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“Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquiades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades' magical irons. "Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls." Jose Arcadio Buendia, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention…” - Gabriel Garcia Marquez “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.

Prerequisites for Melquiades appreciation

There are 2 absolutely mandatory requirements for using this amplifier and without satisfying each of them you should not consider Melquiades.

Fist: your speakers. You must have high sensitively full-range loudspeakers. Do not confuse the so-called “full-range drivers” (a common audio-foolish wishful thinking) and a full-range-capable loudspeaker. Your loudspeaker (whatever amount of channels and topology they use) preferably should go do all the way down and should have convincingly implemented “melody range” (200Hz-400Hz). It is highly preferable if you do not use any “active” LF channel, as there is no dedicated “subwoofer” amps that will be able even remotely approach to what Melquiades does with LF. If you multiamp your system with multiple amplifiers then Melquiades has to be used for all channels: no mating of Melquiades with other amps is possible in multiamping. A minimum sensitively of your loudspeakers should be above 103dB and would of course vary with a size of your room. Your acoustic system should be relatively stable and flat impedance-wise, the higher impedance the better, preferably stay above 10-Ohm. Remember this is a 15W SET with no feedback. Although I myself is a horno-aficionado I would like do not enlist the perspective Melquiades users into the horns universe. However,  to me personally it is obviously that the more “horny” you go the better result you get out of Melquiades. Read "My Playback Rules" for further explanations. I have to confess that I did experiments with Melquiades using number even 88dB sensitive 4-Ohm speakers, were impedance was drooping down to 2Ohm. Although while I used those loudspeakers I did hear the result of “Melquiadanization” but still I would not suggest this project if you are not in a world of high efficiency as 1) the 6C33C is not very tolerant for high grid voltages 2) there are some other resons

Second: you. You must have serious objectives in sound and very realistic, mature and refined expectations in sound reproduction. It is highly likely that Melquiades sounds quite different from anything else you have heard. The Melquiades’s Sound, being different, could be a beneficial surprise to you and might act as an educational instrument for you, a collaborative tool, a kit. Yet, you should have your own internal ability to understand Melquiades Effect, understand it using your own inner-qualities that have nothing to do with Melquiades or with audio generally.  If your inner-development able to embrace some benefits that Melquiadanization offers then this amplifier, being properly used, might reimburse you with the very interesting effects. Anyhow, in order to fully appreciate what Melquiades does it is highly advisable that you: 

  • Used in past many others amplifiers, preferably SE
  • Have an acquired and evolved taste in audio
  • Well-accustomed to experience “live”, none-amplified classical music
  • Have a cultural background that allows you to discriminate the magnitude of performances
  • Know differences between WF Bach and JS Bach
  • Not an Audio industry professional (if you are, then stop reading further and shoot yourself in you head)

The Introduction to Melquiades release to public

Before you dive into a further learning, and perhaps building the Melquiades amplifier you might familiarize yourself with the following threads:

In there you would have a vague idea what Melquiades is all about. Melquiades is not “another amplifier” but it is rather a statement. It is a proclamation and testimonial of a many composite thoughts and experiences in audio and the Melquiades is a presentation of outcome of those thoughts. The Melquiades Sound was very much conceptualized and initially envisioned as an X-amplifier and then, while the Melquiades was researched, that “targeted X-amplifier sound” always was hold as an ultimate aspiration.

I would like to be honest with you: I do not completely know why Melquiades Sound as it does. I have many, sometimes contradictory, explanation "why" but I exercise my liberty do not subscribe to any of them. I do not build amplifiers; have no interest to DIY generally, do not research or study the concepts of amplifiers theories. I juts very temporary initiated and ran the Melquiades project with only one objective: to fulfill my visualization of X-amplifier and to obtain something that would be able to do justice to my Macondo Acoustic System.  I am an ultimate user of amplifiers and my “duty” with amplifiers starts when amp is built, up and running: then I really know what to do with it. All my personal comments and recommendations about the Melquiades design, building, assembling and sourcing are the subjects of my personal observations and I might be wrong. However, where I do not do any mistakes is in my understanding of the distinctive way in which the Melquiades performs.

You might replicate this project if you wish. You might do it in any altered way but what you will end up will be something that I do not pledge. If you change anything it might be better or worth but it will not be the Sound that I would like to share with you – it will not be the Melquiades’ Statement but rather something else.  I do not say that my statement is something that you shell pursue but…. I do know what sound most of you have in your rooms and what sound you pursue (I know it appears too arrogant, keep disbelieving). Giving to my familiarity with your current sound I do suggest you to try experience the Melquiadanization and let yourself to LEARN from it. After that, you might move to any direction you wish and after you familiarize yourself with the Melquiades Sound THEN we might talk about that the arrogance, about the limitation of reference points or about the shortage of understand what we all deal with on sound reproduction….

One more important point. The Melquiades soul is given up to benefit public. It will be given to you with a specific intention – to educate you what kind of sound might be achieved. There was a Melquiades team who spent a considerable amount of money and time to conceive Melquiades. None of them got any reimbursement (monetary of otherwise) for their efforts and none of them will. It is Dima’s and my strong conviction that the most beautiful in this world comes to our lives for free as a gift. Some people gave to us a gift of thier experiences. We in our turn would like to in-reach public (no mater now moron the public might be in it’s majority) sharing the Melquiades. The Melquiades is yours – embrace it of disregard it - it’s up to you. However, please do not crate any commercial venture from the Melquiades findings. If you commercialize the Melquiades Sound then you will screw up some very deep inner-mechanisms of results approaching and you eventually WILL NOT get Sound that I implied.

