Western Electric 262a and 262b

So these tubes are direct replacement ones?

Well the 262a could be replaced by the 262b that appeared some 10 years after the 262a for the line of push pull 300b amplifiers western electric 86, 92… A large proportion of these amplifiers host the 262b that can be found for kind of okay budget (western electric terms). And swell is the 262b to drive we300b stage obviously DC  powered from the all time great mystery tube the we274a. Only thing? Never ever put a 262a in one of those amplifiers…there is no going back. The mids, the highs, the upper bass, the…depth etc….just take on a whole new dimension. Not that running we86 amps with 262b is worthless….no as it’s already something very special. It’s just that little extra thing that once you hear it gets you hooked. Yes I am hooked! 

Now they are the same on the paper….hummmm…..when you turn the we86 with the 262b the amp will play after a few seconds. Fine…yet when I 1st placed the 262a in One of my we86 amps….no sound at all….dead tube.???..ouchhhhhh…..given the budget! Then from the far distance after maybe 20/30 seconds you hear the sound build up like its marching towards you from the depths of the western electic 13a horns. Up it builds getting stronger and stronger to then settles to the sound….nice sound! Now when you switch of with the 262b it goes off…! Great ! When you switch off with the 262a it carries on playing and slowly the sound crawls back into the we13a horns. I think this is ultra cool and kind of alive!

So in reality it’s not the same tube. We262a’s fetch serious money these days. Are they worth it? Yes they are. You just need the amplifier to use one.

All fun…



Men who listen part 3 "man caves"

By Avis Cardella

It’s a concept audiophiles know well: a designated room for listening. Keep out! Leave me alone! No girls allowed!

Listening rooms, I’ve come to learn, are highly sought after spaces, and once established they are cherished and guarded. It’s the place Men Who Listen go to to be alone with their gear, and their music, and to soldier on in the important business of perfecting sound.

I call them Man Caves.

So, when R describes why he listens as a “form of meditation” I can see the appeal. What better place to meditate than in your own private, Idaho!

But, then, R pulls out some photos of his listening room!

“You’re kidding right?” I say.

“No, seriously,” he replies, with his sly, emoticon smile.

He hands them to me… these photos of his listening room… with its swanky … decoration… I remember something with antlers mounted on a wall… a reel-to-reel, a turntable…and an animal skin rug… or is this just my imagination. These hunter/gatherer clichés might be lodged in my cerebral cortex. (Or is it the hippocampus?)

Whatever, the place looked great!

Then there’s P. For him, there’s no question that a listening room trumps a home cinema. It’s a no-brainer: “I’m not a videophile, I’m an audiophile,” he explains. “The differences in video don’t intrigue me. But I’m interested in how audio can get better.”

No surprise that P lights up like a Christmas tree when he explains that the new home he’s building with his wife includes—drum roll, please—plans for a private listening room.

Congratulations P!

Finally, there’s M, who has a fabulously revealing “Polygraph Test” moment when I ask him why he listens: “Maybe it’s a way to keep the mind quiet. If you believe the whole universe is chaos, than music is just organized chaos. It’s just organized noise,” he says.

So far, so good… before the truth comes rushing in: “My motivation to make my listening room was to protect the neighbors,” he continues. “But that’s dishonest. I wanted to protect myself—close myself in a bubble.”

I like that!

Thanks for sharing, R, P, and M….and, happy listening!




"Men who listen " part 2 "The heart of the matter"

By Avis Cardella

M is a heart surgeon. He installs pacemakers, for those whose hearts can no longer keep pace. I’ve always been in awe of people who can peer into the human body—can cut it open and tinker and make the necessary adjustments, close it back up and say: There, there, now everything will be okay. I imagine it stressful to hold someone’s life in your hands.
Why does M listen?
“I’ve been listening for so long that I’ve forgotten why,” he says with a sly grin. “It’s like asking me: why do you breathe? It’s so much a part of my life.”

He confirms my suspicions about the serious business of heart surgery when he says, “I have very emotional work. So I try to listen to music as much as possible.”

Ninety-five percent of the time this means listening alone, maybe after a hard day in the operating theater. But once a week he’ll get together with friends to share a good meal, and listen.

