ArtAudio Quintet

Talk about memories. The Quintet is my very first tube amplifier. Again, I got it when starting out with the audio fetish. I was working at a high-end store for my school (apprentice year) and was already hit with the audio bug by my best friend's uncle. This job was a real treat, I got to do the work for my school and listen to music and fix equipement at the same time. Can't beat that!!!

A dealer for Art Audio at the time (Lexicone) came by the store regularly. He came by to chit-chat and drop of some speakers that were ordered. One day he came in with this weird black thing with pieces of glass sticking out on the top. Hey, they still make that stuff? I knew tube amps were still made, but never really gave them any attention. I had the same bias as everyone else has/had who doesn't know anything about tube amps.

After some convincing the store took one amp for demo, to try it out and see if there was any interest. We hooked it up and had a listen. Hmmm, very nice, even to my inexperienced ears at the time. Tasted like some more. It's really nice to be able to drag in a Krell or JK or Classe Audio and put them up against each other, and not be scolded for it by the boss ;)))

The Krell was better with speed and fundament, but the ArtAudio beat it with life and tone of the music. It could have gone either way with me then, but those glass cylinders sticking up and glowing orange broke the tie. Okay, so the eye DOES want something as well ;)

Nearing the end of my stay there I made a deal to buy a Quintet myself. It took all my hard-earned money that I had made during that year, but I managed to buy it. Wow, a real tube amp!!!


The Quintet has a pair of EL34's per channel in push-pull, driven by an ECC82 and ECC83 as gain stage (yes, very cliche setup!). The standard unit has the possibility to change from pentode to triode connection, as well as feedback control. The dealer took these options out so that it is always connected in triode mode with minimum of feedback left over.

I also made a few tweaks here and there, Jensen caps, other wiring etc. The end result is a very good sounding PP EL34. Even now I don't get tired of listening to it. To this day I still have that little black Quintet. It actually functions as a back up when my current amps are torn apart or undergoing yet another modification.