After two long sweltering mosquito infested months of working in the Brazilian rain forest with the Jivaro Indians, who are helping me construct The Triode Guilds XH-1, the worlds first audio astronomic telescope dirigible biomachine, I finally landed JFK airport and rushed to Katz’s Deli on Houston Street to get grounded.

If you didn’t see the headlines in the National Enquirer or see me on Jerry Springer, let me update you...Dr. Gizmo Abducted By Aliens at Deli...yes, it is true. One minute I am sitting at Katz’ Deli glad to be in a bug free environment, speculating on the sound of one 300B clapping, snorting down a lean corned beef sandwich and a kosher pickle and then all of a sudden I am lying on a table inside a UFO and some very silvery people with very very bad breath are inserting a long needle in my belly button .which didn’t embarrass me because two days previous I used a Q-tip to get out a six month supply of waxy mosquito encrusted belly button fluff that had accumulated from being in the rain forest. This was not the first time I have been abducted, and I knew that the closer the XH-1 got to launch time the more these depressed and quite nerdy aliens would harass me by inserting more and more needles into my belly button. This was not a painful procedure because for some unexplainable reason the aliens were playing Lawrence Welk music very loud.

NOTE: I want to assure you that 99.99% of the accounts you are hearing about alien encounters are completely falsetto fabrications. Don’t bother watching the Sci-Fi Channel...totally bogus. Yes, it is true that aliens are all over the place, and yes, they are very smart, but they are also very boring, depressed, have bad breathe and are desperate to have fun and some good old fashioned American barbecue.

When I woke in my home I was wearing a silver foil bandage on my belly button. Quite frankly, until I started to wake up with silver foil bandages on my belly button I didn’t believe in UFOs and aliens. On the other hand my audio bro’ Mark Conese saw one when he was thirteen years old, and at the ‘98 CES we met a handyman that swore UFOs were landing in his backyard every night....and almost every cab driver in Las Vegas knew someone who knew someone who had encountered a UFO!

I tried not to reveal my more frequent experiences with aliens to my friends, but my behavior started to become very unstable ( I started to listen to transistor amps), I had strange visions and started to get phone calls from the aliens directing me to do very specific tasks.....including contacting other alien audiomaniacs that were living on earth and disguised as earthlings.

SAFETY WARNING: What I am about to reveal to you will be so shocking that you may loose control of your bodily functions so I suggest you stop reading now, go to your bathroom and sit on the potty while you read the rest of this article, which is how you should read all of my articles. Why do magazines, especially the girlie, fishing and hot- rod types, seem more entertaining when we are reading on the potty? Did I ever tell you dudes about my new concept in home entertainment that would have a big screen TV, four loudspeakers, single-ended triodes and a reclining potty, beer cooler, pizza oven and a remote control flusher?

Clearly there is a clear relationship between SETMI and higher forms of audio intelligence; alien audio intelligence traveling to America because ( are you sitting on the potty?) higher forms of intelligence love the taste of America’s music because...... they eat it; they live off of it. That’s right. Right now aliens are suckling on America’s music energy and it is a powerful form of nourishment. Stop and think for one minute.....how would you feel if you looked like a creepy alien and had to eat bowls of warm solder flux and shredded aluminum foil three times a day and nothing else...no pizza, no beer, no sour cream dip, no snacks? And how would you feel if the only music you had sounded like German grasshoppers playing wind chimes....very dynamic, low in distortion, but boooring.

Have you ever considered that though ETs may be very smart, they are also very, very unattractive, boring, have bad breath, and are so desperate for fun they will travel zillions of light years just to get a good dose of American funk? Wake up America. Why hasn’t just one scientist or savant asked the most basic questions...Do aliens know how to party? Are they any fun? Does it bother them that they are so ugly? Why didn’t it occur to just one sci-fi savant that maybe the UFOs are hanging around our backyards because they would love some American barbecue? Clearly these creepy big hearted ETs don’t want to hurt us; they want to use us, and because they are of higher intelligence they know how important it is to strengthen those from whom they expect nourishment....but aliens are social nerds, insecure, have never had a great date, and don’t know how to party, and are very depressed.

