Affordable tube amps... from Thailand?
By James Grahame
Tube amplifiers are shrouded in high-end mystique, probably because hi-fi manufacturers like to keep it that way. Maybe this will change, thanks to an influx of affordable and (apparently) well built tube amps from the Far East. The $450 SE-9 integrated amplifier caught my eye immediately. It's from the nOrh Loudspeaker Company, improbably located in Bangkok, Thailand. Even at this bargain price, you get dual inputs, four "genuine" Electro Harmonix tubes, platinum coated switches, and a whole host of other things I don't really understand. Suffice it to say that it puts out an honest 9 watts per channel of smooth Class A sound. You'll need some fairly high-efficiency speakers, but this looks like the ideal box to rediscover Kind of Blue by Miles, or perhaps induce some nasty drug flashbacks courtesy of Pink Floyd. And the photos of the staff make the company out to be a suitably laid back place to work.
SE-9 Tube Amplifier (nOrh Loudspeaker Company Ltd.)