STRIVING TOWARDS THE INEFFABLE

I am continually being blessed by becoming a student of masters...like Julius Futterman and Nobu Shishido. I am learning much from Nobu, the master poet of triodes who is always pushing his art further and further into the region where beauty gets beyond language and can only be described with either dance or song. Listening to Nobu’s amplifiers, with its unique topology, once again shocked me in the way I am always shocked when I encounter a master....which is why I danced to his amplifiers. The audio artisan’s reason for being is to be a servant to this striving towards the ineffable. In the hands of the triode masters, like Nobu, this American directly heated triode made by Western Electric from the 1930s has been such an authentic messianic force that you truly begin to feel saved...saved from the common crudity of the audio arts.

I can’t read Japanese but I have spent much time studying the schematics in Nobu’s book. I rightly looked at each circuit as a piece of triode art or poetry, and I could follow his searching; his restless exploration of uncharted triode territories. I could feel a shift in Nobu’s focus and I could also feel just how courageous and rebellious he is. Any of you who saw his latest "cookie jar " amplifier at the CES knows what I mean. We should think of Nobu as either T. S. Elliot or Joyce in the way he has expanded the triode syntax and vernacular. Which is why I am so certain that it is timely to expand the way we communicate about triode circuits.

As you read Nobu’s book there springs up a spontaneous artistic greed, " I want to do that". Pretty soon after reading his book our greedy artistic imagination craves twenty new "Shishido" triode amplifiers. Nobu’s job is to make us jealous so we push further to test ourselves and discover if we have the right triode stuff. Perhaps it would be better say that he is also a master choreographer of the triode dance. The metaphor of the triode dance is insightful, with each triode artist twisting and turning and physicalising his unique vision of triodosity. This is the first time that the audio artisans of Europe, America, Japan, and Asia are jiving to the same triode beat. These ancient glowing device are the audio industry’s "NASA Deep Music-Hyperspace Probe" Only these devices have the power to break free from the gravitational pull of thermionic mediocrity and lift us off and hurl us into the music beyond the music. This was confirmed over and over again for me by listening to Nobu’s interstage transformer coupled 300B amplifier on the Tannoy Westminster Royals. This Japanese triode master dude is exploring a completely unique harmonic/spatial syntax. As I switched back and forth many times between other 300B amps it was quite clear that Nobu’s concrete ineffable was manifest in this amplifiers. It was Nobu’s ability to manifest a completely unique triode syntactical magic that compelled me to begin TRIODZILLA.

Over the months that I was listened to the three different models of Nobu’s works of art ( I used both his 300B and his 4304 amp on tweeters and his 805 amp on the woofers) they became postcards from some exotic place; they beckoned and thrilled me so that I had to pack my bag and go to that place....but I wanted more and I wanted something that would be mine....Isn’t it the job of the master to make his student go beyond the beyond?

I couldn’t stand the tension; the jealousy that Nobu created in me. Just like every other great master, his being, his art, compels response. Nobu was pushing every button, and every time I asked him why he did certain things in his circuit, he told me " Harvey, I don’t know why it is so beautiful, I just know that it is beautiful, and that I trust". My fellow triodians isn’t that what Yoda, the Jedi Master, said to Luke Skywalker? Dudes, those were words of advice from a living triode saint....strive for the ineffable,..let the triode force be with you. which is why I built TRIODZILLA. My dream is that TRIODZILLA will probe deeper into that ineffable triode space than any other amplifier has ever gone....and that includes the whole universe and beyond. And that was not a boast, that is just my triode dance.

ADVANCING THE TRIODE PROCESS

I think TRIODZILLA’S major contribution to our community will be to make triode artisans "stiffer". Triode artisans are already simple, but now I think they need to become stiffer. For two decades I have been preaching the same message: regulate the power supplies of tube amplifiers. The simple notion of regulating the voltage of tubes with tubes is a very old idea and in the case of TRIODZILLA it is taken to an extreme...to make the point. In this amp the power supplies are over 90% of the amp and the audio circuitry is 10%, and I believe that is the proper balance between "modulator" and power supply...in the triode amplifier that is aimed at the Nth Dimension of Music-Hyperspace.

I created TRIODZILLA as a way of stimulating more of my fellow thermionic techno shamans to experiment with tube regulation on both their output and input stages, and then take this idea as far as possible. My experiment with a single-ended amp that have Magnequest output transformers and VAIC VV300B tubes proved again just how essential "stiffness", the quality of their power supplies is to realize the most subtle beauty nascent in triode amplifiers. Switching between six different types of tube regulated power supply gave me six very different sounding triode amplifiers....obviously. How can you have more fun than that? In one version of TRIODZILLA, there are four tube regulated power supplies for each amp, and with my Tannoy Westminster Royals there are four channels of amps, and the tube crossover also has tube regulation....sixteen industrial tube regulators! Clearly TRIODZILLA is preaching the same simple message over and over again: if you want to explore the subtlest regions of the triode art you have to have very stiff tube regulated power supplies. No big deal, but what a big majestic experience.

Implicitly TRIODZILLA is a celebration of "triode process" which never stops. This is the process of constant refinement of ultra simple elements. TRIODZILLA is therefor designed to brazenly flaunt this "triode artification process" and is therefor modular. You can chose from an almost infinite variety of combinations of input stages, driver stages, output tubes and transformers, which is the whole point of "tuning and voicing " an amplifier. And as you know Monday’s triode delight may not be the right for Thursdays triode delight. To make TRIODZILLA even more mind spewing I can also "plug in" a triode OTL circuit. In effect TRIODZILLA is like a LEGO set. You can snap different pieces together and create anything you want....if you can imagine it, you can create it, and hear its magic.

In closing, I hope I have effectively communicated my excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment to the current thermionic revolution in the audio arts. TRIODZILLA is a great story about the techno-conundrums we struggle with every day in our living room. We are all participants in the enigma of the first century of this very new art form. It is very tough to get a perspective on a new art form that is still less than hundred years old. This is only the beginning of the world wide thermionic revolution. From the top of Mt. Triode’s three peaks I can see out over the horizon into the next century......it is totally tubular. The Triode Father is eternal.

Dr. Gizmo

 

 

 

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