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SoCal @ Hilton LAX 10/18/08


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Without doing a lick of research my primary concern, outside of the cost of the tube would be the single source (1 manufacturer) aspect. I mean, EML is probably not going to go away any time soon but I never like having to rely on their only being one source for anything.

One could stockpile EMLs, that will be a blow to the wallet :kitty:

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you get get NOS Teles for a grand

I checked 5 dealers and only one listed it as an option and had no stock, not to mention their price of upwards of $700 per tube for NOS AD1s.

What I'm getting at is that it costs less than that to retube the entire Menace with good NOS stock and if you want to you can spend less than $100 on the 5 tubes for it and still get very good performance. No disrespect to Craig, I like his work a lot, but designing a new production amp, even if it's a limited run, around what appears to be one of the more esoteric tubes out there seems crazy.

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Without doing a lick of research my primary concern, outside of the cost of the tube would be the single source (1 manufacturer) aspect. I mean, EML is probably not going to go away any time soon but I never like having to rely on their only being one source for anything.

In this economy? For what has to be a tiny, niche manufacturer?

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In this economy? For what has to be a tiny, niche manufacturer?

Yeah I have to agree with your line of thinking as well. I know for the 300B most people prefer the WE, and that has to take a big chunk of sales away from EML. The 45, (maybe) the 2A3 and definitely the AD1 aren't as popular as that tube.

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while the AD1 is on the expensive side it is still in the same range as the best new production 300bs like WE or KR at $500-800 a pair. I am sure that Craig can sell a pair or two to amp buyers at his dealer discount. Which would probably put you at $500. So this is not so far out there when you consider that David in your 2a3 amp you had well over that in tubes with the rectifier and driver.

As long as I got 2 years of heavy use out of a pair I would consider that to be worth it of the amp was Craig at his best, which I strongly believe this amp will be.

[snip]

very true , John. i guess i am still sore at Emission Labs since my first pair of EML-2A3-S had issues within the first year.

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Wonder why he's choosing such a pricey tube to base a new amp on

What I wonder is why Craig doesn't design an amp, put it in production and sell it. Right now, he has Balancing Act pre-orders, the Nautilus prototype floating around, the empty box Aficionado, the Zana Deux T, an electrostatic amp, and who knows what else in development or partial construction. Not only is he leaving money on the table by not releasing products, but by constant tinkering and design-changing be undermines his credibility with customers. I think he has already said that BA pre-orders can shift to one of the more recently developed amps, and to my mind that is cool but it seems to indicate that the BA is not his latest and greatest anymore so why would somebody stick with it? The engineer/inventor mentality of always wanting to make the best possible product is great, but there are costs to it too.

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What I wonder is why Craig doesn't design an amp, put it in production and sell it. Right now, he has Balancing Act pre-orders, the Nautilus prototype floating around, the empty box Aficionado, the Zana Deux T, an electrostatic amp, and who knows what else in development or partial construction. Not only is he leaving money on the table by not releasing products, but by constant tinkering and design-changing be undermines his credibility with customers. I think he has already said that BA pre-orders can shift to one of the more recently developed amps, and to my mind that is cool but it seems to indicate that the BA is not his latest and greatest anymore so why would somebody stick with it? The engineer/inventor mentality of always wanting to make the best possible product is great, but there are costs to it too.

x2

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From what I understand Craig is probably aware of this conflict but Voltron's last sentence tells it all. This seems to be the character weakness if you will of designers, they can never stop tweaking and evolving their products sometimes to the point of paralysis or just as bad, a cannibalization of their own product line. :(

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at least he only takes cash prior to the start of the build

Huh? Not sure what you mean but he does take one-half as a deposit and he has yet to finish a Balancing Act to my understanding. I am not attacking Craig, as you know, and I am not talking about something similar to the Mikhail/SP issue either. As you and I have discussed many times, I think Craig does himself a disservice for the reasons above. Lots of good ideas but you've gotta decide enough is enough and finalize a design.

