by Maarten van Druten
I always had a love hate relationship with tube amplifiers
Tube amplifiers can sounds very smooth, organic and appealing,
it's almost if the music becomes more real.
But for me they have one big disadvantage: tubes don't have an enternal
life, they degrade
in relation to MosFet amplifiers very fast...
If you use a tube amplifier daily then you can count on exchanging the
tubes almost every year
(depending on the type and model of the amplifier/tubes)
When I bought my first tube amplifier; the Meixing Mingda MC3008-A Class
A mono block amplifiers
With 805 tubes, I noticed that the sound became slowly more, and more
rough when I was listening to
I thought myself, is this what I want? an amplifier that only sounds
good in the beginning? an amplifier that I cannot keep playing on all
because otherwise the tubes will be bad after a year or so?
Some tubes are more expensive than others...
My Meixing-Mingda amplifier was powered by two big 805 tubes and two 2A3
One standard Shuguang power 805 tube costs around 50 euro a piece, and
you need two of them.
And I also needed two 2A3 tubes (60 euro a piece) so for a complete set
of tubes I had to pay 220 euro's!
And this was just for standard low cost tubes, if you want better tubes
you have to pay much more...
So I realized that this amplifier was not for me, It sounded wonderfull,
it was infact the best amplifier I had ever owned, but the recurring
yearly costs of the tubes, really set me off...
I wanted a amplifier that is rock solid, can play all day, without that
I hear the sound quality slowly degrading
Re-discover the Tube amplifier
But later I realized my prejudges were not completely right,
Not all tubes are expensive, infact some of them are even cheap
Like the EL84 tubes, they cost only 9 euro (or even cheaper on ebay)
and the degrading of the tube quality I heard was maybe the result of a
not perfect "bias" ?
Maybe... when I had the knowledge to adjust the bias on the Meixing
Mingda then the rough tube would sound
I heard would disapear?
So I gave the passion for tube amplifiers a second change in my life,
but this time the tube amplifier should meet two requirements for me:
- The tube amp should use populair but
inexpensive tubes (like EL84, EL34)
- The tube amp should have a "auto bias" setting, so that I don't have
to adjust everytime the bias manually.
VADSHOW 2007 (The Netherlands)
For those who never heard of the VADSHOW in the Netherlands,
The VADSHOW is a rather small but very interesting High-End show in
They chanced the name recently in "X-Fi Show"
I will never forget the event in 2007,
after listening many rooms, I was a little exhausted, and I didn't hear
any loudspeakers that really attract my attention...
Then I entered the room of of the distrubutor called: "Crafty"
"Crafty" was at that time the Dutch distrubutor of the Chinese tube
amplifier brand: "Yarland" (*)
Their company mission was
to provide original designs with high quality sound for an
The owner of Crafty is "Roland Breteler" and he is also a very skilled
And when I entered the "Crafty" room at the VADSHOW I heard a sound that
I have never heard before...
It was pure music, without exhausting any disturbing artifacts, just
I could listen here for hours...
I was listening to Roberts latest creation called "Beluga" in
combination with the
"Yarland FV34CIII (push pull EL 84 tube amplifier)
The prices at that time were:
-Yarland FV34CIII - push pull EL 84 tube amplifer price: 300 euro
-Crafty Beluga - Backloaded horn with 13 cm fullrange unit, price 899
euro a pair
Wow, what a sound, unbelievable because this set was the cheapest set on
the entire High-End show, and it sounded as the best!
This was an unforgettable experience, and till today I still regret that
I didn't bought that set straight from the VADSHOW...
Unfortunately the brand "Crafty"doesn't exist any more,
so my changes to own one set of Beluga's are
practically 0, because there not many of these speakers produced.
Dream come true?
It was just pure luck that I recently found on the internet a
advertisement of one pristine set of "Crafty Beluga's" !
I bought them straight away, it was like a dream come true, because
these speakers are very, very rare...
The "Crafty Beluga" (in Black) standing next to my
PureAudio Projects Trio15 Voxativ
which will be used for this review of the "Yarland FV 34A-IV" tube
The specifications of the "Crafty Beluga" are:
Box type: Conical horn, with internal helmholtz resonators.
Fullrange driver: 13 cm paper cone with textile suspension and a cast
Filter: lcr series type, switchable as desired.
