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The WRAD 300 doesn't sport the obligatory three but five footers. A triplet of those are arrayed along the rear edge, to prevent the nearly freakish weight of the gargantuan transformers from leaving an imprint in your designer shelf. The size of those transformers alone doesn't seem to account for this quite grotesque mass. Are certain kinds of iron cores heavier than others? Whatever's inside those three black enclosures is a seriously dense brand of Kryptonite.

Those he-man trannies are mechanically dead quiet. Over my 88dB Gallo References 3s, only the most minute AC-line type hum is audible from on top of 'em once the amp fires up and two delayed relays click in for action status.

Cosmetically, this monster is rather plain, with a dark-blue logo silk screened in the center of the silver-anodized fascia and an industrial-action power toggle and blue status LED the only two other frontal details. For the price asked, an engraved logo à la ModWright might make the full frontal cosmetic status a bit more impressive.

The painted chassis; the two tapped but empty screw holes on either side of the septet of small signal tubes (2 x Electro-Harmonix 12BH7s to the outside, 4 x Svetlana EF86s in the center, 1 x Sovtek 6922 in the rear); the lack of silk-screened identification for the 8/4-ohm taps; the drab-black bell covers; the quality of the paint finish; and the redundant (non-connected) XLR inputs - all this points at "circuit perfected, final packaging not quite yet" status.

The innards is where the really hot action resides.

The mother board in closeup.

Further details.

Rather than sex in the city, this amp parlays tractor-like strength and solidity - more Chevy than Aston-Martin.

How the Sovtek power tubes are rotated in their sockets means that the romantic orange glow escapes diagonally, not face on. The internal shields of the EF86s likewise hide their light emissions. It's essentially a blue-light special where the main visual indicator that the amp's powered up is the power LED.

Window-shopping prognosis? Cosmetics are a step up from the completely yeoman DeHavilland amplifier aesthetic but several grades below Art Audio, BAT, Hovland and other examples of the industrial design craft. Of course what matters, in the end, is the sound. Still, competing in this price class means that bringing the appearance and finish up a grade or two might be advisable to fulfill present-day expectations. Let's assume that I was in possession of a traveling loaner meant to be beaten up rather than exposed to loop scrutiny and leave it at that...