24 July, 2012

Western Electric 124B Power Amplifiers


Click pic to enlarge. Top: WE133; bottom,pair of WE124B.

Western Electric, Mount Everest, Part II
Western Electric 124B Power Amplifiers, Part I

Previously I had written about my WE133A experience, surely one of the summits of my audio experience. By chance, just the other day I was able to buy a pair of professionally restored WE124B in good condition. I lugged it home during a typhoon downpour! How's that for dedication!

The WE124 series was in production for a long time and is WE's best known model. Hence there is more information on the web than the 133A. I shall not write much here as my friend Francis has written quite a bit on it in his website and Blog. Here are just some useful bits:

History of WE124
Some photos of WE124
He finally got his WE124B

My pair is without input transformers, a humble later pair with grey transformers. Those who would like to see the schematic can download it here.

Brief Audition
Paired with the Leben RS28CX preamp, the familiar WE sound poured forth from the Tannoy Canterbury. Although tubes used for the initial session are all non-WE, I quickly recognized the inimitable way the WE has with rhythm and timing. You could just hear the leading edge of instruments so clearly that every little inflection was rendered with precision. The next evening I invited BenYC, one of the attendees of the previous 133A session I wrote about, and I am glad that the performance of the WE124 met with his approval.

Some think vintage audio sounds somewhat vague and overly rich. As I said before, not the case with WE. Here is a short youtube clip of Francis' WE124B. Even through the computer you can hear the sound is very clear and musical:

Next I shall try it out with WE tubes.

Here are some interesting additional links:
WE124A brochure /manual
Good pics of WE124C

Restoration of WE124 in Chinese (梁文光)

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