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High End Audio Valve Management Systems

Novel valve management systems for high end audio

Until the introduction of the germanium transistor in the late 1950’s, there was no alternative form of high quality audio amplification to the thermionic valve (American terminology was always ‘Tube’) The 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s saw a steep decline in the usage of valves for all purposes except audio amplifiers, to the point that, with a few exceptions, they were almost entirely replaced by transistors and integrated circuits. However, since the late 1980’s, valve amplifiers have experienced a renaissance which has, in the last decade grown rapidly year on year.  

The unique character of valve sound has once again attracted both amateur and professional interest in the areas of High Fidelity (HiFi) amplification.. The dominance of digital technology now, means that the valve amplifier is seen as new to younger people and as nostalgic to the older generation. Many arguments have been put forward as to why valve amplification ‘sounds’ better than digital. Some differences can be proved using measuring instruments, whilst others are down to the nuances of the human ear. Whatever the reason, evidence shows more and more listeners appear to prefer the sound of a valve amplifier. 

The Innovation

KBO apply modern microcontroller techniques to overcome many of the historical problems, experienced by design, manufactures of HiFi amplification products notably, biasing, heating effect and expensive valve matching problems and to introduce many new benefits which were not available to the audio designers of the 1940’s and 50’s. We aim at all times to complement the excellent results achieved in the past without compromising highly regarded audio performance. Many of our engineering techniques would not have been viable even a decade ago; however with the advent of small, low cost, high performance microelectronic components it is possible to improve the performance of the classic thermionic valve.

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