Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics

Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics

Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics

Although it is true that accurately calculating electronic circuits can involve complicated formulas, for the electronic hobbyist it is not necessary to perform at the level of an electrical engineer. With some basic knowledge it is possible for the hobbyist to design and build vacuum tube audio amplifiers that perform well. This book covers basic electronics related to vacuum tube amplifiers, an elementary guide for understanding and working with vacuum tube amplifier circuits. Sections cover electronic and audio information that are concise with many examples and illustrations. Vacuum tube amplifying circuits are explained in simple terms without complicated math. Math is primarily basic math and a few simple formulas all solvable with a standard calculator and presented with examples. A table of component values for the popular 12AX7 in various operating parameters simplifies amplifier stage design. The first section of the book contains more detailed technical basic electronic information. Sections two through four are more casual in presentation and include pertinent information from section one. Included in this book are eight project circuits with parts list and component layouts for a Buffer Line Amplifier with 25db gain, 6V6SE Monoblock Amplifier, Triode Balanced/Unbalanced Input, Tone Control Stage, Cathode Follower Output, and Turntable Pre-Amplifier. Also included are a 6V6SE Stereo Amplifier and Guitar Amplifier project circuits with component layouts.

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Last 3 reviews on Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics

  1. 7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great book – great value, 6 Dec. 2014
    By 

    Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    This review is from: Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics (Paperback)
    I’ve got several books on valve amplifiers and valve electronics in general. I was looking for a more ‘hands-on’ book which would give me more pointers on practical valve amp construction and refurbishing. I’ve done a fair bit of work with modern chip-amps and 70’s/80’s transistor amps but want to start working (safely) with tube amps. Having looked at the samples online and downloaded a kindle sample I decided to give ‘Valve Tube Amplifier Basics’ a try, so i bought the paperback version.

    The format is listed as ‘paperback’ but if you look at the dimensions you’ll see that its a large-format paperback around A4 size with very clear text, black-and-white drawing and photographs. The only colour is the front cover. I’m very pleased with the size and format and the clarity of the content, although to be fair it does have a slight self-published ‘photocopier’ feel about it which i find enjoyably retro old-school.

    If I was an expert in valve amplifiers (which I’m not) and wanted to pass on my knowledge to a wider audience then this is the book I would write. The diagrams and text are clear and work well together and are pitched at just the right level for the beginner/intermediate. Its also very practical, favouring hands-on advice and construction information rather than theory. Armed with this book and some solid guidelines on electrical safety I now feel confident to have a go at my own valve amp projects.

    This is also great value. I’m not in a position to compare content with the other texts on valve amps (apart from ‘Vacuum Tube Audio’ by Whitaker – which I own and would recommend), but similar books covering the same ground are £10-£20 more expensive.

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  2. 4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Practical good, but the valve theory is not good, 20 Aug. 2016
    By 

    This review is from: Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics (Paperback)
    From a practical hands on stand point. The construction information and circuit descriptions are very nice. From the theory point of view it gets some very basic stuff very wrong. For example there seems to be a complete misunderstanding of charge flow with regards electron movement within the valve. For example page 66. One sentence is enough to get a feel for how wrong that page is “Electron flow is from the positive plate to the negative cathode” This is back to front and implies positive electrons (which do not exist in nature) the rest of the page confounds this error. It gives the reader the strong impression the author does not really understand the theory of electron flow. Which is a bit disconcerting then for reading the rest of the book.

    But what I have so far seen of the rest of the book. It looks good for anyone who wants to construct a valve amplifier. Just a real shame they got the theory section so wrong. Which will definitely confuse people who want to know how the theory of how the internals work.

    Here are the main errors with my own tentative corrections (which may not be perfect as I only just found out via Google how valves work)

    These are all mostly from page 66 to 67

    1. “Electron flow is from the positive plate to the negative cathode”
    Correction : “Electron flow is from the negative cathode plate to the positive plate”

    2. “When made negative the grid opposes the flow of electrons from plate to cathode”
    Correction : “When made negative the grid opposes the flow of electrons from cathode to plate”

    3. “if made sufficiently negative the grid can cut off plate current to the cathode entirely”
    Correction : “Since its always the cathode that emits electrons, those electrons will be repelled by the grid if the grid is made more negative than the cathode. (Since ‘like’ charges repel.) Hence the electrons will not make it to the plate and so current is cut off.”

    Next follows a description of a tetrode which does not explain correctly why the extra grid is added. The extra grid is to reduce the plate to control grid capacitance effects. Then we seem to have a very short and unclear description of a pentode. Whether it is correct or not I don’t know. But I suspect it may also be in error as he refers to “speedy electrons” with them knocking out secondary electrons (what ever he means by these secondary electrons is not explained) being sucked back to the anode?? That does not make any real sense since the anode never emits electrons. So it goes on like this to arrive at an explanation of a pentode. So I suspect it is wrong to. So the theory section on the internal working of valves seems to be incorrect (only two pages really). So my suggestion is you skip page 66 and 67 entirely (Google the correct explanations).

    Still working my way through rest of book. So will update this when I have read it all. I like what I see so far (other than above two pages.)

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  3. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Turn on, tune in…, 28 Oct. 2015
    By 

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    This review is from: Vacuum Tube Amplifier Basics (Paperback)
    Clarity and brevity of expression are much to be commended in a work on thermionic valves, this does both. Handy for pillaging for ideas as well as for use as a cookbook. In this day and age of USB powered fluff it is nice to see real circuits. But that does bring to mind the one area where I thought this could use a little expansion, from none to a smidgeon: low voltage valves. Handy for guitar pedal pre-amps and innovative ways to fry iPODs alike. A bus powered headphone amp might make a neat introduction to some old-fangled ways for audio newbs.
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