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SimpleSE PCB out of stock

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I am posting this here because this is where many SimpleSE builders get their information. My supply of SimpleSE boards was running low, so I reordered a new (large) supply early last week. This week 3 larger than expected orders wiped out my supply. One guy bought 10 boards! Another bought 4. Those have been shipped. The expected ship date for the new boards is 3-25-2008. I should have them in early April. They are from the same quality US vendor as the current batch.

The unexpected sales revenue will be used to accelerate the SimpleP-P development.
Damn you TubeLab! ;)

After building your SimpleSE I caught the bug! I have built a simple 6P15P SE point to point for my girlfriend (she thinks I am a bit of a geek, but she loves her amp and shows it to everyone!) and a 6BM8 PP point to point for my computer. I am just about to start building a point to point "Baby Huey" EL84 PP. My 12 year old son is now interested, and I have collected the parts (less output transformers) to build a 6BM8 spud amp as a father/son project for his computer and iPod. Now you are going to design a "SimplePP". I will have to build one, of course!

It was your SimpleSE that gave me the encouragement to experiment with valve amps. Thanks for your input to this (highly addictive!) hobby.


Now you are going to design a "SimplePP". I will have to build one, of course!

I have had two different designs in development for a while. My current work schedule and several outside factors have severely slowed development. It will be a while.

Any votes on which board gets done first, and which tubes to use?

The first is a little guy. 10 to 15 WPC, all miniature tubes. Output tubes will either be the usual 6BQ5 / EL84 (common) or the 6AQ5 / EL90 (not as common, slightly lower power, but tends to sound better). The PC board is about the same size as the SimpleSE, and the cost would be similar.

The second design is a bigger amp more like a P-P version of the SimpleSE. Octal output tubes, all the usual players 6L6GC, EL34, KT88 or 6V6, triode, UL, or pentode, class A or AB1, power output from 5 WPC to 50 WPC depending on output tube choice and class of operation. Driver tubes could be miniature or octal. The PC board would be larger than the SimpleSE and therefore would cost a bit more. Octal driver tubes would make the board larger also slightly raising the cost.
I vote for the smaller, simply because I have more use for it :).
I'd love to be able to build a few somewhat inexpensive small amps to give as gifts for people. It would be really cool if the entire amp, iron and all could fit into a footprint the size of the tubelabSE board.

Larger might make sense for you, though, because then you'd be offering a full range of products. Low power to high power.

Let me know if you need any beta testers ;)
It would be really cool if the entire amp, iron and all could fit into a footprint the size of the tubelabSE board.

I have built several mini and micro sized amps. The small sized iron tends to limit the bass too much, to the point that the amp sounds bad. Stuffing too much circuitry into a small space leads to heat related reliability issues as well.

I am still working on perfecting the technology that could enable a micro sized tube amp, but for somewhat different reasons. I want to make a reasonable sized mid powered amp. This one is a bit further off in the future.
As I have already built a 6BM8 PP and I am starting an EL84 PP, I would be much more interested in an all octal amp. In fact if you had not mentioned your SimplePP project I was thinking of a 6L6 PP amp as my next project (after the current two). I am, however, happy to wait if the miniature version attracts more interest.

I have not ordered the output transformers yet for my father/son 6BM8 spud amp. They will be the standard Edcor XSE15-8-5, but as shipping is a killer here to Australia, I was thinking of ordering some Iron for the next PP project at the same time to amortise some of the shipping costs. Have you got any idea of the output iron requirements for your octal version (Edcor CXPP25-8-7.6K or CXPP50-MS-7.6K)? Another option is my "tube guy" in Singapore is trying to get me to try a set of Tamura output transformers (I think the F-684 30Watt 6.6K for about $425 US). I am in no rush to build, but hate double spending on shipping if I can help it.

Thanks again for all your efforts and input :) :) :)

I like the idea of a quality PP 6AQ5 amp (there are already 6BQ5 kits out there), but you can count me in for one of each board, in whatever configuration they wind up as.

Started building my TubeLab SE board a few weekends ago, and hope to have it working with 45's on the bench soon.

As a newbie who is looking to build a PP amp I would like to see something with 25-50 WPC rather than the smaller 15 WPC design.

My reasoning is that if I wanted to build something with the lower power there are many designs and kits to choose from, however there few, if any, in the 25-50 WPC range (kits anyhow).