It was revealed to me that the reason I was being abducted more frequently was so I could be tested to determine if I had "the right stuff" for an important mission that I would assigned....no volunteering necessary. Because I got an "DH/R" on my test (the highest mark you can get from an extraterrestrial is "DH/R" which stands for : Dude Human/Righteous, I was chosen to be a servant for this higher form of intelligence. It was obvious to me that the aliens, in their desperation to have fun, wanted to control and exploit me and the Triode Guild. What was their grand scheme? They wanted me to teach them how to party and how to barbecue!

As you know The Triode Guild Party is the Party of the Party by the People, and we believe that a government that can’t party can’t represent the will of the America people. In addition we believe that every American man has an inalienable right to a great triode sound system, a righteous motorcycle, a great hot rod, fine hand made cigars, a great old worn out leather jack, and all the barbecue and watermelon he can eat. That is my platform...vote for me, and make America a better place, by making American men more beaudacous.

Are you still sitting on your potty? Does this article seem much more interesting now? Now it is time to light up a fine cigar. Now taste the pralines and cream ice cream with hot baked chocolate chip cookies, Is this your first time for sitting on the pottty while reading the rantings of a thermionic techno-shaman in Positive Feedback Magazine while smoking a fine cigar and eating ice cream and cookies, while speculating on the question...What is the sound of one 300B clapping? Get what I mean about the power of the alien mind virus?

I now am introducing you to two very significant alien audiomaniacs. David Berning and Robert Grunberg are both aliens. You know David, and soon you will know Robert.


Until now none of you knew Robert Grunberg, because he "accidentally" came to earth almost forty years ago when a UFO crashed in the desert of Australia. A newly married couple, Dr. Bill and Ethel Grunberg, were on an archaeological dig, saw the crash and ran over and noticed a baby in a diaper and rescued it from the smoldering wreck. They never told anyone about this weird occurrence and raised Robert as if he were their own human son.

Soon Robert was showing some remarkable qualities..before we has three he was pretending that he was a Priest of the Temple of Monkey Coffins and was making toy monkey coffins...before he was eight he started to design amazing sounding loudspeakers using phase coherent Ninja infinite slope double helix Mutant inverted time aligned Turtle cheese fondue crossovers. By the time he was twelve he was known as SuperSpeaker, had a pet dog named Woofer, a pet parakeet named Tweeter, and was able to leap over Infinity IRSs in a single bound. By the time he was fifteen Robert could dig into the center of the earth and come back with molted iron which he would mold into magnets in his bare hands. Sixteen and bored with the Australia marsupial audiomaniac scene, Robert swam to America and was shocked. He could not understand the compressed American speaker language spoken. It was so different than the speaker language spoken on the planet of his birth..ALNICONIX where all speakers are high impedance, and high efficiency. According to Robert, the real place of his birth, ALNICONIX was named after its most abundant "Kudzu" type plant, the ALNICONA, from which fresh wild alnico magnets can be harvested in your backyard. I also discovered that beer is made from fermenting Alnicona, and it has the taste of one 300B clapping.

Life has not been easy for Robert on earth, and he missed the dynamic yet refined sound of his home planet, but he could not return home. He was trapped on earth and he became very attached to an earthling women because her spirit was very much like alnico magnets. So he resigned himself to the task of making earth more like ALNICONIX, Since that time he has been working in his lab, trying to create for earthlings, speakers that sound like they come from another galaxy.

One day last year while I too was on the potty reading the Japanese magazine, Stereo Sound, I saw an ad for Sunlight Engineering, which was in Japanese, but there was also a phone number in California. Why did I stop and pay attention to this ad? I was just doing my job as Guildmeister of the Triode Guild, which is to hunt in exotic places for wild audio art on the potty. I now know that the aliens, who abducted me, were responsible for the strange trance that this Japanese ad induced. I called the number and spoke to Joe Uyama, who spoke almost no English, but I think I heard him say that I should call him in about six months. Because of deep involvement with my Tannoys I didn’t follow up.

