EC Studio

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by Negura, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Wondering the same thing, but I'm not sure if 45 is considered superior to 2A3 by a general consensus. While everyone seems to agree that the 45 has a superior, sweeter treble, 2A3 is supposedly the "warmer" tube of the two. Maybe 2A3 could be a better choice for brighter headphones like HD800(S), and 45 for something like HD650?

    On a side note,. it is my understanding that ECBA could be custom built for 2A3/45 use instead of the default 300B (although the majority of people opt the latter). Can a single Studio unit accommodate both 2A3 and 45? Or does it need to be built around 2A3 or 45 only, so that tubes are not interchangeable in a single unit?
     
  2. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    It seems the 2A3 is a step down from the 45 in detail, clarity, and by some accounts speed. I am not sure if that's the right tradeoff to make for correcting brightness, but it'd be personal preference for sure. I'm more curious if the 45, through headphones, is going to start sounding clinical and fatiguing vs the 2A3. I tend to think not, but I'm guessing there are some 45 EC amps in the wild and @Marvey has some thoughts. Incidentally, it seems there are also differences between the globe type vs ST type 45s in these areas as well, but to a lesser degree vs the 2A3.

    On the side note, I'd tend to believe different output transformers would be warranted for 45 vs 2A3 to make them perform at their best. They specify different loads in their respective data sheets. In fact, I've seen people say they like to load the 45 up as high as 7k because it sounds even sweeter up there.... Here's one take on the 45:

    I like to use the 45 with higher impedance plate loads like 5k or even 7k Ohms. This improves linearity further and gives a better damping factor. With such an output transformer the 45 will not only have beautiful midrange and smooth highs but also a well defined and solid bass. No woolly lows as are sometimes heard from SE DHT amps.
    http://vinylsavor.blogspot.com/2011/09/tube-of-month-45.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Pretty much that. All things being equal (transformers), 45s have this pristine clarity and sweetness in the treble (along with faster speed) that I don't quite hear anywhere else except maybe the Kron PX-4 tube. I'm guessing the 2A3 and 45 probably get some of the reputation from the transformers used with them. It's really hard to separate the tube from the transformer. They should really be though of as one.

    So far, there has been one Studio ordered with the 45 tubes. I can't remember off the top of my head, the but particular Cinemags that go with the 45 are 2.5k or 3k:8 ohms. Since the 45s are doubled in parallel, this would be effectively loading a single 45 with 5 or 6k. I would not say that the 45 Studio is any less neutral than the 2A3 Studio. It's just different (also know that 45s and 2A3s are much more similar sounding to each other than to 300Bs). The 45 has the pristine clarity, the 2A3 has more inner warmth or body. Many of you know that I run the Monolith amorphous core interstages instead of the Tribute nanos in my custom amp. The Monoliths are a bit lusher sounding and helps to make up the difference.

    Honestly, I feel that most people will be better off with 2A3s. Much more selection with 2A3s. Also, the 45s can be unforgiving. If your phono cart has a rising response starting from the upper mids, you will hear it. If you headphone have any sort of peak or etch from the upper mids and up, you will hear it. None of the Mrspeakers Ethers sounded particularly pleasant from my 45 custom amp. The headphones that worked best were HD600, HD650, Paradox, etc. You get the idea. I'm not a big warmth fan. There is a certain sound that I have in my head that am trying to achieve (I have not achieved it yet) without resorting to adding excess warmth.
     
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  4. Rico613

    Rico613 Rando

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    Hi Marv, Any plans for another run of the EC Studio ?
     
  5. Negura

    Negura Friend

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    My impressions compared to the sound of the source, and so far, are that the 2a3 Studio, all things considered, does not colour the tonal balance much at all. Perceived clarity and detail are exemplary with even some super revealing sources. Depending on the tubes used tonality does shift a bit, but it generally is rather neutral to the source. The bass with capable tubes is extremely tight and articulated. I suspect the Xlr conversion is responsible of some amount of colouration, but I can only verify this in a few weeks. That said with my DACs I prefer the balanced input - sounds a bit more resolving.

    The Studio however and like any gear imo does introduce some colouration to the sound, the most noticeable being an exciting transient response/attack and a wider open stage. This is actually not a bad thing at all imo, colouration or not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not my call, but somehow Craig got a wind of this and wanted to provide a response. I'll just add that KG got confused by looking at the number of wires to the OPTs and too quickly made an erroneous assumption the Studio was a push-pull amp. That's OK. "Experts" make mistakes sometimes, especially if they have an axe to grind. ;)

    KGStudio2.png
    KGStudio.png

    Studio Amplifier Theory of operation

    The Studio amplifier is Eddie Currents flagship entry into the professional market.

    It is a true single ended vacuum tube headphone/speaker amplifier.

    Parallel 2A3 output tubes are transformer plate loaded to create one massive SE triode output device.

    The output transformer has three separate windings. Primary, secondary, and tertiary. The tertiary winding is a small number of turns close to the transformer core. This winding cancels non linearity (distortion) inherent in all magnetic devices.

