The musical information captured needs to be amplified
before we can fill a room with music.
Audio Note does not make amplifiers that use transistors as amplifying devices anywhere. We believe – and much of the audio industry conclusively proves this with its products – that transistor amplifiers are sonically inferior, fundamentally flawed when compared to well-executed valve amplification.
Live music is a linear sonic event, yet transistors are semiconductors - or partial-conductors - and they are neither linear nor natural voltage amplifiers. To achieve a bandwidth wide enough for music they require correction - feedback - and this process further damages what little remains of once linear recorded events. This is why all transistor amplifiers sound poor to a lesser or greater degree.
Pentode or tetrode valves also require corrective feedback to suppress load sensitivity and improve bandwidth, but being high impedance devices that require teaming with an output transformer they are less un-linear than transistors. They will therefore sound better than transistors when well implemented in an audio amplifier, in push pull, but especially when used single-ended and/or in pseudo triode mode with their grids connected together. They also have the advantage of being comparatively low cost and efficient in terms of power output, so are valid as amplifying devices in amplification where cost is a consideration.
Audio Note continues to believe that directly heated triodes remain the pre-eminent output tubes for musical amplification. They are less efficient and more expensive that pentodes or tetrodes, but they are highly linear voltage amplifying devices and respond in truly remarkable ways to the application of highly informed circuit design, and to the use of better components and materials.
Directly heated triodes first appear in Performance Level Three, this is the level where component parts quality starts playing a serious role. At each level from Level One through to Level Six we develop the very best possible circuit and power supply configurations, then apply steadily more refined components and materials to achieve a predictable ladder of higher quality sonic performance. Click here to read more about the Audio Note Performance Level system.
Together with Audio Note analogue and digital sources, speakers and interconnects, Audio Note amplifiers build into systems whose musicality will touch you like no other. At the same time, each element also stands in its own right as the pinnacle, we believe, of what is sonically possible to achieve at each given price point.
Click here for an overview of the essential (technical) differences between each of our (monoblock) power amplifiers.