Okay, the first thing youll probably notice about this amp is that the cosmetic condition is absolutely stellar! If you look closely at the very revealing pictures youll see that there are no blemishes to be found pretty much anywhere. Even the chassis top plate looks virtually perfect with no pitting or staining or anything. This one is about as nice as youll ever find!
The second thing worth noticing is the sound. I like a well designed EL84 amp. Granted, the output is limited to about 15 or so wpm, but with fairly efficient speakers the sound can be holographic. My initial impression once I had this checked out and running was that this is one of the best small vintage amps Ive ever encountered!
After doing a little searching on Google, I found that Im far from alone in my view as people seem to be in love with this little guy. I have to agree as the presentation is so smooth and musical with a gloriously open and sublime mid range. While the bottom end is somewhat limited by the power capabilities, I never found this to be a liability, especially when running it with a modest powered sub.
Ultimately, this amp just makes you fall in love with the music and in my book, thats what its all about! When I got this, it wasnt producing sound.
Some quick diagnostics revealed that the plate resistor in the front end had gone completely open. A replacement immediately brought the amp back and bench testing showed it to be meeting power and distortion specs.
Ive run this on and off for about a year now and its always been a champ and worked wonderfully. The tubes are all USA made and test strong on my B&K Dynajet tester. The bottom line is that if youre looking for a truly great sounding small tube amp, youd be hard pressed to do better than this Ballad. To say it sings like a bird would be an understatement! The item "Gloriously Sweet Sounding Harman/Kardon Ballad 15 wpc Stereo Tube Amp Mint" is in sale since Monday, June 3, 2019.This item is in the category "Consumer Electronics\Vintage Electronics\Vintage Audio & Video\Vintage Amplifiers & Tube Amps". The seller is "saybrooksound" and is located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
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