Desktop Valve Amplifier catches the eye and ear


Desktop Valve Amplifier catches the eye and ear

The devil is in the detail, of course – and I’m no audio expert – and this is on KickStarter, which is American English for “Caveat Emptor”…

However, New Zealand’s IMS Electronics already has a track record in this area and the Desktop Valve Amplifier is an amplification of existing work…

Check out the Kickstarter page, the full specs and admire the images! The unit is built around Raytheon 6418 Glass Tube Valves, the Savi Audio SA9227 audio streaming controller (described as compatible with all Windows operating systems and Apple OS) and the Texas Instruments PCM5102A audio stereo DAC.

As well as the eye-catching innards, aluminum casing and Gorilla Glass complete the 140 x 120 x 25 mm package.

Desktop Valve Amplifier catches the eye and ear - side viewAdditions to their previous Kickstarter project (the Hybrid Valve Headphone Amplifier) include a 100 Watt speaker amplifier. There are also two headphone jacks (6.5mm), each with their own volume controls, so two people can listen in together.

Saviaudio’s SA9227 and Texas Instruments PCM5102A are at the heart of our extremely hi resolution DAC valve amplifier (32bit/384kHz). Combined with the military spec Raytheon valves and award winning Burr Brown series OPA2134 amplifier chip, this combination produces extremely hi quality audio with extremely low noise and distortion.

Desktop Valve Amplifier specifications

  • Hybrid Valve Amplifier
  • 2 x separate headphone amplifier stages using Burr Brown OPA2134, each with it’s own volume control
  • 100 Watt (2 x 50W) class D amplifier using Texas Instruments TPA3116. > 90% power efficiency. Output short circuit protection
  • Raytheon 6418 Glass Tube Valves (replaceable). Mil spec
  • 2 ounce Copper tracks
  • Low ESR capacitors
  • 4 point PCB grounding direct to standoffs milled into the case for the ultimate in shielding and noise suppression
  • Analog input
  • DAC input 32 bit, 384 kHz using Savi Audio SA9227. Jitterless output. 16mHz clock speed in asynchronous mode
  • Vinly preamp using OPA2134 for ultra low noise with passive RIAA equalization
  • Bluetooth input
  • Bluetooth power supply electrically isolated to prevent Bluetooth interference from appearing on analog power supply
  • Power provided by compact external power pack to keep mains and AC coupling away from audio circuits
  • Case is CNC machined from single block of aluminium
  • Dimensions 120mm (wide), 140mm (long), 25mm (deep)
  • Solid aluminium feet with rubber inserts to prevent microphonics
  • IMS hopes to ship the units in June.

Desktop Valve Amplifier catches the eye and ear - connectivity diagramAt time of writing 59 people have raised NZ$ 39,146 towards the goal of NZ$ 50,000, with 8 days left. Pledges of NZ$ 699 (£400) will be rewarded with one Desktop Valve Amplifier, NZ$ 2,621 (£1,500) gets you five of them.

Thanks to Sue P. for highlighting this one.


Images: IMS Electronics