I am the happy owner of an ampsandsound little ben amplifier. Having read Joe and Deans review of the SE84 amp I was compelled to call Justin to purchase one as I figured it would be great for the office. After discussion with Justin, we settled on his “little ben”. I had the choice of a few different tubes and ended up with the EL 34. Any more information on exactly what the differences are between his various options would have to come from him. In other words I have no idea what I bought and how it’s different from the other amps he builds!
In my current main system I rotate between various components. A VRD ST 120 (with upgraded caps etc etc) , A pair of Juicy Music PCats and a Macintosh MC 225. I am currently using Craigs NBS preamp with phono, but also will rotate in a NosValves modded Merlin and my George Wright wpp 100 phono stage. Needless to say some very fine tube equipment and I have fun rotating the options in and out.
So before taking the amp to my office I have spent some time with it in my main system as well as in my workshop.
In my main system I hooked it up directly to my Oppo BDP- 105 without using a preamp. This is one fine piece of equipment. I am not very good with “audio words” to describe sound but I can say it is incredibly detailed, awesome with acoustic music, spooky realistic with vocals, dead quiet, ultrasmooth and liquid.
Did I mention that it was dead quiet!? In fact it is the quietest piece of tube equipment that I have ever owned. It cerainly benefits in that regard to being connected directly to the source.
To the extent that I would be happy with any piece of equipment ( my history suggests that I like some variety!) I could certainly be happy with this amp as my forever amp. My main system is in a very large “great room” and the little ben sounded anything but little. Plenty of power to drive my Belles and fill the room. Not going to break any windows, but I dont look for that in an amp.
A few years ago I had some of the original Tekton full range single driver speakers. I was imagining how awesome this amp would be using such a speaker. So I bought some 4”full range single drivers off ebay ( based on Justin’s recomendation), and a pre built enclosure, also off ebay, from a guy in Moldovia (where ever that is! ). The cabinet was built to the specs of the fostex 103 full range driver which is also 4”. I ended up needing to widening the pre-drilled hole on the enclosure in order to mount the drivers that I purchased. Net net the speakers I built for a couple of hundred bucks and this awesome little amp mate up spectacularly.
As I mentioned earlier, I purchased the amp and built the speakers thinking they would be great for my office. My wife heard the combo and wants me to use it as a bedroom system. So it will replace the McIntosh 6100 and B&W DM7 MK2’s that are currently in use there.
I also have to add that Justin is awesome to deal with. Another in the line of fine builders who have been part of this forum.