The new Western Electric 91E is a tube amplifier based on designs from 1936 and 1938, but equipped with modern features.
In 1936, Western Digital released the 91A, a tube amplifier (of course…) for use in cinemas. Together with two 300B tubes developed in 1938, that device forms the basis for the modern integrated amplifier 91E. The nod to the past can be seen as soon as you turn the unit on. The display shows the manufacturer’s original logo from 1914 as a startup-screen. That there is a display already betrays there is also a lot of modern technology under the hood. Thanks to the patented SCCS (Steered Constant Current Source) design, the 300B’s output power is nearly doubled, and that’s without the need for large and heavy output transformers. Also provided is Bluetooth connectivity which nowadays comes in quite handy.
Furthermore, a microcontroller is employed to carefully heat up the filaments in the tubes. It also reverses the polarity of the filament voltage each time it is turned on, the bias is set automatically while the volume control operates a relay-switched resistor network. Some of these tricks should extend the life of the tubes in the system. Another nice feature is that interchangeable transformers (a matter of plugging in and removing) of 4, 8 and 16 Ohms can be used as desired. This allows you to drive a range of speakers without problems. The Western Electric 91E costs £16998, available in black and champagne gold.