Why we built it this way.

So, whats the big deal about discrete circuits?

In a world of marketing catch phrases, several technical design elements have been thrown about and there are lots and lots of people that might not know why these things really matter, or how they globally impact design parameters.

This is a very generalized summary, but as such, consider the following:

Discrete amplifiers are the designers purest creation in that, he is in control of and dictates the type, size and construction of each and every component in the amplifier. By proxy of this, two different designers can build the EXACT same circuit from the same circuit schematic diagram but create two completely different sounding amplifiers based solely upon the type of transistors, resistors and capacitors chosen. Type meaning, the stuff that the caps, resistors and transistors are made of. Resistors, for example, of equal value but made of different material can yield a different sound at certain points in a circuit that is clearly audible far, far, far outside of audiophile universe (where Greedo shoots first) by just about anyone.

When designing using a chip, all those choices are pre-made in the packaged amplifier chip so there is only a certain degree to which a chip circuit can be tuned for tone, only the components outside the amplifier can be adjusted to taste.

In a discrete circuit, you are tuning all those components as well as the components that build the amplifier itself.

The difference between these two worlds is comparable to paint by numbers versus blank canvas: both are painting and a real pretty picture can be painted with either, but the process is much much different.

This is in no way a statement of better or worse, merely the undebatable fact that with a discrete, through hole design, the sky is the limit and with a prepackaged chip IC design, you get to pick from the prepackaged parts available and then add whatever parts of the sky you want to sit next to them. Prefab vs. Craftsman, Tilt Up vs. Masonry, each has its place, advantages and disadvantages.

Our amplifiers are %100 discrete and each amplifier in our circuit is tuned by ear to complimentarily feed the amp its driving and receive the amp that is driving it. There is not one single component in our amplifier circuits that did not require an audition and a decision.

Pick and Place vs. Pure Hand Wiring

Circuit boards can be machine wave soldered, with parts placed by machine, or circuit boards can be stuffed and soldered entirely by hand. Why do it by hand when it takes 3,000 times longer?

Pick and place is limited to specific components available in packaging that will work with the automated machines. The PCB must also be laid out in a specific geometric arrangement that the automated machines can be programed to populate.

Stuffing by hand allows for the use of any type, size or construction of component, and it allows for it to be placed -anywhere- you want which provides a certain freedom when laying out a circuit board.

So with an automated pick and place, you get to design what you want, lay it out in such a way that the machines can place the parts where they need to go and then select the parts based on the very limited selection of through hole components left today on tape and reel packages.

With a circuit designated for populating, soldering and wiring by hand, you can design whatever you want, spec whatever part you want to use and put it where ever you want on the circuit board. The only limitation then is the physical size of the packaging. A designer has fewer restrictions when his discrete designs are designated for hand construction.

Again, not better nor worse, but a process that is absolutely different.

The Amplifiers in our product line are tuned, component by component,  with the goal of hand soldered assembly in mind, from the start. Each and every component is bent, placed, soldered and cleaned by hand, by us, in NYC, USA. The AwTAC products are not better because they are built by hand, they are better because we care. There are, however, many high quality components in our products that can only be installed, one by one, by hand. For us, this has yielded the closest to a “no compromise” product that we could make. And we couldn’t be more proud.

Made in America by Owner Operators

One ethic critically supported by the Awesome Transistor Amplifier Company is keeping work in the hands of other working Americans and seeking out contractors that have their operations as close to the heart as we do.

In our design and manufacturing process for the Awesome Channel Amplifier, we have contracted several small businesses much like our own. We are all independently owned and operated and in most cases, owner operators- the guy that answers the phone is the same guy that does the work. Check out a short list of states where we were fortunate enough to be able to find some shops similar to ourselves who turned out top notch work for us in the following areas of development:

Product Design and Prototyping: NYC
Product Assembly: NYC
Identity and Branding: NYC
Knob Prototyping: NJ
Knob Blueprinting: NJ
Knob Milling: OH, MN
Knob Anodizing: OH
Front Panel Design: NYC
Front Panel Printing: PA
Front Panel Milling: CA
Side Panel Fabrication: NJ
PCB Manufacture: IL
Inductor Winding: CA
Transformer Winding: MO
Website Design and Illustration: NH
Consulting: CA

We are proudly putting to work other freelance designers, small shops and technicians, where ever and when ever possible, as priority number one. This product could very easily have been made overseas and it most definitely was not. This product was made in America, by Americans, with components fabricated in America wherever possible. AwTAC products are as good as they are because of the focused love and pride in craftsmanship that was put into it at ever step of the manufacturing process, from initial idea to final product.

Know when you buy our products that you are voting with your dollar to take the power back. This is as much of an American Product as can be sensibly manufactured in 2014. A critically selected cast of hand and heart artisans were brought together to birth the Awesome Channel Amplifier and our resulting product line the way you see it today. This isn’t mass assembled commodity, this is focused, small batch, hand craftsmanship done by operators whose passion for doing things exactly right is the foundation of their success. This product isn’t just assembled in America. It’s designed and manufactured in America. And it’s done with love, and it’s better because of it.