Then the aliens, once again, contacted me in my dreams to make me focus: A naked Cameron Diaz wearing nothing but a Mickey Mouse Mouseketeer hat and smoking a Churchill cigar was holding a very large dual concentric driver while pointing to the hole in the middle. This dream which was planted in my mind by the aliens meant that if I wanted a dreamy smoke I should once again call Sunlight Engineering.



As you know from my insistent ranting that I believe that the Alex Garner designed, Tannoy dual concentric Alcomax driver is one of the rare works of audio arts. I have cajoled all of you into considering the unique beauty of "classic" dual concentric alnico drivers, and many have called me "The Concentric Crusader". Surf this fantasy with me: We walk into a shop called Concentric and Sons, which caters to the exclusive custom made dual concentric audiomaniac trade. All of its products are custom made, like a Holland and Holland shotgun. A distinguished gentlemen looking like Robert Grunberg, wearing a white linen coat with very large bat-like ears, attends to our needs. He offers us, like the typical American audio dealer, a fine cigar and vintage French brandy as we discuss our musical taste. We are measured, we write out a check for $9K, and we are told to come back in six months, when our custom made drivers will be ready. Get the trip? My fellow dudes do you know the feeling when you have just encountered a gizmo of immense coolosity...like a supercharged V-10 Dodge Viper motor? Or when your tailor makes a custom-made suit for you? Or you commission your design for a 48’ wooden sailboat. That is the Sunlight trip. Sunlight Engineering’s 308 driver, designed by Grunberg, has redefined the concresence of driver coolosity...even with its flaws. In a flawless world there is no art....which is why the aliens come to earth.

Gizmo Abducted

The Sunlight Engineering 308 (The picture is from the Korean Magazine Audio plus Music) exists because Robert Grunberg has pushed the boundary of the "classic American speakers arts" into the next galactic space/time continuum. At $9,000 per pair without cabinets these drivers exist to satisfy the artistic cravings of some very intense triodemaniacs......these speakers were created specifically for the ultra-triodmaniacs of Japan and Korea, and that means horns.

This driver is to speakers what single ended triodes are to amplifiers...they both make no sense and they both make the most sublime, and unexplainable magic. What could be more ridiculous than an eighteen inch paper cone for midrange accuracy? So let me address their obvious flaws so we can concentrate on what they do that no other driver I have ever encountered can do. This driver is designed for a horn cabinet, which means ultra-huge...almost twice the size of the Westminster Royals, and quite frankly I don’t have the courage, time or money to build them, though you can order custom made horn cabinets, from my favorite Japanese horn salon, UTOPIA INSTRUMENT. I put them into sealed enclosures so I will miss the magic that only horns can create. The woofer crosses over to the midrange/tweeter horn at 500 cycles , and because of the design of the concentric midrange/tweeter driver forget the top octave. I am giving up the bottom octave and the upper most harmonics, so that King Tone can manifest His harmonic wholeosity in the mid section with a dynamism that is totally unique.

When it comes to critical evaluation I listen to master tapes (Mark Conese and I make with his custom tweaked Ampex tube tape recorder, modified RCA ribbon makes with silver Alpha-Core microphone cable)...of Marco, a great jazz pianist playing the in house concert grand Steinway. This is the only way to discover the true nature of loudspeakers because we have eliminated all of the distortion and compression of vinyl and digital. The output of the Ampex goes directly into the input of the amplifiers.

I thought I couldn’t get any higher than my Tannoy Alcomax high, and then I experienced these monsters of audio audacity and I realized once again that a spiritual mature man is a polygamist. It takes two people to move around this driver, and you are paying for solid gold magnets. What you will experience here is a degree of aliveness and harmonic whole-osity that I never knew existed on earth..and I was right, because this is the first time such a driver has appeared. This is the driver that has completely redefined the dual concentric art. This is young David, against the Tannoy Goliath. But of course these drivers are not something you buy in a store, and according to Grunberg, he can only make twenty pairs a year. Fear not because Grunberg is making a, soon to be available, ten inch and fifteen version of this driver that just may be the answer to unlocking your triode demons....all 100db efficient, 16 ohm, alnico, dual concentric! Only you know how long I have dreamed this dream and now it is coming true, and remember without alnico you can’t experience King Tone!