It reminds me of my father in law, a retired engineer. The real joy to him is in the design and problem-solving phase. He plans things, tests them, thinks of a new idea and starts over again. The problem that caused the need in the first place remains unsolved because he doesn't finish anything. When my in-laws retired and moved out of their long-time Maryland home, they spent months finishing house-hold projects that were half-done (or less). They lived without any kitchen cabinet doors for many years because he wanted to build them out of cherry wood from their Michigan home that was milled, planed, shaped and ready for staining. He got pretty far until he was bored and turned to some other over-thought project. The basement floor was jack-hammered up in places for some kind of drainage/moisture control system -- and stayed that way for years. Their house was a pit in many ways until they got it ready to sell, but it was fabulous for the next owners.

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Just to offer another perspective here... As a buyer of the Balancing Act, Craig has been clear and direct with me about the direction, status and time lines on the Balancing Act. From the beginning he has said that he was awaiting shipment of the power supplies at that they would not arrive from Russia until that end of October. By that point he would have the rest of the amp built and sometime soon thereafter he would complete and ship the BA. I have no reason to doubt that as fact. Along the way he has been working with Joel, his former design partner at Moth, tweaking the design in order to improve it. That's what creative folk do. Craig has kept me posted on progress including sending me drawings of changes.

As far as the Aficianado, Craig told me that he was motivated to see what he could do with the tube as identified as the "best out there." He told me I, as well as other BA purchasers, could try out both amps and choose the one Iprefered (The AF being more expensive per the cost of the tube. And I do agree the cost/risk is probably prohibitive.)

So I guess, from my perspective, as having been in touch with Craig through the entire process, I have confidence that he's talking the talk and walking the walk while still alowing himself to go off the beaten path.

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Craig is a great guy and makes amps that sound great. The problem is he has trouble deciding what to build. Then he decides what to build until he decides to build something else. Then he decides to put into production something else again and on and on. I'm still waiting for him to produce the phono stage I heard at MOA in February.

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Congrats Steve! Nice symmetry given that you/EMI contributed all the other door prizes! :P

Thanks Al, I'm sure it's the good karma from head-case.

Congrats Steve! I hope that you enjoy them.

Thanks Ken, I'm sure I will. It will no doubt beat the cheap $2 radio shack interconnects i've been using temporarily. I don't know why, but the audioquest interconnects i had were extremely tight.

btw - i did listen to your rig at the meet, with my Denon hooked up. I'm positive it would have been 10 times better if you could have gotten the exemplar working. those k340s were very power hungry, i really had to crank your extreme to get them to sing. your HP-2s sounded good, but they were a bit snug on my large skull, sort of like a vice, but an extremely good sounding vice. :D

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Yeah while the situation is confusing to me. It's not something I can't begrudge the man. He is on a quest for excellence and I am willing to wait and see and invest in what comes out of that quest.

I've been burned before, but I can't imagine that Craig will ever burn me. The guy is on the ball.

All I want is peace of mind. And I think in the end, through Eddie Current I will achieve that. At least as far as balanced tube amps go :)

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The engineer/inventor mentality of always wanting to make the best possible product is great, but there are costs to it too.

From what I have seen of engineers/inventors/builders in this hobby, almost every one of them probably needs a business manager of some sorts. Somebody to deal with all the little problems, to answer emails, to make sure things are completed in a timely fashion, to make sure there is always something solid to sell while new designs are on the boil, etc etc etc.

Sure, there are arguments that the market isn't big enough and the profit margins too small to take businesses with staff...... but surely a great engineer in a well organised company could take a much bigger slice of the pie?

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Shrug there's a reason Sony doesn't make tube based headphone amps.

Sure i'm sure there is a happy medium, but frankly Craig isn't in this to make money. Not at the prices he charges for what he delivers. It has to be rewarding for him in more respects than just monetary and not dealing with a suit might be one of those.

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