CanJam at RMAF 2012: Cavalli Audio Liquid Glass Hybrid Tube-Rolling Headphone Amp
Cavalli Audio Liquid Glass Hybrid Tube-Roller's Dream Amp ($3750)
I must admit to being a bit of a n00b when it comes to vacuum tube amps. Having been a manufacturer of solid-state amps, it just wasn't my bailiwick. But my recent experience building a Bottlehead Crack has me really jazzed about goofing around with little glass valves. As I see it, the daunting task faced by any tube enthusiast is getting familiar with the sound of the hundreds of tube variants out there. I mean, you've got to have dozens of amps to play with them all...right?
Not so, says Alex Cavalli, with his new Liquid Glass hybrid tube headphone amp. With the ability to use virtually any Octal that has 6SN7 basing and Noval that has 12AU7 basing this amp is a tube-roller's delight. Front panel switches allow both 6 and 12 Volt heaters, and 200 and 300 Volt plate bias voltages. Cavalli claims the amp will accept hundreds of tubes.
This is a hybrid amp with the tubes of the input stage driving a very high input impedance and uncolored solid-state output stage. Cavalli claims this allows the tubes to deliver their characteristic sound clearly to your ears. I spent a little time rolling three sets of tubes, and it did indeed let me tell the different characteristics of each. I have to tell you I'm intrigued and excited to get my hands on a sample of this amp and a box full of tubes sometime next year. Like a kid in a candy store, this one seems to me. Great fun!