Let me make this clear about Robert; he doesn’t design loudspeakers, he designs the raw driver, i.e. the frame, the magnet structure...he is into the subatomicosity of it all. There are only a couple of earthlings that have reached this level of mastery. It is a total delight to listen to Robert rant and rave about magnetic materials, and other alien driver gibberish.

I believe these drivers may be the ultimate space ship for exploring the Nth dimension of Music HyperSpace; the existential shadows of single-ended triodes. These are simple two way speakers with absolutely the right impedance. They are ultra high efficiency....108 db. They have what appears to be unlimited dynamics. They have the right magnets, and they can demonstrate the benefits of ultra simple circuits because of their dual concentric harmonic whole-osity that is impossible to achieve in multi-driver designs. Of course these are also the perfect driver for a 2A3, 45, 50 or 10Y circuit, but for me one watt is not enough grunt to experience very heavy getting down into the subatomic rock and roll funk.

I don’t know why there is such heavy hedonistic harmonic alchemy with directly heated triodes and Alnico. Once you experience it you just can’t go back to the cheap ferrite spread because of its relative coarseness. It is like going from a 300B back to a 6550. This driver is a very extreme example of this alchemy...it borders on the type of harmonic hallucinogenic we get when participating in the ancient Apache peyote ceremonies while waking barefoot over hot fire coals.

Only this type of ultra-high efficiency driver gives us the ability of staying in the sweet juice area of the triode; the first few milliwatts, and have the ability to explode into musical plasmas that capture our souls. That is why I as Guildmeister, bestowed upon Robert Grunberg’s art a name that accurately describes what these drivers do, that all others are incapable of doing...only these can be called HARMONIC PLASMA TRANSDUCERS™. Think of this driver as a jet engine that is spewing forth a gigantic plasma of harmonic energy, and it is hitting you right in the chest, arms, legs..your entire body gets caught up in its plasma of hot harmonics. It is like Hulk Hogan harmonics wrestling you to the ground..

What is true for me is also true for all of you. None of you have a clue as to the nascent drama of the 300B until you have heard it with this type of speaker. Even Charles Whitener of Western Electric does not yet know (in the biblical sense) the dark funky soul of the 300B. Yes, I grant you that mono plate 2A3s and 45s are more subtle than 300Bs, but I need that real physical juice of music which means authentic musical dynamics, and the 300B is the perfect mean between the subtlety 45 and the 845 swagger.... with these drivers. One watt with this driver will play more dynamically than 300 watts with an 82 db driver.....wake up America...you have it all wrong....but as your President we will work it out..partying with the party of the party.

And did you notice how many OTL amplifiers were listed in this year’s Stereophile Class A Amplifier category? Yikes, and Gadzooks,.... because all of us know that "normal" OTL amplifier absolutely must be used with at least 16 ohm speakers for optimum performance and reliability ....in spite of what OTL amplifier designers claim. Those who love OTL amplifiers (God bless you all) haven’t got a clue until you listen to your amplifiers with speakers like these, which is why the Quad ESL with its 30 ohm impedance at low frequency is such a great OTL speaker.

Because I am in a dialogue with Robert and can now speak to him in the language of his people, I discovered that a FED EX space-transporter has recently been launched from Alconix. According to Robert, there is a top secret new transducer on its way to earth that has been designed for the Guildmiester that is so alien that earthlings will start to panic when it arrives in American....... in a few months, It takes about 90 days for FED EX to make a overnight delivery from zillions of light years away. Stay tuned for this development space rangers.

SUMMARY PART ONE: I am abducted by aliens while eating a lean corn beef sandwich and channeled to an alien Australian driver designer, who has taken American Classicism to a higher level, and is connected to a Japanese audiomaniac who has moved to America to manufacture his designs for export to Japan and Korea, and the aliens continue to virus Dr. Gizmo’s mind so they can take control of his Triode Guild bid for the Presidency because they need to party.