Credits for Melquiades

I would like to name a few people who made Melquiades and this article possible.

Dmitriy Kireev ("Dima").  Dima lives in Russia and has a creative and imaginative interest about sound reproduction. Dima is well-trained and well-skilled analog and digital designer who has interest to learn how the known to him “engineering methods” relate to the subjectively auditable results/benefits. Dima’s voluntary responsibilities within Melquiades project were to design the initial Melquiades circuitry and provide a technical supervision of the entire projects. Dima and I exchanged countless emails, instant messages and phone calls: in other words Dima, although he never was in my room and never head Melquiades but he is a primary driving force in the Melquiades creation and without him the Melquiades would be juts a subject of my imagination. Also, I have to mention that being a supercilious person, over the course of teaching the Melquiades to sound in the way how it sounds now I slightly undermined the Dima’s subjective listening assessments. Interesting that in the end of the project the chickens return to roost and some from my point of view “premature” comments that Dima proposed at the very beginning stages of the project turned to be much more accurate then I initially thought.

Me, Romy the Cat.  I live in Boston, USA and I am an obnoxious jerk who demanded to have an amplifier that would accomplish "some" things that I've fashioned in my imagination. I did not fully appreciate any amplifier that I ever heard, regardless of thier topology and price and because I do not know people who were able to do for me what I've requested, I initiated a project to make my own amp. My responsibility within the project was to harass and push anybody until I got a result that would consider appropriate, to evaluate the components and to build the amplifiers, to design power supplies, to audition and to assess and to correct sonic results and to navigate the project to the directions flowed from my listening evaluations.

Geoff Cook. Geoff lives in California, USA. Geoff is a mature and experienced sound and electronics engineer with none-orthodox methods, skills and expertise. Geoff was not a part of the “Melquiades team” but he turned out to be very beneficial for the fate of this project. Geoff greatly objected each and single move Dima and I took although he not always had justifications for his objections. Many of Geoff objections and contra-proposals were tested. Some of them I found beneficial and some of them were not. Nevertheless the major advancement in the Melquiades project, something that hugely shaped up the Melquiades sound, was proposed by Geoff. Also, and this might not be overestimated, Geoff was a person who over a course of 3 years, by talking with me and by sharing with me his ideas about sound, engineering methods, perception (and many other none directly related to Audio subjects) he was partially responsible for influencing me with some concepts that eventually become my requirements for the imaginary X-amplifier and that partially flowed into the Romy’s Sound. So, although Geoff never hear or even seen the Melquiades but there is some Geoff’s  in the "Melquiadanization Effect".

Vladimir Lamm. Vladimir lives in Brooklyn, USA. Vladimir was a designer of my previous amplifier. When in 2001 I reached in my audio development a point when I grew up from the Lamm's capacity I begun to visualize my “amplifier-X”. In the 2005 the amplifier-X become a reality when I was able to teach Melquiades to do what it does with sound. Vladimir has absolutely no relation to Melquiades project, to Melquiades Sound, I do not think he even know or heard about it but Vladimir is the primary responsible party why this article became available. Vladimir is an angry, wonnna-be conservative, frighten, paranoiac Western Ukrainian, who lives in his forest and is wiling to shoot anybody who trespass his little backyard. His ideas of “living” is to progress in something, then using his little advantages to put other people in a dependency and then, to manipulate them. Years ago, walking along a Brooklyn’s Beach Vladimir use to educated me: “Romy, you do not understand that you should not teach anyone anything.  Instead you should overcharge for an each word or action you share with others.” I understood that it was the Lamm’s slogan but I do not agree with this senselessness, the senselessness which had severally screwed Lamm himself. The declaration of my disagreement with the Lamm-like mental hallucination is my offering of Melquiades to pubic. I feel that since Melquiadanization wipes out with a colossal advantage whatever Lamm ever done utilizing his  “Shekel-intelligence” then it is something that gives me rights to mention Vladimir Lamm (in the given context) as a person who made this PUBLIC publication avalable. Thanks Vladimir, you taught me in what kind substance people turn inot if they too scared.

Eventually Melquiades evolved into 6-channel DSET with a DHT direct-coupled double-stages care the MF channel instead of a single-stage amp. DHT cannel was made universal to accommodate the 2.5V tube and 4V tube and I use one of the selected tubes: Telefunken RE604, Klangfilm KL71403, Russian YO-186, a few types of 2A3, a few types of 45, Marconi PX4, Mullard AC044, Valvo LK460, Ferranti P4, Mazda DW302 and a few others. More about the DH MF chennal you might read in the “Single-stage Melquiades vs. DHT amps” thread of my site.


The “Melquiades” amplifier is openly shared with anyone who wishes to peruse it and to use the amp for personal and non-commercial purpose. The “Melquiades” made to have distinctive, unique, reality-like Sound and divergences from the offered design may result unpredictable deteriorations of sonic result, elimination of Really-Reconstruction Effect and eventually the conversion of Melquiades into a typical Hi-Fi amplifier.

October 2005
Romy the Cat

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