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On 9/16/2022 at 6:23 PM, jcmusic said:

I would not contact Oliver Sayes for any reason what so ever, after the encounter I had with him recently!!!

Wow! Really? He’s built an amp for me that I’ll be taking delivery on in the next few weeks. I’ve talked with him several times and although he can be slow to respond sometimes he’s been very nice and helpful in helping me decide which direction to go. 

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11 hours ago, captainbeefheart said:

 

I suppose if you stick to cloning a known simple no feedback circuit he will do fine but he admits he has zero electrical engineering background and his portfolio is all clones of circuits.

 

 

This worries me in a few ways, firstly if the amplifier has feedback you can't just copy the compensation networks and expect fantastic results unless you copy the EXACT layout/chassis and EXACT  same parts and transformers used. For example anytime I clone a Mullard 5-20 type circuit I have ended up with very different lead/lag compensation network values. Output transformers will have the biggest impact on this and the layout will also change parasitic properties.

 

If you have a simple, zero feedback design that you want him to clone I'm sure he'll do fine, as he states in his website that pretty much anybody can clone circuits and build tube amplifiers that have already been designed from an engineer.

 

Just a note of caution. Personally I wouldn't want a food biologist fixing my car or making me an amplifier as it's not their area of expertise, it's just a hobby to him.

 

I also looked through his portfolio and gut shot images of soldering and layout and he doesn't seem to follow any guidelines. For example he has a large coupling capacitor where he extended the leads of the cap to reach where he needed to go. On any build I have looked at I can see many bad decisions made which are all rookie mistakes. That's fine if you are building yourself an amplifier but if you are shipping amps across the country you should at the very least take some time to study MIL Spec soldering requirements for different component types to learn how to build a rugged piece of equipment. For what he is doing (cloning) that will improve his amps significantly. It would also help if he did take some electrical engineering courses to not just clone but improve upon older designs and make certain the amp is as good as can be.

 

I don't see any specs or measurements. I guess just another fly by the seat of his pants clone builder selling amps that know nothing about electronics. Sorry it just irks me. Any hack that jumps into something head first with zero background knowledge just doesn't sit well with me. I suppose many of the builds he is making are very simple zero feedback old designs.

 

 

I've actually heard two of Min's amps on horns. They were free from hum and sounded fantastic. The look is advanced DIY. I've heard his SET amps not push pull a 45 and 300b. If you look at the shear number of amps he has built and his feedback that says a lot. The list on his website is not all he as done. He has been building for many years. I would trust him over much of the stuff out there. He is a good and honest builder. A direct coupled SET amplifier is not rocket science. If I can do it as a first amp build someone with 100's of builds under their belt will not find it problematic.

 

If I had to list all the cottage industry audio companies not run by audio engineers you would be shocked... Well likely you would not be but a few of them are actually good.

 

 

 

 

 

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Since I mentioned Electra-Print Audio I thought Shu may be interested on where I got my information about Jack Elliano's transformers. My info came from George Anderson, a well respected designer of tube amplifiers, on his website describing Jack's transformers. In case he or someone else is interested about what George has to say about Jack's transformers the links are below. 

 

http://tubelab.com/articles/component-testing/budget-output-transformers/

 

http://tubelab.com/designs/tubelab-se/applications/

 

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13 hours ago, seti said:

 

 

I've actually heard two of Min's amps on horns. They were free from hum and sounded fantastic. The look is advanced DIY. I've heard his SET amps not push pull a 45 and 300b. If you look at the shear number of amps he has built and his feedback that says a lot. The list on his website is not all he as done. He has been building for many years. I would trust him over much of the stuff out there. He is a good and honest builder. A direct coupled SET amplifier is not rocket science. If I can do it as a first amp build someone with 100's of builds under their belt will not find it problematic.

 

If I had to list all the cottage industry audio companies not run by audio engineers you would be shocked... Well likely you would not be but a few of them are actually good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know all too well many amplifiers on the market aren't designed great either.

 

I never said anything about his amps being noisy with hum, my point was he clones a lot of WE91A circuits and from experience if you just copy the schematic you will have stability issues with the positive feedback. Those amps aren't easy for a novice to build optimally.

 

That and many errors in his wording like him saying "input sensitivity is 300mA" instead of 300mV. Little things like that tells me a lot. 300mA across even an input impedance of 50k is 15,000 volts. I highly doubt the amplifier requires 15000v to be driven to full power 😂

 

There isn't much required for good sound. I have had many borderline stable amps with high distortion and other gross discrepancies still sound good enough to use. But by no means does it imply they are great amplifiers. For that we would need some specs and measurements of his builds which he doesn't provide.

