— Alexey, what led you to choose output tubes for Blackbird SE?
— I bought a thousand of 6P3Ss manufactured early in 1960s, compared their sound with new stock 6L6, but couldn't decide which tube is better. Customers can choose one according to their tastes.
— What's the difference between Blackbird and Blackbird SE version?
— The engineering idea was the same: to make amps more affordable by eliminating anything superfluous. Junior Blackbird utilizes 6F6 и 6V6 (Russian analog of 6P6) in output stage and is less powerful. But it's also more affordable at 130,000 rubles. The SE version's power transformer and output transformer are several times as powerful and have much more complex structure. On the other hand the SE is almost twice as expensive.
— Do you plan to enhance the series with more powerful models? 30W of output can be regarded by many audiophiles as insufficient for modern speakers.
— We're already producing a newer pre/power combo with separate pre section and 100-W power amp. Suggested price will be about 700,000 rubles. Besides we have Hercules with 250W of output. All these models are mass-produced, but customers can order an amp with any tube they desire to achieve practically unlimited output power.
— Who manufactures output transformers for your tube amps?
— We manufacture everything ourselves for we have all the necessary machinery and measuring equipment.
— As far as I know the problem of finding proper transformer iron is nowadays a serious one. Vintage iron is hard to find and the new stock doesn't sound good enough.
— If it's necessary I order it in Germany or Korea or Japan. But recently we started using Russian iron — we make strip-wound cores using Cherepovets steel. At the price of German steel it has better parameters.
— What kind of rectification do you use for low-power amps? Is it kenotron- or diode-based?
We utilize kenotrons only in Phono amps; moreover we install several panels with different heating voltages in order to test them and find out which sounds the best. All the other units utilize Schottky diodes.
— And a transistor amp lineup is about to be launched — as far as I know …
We've designed 5 new models with roughly the same price tags — junior models will cost 130,000 and 160,000 rubles, the middle-range one with outer power supply is 400,000 rubles and the flagship 300-W Class A model will be sold at 1.2 million rubles. These amps' schematic is different from any on the market for they feature coupling step-up transformers between stages. As the result it's not voltage but current and energy that is amplified. These transformers' structure is complex enough to be patented. Now we're preparing samples to send to Europe and U.S. for testing with one sample remaining in Russia. The amps yield the first 10 Watts working in Class A then they switch into A-B.
As you can see we have plenty of plans and never stop working.