Be kool, go old school with Zepp’s tubes
It seems a little unusual to say Zeppelin & Co. display new tube amplifiers – a technology that was in vogue in the 1920s, and is about as cutting edge as typewriters and cathode tube television sets.
But it would be an error in judgement to relegate the tube technology – and the quality of sound – that Auris Audio and Feliks Audio champion to an afterthought. Tube amplifiers may be ageing, but remain as relevant as they have ever been.
You replace your obsolete Nokia 3310 with the iPhone X, and human progress dictates you do the same with nearly everything else. Except with tubes. Their worth isn’t derived from the linear axis of upgrading and downgrading, where the new continually usurps the old, that most others are restricted to.
It’s a mantra that fits Zeppelin’s entirely. Old audio is just old audio – old audio has every claim to be just as great audio as new audio. The flagbearers have to be as visionary as their counterparts though, but that was a foregone conclusion with the folks behind Auris Audio, Cayin and Feliks Audio.
The key for these terrific tubers offering something new lies in being designed with good old building materials. Anything lacking in quality lies out of sight, out of hearing and out of mind. Auris, Cayin and Feliks build heirlooms reeking of quality and effort. Hunks of aluminium and wood encasing, garnished with glowing, orange glass. It’s an experience involving you, your music that’s as viscerally visual as it is aural.
Auris has the aesthetic dressing up of wood and leather worthy of an upscale Mount Sophia apartment, while Feliks keeps its pure silver signal wiring and Mundorf beauty lying beneath the surface.
That does not mean star of Serbia, Auris, is all style but lacking in substance. The flagship Headonia comes up with the goods, its 2A3 tubes singing and strumming their way into your heart with frequency stretching miles in both directions. It’s a heartfelt performance of soul and character, with gobs of that finding its way into the economically-minded HA2-SE.
It’s a department that Feliks have dedicated themselves to, bringing their definitive great sound to an affordable price point with the Echo – great for the young who appreciate the heritage of tubes. But watch the way these Poles dance with the best of them, striving for perfection with the finesse, refinement and poise that PsVane 6SN7s give the Euforia.
Throughout the way, the enduring qualities from the "old skool" find their way into the homes of the new. The romance of tube warmth. The soft glow of orange atop blacked-out hulls. A return to the heyday of music listening. We’re driving at a point here.
It is this unyielding faith in tried and tested tubes over transistors have rewarded amplifier manufacturers. Most often, the choice to stand by a belief system more than a mere technology – protecting legacy tools that have loads of life ahead of them yet – is what leads Auris and Feliks to plough on taking tubes to greater heights at CanJam Singapore 2018.