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As I had gathered from the pictures, fit and finish were very good in an endearingly artisanal way. Metal and paintwork in particular were free from even the smallest marks and smudges. The hand-rubbed wax job highlighted the natural grain of the solid Walnut base. The base plate was fireproof masonite, an exact period reference to the vintage tubes. The stick-on bumper footers proved an effective-enough after thought though in the end I preferred to blue-tac the amp to a small granite base. This safely hitched it to my substantial cables. Unusually for an audiophile I am somewhat impatient. After less than twenty hours of trying to ignore Mama Mia in the background, I took the plunge and started to listen seriously. I use my amps in three different single-ended hookup configurations: from the variable output of the CDC; from the dedicated output of the Nagra PLP; and finally in hotrod mode from the tape output of the PLP with the ganged variable input controls attending to volume.

This gives me various degrees of transparency, from the pellucid coolness of the CDC to the fleshier tint of the standard PLP output—which I find better suited to compressed midbass—to the goldilocks mode of the hotrod solution. I am hardly obsessive about this but I do appreciate the flexibility. Ball and Chain need somewhat more oomph than Sellinger’s Rounde for instance.

It so happens that I find myself more and more gauging equipment by its actual use with the music I enjoy rather than by testing it against particular recordings. My judgments consequently are the result of an irregular if attentive series of sessions. The records mentioned are to be taken only as a sampler of my overall listening experience with the Tektron amp. I’ll start with Martzy’s Bach Violin Sonatas, a mid-Fifties mono which conveys an exemplary fusion of technical excellence and emotional involvement besides being impeccably produced.

in Padauk

In all the hookup configurations Attilio’s creation proved perfectly and indeed movingly capable of depicting both the timbral resonances essential to the instrument and the underlying emotional content. This was the result not so much of a particular bravura in reproducing leading edges for instance or rosin graininess, but of a convincing musical equilibrium which made these otherwise quite valid evaluation benchmarks mostly moot. Admittedly Tannoy coaxials are not the most analytical of speakers—which by the way is the reason I buy them—but this unassuming midget amp meshed perfectly with their strong points.

More specifically, whilst it was obviously midrange centred, it succeeded in keeping the complex strands of Bach’s work intellectually coherent. That’s what in my book a musical transducer of any kind is supposed to do. Changing to a radically different instrument of Gould’s original homemade Goldberg (also in mono), the result was the same. The obvious technical deficiencies of the recording which make tonal evaluation of the piano employed an extremely speculative task were easily overcome by the Tektron’s unflustered ease in evoking the idiosyncratic tempi of Gould’s finger work.

Those are the reason why this juvenile effort has more than stood the test of time. By the same token an exemplary stereo cut of Leonhardt playing Byrd on a replica period harpsichord showcased the amp’s ability to perfectly cope with this instrument’s singular soundboard. The attending mallet strikes were not reproduced with you-are-there realism but simply placed in their musical context. That is far more difficult than pedantically reproducing vibrations.