But because you can’t separate the hot dog from the roll, I now must introduce you to the other piece of the answer; to the other alien, and it is David Berning. The combination of Robert Grunberg’s Harmonic Plasma Transducer, and David’s new ZOTL 300B single-ended amplifier is the convergence of two alien forms of genius and what comes out of the audio oven tastes better than you know what.....even without the ice cream.


David Berning's ZOTL

CAVEAT EMPTOR: I was forced by my alien abductors to begin a "patron" relationship with David. Because I believe David’s new ZOTL patented alien thermionic technology will create the concresence of thermionic musical beauty for legions who would have never imagined it possible, or affordable, My goal is to convince a high end audio company to license the ZOTL technology from David so that YOU can buy a ....100 watt per channel ZOTL amplifier, with regulated power supplies, direct coupled, no bias and balance adjustments, which is NOT sensitive to speaker load for under $1000. Or what about a 100 watt per channel one tube (833) directly heated triode singled ended OTL with regulated power supplies which is NOT sensitive to impedance amplifier for $6,000 per pair? If I can help make that happen then I deserve to be your President.

At the Philadelphia Audio Society 1997 annul triode fest I heard something I never heard before. David, for only five minutes, played an 811 single-ended triode ZOTL™(ZOTL = OTL at the Nth Dimension) amplifier that had regulated power supplies and weighed ten pounds for two channels. Yikes! How much less can you get than four tubes (three input/one output) directly coupled with no audio output transformer? I was so impressed by this experience I convinced David to let me help him exploit this breakthrough...which means...I am very biased, as I should be, because David has shredded the perimeter of the audio arts in a major way by taking ‘BE VERY SIMPLE, BE VERY STIFF to its ultimate simplicity and stiffness, and that matters a great deal to the Triode Guild. I am deeply humbled by his achievement, while most are intimidated by it.

David ZOTL circuit is such technical wizardry that I will not bother to discuss it here, because it is beyond me. David’s patent is the best place to get the technical explanation of his achievement. Many from the conventional OTL school are claiming that David’s ZOTL is not a real OTL amplifier because it uses an ultra high frequency (250K) power conversion transformer to solve the impedance matching of directly heated triode to speaker impedance. I can understand how upset these "normal" OTLolgists are and why they claim that David’s ZOTL has no right to claim that it is a "normal" OTL...and in one sense they are right, but they are also very wrong, because ZOTL takes the core primal Futterman impulse to "get the iron of the audio range" to the highest level of development. So let’s not oscillate over the details, this is not a "normal" OTL circuit, it is a ZOTL circuit, and David’s patented circuit, for the first time, solves the impedance problems endemic to all conventional OTL circuits; lack of stability at low impedances: all OTL amplifiers are very weak in the bass region. The ZOTL circuit is the first OTL circuit that doesn’t go bonkers into low impedance loads, and this is the only tube amplifier on the face of earth, since the Futterman OTL-1, that doesn’t have an output transformer and has regulated power supplies, and ZOTL is far superior in every regard! And this is a major big deal..THIS IS A DIRECTLY HEATED TRIODE OTL... it let’s us hear the tone of directly heated triodes in an OTL circuit. This is unquestionably one of the major breakthrough in the thermionic arts. Those of you who are using OTLs that have video compactron/pentodes output stages are in for a big thrill when you hear the totally superior tonal qualities of directly heated triodes. But rather than rave about this circuit here, just check out Dick Olsher review in March 98 FI Magazine (also available on this site) where he puts David’s amazing technical wizardry in perspective.

