McAlister Audio

Barrie, Ontario, about an hour's drive from Toronto, with a population of about 130, 000, is not a city that I associate with the design and manufacture of high performance audio equipment. It doesn't have even a single "real" audio store, just Best Buy, etc. But, as I found out at SSI 2010, Barrie is the home of McAlister Audio, maker of the OTL-195 monoblock amplifier and a prototype preamp. The designer is Peter McAlister, who produced his first prototype output-transformerless power amp ten years ago. The OTL-195 puts out 150W, and appears to be a very sophisticated design: fully balanced, able to drive 4 ohm loads, a circuit that tracks the signal level in the driver stage and modulates the control grids of output tubes, and various other circuit refinements. The OTL-195 is hand-built by Peter McAlister himself, and utilizes high-quality parts. The price is $8500/pair. As I mentioned in the blog posting below, the King Sound Prince IIs sounded great driven the McAlister OTL-195s.

jac zylstra's picture

McAlister's amps are becoming a bit of a legend all over Canada and although I know of at least one local (Edmonton) owner of Peter's OTL design I'm still waiting for an invite to hear it. But from what I'm given to understand this amp is driving a pair of old Accustats - and any amp that can drive these venerable old warhorses is an amp to be taken seriously. Word through the grapevine is that the owner is extremely happy with the OTL - and he's been into high-end audio for over 40 years!

nunh's picture

All those tubes sure look cool as *%$#! Love 'em :)

GEORGE's picture

Another "breakthrough" in tube amps? Tube ckts have pretty much been the same design since the 50's haven't they? And using a signal to modulate the control grid....isn't that how tube amps work? Is that the breakthrough for someone who just discovered electronic ckts? When does the mindless blather, and fawning over every product stop? And knowing that PETER hand built it, now THAT'S something to get all worked up over! And one begins to loose faith in anything said by any writer, since every damn thing is a miraculous event! And he uses high quality parts! Another event to change the industry! I was hoping for crap, made by idiots, with teh cheapest stuff around for my $8,500. That's a pricey amplifier, with limited power, and who in their right mind uses tubes to drive speakers? they are no good for that, they distort, they can't control, they basically suck, which is why guitar amplifier makers use them. To CREATE the sound NOT RECREATE it. 21st century, and still selling what was.

gizmo's picture

O boy!George really got fired up here! Wonder why this unproportionate anger outburst. Fine, you dont like tube amps. But really, getting all worked up about it in this fashion, kind of makes me feel that the amps are not the actual problem here.

Bill M.'s picture

Great amps. I should know as I own those 2 monoblocks in the picture above. I now have over 200 hours on them and they are driving a pair of Acoustat Model 3's with no effort. I used to drive them with a pair of McAlister Audio MB-130s monoblocks. I noticed the sound difference when I went back to the MB-130's for a comparison. The OTL's deliver a more open sound when listening to voice and acoustic instruments. I have really noticed deficiencies in certian recordings since I've been using these. I recommend to anyone who appreciates live, unamplified music to listen to these amplifiers with a full-range electrostatic speaker in a listening room suited for them. These OTL-195-SE's really work for me.