Quest For A Modern Tube Radio
By James Grahame
The R601P is a modern tube amplified table radio, priced at a quite reasonable $369. It stands apart from most modern 'retro style' audio gear, which often provides little more than a cut-rate transistorized AM/FM/CD/Cassette mechanism stuffed into a tacky wooden case.
The R601P measure a mere 12 inches wide by about 9 inches deep, yet weighs a whopping 15 pounds thanks to its hefty power transformers and four tube design that includes two 6P14 triodes, a 6F2 rectifier and a 6E2 'magic eye' to show signal strength. The 4-inch driver is capable of a respectable 80 Hz to 15 kHz at 6 Watts, although the tube amplifier can drive a 1/8-inch headphone jack on the back panel in stereo with 30 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response.
The unit includes a 1/8 audio line level audio input so you can use it with an external iPod or CD player, although it might make sense to splurge for the $489 R601SW stereo version if this is your aim.
If you're on the lookout for something a bit more substantial, the $848 R801 features a 7 tube stereo design that pumps out 2 x 18W. It offers two RCA aux inputs and can drive two external speakers. Unlike their American and European ancestors, these units are produced in mainland China by the Shenzhen Jidian Technology Company. They're available in the USA through Stephen Monte's Quest For Sound in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.