Mr. Liang Audio 845 Integrated

The 845 is a tube that I’ve been curious about for a long time, but have hesitated on because of a number of factors. Namely the heat and voltages, but also the weight, difficulty and risk of shipping such a heavy and fragile item. On the one hand, 16 watts of single ended power promises a transformative experience. On the other hand, 1000 volts of DC is enough to catch a person on fire. I love tube audio, but the thought of a third rail running across my desk just lacks a certain appeal. But one day I got an offer from an email acquaintance for an extended demo of an amplifier I’d been curious about for years, the Mr. Liang Audio 845 Integrated. A true boat anchor of an 845 amp delivered to my door with no shipping expense or damage worries, and for free? Hell yes! Thank you, Ross!

The Mr. Liang amps have been around for a while now, long enough to become a kind of cult classic. The Lampizator got his hands on one of the early models and moddded it. This mod was then improved by the internet-at-large and re-published. A real open source kind of affair. Mr. Liang must have taken note (and had an open mind), and the later amps incorporated these improvements. This is a later model run, and is an 845 driven by the 300B tube, with some added goodness thrown in from a pair of 6SL7. With two inputs, a volume control and 4/8 ohm taps, the amp is nicely functional and could easily serve as a one-stop solution for a serious audio system.

Aesthetically pleasing like an old Jeep CJ5 or a Land Rover Defender, both of which have their own rugged beauty, Mr. Liang is a beast. Simple and industrial is a look I always appreciate. This isn’t fancy looking or feeling but has a singular utilitarian appeal. Connectors are robust and of decent quality, nothing feels loose or shoddy in this build. The amp does have a small mechanical hum in the transformers that is apparently a known factor with this design, but I did not find this to be bothersome in my listening environment. At the speaker, the amp was nicely quiet, although not completely so. And although this could be a factor for a super high efficiency horn system, on my 100 db/wm Lii 18 panels it was a non-issue.

So how do 16 single ended watts of 845 sound? Very good! This is a sweet sounding amplifier with a warm but also fast and speedy sound. The presentation is big but slightly narrower than I am used to, with program material presented mostly focused between the speakers. But you can see deep into the music. And while it does gloss over some of the micro details that an amp like the Music Reference OTL-1 brings to the forefront, Mr. Liang has some of the same engaging “grip on the speaker” feel that I experienced with the Altec 1569 monos. This one is effortless, but still thick and meaty rather than thin and sparse. Pokey La Farge’s When Did You Leave Heaven sounds so smooth and silky, but also placed precisely, and the whistle at the end drifts over the listener. Overall Mr. Liang presents an extremely enjoyable listening experience with a very pleasing sound that I could (and did!) listen to all day. And although it is not the best at any one thing in particular, the overall package is “whole” sounding, intimate and very enjoyable. Everyone will be happy with Mr. Liang in the house.

I’m very impressed with the Mr. Liang 845 Integrated. Its interpretation of the 845 sound is bold and immersive, but also delicate and nuanced. The amp presents a warm and rich sound profile that I never found fatiguing. Although no longer available new, these amps were made in good numbers and aren’t particularly rare. Especially at the price point that this amp shows on the used market, it is a real bargain. If you can deal with the weight and space, and the residual heat of the big transmitting tubes, this is an amp I think everyone should hear. I could live happily with Mr. Liang at the center of my system. Highly recommended.

Mr. Liang is a great big bear of an amplifier. It has very classic tube amp lines, just exaggerated in size. These are some big tubes and big transformers. The amp itself weighs around 80 pounds, most of that distributed in the rear 35% or so of course, making it awkward and dangerous to move around by oneself. I had to have my 16 year old help move this one outside for the photos.

An integrated single ended triode amplifier with 16 watts per channel is a revelation, and means wonderful rich sound on most any speaker out there.

Simple and industrial is a look I always appreciate.

This is my first experience with the 845 tube, what a monster! These kind of redefine the glow in the dark experience, burning even brighter than the 10 globes. It's a lovely sounding and looking tube and I’m sure I will see more of it in the future.

The 6SL7 first stage tubes have been upgraded to NOS American from Hytron, always a good choice.

A 300B driver stage is an interesting feature in the Mr. Liang amp. It sure invites some experimentation, but it's a pricey tube to play with. Perhaps the 300B flavor is a big factor in the superb sound of the Mr. Liang.

8 and 4 ohm speaker taps and decent quality connectors. Someone didn't scrimp in this part of the build, which is nice and a good indicator of quality.

These 845 tubes really have a bright filament glow!

I liked the Mr. Liang so much that I picked up an Art Audio Carissa to compare it with, complete with a premium tube selection that both amps can run. Perhaps a full step up across the board in resolution and presence, the Carissa will be featured on the site soon.

Here running the Super TNT 845M metal plate tubes. Wow, these sound very good! A deeper but crisper sound than the WE or standard issue 845.