The amplifier I am writing about now is a different amplifier than the push/pull amplifier (which uses video compactron tubes) Dick reviewed. This amplifier exists because I begged David to make the world’s first 300B single-ended ZOTL amplifier so that I could claim direct involvement in this historic achievement (never underestimate the value of narcissism) we would have a new answer to the question...What is the sound of one 300B clapping", and this amplifier is an impossible dream come true...it is the convergence of the best aesthetics of OTL and single-ended directly heated triodes in a single circuit.... if you can tolerate only 5 watts...it is the 300B single-ended version of the ZOTL circuit. For the only man other than David who demands regulated power supplies in tube amplifiers, it was a major thrill to experience this amplifier making love to the Grunberg art. Have you ever heard King Tone dancing? Take away all of the audio output transformer anomolies that are inherent in all single ended amplifiers, take away every last drop of AC filament hum, add the benefits of regulated power supplies, take away all of the impediments to linear frequency response at the extremes, and for the first time you experience a profound new truth about 300Bs that you can not experience when an audio transformer and unregulated power supply are choking off its harmonic whole-osity and its capacity to be explosive with life....you call it transient response, I call it triode bliss. Here for the first time the harmonic genius of the 300B is completely naked, its transformer shroud lifted, laying bare its red hot harmonic soul.

MARK MY WORDS: I have seen the future and it is ultra high frequency switching power supplies with regulators for tube amplifier who aspire to the thermionic concresence of coolosity. David started this trend almost two decades ago and now others will soon follow. Remember my 100% batting average.

Because so few have experienced David’s new ZOTL, and even fewer the single-ended version, it is easy to understand the angst in the Rec. Audio chat groups. There is much whining and complaining about this circuit because it is so threatening to makers of conventional transformer coupled amplifiers and conventional OTL amplifiers, but let me assure you that like The Harmonic Plasma Transducer, David single-ended 300B ZOTL is, in the truest sense a breakthrough in the most serious end of the audio arts. This circuit is not an incremental step, but a major leap forward in thermionics, is totally unexpected, understood by few, including me, is totally "untweakable", and the best reason in the world why others would want to assassinate David. Who would have imagined listening to a directly heated triode without an audio transformer? Who would have imagined a single-ended directly heated output transformerless amplifier....and the elimination of OTL’s impedance sensitivity?

Let me be clear that neither of these products are designed for "sodbuster" audiophiles. This is ultra serious stuff for those who have been witness to the thermionic fire; to whose who have walked across the burning coals, and are living on the edge. This is the place you arrive at after you have taken Sid Arthur’s journey, and know the sound of one 300B clapping. If you have any doubt about David’s alien genius just consider this...in a ten pound box David is able to create what it took the savants of New York Audio Labs to accomplish in a 250 pound form of the Futterman OTL-1. After listening to ZOTL when you pick up the box, which weighs less than you preamp, your brain goes.....Duh! How is this extreme level of anti-gravity performance possible my fellow earthlings?

Let me address this issue of OTL aesthetics which is never discussed because so few have the vast experience (kissing myself in the mirror) that I have with so many different OTL circuits. OTL amplifiers because of their impedance sensitivity can be very right or all wrong. OTL amplifiers, contrary to what Bruce Rozenblitt asserts, can and should not be used with "normal" speakers because OTLs are not "normal" amplifiers. They will create a completely unique, amazing clear and wide sound stage but the dynamics are often non-linear because of their extreme impedance sensitivity. The higher the impedance of the speaker the less prone OTL amplifiers are to this dynamic discontinuity. Since the 1970s I have ranted that....you haven’t got a clue about just how good OTL circuits are until you hear them exactly the right way with regulated power supplies and high impedance speakers. Most OTL designers don’t use regulated power supplies because they don’t know how to design them properly. Regulated power supplies, to a great extent, heals this OTL dynamic disproportionality problem. The ZOTL circuit, because it does not suffer with this impedance sensitivity and because it has regulated power supplies for the first time reveals the nascent and unexploited capability of tube amplifiers that have no audio output transformer. Berning’s ZOTL is able to reveal the subatomic harmonic coupled with dynamic righteousness. I have never heard this combination before in any OTL amplifier, and Dick Olsher agreed. But I must constantly remind you that the single-ended ZOTL amplifier requires the finest high efficiency speaker to appreciate its capability.