For M, music can modify his emotions in a way that he likes them to be modified. “Music keeps me calm,” he explains. “But if I’m angry and want to be more angry I choose music to enhance that mood.”

And when he’s in a bad mood and wants to feel good? Vangelis’s soundtrack from the film Chariots of Fire always comes to the rescue. “When I want to feel better I listen to this,” he adds. “I feel like I can do anything when I listen to this.”

There’s no denying that music has always been able to touch the human heart, and soul. In his book, Listen to This, journalist, Alex Ross, says that the ancient Greeks believed the system of scales could be linked to gradations of emotions. Today technology throws a curveball on this concept: there is now an app that can make music from a heartbeat.

Pulse is an experimental app which generates electronic music based on your heartbeat. If you hold your finger over an iPhone camera, the phone’s optical sensor can monitor the flow of blood, determine heart rate, and make music off the tempo.

I suppose this gives new meaning to the expression: listen to your heart.

I’d like to ask M what he thinks about that.


Men who listen "part one"


By Avis Cardella

I am a spy in the house of sound. I know almost nothing of tone arms, tubes, and turntables, but this world has its hooks in me… this world of reclaimed sound, vintage gear, and some jolly good recordings.

Since being introduced to this subculture via my husband (an avid listener, collector, and builder of some of the rarest speakers in the world) I’ve met many of its disciples. Audiophiles from around the globe have passed through our home—have traveled via planes, trains and automobiles, and arrived, sometimes with LP’s in tow, just to listen! How crazy is that? Maybe not so crazy in their world; I find it extraordinary.

And given the chance to mingle in this world of ideas and conversations that connect these lives and minds, my curiosity has been piqued : What makes these men listen?

At a recent audio event, which I was privileged to attend, I asked thirteen men to respond to a single question:

Why do you listen?

They were kind enough to indulge my inquisition. Thanks to them, this series, Men Who Listen, is born.

Interview 1 with “C”

“There has been one event that evoked my attention to sound. One day, age eleven, I came to my grandmother’s kitchen and said, ‘Where did the sound go?’ The music I heard in the kitchen was flat. Something had changed. She explained that she’d thrown the old radio away. The old radio was tubes and the new one transistors. I noticed the change, and realized the warm sound of the old radio was gone. In its place was this alienating object with a different sound that I didn’t want to listen to! This was a distinct moment for me.


There has always been something in me that responds to music. Sometimes my hair stands up, or my eyes fill with tears, and I respond to the delivery of sound regardless of the system. Still, I find myself going after that sound, the original from Grandma’s kitchen. Whatever systems I’ve built, they all end up with that signature sound. I can cherish other systems, but that’s not personally what I’m looking for.


I guess you could say I listen because I want that feeling back. And I can do that with systems that resemble that ‘first’ sound. I’m still after that.”



Epos es14, simple brutal and so British 

IMG_4537Back in 1986 I walked into Uxbridge audio and what did I hear! Wow like it was yesterday an awesome sound that pushed rock and roll into a crazy engaging sound! Oh yes they were indeed driven by linn lp12 and naim amps…considered the only path back then with a strong herd of fans of these two cult brands. Linn and Naim were after all the guys who 1st claimed that money should be spent on the source then amp then speakers. This led a breed of reasonably low cost speakers with ultra simple xover, raw box finish and well designed woofers. The likes of heybrook, Monitor Audio, etc….and Epos. These guys helped masses get into spiked feet and isolation methods. After all the cult followers has spent their cash upstream! The British and Scott’s are so inventive…they managed to bring some real gems to our ears…thanks!

I had to save the cash to get these speakers along with the Naim. Only later could I replace my rega planar3 with the venerable linn lp12.

The Epos es14 was simple (very) and that I guess was its strong point. I have not changed that much as I am still a great believer in simple and minimal components between the needle and the ear.

The epos es14 was a great speaker that stayed with me for years. In those days I was listening much louder than today and even if my hearing was better! These speakers meant rock and roll, loud and then…louder! Yes I did burn the voice coils! No worries parts came cheap.

All fun….