Art Audio

Art Audio logo
  • Art Audio USA
  • 34 Briarwood Road, Cranston, RI 02920, USA
  • Official website
  • +1 401 826 8286
  • +1 401 826 3903


Equipment[add model]

Art Audio manufactures or has manufactured the following equipment (click to expand models list):

Valve Amplifiers

General information [contribute]

Art Audio web site (December 2003): Modern computer simulation testing has empowered even amateurs to tweak well-documented tube circuits from the 40s and 50s. Add access to higher-grade parts that weren't available when these circuits were first developed. In many instances, commercial tube products of today are nothing more but thinly disguised rehashes of rather antiquated technology, repackaged in fancy casings.

From its cunningly christened Art Audio Diavolo debut amp, the company has pursued a different avenue. Eschewing stock transformers and circuits, each amplifier evolves from an output tube selected specifically for its sonic qualities. Lengthy testing then determines the precise parameters necessary to optimize its operating characteristics. The goal is always two-fold: Stable long-term performance; and maximized current delivery to drive even those speakers that traditionally elude the grip of single-ended amplifiers.

Based on this initial research, custom split-core transformers not usually employed for single-ended designs are specified. These are hand-wound to Art Audio's specification by a British master craftsman who has been with the firm from inception. R&D phases routinely go through various incarnations of output transformers before a final design is approved.


Art Audio web site (December 2003): Art Audio was created when Joe Fratus of Rhode Island encountered Tom Willis the British amp designer. Riccardo Kron, owner/operator of the Czech Republic's tube manufacturing plant KR Audio (then KR Enterprise) had charged Willis with the design of a custom SET circuit, to complement and maximally exploit his brand-new KR VV-32B power triode.

Instantly enamored with the sound of Tom's breakthrough amplifier, Joe was convinced. His search for the perfect audio opportunity was over. Between his own intimate knowledge of single-ended output transformers and sophisticated industrial design, Tom's amplifier design expertise and the ongoing support of Riccardo Kron, the engineering and marketing resources necessary to form a new company were in place.

One glance at any of today's Art Audio creations silences the common question. "What's in a name?" Sometimes, things do mean exactly what they imply. Art for the Eyes, Art for the Ears has been the company's guiding principle from inception. It simply insists that audio equipment dedicated to producing superior sound should embody superior aesthetics.

Under Joe's guidance, what had originally begun as a small-scale British design project quickly grew into a formidable lineup of award-winning and highly accoladed tube products. Production is now based out of America. Art Audio products -- SET and push/pull stereo and mono amplifiers, remote-controlled tube preamplifiers, 24/96 tube DACs and tubed phono stages -- continue to be joint developments between Tom Willis, Joe Fratus and David Gill whose expertise in low-level and digital circuitry saw him enter the small Art Audio engineering community at a later date.

The original friendship with Riccardo and a deep appreciation for his high-current, high-vacuum modern tube creations remains an ongoing and vital ingredient to the Art Audio recipe. It combines the best of classic tube sound with the raw drive and frequency domain fidelity and extension that contemporary music demands. And while Art Audio will always investigate new tube options as they arise (the new Sophia Audio mesh-plate 300B and 274B of the revised Symphony II for example), KR Audio tubes like the 52BX, KT88, 300BXLS or PX-25 remain a mainstay of the company's sound.

In fact, such is the cooperation between both firms that the unexpected emergence of KR's PX-25 tube was a direct consequence of Joe's fondness for the original VT-40 triode. He wanted to fashion an amplifier to recreate its sonic qualities, yet employ a contemporary tube readily available. When Joe committed to the protracted design work necessary to adapt existing transformers to the unique requirements of his new tube, Riccardo committed to reviving the long since discontinued PX-25. The eponymous Art Audio PX 25 is the result of this collaboration.

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