Those of us who are on the single-ended path know this true to be self-evident: once you hear the clarity and wholeosity of these circuits, even the best of the best push/pull amplifiers sounds harmonically awkward. We are prepared to accept the flabosity of the bass, and the anemic upper octave for single-ended midrange scroopulosity...it is the price we gladly pay for King Tone. Single-ended maniacs are hunting for that hallucinogenic harmonic transparency, and for this hunter ZOTL, in this single-ended format, has taken me to a very exotic harmonic happy hunting ground...one that I never knew existed, because I now experience all the virtues of single-ended circuits without their limitations, and that is my definition of triode heaven....and it is driving 108db efficient, 16 ohm Alnico dual concentric. Long Live King Tone.

The point being, don’t forget that there is an alchemy between the Grunberg alnico transducer and the Berning 300B ZOTL, which is the alchemy of alnico and directly heated triodes.....you need one to fully fathom the other. For those who grock, as I do, having as many different answers as possible to the 300B question, this circuit is a must have for your collection because it reveals a 300B truth that no other transformer coupled circuit can express. For those who live by...Be Very Simple, Be Very Stiff...this is as about as simple and as stiff as you can get.

Let me mention this to triode savants who wrestle with the noise dilemma of directly heated triodes...the signal to noise ratio of ZOTL is minus 120 db which must be an all time low for any directly heated triodes, and this is probably why there is such an errie quality to its harmonics...all the power supply hash is gone because of David’s totally cosmic high radio frequency switching power supplies, which are nothing like the cheap switching power supplies used in cheap transistor amplifiers. This amplifier can not work with all 300Bs because of variation in filament wire inductance, so check with David for the rules of tube swapping. David uses Western Electric 300Bs. Again this amplifier can not be tweaked.

What is the down side of this amplifier, and this should not be overlooked? It is too transparent. It reveals too much of the subatomic harmonic, and if you input and associated equipment is not of the highest quality you are simply not ready for ZOTL. Listening to our Ampex tube tape recorder masters is the most amazing thrill I have ever had, but when we connect the CD players we are hearing more digital discombobularity not less. Because ZOTL does less filtering than any amplifier I have ever experienced it will upset your system’s equilibrium, and may force you to rethink all of your inputs including cabling. I want to suggest to you that this is the ultimate amplifier for judging digital equipment. This amplifier must be used with silver cables.

But what is the messianic nature of ZOTL and why are so many thermionic artisans getting unstable over it? How would you like to listen to a.... 45,50, 2A3, 845 or 805 or 833 in a ZOTL single-ended circuit? What do these tubes sound like without an audio output transformer? What would a Western Electric 212 ZOTL sound like? ZOTL solves the fundamental artistic limitation of high powered single-ended circuits...because you can use any of these tubes without that big chunk of iron. Get what I mean about the potential of the ZOTL circuit? An insight may be found in the most amazing experience I had listening to the Svetlana 811 in the ZOTL single-ended form...which shook me to the foundations of my thermionic being.

None of David’s amplifiers are cheap. He builds them one at a time in his home. They are extremely reliable, and all I can say is....a new door has opened...are you ready to go through?

SUMMARY PART TWO: David Berning is an alien thermionic audio artist and is proving to us earthlings that the impossible dream is possible...the unique aesthetics of a directly heated single-ended triodes and an OTL amplifier can be merged into one circuit with regulated power supplies, no speaker impedance weirdness, and only weigh ten pounds.....proving that higher forms of thermionic intelligence is ready to make contact with earthlings.

CONCLUSION: Very gifted alien audio artisans like Grunberg and Berning are inventing new tools for us to explore the classic questions of the audio arts....like,.. What is the sound of one 300B clapping?

But on a more profound level these alien audio wizards confirm the eternal cycle in the arts...just as we thought we had reached a concresence of musical beauty, the next door is shoved open and we behold a glory that we never knew existed before, and it is in a form that we never imagined, and yet it looks very familiar....the timeless paradox of the audio arts shinning in you....and you can never be too rich, too thin, and use too many different types of 300 B amplifiers....with high impedance, high efficiency Alnico dual concentric drivers. The thermionic future is much more than you imagined because it is much less than you imagined.


DAVID BERNING: 301 926-3371



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