parəfə(r)ˈnālyə  noun [treated as sing. or pl. ] miscellaneous articles, esp. the equipment needed for a particular activity: drills, saws, transformers, loudspeakers, Vu meters, cables, dummy load, devices for the not so bright people and other paraphernalia necessary for home improvements and easy living (ε ζν).


One of the most critical components in the tube audio are the transformers, audio and power. Below there are some useful information about new and vintage transformers.

UTC collection of transformers.

Some useful directions for transformer picking.

1:1 ratio Line Level Transformers

 Line level transformers can be used for ground isolation between different apparatus or for converting unbalanced to balanced lines and vice versa.  For the physics of balanced lines please refer to the link. The practical reason for balanced lines is that you can have the preamplifier, DAC, computer, next to you and the amplifier across your listening area next or between the loudspeakers. 

  In the picture below there are some line transformers, far left is a pair of high Z Ampex transformers taken from an old four track 1/2 inch tape recorder, in the middle is a pair of UTC LS141 transformers that can serve also as a splitter, next is a pair of Peerless E204 600Ω/600Ω transformers.

  All these are old and out of production transformers , my favourites and recommended of new production are Sowter 3575 or 1470 and Lundahl 1684 and 1690 .

Collection of input / output  transformers, Ampex 4580200, UTC LS141, Peerless E204.

Moving Coil Cartridge step-up transformers

In case your phono preamplifier does not support MC cartridges it is certain that you might need a moving coil step-up transformer.

On the left in the picture below there is a pair of Harman Kardon XT-3 Microphone transformers. On the right there is a couple of UTC-016 and LL1681 (on the top) transformers. In the middle on the top there is a pair of Sennheiser microphone transformers and on the bottom is a pair of Lundahl 1922 transformers .  

  Be sure that there are a lot of X-lent step-up transformers of new production out there. Some that I have tried with good results with the Denon DL 103R cartridge is the LL1681 @ 1/13, the LL1922 connected in 1/8 configuration and also  the LL1678 @ 1/16 configuration. 

A future experiment will be the Sowter 9990 @ 1/20 ratio.

I have to inform you that I don’t recommended step-up ratios higher than 1/16  as extreme high ratios make problematic transformers. Also keep in mind that a cartridge that produces an output of less than 1/2 mV can not excite properly most step-up transformers.

  Also note that you must break free from the madness of seeking vintage shitty and rare transformers just because someone claims that they are the Holy Grail for MC cartridges.

Collection of cart step up transformers, Lundahl LL1922,LL1678,LL1681, UTC-016.

Isolation Setup

 If you live in an industrial area, or your neighbour’s freezer causes clicks, pops and other noises in your system, an isolation transformer might be the solution to your problems – provided you first check your grounding scheme. A transformer with low quality core (and screen windings) is the best choice for isolating your system from ‘dirty’ mains.

Radio frequency interference such as CB is a different problem and is not addressed by transformer isolation.

Below is an arrangement that can be useful for electrically noisy mains environments.

Note: This will not spice up the sound of your system nor improve stereo imaging. (Unless the transformer is encapsulated in a sealed bath of snake oil.)

Mains Denoiser Arrangement.

Single ended and Push-Pull Output Transformers

Undoubtedly my favourite output transformers for SE or PP configuration are the Japanese, made by Tamura, Hashimoto,

 ISO (former Tango). They don’t just look nice but they are of the best quality. Unfortunately they are expensive. In case you can afford them, please try them.

I have to add in my favourites list the X-lent, Swedish Lundahl transformers that are a riddle of how to connect and they are as beautiful as a SAAB car.

The honourable mention goes to the One Electron UBT-3 transformer which has a killer price for its sound quality.

Don’t forget that there are still hand made, quality American transformers as those done by Mr. Jack Elliano at Electra Print.

Click to download an informative essay by Mr.Elliano.


Vintage Altec 604 driver.

There have been many changes in electronics  but the only apparatus that seems to stay the same is the loudspeaker.

