Tour the Tesla Tube Factory

Back in 1999 I reviewed in Stereophile the KR Audio VT 8000 monoblock vacuum tube amplifier. I wrote in the review: "Virtually every part in the amplifier is custom-made in-house or sourced from associated facilities, including the metal fabrication, the transformers, and the circuit boards. The internal wiring is Swiss in origin. And, of course, the vacuum transducers themselves are made in-house by hand, and that includes all of the tiny internal components, which are stamped out one at a time by hand on dies custom-machined in-house. Even the glass for the tubes is turned and formed by hand. If I hadn't seen all of this with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it."

Back then it wasn't possible to post videos on YouTube but now it is. In preparation for the review, the company's founders the late Dr. Riccardo Kron (he passed away in 2002) and his wife Eunice invited me to the Czech Republic to see how the recently formed company manufactured vacuum tubes in the old, Soviet era Tesla tube factory that formerly manufactured tubes for the Soviet military. I happened to find the "Hi-8" video cassette I recorded during my visit and have posted on YouTube an edited version. At the end is a quick look at the walls of a great used record store located near the Vltava river that runs through the city. Unfortunately a flood a few years ago, destroyed the store and its contents.

As for the VT 8000, it sounded wonderful but measured terribly by the standard test bench procedures Stereophile uses. Consider that on the basis of measurements CDs are "perfect" and by comparison vinyl playback is non-linear and has greater distortion. True, but vinyl playback sounds more like real music, and keeps the brain engaged in ways that digital fails miserably. KR Enterprises carries on, run by Dr. Kron's widow and business partner Eunice.

By the way, some years later I visited the Pro-Ject turntable factory in the Czech Republic and will soon post that video as well.

TapeMonkey's picture

It's a series of tubes

Hosta3's picture

Thanks for the tube tour. Reminded me of different European vacuum tube tour I experienced in th 80's. I wonder what the rejection rate is after test and grading.