CanJam NYC 2022: AmpsandSound

Justin Weber's Ampsandsound was showing the Agartha ($6300), the Nautilus ($9200), and the new Red October ($12,000) tubed amplifiers.

Weber's lineup includes 20 amplifiers, a SUT, and an XLR-to-RCA converter with input transformers and a stepped volume control. All Weber's products are built by hand in southern California.

The Nautilus is a single-ended, class-A design with zero feedback and a tube complement of two 6L6GC-STRs, KT88s, or KT-120s, a single 12AX7, and two 5AR4 or 5U4 rectifier tubes. The cool blue Nautilus sits in a 12-gauge steel chassis and offers 8Wpc into 8 ohms, 5Wpc into 32 ohms, 6Wpc into 100 ohms, and maximum power of 6Wpc into 300 ohms.

The dual-mono Nautilus includes high-specification parts including custom-wound output transformers from Transcendar, separate power supplies, Jupiter copper foil-in-wax caps, and Cinemag input transformers. The transformers in this 68lb amplifier weigh 44lb. The Nautilus employs point-to-point, silver-plated Teflon wiring and turret-board construction. Weber cities turret-board construction as part of the magic behind the sound of legacy amps from McIntosh, Harman/Kardon, Leak, Quad, and Western Electric.

The Nautilus offers five impedance settings for headphones (Lo Z, 16-ohm, 32-ohm, 100-ohm, Hi Z) and a pair of 5-way binding posts for speakers. "Unlike other [manufacturers] who use voltage-divider networks to create different impedances, our transformers are wound with taps for each impedance," Weber explains on the ampsandsound website. AmpsandSound Red October

Debuting at CanJam NYC 2022, Ampsandsound’s Red October is based on a pair of 300B tubes, single 12AX7 driver tube, and two 5AR4 rectifier tubes and is specified to produce 8Wpc into 8 ohms and 6.2Wpc into 32 ohms. The Ampsandsound website cites "ultra-wide bandwidth," 10Hz–24kHz at 1W, –2dB for the Red October.

Like the Nautilus, the Red October has dual mono circuits and high-quality parts including Jupiter foil-wax coupling capacitors, a 24-step stepped attenuator, turret-board construction, and a hand-fabricated, 12-gauge steel chassis. It, too, offers a choice of five output impedances. "The result is the ability to perfect[ly] match the Red October with nearly every single production pair of headphones in existence (as well as speakers)."

Listening to Al Green's "Tired of Being Alone" on a pair of Abyss AB1266 Phi TC headphones sourced by an Astell&Kern player and driven by the crazy-red Red October, I had my first headphone-show religious experience. I'm a big fan of the Abyss sound as well as the Phi TC's medieval-torture appearance, but the Red October raised the level of those 'phones to create the song's layered soundstage, natural rhythmic drive, and tone. The soundstage seemed to wrap around and through my skull. Al Jackson's rim clicks were visceral. Background vocals were clean and sensuous, and every pain-filled sigh and devil-slaying, soul-stirring Al Green cry was transparently in my face and in my head.

Profound perfection from a top-tier pair of cans paired with a supremely satisfying tubed amplifier.

Anton's picture

Your epiphany reminded me: at regular shows, you really can’t fully judge a system, with strange rooms, etc.

At Can Jam, you can actually have a full on accurate experience and speak with confidence about the quality of what you hear.

Thanks again for the great reviews.

ken mac's picture

while at the show I realized exactly that!

miguelito's picture

Was incredible!!!

David Harper's picture

That diminishing returns curve just rocketed into the stratosphere!

FredisDead's picture

So how did the Nautilus' sound differ from the Red October? I bought a Nautilus from Justin. It took a while but I was in no hurry. I love it with my ZMF Aeolus and Verite Closed's. The crazy-special thing about the Nautilus (and surely the Red October as well) is that it can drive my Spendor D7.2's and Devore O93's with ease.

Jack L's picture


ONE half-12AX7 stage driving 300B ?? I thought only high school student DIYers would not mind such low-cost cheapie design to save for the school fee.

Techically, I would NOT use one single half-12AX7 stage to drive the current hungry 300B so as to get best sound out of 300B. Price irespective !

Ideally, for $12,000, I would expect much much better design, like 12AU7 driving EL84, then driving 300B class A SET. Here EL84 acts as a current + voltage booster to satisfy the demanding 300B to get the best sound out of 300B.

For such pricy cost, I would expect an active current stabilizer for the 300B plate current, which is notorious for shifting out of wack, damaging the power tube.

FYI, in my humble home-brew all triode class A SET power amp, I've installed one 12AX7 driver stage too, but hooked up each half of the twin triode in parallel to provide enough current to the 5W output power triode stage for each channel !

It cost me like peanut in comparing the $12,000 hefty price tag.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Dadracer2's picture

Is Red October not a bit of a sensitive name in these troubled times?