Skip to main content

Budget SE OPTs - Edcor and Noguchi

All output transformers were tested in the je2a3 amp using the same procedure as I did in the Hammond 125ESE many moons ago. Listening sessions were done through the same amp driving a single Altec 2-way speaker system

Edcor GXSE15-16-3.5K
Weight = 2.75 lbs

Primary Z = 3.5K
Secondary = fixed @ 16 ohm
Frequency Response = 40Hz - 18kHz, <1dBu 
Maximum DC current = 190 ma.
Core Material = M6, 29 ga. grain oriented steel

I ordered this Edcor OPT to get a feel on what's available to a cash-strapped US-based DIYer. It took over 3 weeks to be delivered to my doorstep at a total cost of $58.67. The nice square waves indicate quality manufacturing. Bass performance was at par with the Noguchis. But from the midrange to higher frequencies it was not quite as open and transparent. Maybe the Japanese manufacturers use higher quality laminations than the M6 steel used in this Edcor? Since the Hammond 125ESE now sells for about $60 before shipping, the GXSE15-16-3.5K would have been much better value for the money if it were offered with at least two secondary taps.  

Colors in Kanji

Noguchi PMF10WS
Weight = 3.2 lbs

Price = JPY 9,070
Approx. US$80

These two pairs of Noguchi transformers were Akihabara souvenirs from our 2015 Tokyo trip. In spite of the significant difference in price, the PMF10WS and PMF15WS are physically the same in size and weight. Based on specs, the PMF15WS has greater bandwidth and more flexibility for use with various output tubes.

Both OPTs tested well on the bench. Even if the 10khz square wave test does confirm better top end response from the PMF15WS, I could not detect its sonic superiority over the other.  Sonically, the PMF10WS is just as good if you don't need the extensive multi-tap flexibility from its more expensive sibling. In terms of tonal balance, I prefer the warmer presentation of either of the Noguchis over the leaner and more analytical Tango U808.

Noguchi PMF15WS
Weight = 3.2 lbs

Price = JPY12,560
Approx. US$112

I'm not sure if Noguchi accepts international orders. But if you're visiting Tokyo, their basement shop (closed Mondays) at Tokyo Radio Department Store is a must see!


  1. Hi, very interesting report. Thanks a lot for taking time to share your experience and experiments.
    An NO, Noguchi to not sell overseas, I tried to buy some Finemet and never got an answer. France might a to small spot on the map ;-)
    If one day you made some comparison with Finemet trannies, let us know...
    Great overall job


    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for the kind words! Sorry to hear that Noguchi did not entertain your inquiry. Schedule permitting, I will report on some entry-level Finemets.

      Happy listening!


    2. Hello,

      I suggest to buy Noguchi Finemet either from Acoustic Dimension or use on proxy shopping service to buy directly from Japan. I can recommend J-Goods, I have used them multiple times and always very good and prompt service.

      So far I have of 10pcs of differennt Noguchi Finemet transformers (FM-24WS-3k OPT for 300B, FM-10k-600CT line OPT for 101D and similar, FM1010N as an I/V transformer for DAC, FM728D interstage) and 11pcs of Finemet chokes in power supplies. Chokes also affect the sound, as do mains transformers and (almost) everything else. :)

    3. Thanks for all the information you shared!



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Altec 2-way horn system redux

Truth be told, I was never fully satisfied with the performance of the Altec 2-way which is why I never uploaded the old article in the Arkiv.
Let's recap how the 2-way horn system evolved...

The project was conceived in mid 1998 because I needed a monitor system that was more efficient than the OB/755 so I could listen to SE amps with 2 watts output and below.
I commissioned my cabinet maker neighbor to build 614 bass reflex cabinets and loaded them with Altec 419A 12" drivers + 811 horns (early version/heavy sand cast) and 804A compression drivers gathered from hamfests and radio shows. Crossover was a textbook 1st order/6dB/octave hinged at 900 hz and the horn padded down to match the sensitivity of the low frequency driver.

Eventually I acquired proper 12" woofers - Altec 414As, which lack the upper midrange nasties of the 419As. The 414As have great midrange quality even if they lack the bass end of their larger 416/515 brethren.

802D compression drivers replaced t…

2017 Update: Hi-Fi Room

One year progress report

Garrard 301 + Ortofon RMG 309/SPU GME or SME 3012 + Denon DL103 Altec 4722 MC step-up
Digital line level sources processed  through UTC A20 transformers

JEL Stereo Preamp DX
JEL Stereo SE2A3 DX amp with Tango NY15S OPTs
Altec 2-way Altec 414As in 3.5 cf bass reflex enclosures + Altec 32A horns with 802D compression drivers
Mono Neat P58H 4 speed idler turntable + Velvet Touch viscous damped tonearm with Denon DL102 or GE RPX cartridges

je2a3 mono integrated amp

Stereo > Mono Line Level Mixer

Mixing line level stereophonic signals into full dimensional monophonic ;)
Here's a DIY project for mono aficionados that's so basic, I should have uploaded it many years ago. But other things got in the way.

Just like an MC step-up, these are entirely passive devices. 

The simplest way to convert stereo to mono is to connect left and right channels via a Y connector. But there's a more elegant way than just shorting two channels.

Resistors can blend two signals into one better by...

...using Allen-Bradley carbon composition for warmer sound ;)
We can end the mixing quest here but...

...the most elegant way of mixing two channels as was done in the studios by audio pros of yesteryears was through transformers.

This single UTC A-20 transformer was in a box lot of tubes and parts I picked up at a radio show. It's a high quality transformer designed for mic, mixer or line matching applications. Instead of trying to find a mate for MC step-up duty, I repurposed it for a g…