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"Jam-packed with theory, circuit analysis, and DIY basics, it will walk you through all stages of design so that you can create your own wonders. Jones is an ex-BBC engineer with a cool writing style and you'll find it a no-pain education." Hi-Fi News and Record Review
"Valve Amplifiers is an extremely well-written book, containing a wealth of information that all audio designers and builders will find useful." Glass Audio
"Many still hanker after the traditional warm valve sound from a hi-fi, and if you're handy with a soldering iron and not afraid of HT voltages, the Jones' book could keep you amused for hours. Filled with designs, tips, and information on every aspect of valve power amplifiers, a basic knowledge of electronics and metalwork is all you'll need to get the most from this (relatively) ancient technology." Lighting & Sound
The definitive modern guide to tube amplifiers for home and professional audio applications.
Fifteen years ago, tubes (valves to the rest of the world) were not only out of style, they were almost extinct. The same went for vinyl records. But there were always a few people that didn't buy into the new technology, insisting that tube electronics sounded more in step with the music. I heard my first high end tube amp (a Conrad Johnson MV-45) in 1987 and I've been hooked on the sound ever since. Thanks to a series of events that few could have forseen, the DIY tube revolution is in full swing. The fall of Communism and China embracing capitalism opened the flood gates, making more tube types cheaply available than since the mid-sixties. Add the internet with it's flow of information, and the underground DIY audio scene was born. There's an embarassment of riches now available to the amateur Hi-Fi enthusiast, and this volume is one of the best.
I've owned the first edition of this book for several years and it's absolutely great. It was a logical step up from my first DIY tube amp book, Bruce Rosenblitt's Beginners Guide to Tube Audio Design (now out of print). The first edition clocked in at 300+ information packed pages, covering everything from the performance of different electronic components used in tube amps, amp and preamp projects to chassis construction and design. When the second edition came out, I decided not to buy it thinking it maybe corrected some errors and had some new projects. Now that I've read the third edition, I have a funny feeling that I've missed out. See, the new edition is over SIX HUNDRED pages long, and that's without the amplifier construction section! The amplifier construction techniques are now covered in Mr. Jones' companion volume, Building Valve Amplifiers, in itself a 300+ page book.Read more ›
If you don't know much about valve amplifiers ['valve' = `tube' in USA], you will learn a lot by reading this book, which starts from the basics. It is generally readable and easy to understand. In addition to theory, it also covers some very practical aspects [how to cut metal, how to solder, and so on]. The author's style is highly enthusiatic but came across to me as being slightly amateurish.
Its focus is on hi-fi audio amplifiers - it does not touch on valve guitar amplifiers.
What I liked most was the author's down-to earth common sense approach, which he evidently acquired through his training at the BBC. [no nonsense about gold plating your mains fuses here]
What I liked *least* were minor misconceptions and the details he gets wrong here and there. As a few examples, if you took him at his word, you would believe:
- Fitting metal screening to an input valve will shorten its life.
- The B-H curve of a transformer's iron can be treated as the Vin - Vout characteristic.
- The getter in a valve is only effective if the heater is hot before the anode voltage is applied.
Two topics I thought were significant omissions:
- How to measure amplifier characteristics [eg frequency response, power output, distortion].
- How to design feedback amplifiers to get the best performance for a given output transformer.
Troubleshooting [a pretty important topic] is only touched on.
As I said, if you don't know much about valve amplifiers, you can learn a lot from this book and will find it easy to read with lots of useful information. But if [like me] you are put off by incorrect details and a slightly amateurish air, leave it on the bookshelf.
There are very few young people today that know what a valve amplifier is, let alone having heard one. Most probably think of those humming old radiograms (seen in the movies) in the early days of radio when the valve itself was still undergoing refinement. The modern valve amplifiers give by far the warmest richest sound that can be wished for in an amplifier - and they DO NOT HUM. I am an avid suporter of valve amplifiers. I firmly believe that the transitor to take a valve's place in audio amplifiers has still to be manufactured. This book takes the novice through a wonderful discovery of the valve. This book is notable since it is one of very few current textbooks that goes to the trouble of explaining in relative detail (a full treatment would require several volumes) on how amplifiers work. I am a teacher at a technical college and have found great use for this book in my lectures. In my experience students have a greater understanding of the complexity of the transistor once they fully understand the valve. Enough said on education. What grabbed me is how this book guides one to the actual building of an amplifier - this being my hobby. I think that anyone that has heard a well designed valve amplifier in action and has a little electronic background ought to buy this book and work through it. It is immensly gratifying to design and build one's own valve amplifier. Especially because a valve is far more tolerant to the misuse of a novice designer than any transistor.
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I wanted a book that would help someone build a vacuum tube amplifier who understood basic electronics but who had no prior experience with vacuum tubes (or valves as the British call them). This book was the answer to my search. Morgan Jones does a great job with the book. There were some minor (editing?) errors but these were of no great consequence. From the education in the book, I was able to build a single ended monobloc amp for about $500 which sounds a good as some commercial tube amps costing $5000 (my unbiased opinion)
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