 

 

I'm not telling people to not purchase his amps, I'm only putting things into perspective. He is a clone builder with no knowledge of electronics, he sadly focuses on brand name parts instead of the circuits themselves which is a bad sign in my book. Some of his other builds are much more forgiving circuits which won't have the troubles of say a WE91A but from someone with a ton of experience with electronics I'm here to tell you those amps are not for the faint of heart to clone if you want optimal results. Does his amps function? Yes of course but I'm certain that most of his WE91A clones are going to be unstable and ring like a bell.

 

I'm only saying I won't go to a dentist that his day job is an electrician and just because he has a pair of pliers and has successfully pulled teeth before doesn't make him an actual dentist.

 

Not all his clones are going to be as troublesome of a build, it was just an example and I'm certain a broken clock is right twice a day so yea I'm sure some of his amps he has produced sounds fine. But again I personally would want someone that knows what they are doing. A backyard mechanic might be able to slap some brake pads on your Toyota but do you want him putting a timing chain on a near 500hp S58 engine inside your lovely M3?  I doubt it.

 

It might just be me, but if I'm going to spend thousands of dollars on an amplifier I'm going to want something designed by someone competent. I have given multiple examples of why just cloning a circuit many times isn't enough to achieve optimal performance no matter how many expensive boutique parts you throw at it. Any amplifier with a decent amount of feedback will need to have compensation networks worked out, it's something you cannot copy from a schematic unless you build the exact same amplifier with the same exact chassis, layout, and parts. I don't expect the average person to know this stuff which is why I'm taking my time to explain it to anyone willing to read it.

 

This isn't art, it's not a painting that is subjective. Amplifiers are technical devices bound by the laws of physics. Yes anyone can make an amplifier that produces sound but is it optimal? That takes someone with knowledge and experience, sheer will won't get you there no matter how hard you pray to your gods. If I'm going to fork over thousands of dollars for a piece of technical equipment I'm not going to trust someone doing it by the seat of their pants that mixes up mA with mV, I want someone that knows what they are doing. That's all.

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16 hours ago, Madman1 said:

Wow! Really? He’s built an amp for me that I’ll be taking delivery on in the next few weeks. I’ve talked with him several times and although he can be slow to respond sometimes he’s been very nice and helpful in helping me decide which direction to go. 

 

If people can't talk to you immediately they aren't happy, it's just how things are today with cell phones and the internet. It doesn't mean the person took your money and ran off to Mexico with it. It most likely means they are busy working and not staring at their cell phones.

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23 hours ago, jjptkd said:

 

I think a lot of us here are waiting for that review and I'm sure it will be great-- it's just a little tough to watch you offer your services when so far you've yet to deliver after 7 months. At this point I think buyer beware is appropriate until proven otherwise sorry just my take on it. 

 

You have serious comprehension problems so I'll reiterate for you again.

 

7 months isn't for ONE amplifier, it's for TWO very different amplifiers. Chris will get his amplifier not far behind Tim, I just put Chris' amp on hold until I finish Tim's for now.

 

So again, a little over 3 months for each amplifier which includes the circuit design and breadboarding, going through multiple iterations until I am pleased with the results. Two completely different chassis designs and layouts. All of this being done in my SPARE time.

 

You haven't the slightest idea of what you are talking about and live in a fantasy world. The ignorance is astounding in that you don't have any clue how any of this stuff works yet you will dictate how long it takes someone to do what I did. You do realize for full time work a new product prototype can easily take up to two years to develop don't you? So 3.5 months per amp in my spare time is actually quite impressive for a complete design of EVERYTHING from the ground up done by hand by me alone.

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, captainbeefheart said:

You have serious comprehension problems so I'll reiterate for you again.

 

 I think I have a pretty good handle on the situation; you collected monies from forum members with the promise to build them a custom super incredible and highly unique boutique amplifier that will best just about anything out there. Not only that but you gave a 2-3 month time frame to deliver said amplifier and the members were very happy to throw money at you. Now, 7 months later nothing has been delivered except a bunch of excuses and on top of that it appears as though you're trying to get more forum members to send you money when so far none of your previous obligations have been met. 

