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As is standard Trafomatic issue, the monos ship in Plywood crates lined with 2" hard foam to make shipping mishaps essentially impossible. Because of the high-gloss black lacquer, photography of the amps is best left to a professional studio such as Trafomatic hired for the earlier images. What follows instead are close-ups of the innards.

Tube sockets are high-quality Teflon with high-pressure gold-plated contacts [big rectifier socket above].

300B socket below
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The loose yellow/green wire below is a ground lead which clips to the bottom cover

Sasa had also dispatched his matching black-glossed
870 Experience Head One headphone amp with 2 preouts which thus can serve as a dedicated preamp. The Head One runs a pair of 6S45P triodes with 1.8dB of negative feedback on the outputs while one EZ80(81) serves as indirectly heated rectifier.

Two inputs switch via rear-mounted toggle, the preouts allow for biamping or subwoofing. The right frontal four-pole control knob selects from 30, 100 and 300-ohm loading for the headphone output or preamp duty. Max output power on the 1/4" socket is 300mW while preamp gain on the pre-outs is 18dB, with a max voltage swing of +/9V.

Beyond the expected Trafomatic trannies and choke, parts include Rubicon electrolytics, an Alps potentiometer and metal-film resistors.

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Three days after delivery, Sasa and compadre Milorad Despotovic arrived in Cyprus for a bit of summer fun in the sun. Sasa Danicic of Serbia's Hifi Cafe forum tagged along.

The visit proved fortuitous because I had smoked out one anode transformer in absolutely pestilenciferous fashion, the evil smell taking a good day to follow Elvis and clear the building. My e-mail notification left Sasa just one day to wind a new part before leaving Belgrade.

Doing relaxed surgery on our kitchen table, the culprit, as Sasa expected, turned out be an overtightened bolt on the metal disc clamping the transformer to the chassis. Undue clamping pressure had severed some top wiring to short out the tranny. The replacement sang and Sasa loosened the bolt on the other one just in case. "Because of his great physical strength, what my guy thinks is sufficient and what is are
two different things. I kept telling him not to overtorque those bolts. Now he really knows why. I'm glad this happened before we left. It gave us enough time to show up with a replacement." Sasa grinned and tried to translate a Serbian saying for just such occasions - to always be open to the unexpected good that can come out of apparent bad.

After 8 months of intensive R&D, with the most persnickety part by far the interstage transformer, the Experience Reference monos finally were a real production item. Asked what had proven the winning ticket on the IT -- exotic cores, winding trickery, conductor metallurgy -- Sasa pointed at good ol' winding. The best-sounding core material had turned out to be silicon steel, not any of the exotic amorphics they'd experimented with. What separated the final IT prototypes wasn't different wire gauge or conductor purity but simply, highly specialized winding techniques. Because this part is exceptionally sensitive to magnetic fields, Sasa has fully encased it in a thick welded steel box. Was the hardest part winding it the pursuit of ultimate bandwidth? Sasa shook his head. "In the end, it was purely about sonics."