Sensitivity: 92 dB / 2.83V / 1m
Frequency response -3dB typical in room 53hz-20,000Hz
What makes this "Crafty Beluga"
horn loudspeaker so unique is that the entire
frequency range is represented by only one 13 cm fullrange
loudspeaker-unit, which also creates an unprecedented spatial
Due to its beam radiation characteristic this horn
loudspeaker is also very suitable for areas with a difficult acoustics.
The "Crafty Beluga" is also an high sensitivity loudspeaker, and perfect
for small powered tube amplifiers.
Yarland FV 34A-IV:
Yarland was founded in 1996 in Wenzhou. A
coastal city in Zhejiang province in China.
The company has two trademark product lines one called: "Yarland" and
the other is called: "ARIAND".
Yarland means “elegant” and “burning determination” in Chinese.
"ARIAND" is the more luxurious productline, which uses also has better
CEO Director of Yarland Mr. Daikai designs
all Yarlands himself and is very proud of his amplifiers.
Also all transformers are wound in their own house.
Mr Daikai is a perefectionist; therefore continuous improvements make
shure that Yarland amplifiers have a very high quality standard, while
the price is still reasonable low.
This review is about the "Yarland FV 34A-IV" which is an single-ended
intergrated tube amplifier that also can be placed in "power amplifier
mode", by simple turning a switch on the front.
The "Yarland FV 34A-IV" is not an small
amplifier, like the smaller "FV-34C-IV" (which uses EL84 tubes)
The The "Yarland FV 34A-IV" uses two EL34 tubes which gives the
amplifier 2 x 12 watt
The amplifier is very well build and finished
In the beginning i was a little afraid that maybe 12 watts would not be
enough for my "Crafty Beluga horn loudspreakers" but this was absolutely
not the case.
The "Crafty Beluga's" are designed as high sensitivity loudspeakers, and
I noticed during this review that they are really perfect match for this
12 watts was more than enough.
While listening the volume knob didn't went higher than a quarter before
Crafty loudspeaker designer "Roland
Breteler" used mostly the "FV-34C-IV" amplifier at events to demonstrate
and this "FV-34C-IV" amplifier uses four EL84 tubes in push-pull
(instead of "single-ended"
of the "Yarland FV 34A-IV")
I have listened to Roland's demonstration
in the VAD Show were he demonstrated the "Beluga's with the EL84
"FV-34C-IV" amplifier, and I couldn't believe that so much bass was
coming from the Beluga's...
Also the sound was very relaxed and smooth, it was a joy to listen to
Personaly I think that the "FV-34C-IV" amplifier with EL84 tubes has a
bit more warmer sound than the EL34 tubes of the Yarland FV 34A-IV,
which I'm reviewing here.
The sound of Yarland FV 34A-IV surprised me by it's smoothness and
accurate musical projection.
The music was very comfortable to listen to, the sound was full of
details and the 3D projection was also very good.
What I can remember of the VAD Show (many years ago) is that the EL84
amplifier sounded a little bit more darker, maybe warmer, and that this
EL34 amplifier sounded a bit more neutral and more analytical.
Also the build quality of this amplifier is of a very high standard.
They only drawback for me personally was that this amplifier doesn't has
so a few times a year you will have to adjust the bias voltage yourself
using a multi/voltmeter.
Time seems to fly while listening to this amplifier, so comfortable this
I think it a very good amplifier and if you consider that this amplifier
costs only 898,00
euro, it's hard to find a better sounding tube amplifier for this money.
Thanks to Yarland, my prejudges about tube amplifiers have disappeared,
my next amplifier will be a Yarland amplifier.
I can recommend this amplifier to those who have high sensitivity
loudspeakers and who are looking for a more neutral, but smooth
amplifier that turns every CD into enjoyable music full of details and
with a nice 3D projection.
Well done Yarland!
Maarten van Druten (Audio Dandy)
Special thanks to Jan van
Druten for borrowing
his Yarland FV-34-IV amplifier for this review
All Rights Reserved
(*) Currently "Crafty" is no longer
distributor of "Yarland", currently
the Netherlands doesn't have a official distributor of Yarland anymore.
(Germany is nearest one at this moment.)
Official German distributor of Yarland: