ampsandsound is a small family business in Southern California born from a love for the legendary vacuum tube amplifiers of midcentury America. Many enthusiasts have been captivated by these masterpieces of circuit design, and we are proud to count ourselves among them. Like mechanical watches, fountain pens or real leather soles, tube amplifiers have that indescribable quality which fascinates us even decades after their invention. At ampsandsound we believe the human element and handwork that goes into making great tube amplifiers gives them some life of their own.
As American audio moved from the musicality of vacuum tubes to the power of transistors, tubes increasingly became a relic, a curiosity of a bygone era. In Japan however, the great circuits of the early American audio were not forgotten. Much as the Westerns of the John Wayne era inspired Kurosawa, so too did the American circuits find a home in the hands of Japanese masters determined to mine their secrets and elevate them from DIY kits or mass-produced commodities to handmade masterpieces.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and we have made it our mission to study these classic circuits, and their prodigal Japanese godchildren. ampsandsound emerged from our desire to stay true to the potential of these circuits, while adopting the Japanese ethos of perfection in parts quality and execution. In short, we are inspired by the work of our fellow tube and iron enthusiasts, past and present and humbly offer our own take.
Everything inside an ampsandsound amplifier is intentional, and we only make alterations to circuits where there are clear improvements and benefits to be made. Where some designers attempt maximum simplicity or clever circuit tricks, we aim only for the most distilled and audibly musical experience possible. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler” to paraphrase Albert Einstein.
All of our transformers including power, output and input are our own in-house designs. ampsandsound is unusual in designing and building dedicated iron for each of our products - we have an internal catalog of several dozen transformers, and are frequently designing more.
Our transformers are deeply special to us, and represent the core of our philosophy, and the building blocks of our designs. Nearly every part in an ampsandsound amplifier is capable of handling 200% more output than the circuit is designed for. If a circuit puts out 40 watts, we design a core that will handle 80, not because in pursuit of greater power but in a believe that good transformers sound better; and over spec’d transformers distort less.
This same philosophy applies to our parts selection, wiring, 10-gauge steel plate chassis and layouts. In contrast to a silicone chip-based amplifier, in 30 or 50 years an ampsandsound amp will be repairable and continue to play. We design for quality above all else.