 

 Now, had you told your customers and or potential customers up front and ahead of time that you're attempting to do what typically takes 2 years in two months in your spare time but it could take 7, 8, 12 months? to complete and they knew that going in there wouldn't be any issues here but from what I understand you promised products sooner rather than later

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1 minute ago, jjptkd said:

 

 I think I have a pretty good handle on the situation; you collected monies from forum members with the promise to build them a custom super incredible and highly unique boutique amplifier that will best just about anything out there. Not only that but you gave a 2-3 month time frame to deliver said amplifier and the members were very happy to throw money at you. Now, 7 months later nothing has been delivered except a bunch of excuses and on top of that it appears as though you're trying to get more forum members to send you money when so far none of your previous obligations have been met. 

 

 Now, had you told your customers and or potential customers up front and ahead of time that you're attempting to do what typically takes 2 years in two months in your spare time but it could take 7, 8, 12 months? to complete and they knew that going in there wouldn't be any issues here but from what I understand you promised products sooner rather than later

 

Yes 3 months each amplifier times two is 6 months. They both asked me at the same time so to be fair they are getting their amps at the same time. I told both of them this. At one point Chris told me to just put his on hold and finish Tim's first.

 

The money is for the parts. Do you think I'm going to use my own money to build them amps? You are even more delusional than I thought.

 

How about this. Mind your own business. None of this has anything to do with you yet you are the one complaining about it.

 

I haven't asked one person to send me any money for any other amps so I don't know what you are talking about. Racer may purchase an already built amp from me but I haven't asked for a single penny, I told him to just save up his money and we will talk later.

 

You are like a little girl gossiping about things that bother you when it has nothing to do with you at all. Mind your own business why don't you.

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18 minutes ago, captainbeefheart said:

How about this. Mind your own business. None of this has anything to do with you yet you are the one complaining about it.

 

 I think it's everyone's business when a new forum member joins this site and collects a considerable amount of cash from existing forum members and then coming up on a year later has failed to follow through on their commitments. If you haven't noticed no one has come to your defense here as it is plain as day and toeing the line of straight thievery at this point. Be a man-- fulfill your obligations if you want to be left alone on this. 

 

 I will keep my mouth shut so long as I don't see you trying to peddle your services here, at least until you have delivered what has already been promised.  

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1 minute ago, jjptkd said:

 

 I think it's everyone's business when a new forum member joins this site and collects a considerable amount of cash from existing forum members and then coming up on a year later has failed to follow through on their commitments. If you haven't noticed no one has come to your defense here as it is plain as day and toeing the line of straight thievery at this point. Be a man-- fulfill your obligations if you want to be left alone on this. 

 

 I will keep my mouth shut so long as I don't see you trying to peddle your services here, at least until you have delivered what has been promised.  

 

So we have gone from 7 months now to a year in 3 posts. You're too cute for your own good.

 

Go justice warrior someplace else, us big boys have real things to deal with instead of your ridiculous virtue signaling.

 

I don't care what you or anyone says, it takes me as long as it takes me to do what I need to do to complete the amplifiers. It's not my problem you are ignorant about the whole process and have a distorted view of reality. Since you are only willing to see one side of things and remain ignorant to the other side that's your problem not mine.

 

Let's talk about how silly you are to think you or anyone deserves low cost, fast service, and the best product. You get two of the three typically, sure go pay $6,000 for a single ended 6550 amp that produces 8 watts with 5% THD and you'll get it in a few weeks. Great that's fine, it's a choice. Or, have someone build you a better amplifier, for only the cost of parts which is $1200 but it takes longer. It's called a tradeoff. I wish I had both amps out about a month ago on schedule but things happen in life, sorry you are too ignorant to understand this.

 

So your take is I should just drop everything that keeps a roof over my head just to get the amps out? No. Sorry not going to happen.

 

Or even funnier, you expect me to build someone an amplifier for the cost of just parts and I pay for the parts up front? Wow you really live in a bubble. Why would I take the risk? I take the money up front for the parts because people are known to just up and change their mind and decide they want something else. It protects me from wasting my money and time doing someone else a favor all for them to change their mind and I get stuck with stuff I don't need.

 

 

 

 

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I didn't want to get into specifics but since I have to defend myself I'll open you up to the other side of the story.

 

Here's the thing with custom amplifiers, they are custom. One person gave me specific design goals due to their passive arrangement and separating two inputs with different gains structures do to the low output of their phono setup. Then after all that work was done they changed their mind and purchased an active preamplifier that completely changed the design criteria. I liked this idea best since we had more signal at input to work and the active amp can drive lower impedance's, I changed the input circuitry around to take advantage of these things. Well would you know it he didn't like the active preamp and went back to passive preamplifier so I had to go and change the whole front end of the amplifier design again for the third time. Not to mention going back and forth between balanced and single ended inputs. I'm not complaining, this is all part of the process and I'm not mad at the person for making these changes but it's part of the larger picture of time frames third parties should know before they go jumping down my throat. I have gone through this before with people making design changes and I go along with it, that's the whole part of having a custom amp made but don't get mad at the guy designing it for taking longer if you keep changing things on him. Maybe people think it's a 10 minute change on paper but it's not, the entire amplifier needs to be re-designed. It's not just one section of the amp, the whole amp is one composite circuit that works together.

