sold 6/2016) (1) Left, its in ok condition about a 4 on the scale, $ 150.00 as is

1) Marantz Model 8b Stereo Tube Amplifier (as-is $ 1500.00)

3) McIntosh MC240’s (2 sold 03-2016)(one sold 04-2016) 3 left

4) McIntosh MC30’s (2 sold 3-2016)

1) McIntosh C20 ($ 2100.00) (Near mint) all documents Never touched as it was originally works perfect

2) McIntosh MC2505 (MINT, 10 on the scale fully 100% operating $ 1100.00) (One Sold 5/2016), One I’m servicing, last one ready to go 8-8-2016
1) McIntosh 2505 stereo amplifier, just serviced works perfect clean and in great condition $ 900.00

2) McIntosh MR67

1) McIntosh 1700 (near mint $ 700.00) SOLD 8-8-2016

3) McIntosh C24, C26, C28 (1 each) (1 c26 sold 03-2016)

1) McIntosh MR500

1) McIntosh MR78 (gets new face glass and re-aligned $ 1100.00)

2) McIntosh MR74 (Sold 6-30-16) One MR74 left condition is 7.0 works fine

1) McIntosh MR500 Stereo FM Tuner

1) McIntosh MC2155 Stereo Power Amplifier ($ 1,000.00)

2) McIntosh MR 65 FM Stereo Tuner

1) Dual (United Audio) 1015 Turntable as is not tested, clean with manual (as-is $ 120.00)

1) Linn Sondek LP-12 Turntable with Ittok IV arm and Koestu Rosewood signature cartridge ($ 3500.00)

1) Michell “Micro” Turntable with Rega RB300 arm and Sumiko nude bluepoint (1200.00)

1)     Mono Marantz model 5 tube amplifier untested EL34 Tube clean (as-is 1500.00)


In the Q for rebuild

1) McIntosh C29 pre-amplifier, now in process

 More Hi-End and Audiophile electronics

 1) Pair Zu “Omen” larger book shelf speakers (no longer using I upgraded to large Zu’s) See website for details MINT $ 900.00

1) Bi-Frost DAC (Digital to analog converter) Mint with all UBER upgrades MINT $ 550.00

1) iFi Nano USB DAC mint all boxes and materials) $ 150.00 near brand new


 Many of the components offered are used in good working condition and bench checked (Trade-in’s and upgrades) My service is personal, professional and attentive, by appointment only. Please email me and I will be happy to follow up with you and set an appointment.

 See my extensive service and repair offerings on Craig’s list: Service’s offered (Small business ads section) check me out at:

Also Facebook at:

 **Our new offering is a home grown “Ultimate” 2A3 Vacuum Tube amplifier called the Truth; please see our direct website for more about this world class amplifier:, This year’s highlights. The CAS Stereo show in SF and received accolades as one of the best sounding systems at the show, Stereophile mentioned us as one of the top sounding systems, The Audio Traveler, noted at THE Show in Newport we were a show stopper. The NY Audio show, we just received the “Gold” award for one of the best sound rooms at the show. Soon to be revealed, “Product of the Year 2105” with a full review from

an internationally recognized hi-end audio publication, Tone Audio magazine’s premiere hard copy “printed” edition 


Vintage Audio Lab USB – DAC review

Well it has been more than a few weeks but here it is the review of the valab v-dac that I purchased from a fellow named Kevin in Taipei Taiwan, from his eBay store – it cost $320.00 USD.(including courier shipping)

First off Kevin is a great guy to deal with the DAC showed up via international courier about 5 or 6 days after I executed the “buy it now” on ebay. I bet it would of shown up sooner if I had not paid for it late on a Friday afternoon. It was packed very well with a ton of foam and bubble wrap, since these appear to be homemade units there was no box per say; but who cares if the thing  comes with  some molded foam and a box with a logo as long as it sounds good…

After unpacking the DAC and outboard power supply I quickly connected the included umbilical between the two machined extruded aluminum chassis, plugged it into my system a Pas3 / Joe Curcio inspired home brew preamp, and an HH Scott LK150 tube power amp.  Next I plugged the usb cable into my then my Lenovo x201 laptop, booted up windows 7 and watched the drivers magically install, after about 45 seconds I launched FooBar2000 and started playing an uncompressed 44hz flac file. Low and behold MUSIC and very nice sounding music at that. From reading reviews from other owners on Kevin’s eBay store I learned that I should “burn in” the Valab prior to critical listening so I left my laptop on and connected for the recommended 40-60 hours. I am not sure how important this is because after I first fired the thing up it sounded awesome.

