Nashville SE 20 - the modified SuperTriode ConceptThe Input (VAS) Stage (fig. 1)The voltage amplifying stage (VAS) is simply an activelyloaded 6SN7 twin triode. The cathode resistors of 220Ohm in each tube section set the plate currents to 9mA (redline in fig. 2). In this area the average tube characteristicschange less compared to the lower current area and thusis an acceptable compromise between amplificationfactor µ (green line) and plate resistance Rp (blue line) whileplate dissipation (around 1W each) is still low (fig. 2).The dynamic Rk of the upper tube is 3.9kOhm + 220Ohm.Its AC voltage drop is fed into the upper tube through C2and increases the effective load impedance substantially.The effective impedance Z of the upper triode is given bythe equation rp + (µ + 1) * Rk = Zgiven a µ of 21.8 (green line) and Rp of 7500Ohm (blue line)the effective impedance is7500 + (20.8 +1) * (220 + 3900) = 97.3K ≈ 100kFig. 1: 6SN7 driver stage circuit.9mA against a conventional 100k plate resistor would require 900V and a total power supply voltage above 1000V! Yet both triodes operate at a comfortable 290V. Taking into account the 100K grid resistor of the following output stage the dynamic load impedance is 50kOhm and the amplification factor is 18 (25db). That should be sufficient to drive the output stage from a high level source such as a CD player or phono stage. An ordinary plate resistor would be limited to 163V * 9mA ≈ 18k with a corresponding amplification factor of 12 (21.6db). Figure 3 shows the point of operation and 6SN7 average plate characteristics.Nevertheless, the cathode of the upper triode has a potential of +160V (fig. 1). Thus the potential of the heater voltage has to be elevated to +70V. The 1K resistors are grid stoppers to prevent oscillation. Fig. 2: 6SN7 average characteristics at 9mA (red line) idle currentFig. 3: 6SN7 average plate characteristics at 130V plate voltage (red line), 9mA idle current (green line), 50k load impedance (dark blue line). With an ordinary plate resistor (18k) and 50k in parallel the load impedance slope is substantially higher (light blue) resulting in less amplification and higher distortion.