 

With a design goal of wanting ~20db of feedback I had to completely change active devices for more or less open loop gain to allow for the 20db of feedback and to get the targeted sensitivity for full output power for his needs. Now it's one thing to change things in a purely mathematical way for loop gains and feedback but to breadboard and listen to the different designs and choose the best one from a listening standpoint takes a very long time. I have to work things out on paper, work up the simulation and see how things look. Next is change around the breadboard and bench test and finally hook up to speakers and listen. Time, time, time, time, but I was told that they would rather me take the time to get the best results instead of just slapping parts together and getting it out as fast as possible. I mean, that makes the most sense no? Why would you have a custom amplifier made only to rush the entire process because you aren't patient enough to work out something you may have the rest of your life.

 

I'm sure nobody has heard that side of the story have they? No I didn't think so. So unless you have all the facts, comprehend fully what I am actually doing, and not have a bias already in your mind I'm up to nefarious actions then you haven't a clue and should just keep your mouth shut. Now I had to air private details to our amp design process that really wasn't fully necessary but because I'm having to defend myself there you have it.

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The chassis for Chris wasn't a standard DIY chassis.

 

I highly doubt you will see another small time tube amp builder go through the troubles of making a similar chassis. Going outside the box and doing a very different type of chassis isn't something one can just snap their fingers and it's done. It takes a lot of time and effort.

 

I put my blood sweat and tears into these things and it's truly a punch to the stomach that for all my efforts I get flogged by some loser that doesn't even have anything to do with it just because he doesn't like how long it takes to do the work.

 

Whatever, this is really stressful for me which I do not need. If that's how people look at me on here for trying to build them amps then I'm just going to be done with this forum for a while.

 

 

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20 hours ago, captainbeefheart said:

 

I know all too well many amplifiers on the market aren't designed great either.

 

I never said anything about his amps being noisy with hum, my point was he clones a lot of WE91A circuits and from experience if you just copy the schematic you will have stability issues with the positive feedback. Those amps aren't easy for a novice to build optimally.

 

That and many errors in his wording like him saying "input sensitivity is 300mA" instead of 300mV. Little things like that tells me a lot. 300mA across even an input impedance of 50k is 15,000 volts. I highly doubt the amplifier requires 15000v to be driven to full power 😂

 

There isn't much required for good sound. I have had many borderline stable amps with high distortion and other gross discrepancies still sound good enough to use. But by no means does it imply they are great amplifiers. For that we would need some specs and measurements of his builds which he doesn't provide.

 

 

I'm not telling people to not purchase his amps, I'm only putting things into perspective. He is a clone builder with no knowledge of electronics, he sadly focuses on brand name parts instead of the circuits themselves which is a bad sign in my book. Some of his other builds are much more forgiving circuits which won't have the troubles of say a WE91A but from someone with a ton of experience with electronics I'm here to tell you those amps are not for the faint of heart to clone if you want optimal results. Does his amps function? Yes of course but I'm certain that most of his WE91A clones are going to be unstable and ring like a bell.

 

I'm only saying I won't go to a dentist that his day job is an electrician and just because he has a pair of pliers and has successfully pulled teeth before doesn't make him an actual dentist.

 

Not all his clones are going to be as troublesome of a build, it was just an example and I'm certain a broken clock is right twice a day so yea I'm sure some of his amps he has produced sounds fine. But again I personally would want someone that knows what they are doing. A backyard mechanic might be able to slap some brake pads on your Toyota but do you want him putting a timing chain on a near 500hp S58 engine inside your lovely M3?  I doubt it.

 

It might just be me, but if I'm going to spend thousands of dollars on an amplifier I'm going to want something designed by someone competent. I have given multiple examples of why just cloning a circuit many times isn't enough to achieve optimal performance no matter how many expensive boutique parts you throw at it. Any amplifier with a decent amount of feedback will need to have compensation networks worked out, it's something you cannot copy from a schematic unless you build the exact same amplifier with the same exact chassis, layout, and parts. I don't expect the average person to know this stuff which is why I'm taking my time to explain it to anyone willing to read it.

