The previous part of this series showed a scaled down version of this concept based on the 6CB5A which minimized cost mainly by reduction of the iron content. But most people who were interested in an amp with the 6CB5A asked what can be done to get the best possible sound out of it:
The most obvious way is of course to choose the best possible quality of interstage and output transformers. While the Lundahl transformers which were mentioned in previous posts will provide excellent sound quality, this can be improved by the use of suitable transformers from the Tango range. These come at a much higher cost though.
The very early prototype of this amp has been built with the Tango XE20S which is an excellent performer. One level up is the type FC30-3.5S. Tango makes one of the best interstage transformers available, the famous NC20, which is especially well suited for the highish plate resistance of the 6N7. A change to these transformers does not require any other change to the circuit.
The photo above shows the most elaborate implementation of the 6CB5A amplifier so far with Tango NC20 and FC30-3.5S transformers.
Another possibility to scale up is the power supply. Rather than splitting the amp up into mono blocks, a split between amp and power supply is the better option in my opinion. Not only does it provide good isolation of signal section and PSU but also more room to use a heavy duty power transformer. The external PSU also provides enough space for 4 tube sockets which enable the use of an all vacuum tube rectifier bridge instead of the more traditional full wave rectifier scheme with a center tapped secondary.
Check out the blue glow of the 866As in operation and you understand why. Using mercury vapour rectifiers adds some complexity to the circuit since their filaments need to be preheated before the high voltage can be applied.
So a separate filament transformer and a delay circuit was necessary to implement this preheating mechanism. A manual override switch for this mechanism is added on the back to allow longer preheating of 866As when new tubes are used the first time. All connections are brought out on the back side of the chassis.