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Achieve that Rich Old-School Sound Through Vintage Power Amplifiers

Sometimes, vintage music just sounds better on vintage audio equipment. One of the essential elements of a proper audio system is the amplifier. There are different methods for amplifying a signal, but they all have the same goal of making the signals powerful enough to sound good through a loudspeaker without any distortions. 

What Are the Types of Vintage Power Amps?

  • Tube Amps: Also called valve amplifiers, they are electronic amplifiers, which use vacuum tubes to increase the power or amplitude of a signal through the speakers. These are typically used in guitar amplifiers, satellite transponders like DirecTV and GPS, and VHF and UHF TV transmitters. They have the advantage of being very linear to make them ideal for use in low distortion linear circuits with little negative feedback. A downside is that valves have shorter lifespans than solid state parts owing to its many failure mechanisms like heat, breakage, and internal shorts. 
  • Solid State: These amps strictly use solid-state electronics, such as transistors and MOSFETs, to improve signal output through the speakers. Solid-state amps are lightweight, more reliable, require less maintenance, and are more durable than the older valve amps. Many audio enthusiasts, musicians, and producers prefer tube amps though, due to the subjective warmth that many of them look for in sound coming out of their speakers of choice.

What Are Some Notable Altec Lansing Vintage Power Amps?

  • 351C: This amp is as vintage as it gets because you cannot use a stereo setup with it alone due to its monoblock setup. By combining two of these units, you can achieve a stereo audio system in your cabinet with Duplex loudspeakers if you wish. Using two mono power amps give you twice more power than a single stereo amp, so it can supply bigger bursts of power for punchy, rich sound.
  • 1594B: This model is a solid state mono power amp made in the 60s and 70s. Using two of these along with vintage speakers can achieve an authentic sound with deep, rich bass. These are large, so placing them semi-permanently in a cabinet is an option. You can also connect one to a horn speaker for PA systems. Mono amps are ideal for horn speakers because combining the efficient compression driver system of horn speakers with large amplifier outputs allow for extremely loud sound resulting in wide coverage. 
  • A323B: This is a tube amp model with five knobs for switching between phono and radio functions, as well as treble, volume, bass adjustment, and on or off switch. The three vacuum tubes are easily accessible from the top of the unit for easy maintenance and replacement. It comes in a silver chassis that pairs well with vintage speakers and lovely jazz music.

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