Lance Cochrane EL-84

Lance Cochrane is the guru of the scratch tube amp world. The amp below is one of Lance’s early creations; an EL-84 push pull amp built on a Thomas organ amp chassis, with the Thomas output transformers and Lance’s circuit.

This amp is a fantastic performer. I can see why Lance’s amps hardly ever come up on the used market, and in fact I've owned this one for about 12 years now; the longest of any audio component so far. MANY others have come and gone while this one has stayed put as the anchor of my second system. It has a sound that just seems so right. Putting out 12 or so watts per channel, the amp drives everything I have thrown at it with ease, and in total silence. The only time I have heard even tube rush from this amp was when driving 106 db/wm Beauhorn Lowther DX3. And the amp sounded phenomenal on the Lowthers, maybe the best of any amplifier I tried on the Beauhorns. Tons of space and image everywhere as is characteristic of Lance's amplifiers.

This is a basic looking, industrial-beautiful amp, but it sounds like a million bucks. Its one I cannot ever see myself parting with because it is just so “right”. Plug and play and forget about technicalities…just listen to the music.

Telefunken EL-84 seem to be some of the best performers of the EL-84 family.

One of the nice things about Lance’s circuit is that any of the 12AU/AX/AT7 tubes (and their richly varied equivalents) can be used in the driver slot. Here I have a Mullard 12AU7 and a pair of Conn labeled Sylvania 12AU7s. Another great tube here was the Telefunken smooth plate 12AX7. A bit more drive than the Mullard, but the Mullard seems smoother.

Basic parts, nothing too fancy. It really makes me wonder about all of those boutique parts so popular nowadays. Some of the amps out there have coupling caps that cost more than this whole amp as pictured.