The Bass Reflex Experiment

Fostex FE206 and Vifa tweeter
Fostex FE206 close-up

The experiment started with a box of 35 litres and a port of 8cm diameter x 18 cm length. The drivers used were  Fostex FE207E full range and Fostex FT17H tweeter. The cutoff capacitors used were in the range of 0.47µF ≈ 1.5µF. After extended listening the Fostex tweeter was replaced with a Vifa for smoother sound. The conclusion was that there was no need for any tweeter so the Vifa stayed in place just to block the hole. The next trial was with a pair of bullets (phase plugs) that made the sound more focused but in conjunction with the paper cone driver they could make your ears bleed. So off with theme bullets. The last trial was the Dammar varnish (Talens Dammar Varnish Glossy No : 081) that was applied on the inner cone of the FE207E and stayed for drying over night. Alas finally everything sounded as it was  supposed to do. 

In conclusion the best that can happen in a single driver bass reflex speaker, is the Dammar varnish.

I have to mention that the box was treated internally with sonex acoustical foam.

‍  The next experiment was with a box of 45 litres in volume employing a port of 8 cm in diameter and 6 cm in length. The box was treated internally with sonex acoustical foam. Dammar Varnish was applied on the inner cone of the FE207E and a Fostex T90A tweeter was employed. The cutoff capacitor was 1.5µF/200V PIO and an L-Pad was used to lower its volume. After extensive listening the tweeter was too much for my taste so it was abandoned.

‍  In case you are interested the difference between the 35 and 45 liter box is that the 35 L has punchier lows than the 45 L that sounds more relaxed at the bottom end.

‍ I could risk to make the analogy of an electric bass compared to a double bass.

Fostex FF165WK in Bass Reflex Box

  Having tried several Fostex models of the FE series, I wanted to try my luck with the FF series . 

 After some careful thought, the FF165WK driver was chosen and put in a 18 litre bass reflex box tuned at 54Hz, as recommended by Fostex.

 The sound was rather impressive, especially at the lower end, but the high frequencies sounded as if the box was covered with a blanket. 

 The need for a tweeter was eminent and a pair of T90As was handy, so they were added with a first order high-pass filter. That filter was a capacitor in series with the positive transfer line. Several values were tested before choosing.52µF as the final value.

 The sound improved immensely, but there is space for more experimentation, so the next step will be the trial for a second order high-pass filter at the 10Khz range and the use of a T-pad.

Fostex FF165WK in Bass Reflex Box

High Pass Power Filter For The T90A Tweeter

High Pass Power Filter For The T90A Tweeter.

  A pair of high pass second order Linkwitz-Riley filters @10Khz were built for the Fostex T90A tweeters to compliment the FF165WK bass reflex speakers (pictured below). The capacitor used is Sprague Atom Vitamin Q 1µF/200V and the T-pad is Clarostat CIT 43 - 8Ω.

Update :

The HP filter could be @ 8Khz, build with the values in yellow lettering but an LP filter @ 8Khz is mandatory for the FF165WK as phasing might occur among other artifacts.

High Pass Power Filter and The T90A Tweeter.

Commission On A Tight Budget

Commission on a shoestring

  Building a pair of loudspeakers on a tight budget is not an easy task especially when you realize that the box costs far more than the driver.

  To cut a long story short on the left is one of the bass reflex loudspeakers that employ the Visaton BG20-8 drivers in a 30 lit. enclosure tuned @ 40Hz.

 Note that the price justifies the sound of the drivers. There is a distant plan that the place of BG20-8 will be taken by the Fostex FF225WK.

The UREI 813 Experience

UREI 813 loudspeaker.

  No matter what is said for those speakers it’s not enough. Unfortunately  is the kind of speakers that will be never reproduced . It has endless hours of research on its back and some patents as their Time Aligned X-overs.

    I drive these loudspeakers with an 8 watt 300B SE amp. and trust me I get enough db SPL to throw a party.

Their sound is as big as their volume, 325 litres. Their large size was the reason I had to build a smaller version in an 250L enclosure with a different crossover .

The final product in a 250lit. enclosure using just the UREI 604 driver .

UREI 604 driver.

Here is one of the finished loudspeakers with the 604 drivers and the N-1500 X-overs in the 250 liters vented boxes.

  These loudspeakers are not the ones that the average music lover would put in his living room but trust me they are the ones that it is worth listening music to.

