North Carolina builder opts for measured growth
CHRIS ROSSI is a freelance software developer by day and a tone seeker by night. He started Dusky Electronics over three years ago when he found he spent more of his downtime in the garage building amps than working on software projects. Today, Dusky remains on a slow, measured growth curve with its long-term sights on greater dealer representation, a bevy of new products and bringing on staff.
REMEMBER the old Sesame Street sing-along “One of these things is not like the other…”? The tune fits when it comes to Dusky Electronics and its flagship D2O amplifier. While its guts say classic tones, its skin is one of the more unique in the boutique amp business. The head is folded metal wrapped around an aluminum chassis, and the deco is something more akin to an art nouveau piece than the monochrome, tolexed boxes we’ve come to know. Its baby blue and orange boldness signals not only change on the surface, but something new all together. The amp gets its name from the chemical formula for heavy water. Builder Chris Rossi said that the name was derived from the heavy, but clear sound of the amp.
“It is an all-new design, but it is a classic architecture, so short signal path, clean pre-amp, right into a power section,” explains Rossi, who started Dusky about three years ago. “The power section is 6L6s which are cathode-biased. The cathode bias is self-adjusting so there is actually a good bit of tube rolling you can do with the power section. It will accept other kinds of power tubes. It is set up to accept EL34s. Those work just fine in there. 6550s. Any of the KT-family of tubes… 66, 88 on up. The pre-amp tubes are 6SL7s, which are octal pre-amp tubes and a little different that most. The vast majority of amps today use 12AX7s, which are little nine-pin sockets. These are more like what you would see with power tubes because they use the same base. Ampeg used 6SL7s in their amps in the 50s and 60s. The famous B-15 was a 6SL7 amp so there is some interesting pedigree there.”