From the archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame (part #10) – Chris Bryant, Antony Michaelson (again), Allen Boothroyd,

So no, we aren't coming to the end. Not yet. (Long pause) Okay. I used to sell the Albarry monoblocs. Damn fine sound. Clever designer. Still sounds good today. Not a hero as such but worthy of an honourable mention. Then whoever designed the A&R A60. A truly great product. In its way a classic. Did they ever build anything that sounded better? Then there’s that Myst TMA3 amp. Very fine sound. Their designer or designers knew their stuff. Sadly neglected by a UK press that should have known better and sadly didn’t.

Rega?

Don’t know enough about their amps to comment. Damn clever company it seems to me. Very shrewd. Probably the shrewdest. Does Gandy ever smile though? Who else?

Quad?

Oh yes. Gotta be worth a mention here. I loved what the 306 did. Clearly not enough of the public thought likewise though. The functionality of the Mk2 44 preamp was up there with the cleverness of Meridian. Sounded pretty good too. Dreadful styling. Not surprising given that Allen Boothroyd is in a class of his own.

Can we sidetrack to discuss the work of Allen Boothroyd?

No I don’t think so. We’d be shifting focus. We’re discussing hero designers of the sound of amps are we not? (HP strikes a grin. Possibly menacing, or his idea of humour – which might be the same thing)

Okay, let’s draw towards a close through a different perspective shall we?

No. Shan’t!

Oh go on.

Only kidding! (Howard pauses for thought) Well . . . on the rare occasions I came up against Orelle designs I was very impressed by the look and the feel and . . . the sound. I’d happily own their gear today if I could get hold of any. Their designer was Chris Bryant. The same guy that writes for Hi-Fi Critic. Do you know him?

Not personally. Only be reputation

Hmm. Okay. Given my limited exposure to their gear, or his designs if you prefer, my impression is that he’s a world-class preamp designer. That’s no mean feat. Dr Bews told me that building a decent power amp is child’s play compared to a decent preamp. Antony Michaelson told me the same. So did Bob Stuart years ago.

So where does that place Mr. Bryant?

(Lengthy pause) I guess not quite a hero but certainly above all the pseudo-heroes our industry generates. So he sits in a band in between and just below the highest.

I think we're done for now

I agree, and thanks for being a catalyst for a few memories.