Part 1: the Amplifier Unit
This is a proud post. Now that I have a fully functioning CNC machine, I can give form to design ideas that I have harboured for a long time. This tube amp is one of many such ideas.
Technically it is just another tube amp. Two mono blocks to drive about 5 Watts into my loudspeakers. This design uses a 12AX7 and EL84. Fairly standard and my natural desire for making things better will probably see these upgraded soon.
The name and design is what makes this amplifier special. Low Efficiency Amplifier Rig, LEAR.
But LEAR also means Low Energy Antiproton Ring. This is a small and very special accelerator at CERN. It was used to do antiproton physics and among its many results it artificially produced the first anti-hydrogen in history. It was also where I worked for 10 years! Aside from the physics – which was stunning and accessible – there was also incredible camaraderie among the scientists, engineers and operations staff.
I have named my tube amp in the honor of LEAR: a tribute to great people, a great machine and a great time. And as you will see in the next installment, the amplifier and power unit together share some design characteristics of this little rounded square accelerator.
Actually, the image above is of LEIR which was the new name after they configured the accelerator for heavy ions (Pb) as part of the LHC pre-injector chain.
I am now building the second part: the power unit. If the amplifier unit is a little diesel punk, the power unit is most definitely atom punk. Looking forward to sharing the power unit design here.