Sunday, October 03, 2004

The $2 Tube Amplifier

Purchased at a church rummage sale, this amplifier was assembled by hand. Not a professional, mind you, but big clumpy cold solder joint amateur assembly. A pair of XLR microphone inputs and one for a phonograph, I picture some sort of dueling MCs over a square dance record. Imagine the sounds that have come through this amplifier.

It is extremely endearing to think about the basement scientist, burning himself as he soldered, putting this contraption together from a kit. Hoping it would be done in time for the big show. Then, sitting in the audience, praying it would continue to work. And I bet it belted it out with those two 6L6 tubes on the right. When it gets all warmed up, it looks magnificent and smells even better - like clapboard houses, worn oriental rugs, oiled furniture and the windows open on a perfect southern California day with the orange blossom smell drifting through. Unfortunately, the sound of this amplifier is nothing but a tease, as you can hear the clear rich perfect tube sound under the most godawful 60hz hum. Volume up, down, it doesn't matter. That hum packs a wallop. It probably needs a total capacitor replacment and, frankly, I don't know if I have the stomach for it. I really want this son of a dip to work and I don't have much of an excuse as it would be about half the burned fingers, half the cold solder joints of the basement scientist before me.