   It is the kind of loudspeaker that brings out the best of good recordings and spares nothing to bad ones. It is a huge and very loud monitor that devours complex waveforms and makes cheap nintendo/reason productions sound as they have to, like shit.

   I think there is no reason to mention their strength to the low end of the spectrum that is so vivid that takes your breath away and gives you the feeling of a panic attack if played loud.

They are not as analytical as the Fostex FE207 in the mid range region nor as responsive in fast transients but they are the monitors to listen to your final product after a long day’s remixing.

They are not the kind of book shelve speakers that are used for ambient noise but the ones to let you dive into music.

The Three Way, Single Speaker for the Mono Setup

The Azura AH-550 horn is a hands down winner.
 IIXO X-over and Drivers

The three way single loudspeaker for the monophonic setup consists of the Fostex T90A tweeter with the AH-1100 AzuraHorn, the JBL 2420 HF driver with the AH-425 AzuraHorn, the 2206 12’’ woofer (One of the last great 12’’LF transducers ever produced with the unsurpassed Lansing quality) and the IIXO transformer.

The latest version uses for Mid Frequencies driver the Faital HF10AK and for Tweeter the BMS4526ND.

The enclosure is a 70L box of slot (5cm X 25cm) vented type. 

The crossover is an IIXO transformer with added PIO capacitors and is described further down.

Close-up picture of the old setup with the 2420, T90A, AH-425, AH-1100 horn, and the IIXO crossover.

Detailed, artistic picture of the AH-1100 horn for the Fostex T9A tweeter, courtesy of AzuraHorn.

The New Crossover For The Mono System

THE ‘’iixo’’ coil X-over @ 900Hz.

Once again I had a nice surprise trying the ‘’IIXO’’ coil X-over after the instigation of dear friend, mentor and excellent horn builder Martin Seddon. The crossover frequency is 900Hz and the HF component is 5db lower than the LF.The enamel wire for the ‘’primary’’ is 1.4mm and 1.2mm for the ‘’secondary’’.

Being stuck-in the mud and very suspicious at novelties, I was impressed to see it work. As soon as I got rid of the old crossover I had a shocking surprise with the excellent and smooooth sound of the new IIXO X-over.It is of great importance  that the iixo ‘’transformer’’ has to be away from the strong magnetic fields of the drivers, alternatively it should be magnetically shielded.

iixo x-over schematic.


It is usually useful to have a Vu meter indicator for checking the levels in a listening or recording chain as you can visually spot mismatches.

  Here is a vintage Neumann U472 Vu meter taken from an old mixing desk and put in an aluminum Hammond box where XLR connectors were added and an external 24 V power supply.

  This Vu meter indicates 0 db @ 0.775 V RMS and has balanced inputs. Nowadays there is a plethora of analog Vu meters that are scavenged from old analogue mixing desks or tape recorders, of course there are also several of new production made in England by Sifam and distributed by Canford, so it is fairly easy to get a pair and add them in your setup.

Neumann U472 Vu meter.

Cables and Snake Oil.

Nice looking guy, tormented by life, that builts exelent tube amplifiers.

In this picture you see how we saved the snake but put it in service to provide power for a pair of SE mono-block amps (8 Watt each), their pre, RIAA pre and turntable.

‍  The plug and the “snake” are for three phase power line and are rated @ 406A per phase. The phases are divided as follows: one for the amplifiers left channel the next for the right channel and the third phase is used for the pre, RIAA and turntable.

‍  I have to say it was a revelation for dynamics, speed, bandwidth and stereo image the use of such a power cord. :-)

‍  For more info about cables please try: Speaker Cables. At this point I would like to mention that weather (temperature, humidity or even a light breeze) can effect the sound of your system many times more than a mediocre cable. 

You might think that the story ends with the naive that spend a king’s ransom for cables, but unfortunately there are mentally challenged people that pay money for magical and mystic devices.

Joe Nord's Fine Lasso Cables.


It is handy to have and use a dummy load to test and check your amplifiers. This one is stuffed with a 8Ω - 75W resistor.

TIP: ‘’Photoshopping’’ the picture improves sound.