    Signal flow is from balanced 600 ohm input transformer, or single ended RCA jack. Either input is selected with a silver contact front panel toggle switch, then goes to the volume control, and on to the grid of a high trans-conductance transformer plate loaded 5842Q/417A triode. This transformer uses a nano crystalline core material that has virtually no hysteresis. This means you hear the tube not the transformer. This topology also transfers maximum power to the grids of the output tubes with far greater speed than any coupling capacitor could manage. In other words no coupling caps in the signal path.

    Lastly the output 2A3 tube heaters are the cathodes. This means that any AC voltage, or power supply noise that cannot be null-ed out will be heard from the amplifier. DC on the heater is the common, and easy solution to prevent noise. Unfortunately for the tube to operate at peak performance requires an even electron cloud inside the tube for the grid, plate and cathode to work with.

    The Studio amplifier employs as it's heater drive circuit a low distortion Wien Bridge sine wave oscillator operating at 46kHz. This feeds a power amplifier which drives custom wound isolation transformers. These transformer isolate the drive circuit, and provide precise center taps. This drive scheme produces a perfect electron cloud inside the output tubes.

    This combination taken as a whole makes a low distortion SE tube amplifier with incredibly transparent and deep sound stage.

    Craig Uthus

    Eddie Current LLC
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
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  7. TMoney

    TMoney Shits on SBAF over at Head-Case to be cool

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    If Craig means to respond to Kevin he should probably make a post over on HC. I don't think Kevin reads the posts here.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Good idea. Maybe one of you guys can post it for him over there. I volunteer @mtoc
     
  9. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I'm not Craig, but I feel the response is not only directed at Kevin, but at the general public and potential customers. Otherwise either Craig wouldn't have bothered with a response, or perhaps written something along the lines of fuck you, since I think that's sort of Craig's style.

    IMO, most folks that want an Eddie Current product are proly going to read, post and ask questions in SBAF more so than at HC. That said, HC is a good source of information. Unfortunately, posting at HC about some Eddie Current misconception(s) on Kevin's part, is likely going result in drama instead of clarification. That is my opinion. I do not know how Craig feels about it. It's been probably years since I have interfaced with Craig. I also do not own any Eddie Current products, nor do I have anything on "long term loan" from Eddie Current. I don't have a commercial or customer interest.

    I actually like Kevin for the most part. I disagree with some of what he says and I think he sometimes jumps the gun. I'm also not sure about his motivations nor do I know him well. But I think he is a valuable source of information. I also like Craig, and actually had the opportunity to have lunch with him along with a lot of other folks during a meet some few years ago. My impression was that he is a knowledgeable guy that does not BS.

    But things are they way they are I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    You are correct, the response is not toward KG, but toward the general public and potential customers. Craig also asked me to make updates to the EC website... Until I realized the run of Studio amps is over and probably won't restart, in a probably slightly different form, at least a year from now.
     
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  11. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    It's great to get this insight in to the design philosophy. I am a bit curious about the following statement...

    DC on the heater is the common, and easy solution to prevent noise. Unfortunately for the tube to operate at peak performance requires an even electron cloud inside the tube for the grid, plate and cathode to work with.

    Is the opinion here is that better sound is achieved despite the presence of higher IMD?

    Thanks.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Well, I think at 46kHz, IMD won't be in the audio spectrum. We also run the heaters out of phase with each other, which does cancel out what bleeds into the spectrum analyzer (yes, we can see line at 46kHz). The difference in openness and stage depth are huge. But unfortunately, we haven't discovered a method to measure soundstage depth.
     
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  13. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Yeah, I don't think that's wise. HC doesn't seem like the right place for Craig. He has trouble with the internet already and these two have history so him trying to figure out how to write up a post willy nilly over at KG's stomping grounds doesn't seem wise. KG has tried to buddy up before in their past encounters. I think the best quote I ever read was "if you keep this up I might even buy an amp from you". I don't think it was much farther along before Craig had told KG to go F himself in his typical ornery fashion (God I love Craig).

    Craig has amp design running through his veins. I'll write more in the BW thread since there are things there that need to be addressed, but he's doing this for the love of hifi. He isn't here to make a buck. Hell, he completely barfs on reasonable pricing proposals that any sane person would consider.
     
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  14. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Did he really post a reply with the message "fuck you"?

    Anyone got a direct link to that, I'd love to see that.
     
  15. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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  16. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    So could i use Yggdrasil balanced with studio if i used a pre-amp like my rag or sfl-2??
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Use SE out from Yggdrasil - or any other DAC with balanced outputs. Defeats the point of Studio to use a preamp in the path.

    The Jensen Isoboxes could be used with Yggdrasil or Gungnir Multibit to convert balanced to SE. Again, not necessary with any other DAC as the built in 600/600 balanced to SE transformers are better quality (but require more drive). Some Yggys have performed OK via balanced, but I wouldn't count on it.
     
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  18. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    Got my tubes in! Just need the amp now :)
     

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  19. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    Beautiful tubes mate - I know you'll enjoy them!
     
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  20. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    I hope the amp gets here soon. I have over 20 2a3s...
     

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