The Valab TDA1543 comes with Optical, Coax and USB inputs; and 2 high quality Gold plated analogue outputs. The sound quality of the optical and coax is far superior to the USB input due to the noise generated by the USB interface and USB cable. I discovered that if I move the cable away from my preamp the sound improves this could be due to my preamp not being shielded enough or because my USB cable cost me a buck at the local Goodwill storeJ. Even with this noise the USB interface was quite a bit better than my old USB DAC an M Audio Fast Track interface.

After my less than stellar experience with the USB interface I switched to spdif on my desktop computer. I connected the Valab TDA1543 to the M-Audio 24-96 audiophile soundcard spdif port and started listening, the results were startling – they were very good, the sound was significantly better than the USB interface. I compared the Valab to the analogue out of the Maudio sound card and again the Valab was the winner, more transparency. My testing consisted of connecting my Maudio soundcard analogue outputs to one input on my preamp, and the ValLab to the other, and switching back and forth. As you may of guessed the Valab produces far better in sound stage, with more definition and clarity than the analogue out from the sound card. After switching It was like wiping the dirt from a window.

My next test took place using some extremely high end gear, more specifically a Shanling TD-100 cd transport with an upgraded dac/clock and believe it or not this 3k retail device only sounded slightly better, again it was clearer with a wider sound stage, this tells me that until you want to spend 2k+ you are better off with the valab.

In Search of – USB DAC

I have been in the market for a DAC – a USB / Optical / Coax DAC to be specific and on a whim I went into one of our long time audiophile stores and asked the sales person to show me what they had, and I was presented with 3 options, DAC #1 was a Music Fidelity V-DAC for about 300.00; next up was a Music Hall 25.2 headphone amp – DAC retailing in the $500.00 USD ballpark;  DAC #3 was the Bryston BDA1 coming in at $2100.00 USD.

When I enquired about which one sounded the best I was told the Bryston, then I asked if the Bryston sounded as $1800.00 better than the Music Fidelity? And instead of letting me listen to both in the same system, the sales person told me that of course the Bryston would sound better… then he went to explain that it has a “very thick machined aluminum faceplate”, then I was told, “some people spend $200,000 USD on a car or drink $500.00 bottles of wine and a DAC is similar!” Now I want know how a heavy machined aluminum faceplate helps something sound better unless it is a musical instrument. After the monologue Mr. Audiophile Salesman took me into a dimly lit room full of high end gear and directed my attention to the magical Bryston BDA1 next he pointed out that it had every connection on the back that I was looking for, in addition to a few that I would never use, he then explained that is would handle all of the current high end bit rates and sampling rates. Still without turning it on; all I wanted to do was compare it with the 300.00 Music Fidelity V-DAC.

So why was I not trying to learn about the 25.2 DAC, well it has a headphone amp and that was something that I do not need since I rarely listen to headphones unless I am at work.

After about 10 minutes of this I asked him if I could make an appointment to come back and A-B the Bryston with the Music Fidelity, and at that time he figured he didn’t have a sale so he emailed me the link to the Bryston website so I could research the product and so I could email him a time when I could come in and audition the Bryston.
So here we are, I am skeptical of Mr. Audiophile Salesman, (even though it most likely sounds fantastic), if the high priced DAC is that good it should make the cheap DAC sound bad by comparison; I bet it sounds better but not enough to make it worth the price. If it did then they would use the low cost DAC to sell the high cost DAC  why not put them head to head and let the consumer decide? I bet I would not hear $1800.00 USD difference. What did I learn from my interaction with Mr. Audiophile Salesman?

  • Once you get to a certain plateau all gear will sound great provided you are listening to music you like, and your speakers are placed correctly
  • All DAC’s have the same chips in them, with the biggest difference being the analogue output stage and power supply
  • Your brain is wired so that if you think something is better or are told it is better, you will hear or feel that it is actually better. When you know something costs more, your brain has to justify the cost and will trick your consciousness into thinking that it SOUNDS BETTER – TASTES BETTER – LOOKS BETTER
  • When you get home from the store and are no longer A/B’ing the device in question,  whichever one you purchased will sound good, and will continue to sound good until you compare it with another device perceived to sound better.

In case you are wondering what DAC I ended up purchasing… well it is a VALAB- TDA1543 Non Oversampling – RE-Clocking USB DAC, with an independent power supply that is connected through an umbilical. Stop back in a few weeks and I will post a review.