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May 08 2015

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Cytryniarz = The Lemon Man

Cytryniarz is a Polish nickname, which in a loose translation means The Lemmon Man.

Just received a nice set of his DIY equipment for auditioning. A 6s33s based OTL Circlotron amplifier, and a very intriguing DIY turntable. Everything fully differential. Starting from the very tonearm pickup. To the very speakers.

Massive Parallel Integrated Signal and Ultra-Local Feedback Technology.

Very intriguing stuff indeed.

Not to mention the tonearm itself, which seems to be a hangman’s nightmare, but an audiophiles dream.  At least of what I am listening to now.

Just imagine: The gallows.  The tonearm being hanged by its neck. literally.

The power of a KISS anti-skidding mechanism. It really freaking works !

Like a dream, actually.

More to follow shortly, once I listen to this rig a bit.

 

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To start off with, some external examination. The amplifier is a fully symmetrical device. It does not even have, or “possess”  traditional RCA, asymmetrical inputs. The whole internal signal path of the device is a fully balanced symmetrical topology. A very interesting topology, indeed. The topology is “terminated” by a classical, symmetrical Circlotron output stage, with balanced speaker output terminals. The speaker terminals are levitating at near ground potential.

As this is an output speaker transformerless design, in which the speakers are connected directly to the output tubes, it is imperative for such a topology to be equipped with some healthy amount of negative feedback.

But this is where things get interesting. This is where I have first noticed a contraption, or topology, one you do not see in any books or publications or anything. Let us just call it the “Massive Parallel Integrated Signal and Ultra-Local Feedback Technology.”

Without shedding too much light on this proprietary know-how of Cytryniarz, The Lemon Man, Mr. Tomasz Janiszewski, who has made these devices available for auditioning for me, suffice to mention that the topology is based on a PLURALITY of “independent” feedback loops. Loops which are very tight and short, so as not to detriment the impulse characteristics and the performance of the device.

There is also one other detail pertaining to the applied topology, as it need be mentioned that the “independence” of those multiple feedback loops is not fully “independent”.  Indeed, they do have a certain affinity to each other, a certain degree of interrelated “influence” upon each other. Subtle, but it is there and it is a very effective means of controlling the overall performance of the device as a whole.

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For the purposes of the listening test, I was also equipped by Cytryniarz with a fully BALANCED, tube buffered DAC, just in case I come up with the sick idea to listen to .flac files or other streaming media from digital sources. Well, I guess that Cytryniarz is fully in love in his analog sound, his analog source, and I think that there is some strong merit to that, once you start listening to such a topology. But there will be more on the sound a bit later.

Suffice to say, that I was equipped with an SPDIF input connector, to which I could “feed” my digital signals – well may be even the SAME music material, and compare the same pieces of music as originating from lossless digital formats, with the vinyl / analog counterpart to that very same material.

Some intriguing observation emerged indeed.

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The upper chassis of the OTL amplifier by Cytryniarz is densly packed. Initially, this kind of sent shivers down my spine, as I have a certain “projection” or bias, a personal one, and stemming from my own experiences with the 6s33s devils.   At first looks, for me the distances between the output tubes were much to sparse, the setup – too dense, I envisioned potential issues with the heat dissipation and all.

But that was unjustified.

Why ?

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Because I was biased in my opinions with my own construct of my own OTL, which was based on these tubes.   I run my amp hot. I press them to the extremes, … once actually to the point of melting some glass. Not very funny.

But this construct is totally something else. Here Cytryniarz intentfully reined in his appetites and restricted the output power of the device to 2 x 18 Watts.  This, in turn, allowed him to go easy on the floating voltage sources for the output tubes, which are way way lower than the ones that I used.

The results of all this are that the tubes are simply not run as hot as my ones. They operate at a very relaxed operating point, providing the potential future owner of such a device / topology with long term use of a single set of tubes and a long and healthy life for each of them.

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In front of the output tubes are the smaller input stage and driver tubes. All in all, this is a three stage topology. Very cute and very innovative.

 

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On the left hand side, there is a bank of capacitors that filter out the voltages of a multitute of independent power supplies.  Obviously, some of them are “floating”, the ones for the output stage. But the input stage and driver stage areas have power supplies which are ground referenced. They also run at a much higher voltage.

The device is equipped with an on-off switch, as well as with a centrally located volume control and an input selector switch.

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As for the analog source, that has been made avaliable for the purposes of the listening session, Cytryniarz came in with his work-in-progress, make-shift, fast-and-dirty prototype of a turntable. But indeed, some turntable it is !

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The main feature is the XXL, ultra long tone arm, which is way way longer than what you would normally expect. Actually, it is a piece of wood, out of a certain type of tree, which is a closely kept secret that shall not be exposed. The whole tonearm is hanging from gallows, on a single nylon thread. The innovative suspension mechanism actually provides for a cute and simple, but very effective anti-skating mechanism. Simply turn the wooden knob at the top of the gallows and your anti-skating is set to the proper value.

This design if fully symmetrical and is equipped with a fully balanced phono stage, to which the wires coming in from the pickup are connected to via very fine interconnect leads. Amazingly, the pickup does not gather any noise or hum or anything.  Looking at those tone-arm interconnect wires – it made me wonder.  Alas, not all is what it seems.  The very wiring of the tonearm is not what you would expect it to be.