(April, Fools’ Day - Everyday)

As I mentioned earlier, it is not only the naive that spend a king’s ransom for cables, but, alas, there is a whole list of stuff for the kind of people with more money than sense. 

A short list of gadgets and add-ons that really exist follows.


  1) Cable cooker, as if the cables were spaghetti and need


 2) Vinyl records demagnetiser, as if vinyl records were/are 

     made of magnetic material.

 3) Magic chip stickers that improve sound and cure disease.

 4) Minuscule, also magic, filters that purify and improve


 5) Cryogenic treatment of devices as if they are Timothy

     Leary’s much-missed brain.

 6) Toy Resonators of any kind (electrical or passive)

      promising to save your listening area.

  7) Products made with Unobtainium sprinkled with Eludium.

  8) Harmonizers and Enhancers of any kind and for any

      purpose not just for your AC power line.

  9) Voodoo Stones called Sonic Purifiers, self explanatory 


 10) Grounding ‘’plane’’ Scheme with a touch of orient, as if 

      snake oil was not enough now we have the intervention

      of Prana. I just wonder if someone gets killed who is 

      to blame ?

 11) I never thought that electronic apparatus need 

      Tranquility Platforms that cost more than several 

      psychology sessions that would be recommended 

      and better suited for the user.

 12) Nor, I ever thought that phono cartridges need POT 

     to get high (two strains available Black Widow and 

      Green Dream).

 13) Nearly Invisible Acoustic Treatment Transducers as

      silent and non existent can be.

 14) Another piece of shit I discovered is called :

       Resonance Synchroniser, a kind of vibrator to excite 

       and satisfy your apparatus.

 15) The OSKAR for Quackery goes to a company  called

      TELOS from Taiwan that sells remedies for every 

      disease, mostly fictional.

 16) Wooden boxes filled with mineral/metal substance that

       promise to ‘’wash’’ your polluted ground lines.

 17) Say WHAT! … Firewall Speaker Cables? as if hackers

       reside in you loudspeakers and charge attacks to your


 18) No Hindu divine feminine energy (SHAKTI), just new age

       sticks and stones for morons.

 19) In case there is misty weather in your listening area 

       there is Fog Lifter. Researchers haven’t reach a

       conclusion about what happens to foggy vocals. What

       else? Another concept of how to lift ground ?

 20) Quantum Resonator and conditioner, Shampoo is not

       included. Can one ask for more?

 21) Blackbody to mitigate low level distortion for advanced

       audio fools, until now only physics and science is being 

       distorted to justify the scam.

 22) Get rid of the spurious (false) energy with a BLACK 

       HOLE no nukes no pasta required.

 23) It is for certain that the speed of electricity is the same in

       any cable no mater directivity, even upwards.

 24) Counting down from the Seventh Element we find another

       QUANTUM SCUM that not only improves sound but also

       saves you fuel and improves the performance of your car.

25) Made of Ebony, Black Hole? Resonator? 

      A very Soon Mookery with quantum reasoning.

26) Worry no more for those naughty, dazed and confused

      electrons, now there is a strict tesla cable stabiliser to put

      them in order, it also saves the planet from global warming 

      and COVID megadeath, as I was informed by beta tester. 

27) Energy added to electrical signals and systems? Generate

      and propagate low frequency signal to affect harmonic 

      change in audio signals? Saturate the AC voltage? Adding 

      distortion everywhere? Are they nuts? or just another

      quantum (symphony) Scum? 

28) Yet another trap for stupid is the free electron police 

      device that captures electrons from the environment and 

      injects them into the power grid for hard labour thus

      MAXiimizing the efficiency of your system and lowering 

      the electricity bill.

29) Who would think that bollocks in a pouch would be 

      Vibb Eaters, also the Electric Chair Executioners beloved

      Ground Boxes can be bought from the same producer.

The list goes on and it will grow as I suspect that some sound aficionados are using Pangolin Scales in order to perceive 7D Holographic sound. 

Also be aware of the quacks that refer to quantum physics in order to convince you about their fraud.

‘Quantum mysticism’

  P.S.  Please trust me, I’m really trying very, but very hard to be kind with this subject.

Vintage horn loudspeaker arrengement.