I want to build something I can be happy with for a fair amount of time. Rather than build something small and then soon after have to build a new amp. Mainly I say this because of my poor cash flow situation.

I need to throw in there..........
Ive got a 6v6 PP amp, and had my first party this past weekend w/ this amp and my new speakers (fostex full range) and this amp can get LOUD!!! it's got a max of about 10 watts, but I probably didn't have to turn it up past 1/2 way the entire night w/ a bunch of drunk people being very loud.
besides that, I've got a supposed 500 watt powered subwoofer, and it needs to be turned up to its max to blend in w/ my puny 10 watt tube amps. I'm talking wall shaking, 40 drunk people shouting loud w/ only 10 watts.

I'm quite surprised w/ the power my amps and speakers can deliver.

on the other had..... you're right... there are a lot of lowish powered kits and simple schematics out there for people to build.

I for one, however, would NOT drive more power into these speakers... I'd probably bust my aquarium and windows w/ the sound pressure!
If voting is still open, I'd like something that can handle 2 6550's, for 40-50 watts.

Additional nice to haves:
- Cathode or fixed bias options
- Triode, UL, tetrode connection, or fixed screen voltage
- Cathode follower driver
- Flexible splitter choices
- Balance adjustments
- Cathode feedback in output stage - option
- Option of CCS in cathodes of splitter
G'Day George,

Not sure what you are considering for the octal based boards, but perhaps you might consider an option that allows for either monoblocks or a stereo amp. As the transformer requirements for a stereo amp are reasonably high, and the resulting amp would be rather heavy, some might prefer monoblock. Perhaps the boards could be for single channel, use two for a stereo amp and one for a monoblock.

Just my 2 cents worth, I am sure whatever you decide to do it will be a great project!


OK the UPS man brought me a large stack of SimpleSE's (left) and the Fedex man brought me some TubelabSE's (right). Both came earlier than the promised dates. This put a $2800 dollar dent in the Tubelab credit card.


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Two things.

First, I agree with SigloOne that a P-P would be nice to go with the 25-50 wpc field, since there are so many smaller ones out there. However, I still need to cut my teeth on your SimpleSE first before going another route.

And second, George I have been looking on your site for the pics of your Zenith radios you are using in your living room. I found the one on your Industrial Strength SimpleSE, but you also have one of both radios.

I love the idea of using these wonderful units as speaker enclosures for one's tube amp. But I am a bit interested in knowing why you went with Zenith. Does Zenith have speakers that outperform, let's say Philco, other brands? The reason why I am asking is that I am enthralled with the shape of the Philco 180-280 class radios. They remind me of the juke-box of the 50-60s, and will never lose their good looks.

Philco 41-280
An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.

Philco 40-180
An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.

Anyway, this is what I have my eyes set on, as the perfect pair to use. Do you know anything about these beauties?

I am just appalled at the wanton destruction of such classics, simply to obtain the electronics, while trashing a part of our history. As I have stated at another forum, it's akin to destroying a beautiful old girl, just to save the "t!ts" alone.

Oh, one other thing George. I know that some old units are single-ended, but not sure how common. Are any of these radios using S-E amps? Thanks up front.
But I am a bit interested in knowing why you went with Zenith.

I had one Zenith radio that I bought at an antique flea market. It looked nice, and my wife said that it matched the other antique "stuff" in the living room, it was cheap ($50) so it followed me home. The original field coil speaker was shot, but I got the electronics working.

I don't claim to be an expert on old radios. I have about 30 old radios, mostly table top sets. Not all of them are working. They are all single ended. I have an old German console radio that is single ended. The other console radios that I have are P-P output. Many of the smaller consoles from the dawn of the stereo era are single ended using 6BQ5's or 6V6's. The old Magnavoxes sound pretty good.

My wife and I had been discussing speakers for the living room for years, but we never came to an agreement, so there weren't any. I had another old radio console (a Magnavox maybe) and Sherri asked if they could be used as speakers. The idea was hatched.

I saw an identical Zenith radio on Ebay which had gone without bids. The seller was a few miles away, so I went over and bought the radio. The fact that I had two identical Zenith radios was the reason for using Zenith.

The original speakers and Wavemagnets (rotating antennas) were removed and stored in a safe place in case I ever decide to return the radios to normal operation. I replaced the speakers with some HiFi speakers from Hawthorne Audio that were designed for open baffle operation.

The pictures are here:

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