Tube Porn: Leeds Radio

Richard Matthews has sold upwards of 30,000 tubes in the last ten years and he still has 100,000 tubes to go! Working out of his Leeds Radio warehouse in the Bronx, Matthews has every tube imaginable in stock, as well as a vast variety of tube testers, classic radios, capacitors, beautiful vintage tube boxes and many, many collector's pieces.

Selling to audiophiles and non-audiophiles alike, to all four corners of the globe, Richard is a great storyteller, masterful photographer, enterprising drummer and of course, expert in all things tube-related ("tubes were never cheap," Richard notes). Also quite the philosopher, noting that the more "stuff" you own, perhaps deeper is one's level of "spiritual poverty."

Richard has the luxury of walking to work each day, crossing the Hudson River as he gazes out over the industrial landscape of the upper Bronx. Richard Matthews wears the moniker, "reformed audiophile," lightly, as Jana Dagdagan and I learned one wintery New York day.

dc_bruce's picture

Whether you're an audiophile or not, or a tubeaholic or not, viewing this was time well spent. The subject is a real character in every sense of the word. Well done, Ken!

tonykaz's picture

thanks for letting us visit and see our history.

The High Fidelity Workshop ( on 7 mile Road in Detroit ) sold Fisher 400s, I played Erica Morini Records there.

I was a Celestian Dealer ( 1984-5 ) that sold the SL6 & the highly reviewed SL600 which is an Honeycombed Alum. Chassis. I also sold the Conrad Johnson PV preamps but not the Futterman Amp.

I somehow feel "right at home" with Richard Matthews and his experiences, it's rather easy to understand his lucky settling on his 35 year old gear. I'd like to return to one of my old VPI / Sumiko Arm / Koetsu -- Electrocompaniet -- ProAc/MG2/Thiel CS3 rigs running Music Hose 750 Cables. "Absence makes the Heart Grow Fond"

I wonder if there will be a time in the future when people will be cherishing certain Audio Gear because of it's legendary performance ( like Erica Morini's Stradivarius ). I'll suggest it will be pieces like the LS3/5a , the early ARC SP3 PreAmp, the El34 Amplifier, ,maybe that Fisher 400, Gear that keeps increasing in Value.

Tony in Michigan

foxhall's picture

I love how this was more about history and a small business than audio.

Manimaldoug's picture

Interesting..I want what he’s on.

volvic's picture

Not sure what he meant about what little bug that had to be fixed on the Linn turntable every 5 minutes. Ken Micallef, care to share some tidbit he may have shared? Also, Ken Micallef betrayed his age by not immediately knowing the Celestion SL-600's. Us older folk remember them quite well, great speaker. Great video, loved it. Makes me want to get into tubes.

m-sevs's picture

My favorite video so far. And the length was just perfect.

johnnythunder's picture

I really look forward to these videos. I learn a lot about the people and the equipment and this fascinating semi-OCD hobby of ours with every one. And I've never even heard of Richard ! Luckily, there are probably a ton of these awesome obsessives out there that are worthy of such attention!

Anton's picture

Somebody occupying a space from the TV show "Hoarders" telling us that the "stuff" you own, the deeper is one's level of "spiritual poverty" is awesome.

The most audiophile part was when he showed us the tube that doesn't do anything but people buy them, anyway. He could label it a room tweak and move the price upward a decimal point!

Very enjoyable!

I wonder if his SL600s have that beautiful subwoofer!

ken mac's picture

Richard's not hoarding the tubes; he's selling the tubes. The "most audiophile" part was the entire video, top to bottom TUBE audio. Some always criticize, and attempt to take-down, no matter the joy it may bring others. "Spiritual poverty" indeed.

dalethorn's picture

If you've never had a tube amp, and you're lucky enough to connect one to the right speaker or headphone at the right time, it can be a glorious experience. For me, it was the first time I thought I was hearing a so-called 'liquid' sound.'s picture

Richard is spot on regarding his epiphany about chasing audiophile nirvana (the bit about listening to Sketches of Spain).
At the end of the day it always comes back to the music. In my past life as an audio engineer, the best take in a session FAR out weighed whether I had the perfect drum sound dialed in, for example.

emccaff's picture

Worked for five years at at Edlie Electronics in the 70's. Your interview brings back fond memories.....THOUSANDS of surplus and new tubes. My favorite was an RCA #23 with a hand written label and lacquered walnut base with four pins.

National Union's picture

At some point in the video it's said that the 1616 rectifier is no longer used commercially. Have a look at SpaceTech Audio's website where the preamplifiers can be upgraded with an accessory external tube rectifier box that takes four pin tubes including the 1616 and other very interesting and obscure tubes. I have one and use the 1616 regularly, a punchy articulate tube. Used in combination with an 866 mercury vapor tube, with it's full rich sound, is a complimentary pairing. Space Tech's preamps are special.