 

This isn't art, it's not a painting that is subjective. Amplifiers are technical devices bound by the laws of physics. Yes anyone can make an amplifier that produces sound but is it optimal? That takes someone with knowledge and experience, sheer will won't get you there no matter how hard you pray to your gods. If I'm going to fork over thousands of dollars for a piece of technical equipment I'm not going to trust someone doing it by the seat of their pants that mixes up mA with mV, I want someone that knows what they are doing. That's all.

 

 

Yeah he is a clone builder 1000% and a bloody good one. Not really gonna argue.

 

 

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The question in my mind after reading this discussion is what constitutes “optimal sound.”  Sure, amps can be designed with incredible specs such as minuscule distortion and phase shift, but will they be universally accepted as sounding better than units with lesser credentials?  Not in my experience.  I know guys who much prefer the sound of certain amps with certain speakers, neither of which have great specs, because they find it most pleasing.  There are folks who actually like SETs with, in some cases, high 2nd harmonic distortion over those with a minimal amount (the original Darling 1626 amp comes to mind as an example of the former).  Put a solid state amp in the system with immeasurable distortion and other sound influencing factors and they run out of the room.  In my opinion, while it is always worth striving for amazing measured results, it may not always be worth the effort if the end user doesn’t like the sound.

 

Maynard

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3 hours ago, seti said:

 

 

Yeah he is a clone builder 1000% and a bloody good one. Not really gonna argue.

 

 

 

I might be a little pickier than most people. I didn't like his layouts for certain reasons, like the example of the coupling capacitor with extremely long leads puts stress on the where the leads exit the molding of the capacitor. If he is just going to clone things he may as well follow some MIL spec standards to make his amps better than any random guy in a garage which his looks like, nothing special really. Also the sheer fact he straight copies certain amps that I know for fact will have issues like the WE91A without any modifications is not optimal.

 

His terminology he gets mixed up is a little concerning also, like saying the input requires 300mA to full output 😂 That will give you over 15,000 volts with an input impedance of 50k!!

 

There is no arguing here, you have your opinion and I have mine, we are just sharing our opinions is all.

 

I wouldn't remotely consider him a "bloody good builder", I'll give him he is prolific that's for sure. But of course one can be prolific when you are just whipping amps together without any real thought into a great layout or following any sort of MIL spec for components and soldering. I have seen some all clone builders that aren't engineers but they studied stringent guidelines for their soldering and component layouts and it shows, their underneaths are very rugged and eye candy for us nerds. That I can tip my hat to. I'm not saying you are getting a piece of garbage from Min, but maybe he should slow down on his output and focus more on improving his craft. That's what I like to see, instead of reaching a certain point that's "good enough" and just spitting out amps because you like to move beyond your plateau and improve your craft. Work on better layouts and more rugged construction methods. Study electronics to get a good grasp on problem areas like the positive feedback in older WE amps. I would put him in with average amp builder, nothing special but also nothing garbage either.

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On 9/20/2022 at 11:49 AM, tube fanatic said:

The question in my mind after reading this discussion is what constitutes “optimal sound.”  Sure, amps can be designed with incredible specs such as minuscule distortion and phase shift, but will they be universally accepted as sounding better than units with lesser credentials?  Not in my experience.  I know guys who much prefer the sound of certain amps with certain speakers, neither of which have great specs, because they find it most pleasing.  There are folks who actually like SETs with, in some cases, high 2nd harmonic distortion over those with a minimal amount (the original Darling 1626 amp comes to mind as an example of the former).  Put a solid state amp in the system with immeasurable distortion and other sound influencing factors and they run out of the room.  In my opinion, while it is always worth striving for amazing measured results, it may not always be worth the effort if the end user doesn’t like the sound.

 

Maynard

PWK in Roy's video with Guttenburg called it the fudge factor. He asked Roy do you want a horn designed only with the math or one that sounds good. Or something to that effect. 

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On 9/18/2022 at 9:07 PM, Madman1 said:

Wow! Really? He’s built an amp for me that I’ll be taking delivery on in the next few weeks. I’ve talked with him several times and although he can be slow to respond sometimes he’s been very nice and helpful in helping me decide which direction to go. 

Well it's a long story but the short version is he built an amp for me that I had to send back because was bad in many ways, then after saying he would refund me he charged me a restocking fee!!! So he stole over $300 from me!!!

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4 hours ago, jcmusic said:

Well it's a long story but the short version is he built an amp for me that I had to send back because was bad in many ways, then after saying he would refund me he charged me a restocking fee!!! So he stole over $300 from me!!!

What are you doing now for a 71A amp?

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