A simple, but very effective solution.

Who says that tonearms need to be shielded ??
Well, in theory, they indeed NEED to be shielded.

But in praxis …

BTW … Do you know the difference between THEORY and PRAXIS ?

In THEORY, they are one and the same thing.
IN PRAXIS …. they are not.

:)

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The turntable device is supplied from two independed power sources.

One providing clean and quiet DC supply for the balanced preamp phono section.

The other – in the form of an external “PIGGY” block / cylindrical device, providing the necessary voltages to power the turntable motor.

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The turntable is equipped ONLY with two XLR balanced connector outputs.

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The suspension of the whole chassis plate of the turntable, which in itself is constructed of some sturdy thick and stable wooden slab, is implemented by a system of sneaky suspension feet, operated as a mixture of string suspension and vibration damping material.

The whole chassis plate actually “floats” above ground, as a ship floats upon water …

Very intriguing. You can actually feel it – the waves, and the movements of this ship upon turbulent waters – when you touch it.

A pity that I can not show this suspension system to you, as it seems to be even more innovative than the gallows gig, the one supporting the tonearm. …

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The Gallows …

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After letting the system warm up a bit, and spinning up the turntable, The thing that I immediately heard was a very musical, warm and somewhat … mellow ? … sound that was very pleasing to my ears.

We listened to the setup on both some loudspeakers that The Lemmon Man has brought in with him especially for the purpose, small, compact size, two way, first order crossover speakers with a might bass reflex port, as well as upon my Quarter Tonners, or the Jensen 1071 which I have readily available in my living room, a DIY project which started off with from a design created by Mr.  TroelsGravesen.dk.

The sound from the small enclosure Lemmon Man speakers was very fresh, articulated, well defined, with a very clearly painted soundstage. Obviously, it did not have the things that only come with huge sized speakers.  Soon afterwards, we strapped the system over onto and upon my Jensens 1071, with the additional horn loaded ribbons at the top, which actually constitute a bit of an additional burden for the amplifier, as they are driving a vertical horn, and are fed via a simple first order high pass crossover, providing the ribbon horn with quite a wide range of frequencies to cope with.

Pleasingly enough, this configuration also performed favourably, albeit with much more authority and slam, as would be expected from the powerful Scan Speak woofer and that huge volume bass reflex enclosure.

What strikes me at this moment the most is a positive surprise, being that these small devils, albeit with no output transformer, were able to swing up that woofer of mine to some meaningful and well recognized bass, filling the living room. No excessive signs of sweat on their side. Obviously, the listening levels were sufficient, but the volume control was cranked up way up North. Not the case of the small enclosure Lemmon Man speakers, where a 10:00 AM volume position was loud enough, but just simply lacking that additional layer of bass slam, which would be technical difficult to obtain from a small volume enclosure.

All in all, the sound from a differential balanced vinyl source was … to put it simply: different.

In the beginning, I even felt that maybe something was on the far side of mellow, if not lacking some of the analytics that I am used to be hearing from my digital media sources and my digital DAC. But then again, after some listening, it became perfectly obvious that there is nothing lacking. The sound is simply somewhat more “relaxed”. Less aggressive, if you will. Pleasing. Well balanced and musical.  I guess that this is what drives all those vinyl lovers into them vinyl disks.
After such an extensive listening run from the vinyl source, as picked up by the hangman piece of a tree tonearm, hanging by its throat from them Gallows, we switched over back upon a balanced, tube buffered DAC, also a DIY contraption as created by Cytryniarz.

As might have been expected, after such lush musical vinyl sound, the return to the digital media sources was somewhat of a hard landing. Not in the sense that I do not like such a sound, being more precise, more rich in detail, clinical and maybe even a bit over pronounced or bright. Maybe carrying more air or “spatial information” but then again, demanding more of your attention to it.  Not that it is worse, or better. Just slightly different.  But the difference is there and one can plainly understand the origin of that whole debate being vinyl vs. digital and all.

Mind you, not that we were listening to some lo-res media. 24 bits and 96 kHz were also auditioned, on a vinyl-to-digital direct comparison of the very same musical content, be it Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, or Bill Evans.

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All balanced …

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The DC motor power supply PIGGY …

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Some more listening sessions will follow – it would not be prudent NOT to listen to this setup – especially the turntable with its magic wand hanging from the gallows and the fully balanced vinyl gig – especially that it was brought right up to my doorstep and basically assembled in the center of my living room.

It shall be a pure pleasure to jump into this sound, possibly for the next few days, until it moves on upon its road, so as to reach its final target.

If you have any interest in devices, topologies, solutions, or other possible projects of TOMEK JANISZEWSKI, or simply Cytryniarz (for the Polish Folks) or The Lemmon Man (for the Rest-Of-World out there) – just drop him an email at:

cytryniarz@tlen.pl

That is all for now – I am running off to switch on that PIGGY again and to spin some vinyls

:)

Cheers,

Ziggy.

Permanent link to this article: http://hiend-audio.com/2015/05/08/cytryniarz-the-lemmon-man/