The Single-Ended Amplifier: Cary’s Dennis Had

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Robert Harley (Stereophile magazine) writes:  Cary Audio Design founder Dennis Had is largely responsible for popularizing single-ended amplifiers in America. Since appearing on the scene in 1989, Cary Audio Design has forged its own niche in the high-end audio industry. I spoke with Dennis Had about how he got started building amplifiers, and why he's so committed to single-ended triode designs.

Dennis Had: It all started with a science project I did as a child, which was a single-ended audio amplifier. It was based on a 2A3 [tube] and had all of a couple of watts. It got the blue ribbon, and I was hooked forever.

After that I became intrigued by ham radio. I built some shortwave radios, and had a ham radio license when I was 11. There was a group of us into ham radio and audio. My buddies were building higher and higher output-power amplifiers, and the mentality was that the more power the amplifier had, the better it must sound.

I was going in the opposite direction, trying to replicate the sound of my father's string quartet, which practiced every Friday night in our home. I knew what real music sounded like from hearing that string quartet every week. My objective was to re-create that electronically. I would play back the records they made and try to replicate as closely as I could the sound of the string quartet in our home.

Every time I worked with a single-ended triode instead of a push-pull design it sounded more realistic. Running single-ended, it seemed that the speaker was less prevalent and the sound was fuller and more lifelike.

I remember saving my ..........

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